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The ‘man’ behind the ‘manager’

When hiring a new employee in any profession, the focus is first and foremost on professional qualifications, as it obviously should be. 

However, to paraphrase Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk, “You are not your job. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive.”

New Waynesville Town Manager Rob Hites is not just a manager, but also a man; he’s a married father of two (14 and 17) who no longer enjoys golf due to a back injury, but still has interests, hobbies, and passions just like anyone else. 

Although his real estate broker’s license lapsed years ago, he still has his general contractor’s license; accordingly, one of his stress relievers is renovation. 

“My main hobby is physically working with my hands, and renovating houses. I can do almost everything except heavy electrical work,” he said. “I just finished building a deck outside, a back porch and enclosing a 200 square-foot screen porch and made it into a sunroom. I don’t do it to make money.”

Something of an outdoorsman, Hites also enjoys fly fishing and spin casting, as well as a variety of team sports. 

“My wife graduated from Duke, so we watch a lot of Duke basketball,” he said, almost apologetically. “But I never forgot my allegiance to the Crimson Tide. I grew up in the shadow of Legion Field where Alabama played their home games while I was growing up, so I can’t help it. I follow the Panthers in pro ball, but I’m too short to follow pro basketball. I played high school and college soccer, and I absolutely love soccer. I’ve coached soccer.”

Hites also spends his time volunteering with a number of spiritual and non-profit organizations. He’s a junior warden in the Episcopal Church, and has served as treasurer of The Partnership for Children — which works with daycare licensing — for 14 years. 

Musically, he’s clearly a child of the 70s. 

“I enjoy classical music,” he said, “but also Led Zeppelin. I probably know every Simon and Garfunkel song, because you always enjoy the music from when you were a teenager and in college. I enjoy Alice Cooper — he’s a fascinating guy. He was crazy in high school, but he was making straight A’s, and he had this crazy band but he was also on the football team, and had long hair and was playing this crazy music. After his performances he takes his makeup off and goes out and talks to the kids about keeping their life straight and staying off drugs and stuff. He just reminds them that what he does is an act, not a lifestyle.”

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