MW Bro Les Hicks
Although he covered the miles in visits to lodges throughout the jurisdiction – and there are photographs to prove it – MW Bro Les Hicks has not had the visibility that he might have had as a member of the Grand Lodge ceremonial team, visiting, representing, and meeting rank and file masons.
He was initiated in 1993, passed and raised into Lodge Paxton 608 in the Hunter Valley. After moving to Tweed Heads he affiliated with Lodge Dawn 511, serving as Worshipful Master of this lodge in 2003, 2004 and 2008. He had further experience in the Master’s chair of Twin Towns Daylight 436 in 2018.
In 2011 Les Hicks was elected DGIW of what was then District 55, and appointed RGC for Region 1 in 2013, a position he held for two terms before joining the Board of Management.
MW Bro Les Hicks is a country man. He spent his formative years on a farm in the Central West of New South Wales. At 19 he moved to the Newcastle area, working at the BHP Steelworks and two years later started work at the Alcan aluminium smelter where he soon became a leading hand at the age of 25. It was apparent even at this early stage that Les was destined to take responsibility and to lead.
It was 1979 that was a significant year for Les – he married his childhood sweetheart Narelle and joined a local taekwondo school.
His interest in and commitment to taekwondo grew to the extent that in 1989 MW Bro Les Hicks made a major lifestyle change by leaving what was a promising and financially successful career and putting his time and future into the teaching of the art of taekwondo. By 1994 he had established five thriving taekwondo classes and a year later Les, Narelle and their young family (daughter Danielle and son Lee, now in their 30s) moved from the Hunter to Tweed Heads where more classes were established.
He established more classes over an ever-growing area while continuing to supervise classes established earlier. The need to guide and nurture younger instructors and manage an ever-growing organisation provided valuable managerial lessons, lessons that would assist him greatly in the future. In later years, Les gained further experience in overcoming the resistance to change that creeps into well-established organisations.
During the last quarter of a century Shim Jang Taekwondo (the official name of the organisation) has developed into a business with over 10,000 members. Branches exist throughout the mainland states and territories. The culmination of all this work is the establishment of World Shim Jang Taekwondo Academy (WSTA), the official international governing body responsible for setting and maintaining the high technical standard that is consistent within all its Shim Jang Taekwondo Clubs throughout Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
From the hardscrabble years of the 1990s and a tiny Taekwondo organisation in a small town in the Hunter Valley through to the 2020s and an organisation involving more than 10,000 members and a world-wide profile, MW Bro Les Hicks has used his determination, management skills and eagerness to adopt ground-breaking information technology to create an organisation based on excellence, loyalty and mutual trust.