All across the Outer Banks are people doing their best to make a living while still finding time to enjoy this wonderful place they call home. In this edition of Get to Know a Local, you’ll meet one of them, Dan Hardy, general manager and president of Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.
A well-known Outer Banks local for 35 years, Hardy and his wife, Pat, live in Southern Shores and raised their son, Daniel, here on the Outer Banks. Hardy is frequently seen having fun around town – on the beach and golf course, in the water and at local events, but he works hard too and has been an integral part of the Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates family for the last 28 years.
Celebrating 55 successful years in business in 2023, Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates is a small family-owned company known for its friendly customer service and contributions to the Outer Banks community.
"We are a group of Outer Banks locals that genuinely enjoys taking care of our visitors," Hardy says. "We listen to our homeowners and guests and treat them with respect."
The company is often recognized for its care and dedication to the Outer Banks, including the 2016 ESPY award for Small Business of the Year presented by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, a certificate of appreciation from the Dare County Board of Commissioners in 2018, the Good Neighbor Award from Outer Banks Association of Realtors in 2018 and numerous other awards. Joe Lamb, Jr. is a significant contributor to local education programs and fundraisers throughout the schools in Dare County. They have established scholarships at UNC-Chapel Hill, College of the Albemarle and East Carolina University as well as made substantial contributions and offered support to multiple Outer Banks historical sites and nonprofit organizations.
Keep reading to get to know what Outer Banks life is like for longtime local Dan Hardy.
How long have you lived on the Outer Banks and how did you end up here?
I moved here in April of 1988. I graduated from East Carolina University in December of 1987 with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and my first job out of college was with the Nags Head Planning Department.
What did you do before you were in this business?
I worked with the Nags Head Planning Department for seven years before moving to the private sector with Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates. I had an ideal working knowledge of real estate from my time with Nags Head.
How did you get into this line of work?
I married Joe Lamb’s daughter. The rest is history.
Photo: Employees gather at Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.
What motivates you to work hard in your line of work?
The people I work for and the owners who have properties in the Joe Lamb rental program. I have had the good fortune of meeting and working with some of the nicest people, and they have put their trust in our company. We work hard to earn, and keep, that trust. This is a fast-paced business and not everything always goes the way we want it to. Things break, properties can get worn down, and guests don’t always treat our homes the way they should. We are here to pick up the pieces and make things right, and the time allotted to do this is very short. Most of our customers are only here for a one week, so the pressure is always on.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
I like visiting homes and getting to know our owners. I also like the people I work with; we have an outstanding and very dedicated staff. Bringing in a new property for our rental program is my favorite thing to do.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The varying expectations of our guests is by far the most challenging. Receiving a 5-star review, a 1-star review and another 5-star review for the same property in three consecutive weeks happens, and it is nearly impossible to reconcile why. What one person considers to be a great property, the next person may not. It can drive a person mad if you let it. Vacation rentals are difficult, to put it mildly.
Photo: One of the many vacation rental properties available from Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates
What’s your favorite Outer Banks town or village and why?
I like Nags Head, and I guess it is because it was the first place I lived. It is such a well-run community, and they have tried their best to maintain what has made the Outer Banks so popular. I also think Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores are wonderful. I love Hatteras Island and Ocracoke as well.
What is your favorite thing about living on the Outer Banks?
The beauty of the beaches, water and wildlife.
What is your favorite season on the Outer Banks and why?
The fall is my favorite time. I also love the winter when life is less hectic.
What’s one thing you wish more Outer Banks visitors knew?
People are on vacation so they are here to have fun. I wish some of them knew how to be better neighbors and how to be more respectful of our beautiful area. Things like picking up trash, keeping their accommodation clean and undamaged and following the garbage pickup schedules. It drives me crazy that so few renters will even pull trash cans back to their house, such a simple task.
Photo: Daniel, Pat and Dan Hardy at an ECU football game.
What do you do for fun?
Go to the beach, spend time on our boat, surf, fish, golf and attend ECU football, baseball and basketball games. We also have beehives that we take care of.
What do you do in the off-season?
Get ready for the next season. I do get to relax more and try to travel whenever possible. Prior to COVID we would go west for ski trips, and I am ready to go back.
What’s your favorite beach access?
Ramp 2 at Coquina Beach or Ramp 4 at Oregon Inlet.
Describe your perfect day off.
Any day off is a good one. I would say a day on the beach with either some fish biting or some waves breaking. Both would be a huge plus.
Do you see more sunrises or sunsets?
Where do you go on vacation?
Somewhere that has a beach, waves or mountains. Since I can only take vacations in the winter, a ski trip out West or to our family mountain house in Virginia.
For a celebratory dinner, would you rather order take-out, go out to eat or cook something at home?
What is your favorite local seafood?
Photo: The Hardy family recently moved a historic home from the Kill Devil Hills oceanfront to a lot in Kitty Hawk.
Do you have any pet projects or is there a local nonprofit that you’re passionate about?
We have just moved a home from the Kill Devil Hills oceanfront that was on the National Historic Registry to lot our family has in Kitty Hawk. That is our current project.
What’s one item on your bucket list?
I want to visit Ireland.
Click here for more information about Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.