Hunter Bicknell’s record of pursuing and achieving the American Dream began at an early age as he watched his mother and father (an Air Force officer) embody the values of hard work, service to others and the protection of freedom and the American way. Lettering in high school football and baseball, Hunter entered the private sector upon graduation and began a career of entrepreneurial spirit at Tenneco Oil Company.
After earning enough money to cover his first quarter’s tuition and expenses, Hunter enrolled at Georgia State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree while working as a Store Manager for the Sperry and Hutchinson Company (S&H). As a result of his hard work and perseverance, in less than six months Hunter was promoted to Assistant District Operations Manager where he was responsible for five Atlanta stores.
Working his way through college, Hunter graduated with his Bachelor’s of Business Administration and was quickly promoted within S&H to District Operations Manager where he lead 22 stores to achieve private-sector success.
Recognizing his natural leadership and sound fiscal discipline, S&H asked Hunter to accept his next professional challenge and to earn his Master’s degree. Hunter gladly accepted the call and received his MBA from Georgia State continuing his lifelong dedication to achieving a higher standard through hard work.
Hunter worked his way up the corporate ladder to become the youngest Regional Vice President in the history of S&H. Removing corporate bureaucracy, delivering superior customer support and fostering efficiency Hunter changed his regions organizational structure leading to record profitability and a model that the entire organization began utilizing.
Hunter remained Regional VP for more than six years before following his entrepreneurial spirit to leave S&H to start a chain of Blimpie sandwich stores. It was during this time that Hunter began devoting a great deal of personal time toward philanthropic causes in his community. He volunteered as a youth football, baseball and basketball coach. He served as an officer for the local high school booster club, Vice President of the Touchdown Club and Treasurer for the Dugout Club.
After successfully building a chain of restaurants and creating more than 60 private-sector jobs, Hunter sold the business and created another small business in the development industry. Hunter ventured on as a residential homebuilder for three years and then formed Sky Access, an equipment rental company, which provided affordable and much needed rental equipment to the construction industry.
While serving as President of Sky Access, Hunter also served as Vice President-Commercial for Sky Climber, a construction equipment manufacturer with facilities in Stone Mountain, GA and Antwerp, Belgium.
In 2002, Hunter made a key decision to stay closer to home and began a fulltime role as Community Public Servant. Hunter began serving the citizens of Jackson County in various advisory and leadership positions such as the Jackson County Water and Sewer Authority, Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority, Jackson County Jail Advisory Committee, Jackson County Transportation Steering Committee, and the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council.
In 2008, Hunter ran and was elected Chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners (JCBOC). Under his direction the JCBOC has:
- Balanced their budget every year since 2008 without a millage rate increase or a cut in services. They did this in the face of a declining tax digest, declining sales tax revenue and a drastic cut in fee income.
- Paid down Jackson County’s debt by $11.8 Million in just under three years.
- Restructured Jackson County’s remaining debt to take advantage of lower interest rates. By scheduling the debt to be paid off sooner, the County will save millions of dollars in the future.
- Analyzed wasteful processes and inventory. Under Bicknell’s direction, the County sold equipment that was under utilized realizing an almost $2,000,000 return to taxpayers.
Hunter has been married for 45 years to his wife, Becky Benefield. They have two sons and one daughter and have been blessed with five grandchildren.
Hunter now hopes to take his experience and record of Proven Performance to Washington, DC to create positive and effective change for Georgians in the 9th District.