Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to Brett Hage when Jada Glover asked him to provide her with a biography.
The president of T&D Distribution, the construction supplies division of Wildwood’s T&D Family of Cos., gladly composed the bio and submitted it to Sumter County’s economic development director.
But it came as a surprise when Glover recently notified Hage that the Florida Economic Development Council had picked him as an East Central Region Volunteer of the Year.
“I really didn’t think much about it when she asked, but I was kind of taken back when she told me,” he said.
After a moment of reflection, however, Hage put the accomplishment into a perspective that many who know him would expect.
“The fact is it’s exciting for me, personally, yes; more importantly, it was more exciting for me as a representative of the county, my company and the work we do for The Villages,” he said.
Council members picked two volunteer award recipients for the council’s East Central Region award, which extends from Sumter east to Volusia County, south to Brevard County and includes Orange and Lake counties, Glover said.
“They recognized that he’s a key stakeholder and community partner in all of our economic development efforts,” she said.
Hage’s roots run deep in Sumter as a seventh-generation Floridian and descendant of community leaders Mike Georgini, his grandfather, and Thomas Preston Caruthers, his great-grandfather.
A graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where he also played baseball, Hage embarked upon a career that elevated him to general manager of NationsRent, Orlando, and vice president of Volvo Rents, Orlando.
Recognized for his entrepreneurial zeal, Hage then founded and operated Oxford Throne/Sumter Dumpster, but then merged the operation and became vice president of T&D Waste Services, another division of the family of companies founded by Wildwood entrepreneur Terry Yoder.
It was immediately apparent to Yoder that he had recruited a top talent in Hage, which led to his promotion to president of the construction supplies division.
“He’s worked hard,” Yoder said. “He believes in this county. What he’s contributed to the economic growth of the county, I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
While developing a career, Hage also amassed quite a reputation as a devoted civic leader.
In 2013, for instance, he stepped up to become a member of the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
One year later, the membership elected him president, and again in 2015.
Earlier this year, chamber members elected Hage as their 2018 president.
Since 2012, Hage also has served as a volunteer member of the Sumter County Tourism Development Council board of directors.
That same year, he joined as a member of the Sumter Zoning & Adjustment Board and is its 2017 vice chairman.
In 2015, he joined as a volunteer member of the Sumter County Industrial Development Authority and serves as its current chairman.
“Brett’s a special boy,” Yoder said. “He jumped right in and has everything a good leader has to do. He just has great leadership skills.”
Sumter residents get an opportunity to applaud Hage’s achievements at the Jan. 23 Sumter County Commission meeting at Colony Cottage Recreation Center. Council representatives will present the award to him at that meeting.
Among those already celebrating his success are his wife, Candice; son, Cooper, of Oxford; and parents, Mickey and Michelle Hage.
“The award is a great reflection of the folks in Sumter County,” Hage said. “It makes me proud of the county. And, more importantly, to represent T&D as the award recipient is fantastic.”
David Corder is a senior writer with The Villages Daily Sun. He can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5241, or firstname.lastname@example.org.