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Hicks honored with lifetime achievement award

Recently retired Chamber of Medford & Jackson County leader Brad Hicks has received the county’s lifetime achievement award for 2021. Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune
Brad Hicks recognized by Jackson County commissioners

Recently retired from leading The Chamber of Medford & Jackson County, Brad Hicks is the winner of Jackson County’s lifetime achievement award.

Each year, the chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners picks someone with a history of community involvement to win the Chairman’s Award.

Commission Chair Rick Dyer said he’s known Hicks since they were college students.

“One thing about Brad even then is he always had a cause. He always had something he was passionate about,” Dyer said during a videoconference presentation of the award this week.

Early in his career, Hicks worked for elected leaders in the Oregon Legislature. When he started working for The Chamber of Medford & Jackson County in 1993, Hicks brought his knack for advocacy to the job, Dyer said.

Hicks rose to become president and chief executive officer of the chamber in late 1999.

Dyer said Hicks’ advocacy was instrumental in projects like the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center and U.S. Cellular Community Park.

When the COVID-19 pandemic and state restrictions hit, Hicks worked night and day to get businesses the help they needed to survive. Dyer said Hicks didn’t expect to spend his last few years before retirement working on pandemic issues, but Hicks’ response showed his commitment and concern for the community.

“I always wondered what it would take to get you to say something nice to me,” Hicks joked with Dyer during the award presentation.

“Don’t get used to it,” Dyer responded.

Hicks said he was humbled and honored to receive the annual county award. He thanked his wife and son for their support, and said his work wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of others involved with the chamber and community.

During his time at the chamber, Hicks said the community weathered the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath, stock market crashes and recessions, the pandemic, wildfires and other hardships.

“Who knew we had the strength and resiliency to survive all those things — but we have,” Hicks said.

Travis Snyder, a businessman and chair of the chamber board of directors executive committee, said Hicks inspired other people to get involved.

“His influence on others can’t be underestimated,” Snyder said.

Hicks said Jackson County doesn’t have as large a population as some more urban areas, but the local community has notched up remarkable achievements.

“In a place the size of ours, it take everyone doing what they can,” he said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.