Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s new general manager wants to build on the resort’s “remarkable reputation.”



Mark Hodgdon, who started Sept. 4, came to Sandestin from Atlanta where he briefly worked as vice president of operations for Hospitality Staffing Solutions' southeast region at its corporate office.



Prior to his stint in Atlanta, Hodgdon worked as vice president of operations for Del Mar Development and Management in Los Cabos, Mexico, for 10 years. In all he has spent more than 30 years in the hotel business holding leadership positions at properties such as The Grand America Hotel, The Phoenician, The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and the Grand Wailea Resort, Hotel & Spa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel restaurant and travel administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was the school's soccer team's goalie.



When asked the question: "Who is Mark Hodgdon?" Hodgdon answers that he is someone who grew up with real values, cares about people, and those he provides service to. He said he values integrity and credibility and plans to provide that for owners and guests alike at Sandestin.



Hodgdon grew up in the Northeast and has lived in Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.



"My grandfather owned a small inn in Concord, N.H., and I grew up working for him," he said. "I have worked in laundry, housekeeping, and in my late teen years as a steward, a server, and in the kitchen. I learned at the grassroots level how to create an ideal experience. Everything starts in the heart of the house and moves to the front of the house."



Although he has lived in locales such as Hawaii and Los Cabos, Hodgdon said he is pleased to be in "lovely" South Walton.



"My mom and sister are in Atlanta and my brother is in Charlotte. Most of my family is in the Southeast. I love places where there's sunshine, where it's warm and where there is a true sense of community. To be able to stay in the States and find this … I look at this as a long-term commitment and am very excited about the area's people, its quality of life and all it has to offer," he said.



Hodgdon is married and has a family that will be joining him here soon, he said. No house has been purchased yet, but he expects that to happen, with buying on Sandestin property a possibility.



As for his goals for Sandestin, Hodgdon feels the property continues to need to be positioned as premier resort in the area and in Florida by creating excitement in what it has to offer. He wants to bring more business to the resort and to the area and he wants the resort and its amenities to remain open to the local community.



"Sandestin has a remarkable reputation and I don't want that to change," he said.



As for changes at the resort, Hodgdon said he only sees enhancing the level of service provided, whether at the owners' club or for guests, although he says “repositioning” may be necessary to stay competitive.



He said he is open to receiving ideas for change from owners, guests, and customers to make their experience better.



"I don't think you can be successful in business without listening and responding. I welcome constructive criticism in how to make it better," he said.



"I expect to be highly visible and accessible to all, as well as involved in the community and to serve on a number of boards," said Hodgdon.



Hodgdon may be contacted via email at markhodgdon@sandestin.com.