A year and a half ago, Robert Moore (BBA 73) left his home in Hawaii to visit his old friend John Schmitz, who had recently bought the fitness resort Hilton Head Health in Hilton Head, S.C. The two had met each other when Moore took a job with the accounting firm Ernst & Ernst in Phoenix after graduating from Ole Miss.
Since that time, their careers had taken divergent paths. But those paths would converge again 30 years later in Hilton Head. Schmitz had veered into the healthcare industry, while Moore ended up in the hospitality industry by a circuitous route. First he was transferred to the Hawaii office of Ernst & Ernst. But having grown bored with his banking and insurance clients, he took a job at a rival firm where most of his clients were hospitality properties. He was eventually hired away by one of those clients, a resort, and worked in that industry for more than 25 years.
Then came the visit to Hilton Head. By the time Moore’s planned trip was coming to a close, he was making plans to pack his bags for South Carolina full time in order to helm Hilton Health.
“I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was that made everybody so happy,” said Moore. “I had to learn more about it. I was just amazed by the environment. The relationship that I found was the most positive environment I’ve ever been around.”
Today, Moore is the president and CEO of Hilton Head Health, a health and fitness resort that has established a worldwide reputation in the fields of health and fitness and is most well-known for its pioneering weight loss program. Featured prominently in various national publications and listed as one of the most popular health oriented destinations by several industry organizations, Hilton Head Health (H3 for short) provides fitness training and diet and exercise instruction for people from all corners of the globe.
Visitors to H3 enjoy a wide array of exercise activities and outdoor sports, receive cooking classes and diet plans. Patrons typically stay one or two weeks, and while the goal is to teach their customers to live healthier lifestyles, many come back over and over.
“We have everyone from marathon runners to people who need to lose a hundred pounds,” said Moore. “Many people come back because they say it’s just a rejuvenating way to spend a vacation. Others come back to get back on track.”
Having spent so many years in Hawaii, Moore is happy to be back in the South. He cites the prevalence of college football as one key benefit and the New Albany native says he gets to visit home much more often. He also stresses the similarities between the two seemingly disparate locales.
“I spent 30 years telling people out there how similar Hawaii is to the South,” he said. “Now I’m telling people here how similar the South is to Hawaii. You’ve got Southern hospitality; you’ve got the Aloha Spirit. People in Hawaii are considered to be laid back, but they’re good workers. Their core values are really solid. Family is really important. Same thing in the South. “
“Plus, he added, “In both places people are either eating or talking about eating all the time.”