Greg Bender Named Vice President and General Manager of Ocean Lakes Family Campground

Greg Bender Named Vice President and General Manager of Ocean Lakes Family Campground

Outgoing Vice President and General Manager, Lance Thompson, announces his retirement after 36 years of dedication to Ocean Lakes Family Campground and The Jackson Companies

February 26, 2021, Myrtle Beach, S.C. — Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a division of The Jackson Companies, has promoted Greg Bender to Vice President and General Manager. He is responsible for leading the overall operations of Ocean Lakes Family Campground upon Lance Thompson’s retirement on March 31st.

photo of Greg Bender and Lance Thompson, Vice President and General Manager transition March 2021
Picture from left to right: Greg Bender and Lance Thompson share a smile.

Bender grew up in Ocean Lakes, spending time at the Annual Lease Site his parents purchased in 1974. He began his career more than 30 years ago in Ocean Lakes’ oceanfront Arcade. “I was very fortunate that a friend and teammate of mine encouraged me to come to work at Ocean Lakes in March of 1988,” commented Greg. “It has been the best decision I could have ever made.” 

He continued to work his way up in the company, after graduating from Marion High School. He trained to be a Golf Car mechanic, the Shop Supervisor, and quickly learned about Golf Car sales.

Greg was awarded the company’s top honor by being named the Nelson & Mary Emily Jackson Teammate of the Year in 1997. “I will always be grateful for the opportunities that our founders Mr. and Mrs. Jackson provided me early on,” explains Greg. “I have worked with Lance for more than 30 years, not only has he been my teammate and my friend but also a great mentor.” 

As Bender continued to broaden his knowledge and leadership skills, he became Ocean Lakes Golf Cars’ Manager in 1997. He was instrumental in the growth of the campground’s Golf Car rental program, with a fleet exceeding 900 Club Cars. He took over the campground’s Laundry and Vending operations in 2004. Bender continued to develop Ocean Lakes Golf Car Sales and Service, building a strong reputation in the region, and capitalizing on the custom golf car market.

Today, Ocean Lakes Golf Cars is a leader in the golf car industry, earning prestigious award recognition, Club Car’s coveted Black & Gold Elite status beginning in 2017 through today. The distinction puts Ocean Lakes Golf Cars in the top 10 percent of Club Car dealers worldwide. To earn Elite status, Ocean Lakes Golf Cars achieved extraordinary levels of sales and service, demonstrated exceptional financial performance, implemented successful marketing strategies, and maintained top-notch facilities. In 2019, Greg was named Ocean Lakes’ Assistant General Manager, in preparation for Lance’s retirement.

Announcing Greg Bender’s promotion, Lance commented, “Greg has been an outstanding member of our management team. He models the kind of attitude and leadership abilities that have garnered him respect and admiration among our entire team and throughout the community.”

On March 9, 2021, Lance Thompson, Ocean Lakes’ Vice President and General Manager celebrated his 36th anniversary with The Jackson Companies and Ocean Lakes Family Campground, and on March 31, 2021, Lance will be retiring from the company. Tugging at the hearts of all of us, Lance explained, “I will be forever grateful to the Jackson family for giving me the opportunity to spend my entire career with such a wonderful company. I could not have asked for a better group of owners or a better group of fellow teammates.” 

“Greg has big shoes to fill but his background and knowledge of Ocean Lakes and our culture of serving others were critical elements in his selection as Lance’s successor as Vice President and General Manager,” explains Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies. “Our entire team is behind Greg 100% and we look forward to many great things from him in the future.”

About Ocean Lakes Family Campground

Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a division of The Jackson Companies, is the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the largest in the United States. Located in Myrtle Beach, S.C., it has received numerous awards for excellence. It is the 2017 National Mega RV Park of the Year and has received that honor from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) six times. Ocean Lakes received the TripAdvisor® 2019 Hall of Fame Certificate given only to businesses that have received a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years based on guest reviews.

In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on South Carolina. Ocean Lakes covers 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront. It offers 3,429 sites – 859 of which are large and pull-through to accommodate larger RVs. It was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters, starting in 1970. It opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse in 1971. On an average seasonal day, Ocean Lakes has 25,000 to 35,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination. It holds a perfect 10/10*/10 rating from the Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory for its overall operation, recreational offerings, services and appearance. This puts Ocean Lakes Family Campground in the Top 1% of the private campgrounds in North America. In 2010, it received the Earth Day Award from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for its iCare Program.

Ocean Lakes Family Campground is a division of The Jackson Companies, a family-owned enterprise that includes Prestwick Golf & Country Club, Ocean Lakes Properties, Crystal Lake Mobile Home Village, Ocean Lakes RV Center, Ocean Lakes Golf Cars, and the master-planned development SayeBrook.

About The Jackson Companies 

The Jackson Companies, located in Myrtle Beach, S.C., was founded by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters. It is a family-owned enterprise that includes Prestwick Golf & Country Club, Ocean Lakes Family Campground, Ocean Lakes Properties, Crystal Lake Mobile Home Village, Ocean Lakes RV Center, Ocean Lakes Village, and the SayeBrook Town Center. The Jackson Companies also owns several hundred acres of undeveloped land in the Myrtle Beach area. Several divisions of The Jackson Companies have been recognized nationally in both the golf and camping industries.

Photo of 4 Executive Team members for The Jackson Companies (l to r) Greg Bender, Dennis Wade, Lance Thompson and Dustin Formo
Pictured from left to right at the “Outstanding Teammates” awards breakfast: Greg Bender, Vice President and General Manager of Ocean Lakes; Dennis Wade, President and CEO of The Jackson Companies; Lance Thompson, former Vice President and General Manager of Ocean Lakes; and Dustin Formo, Vice President of Corporate Accounting & Finance for The Jackson Companies.

The Jackson Companies team is led by President and CEO, Dennis Wade, CPA, CIA. The executive leadership team includes Steve Alger, VP of Development for The Jackson Companies, Dustin Formo, CPA, Vice President of Corporate Accounting & Finance for The Jackson Companies, and Greg Bender, VP/GM of Ocean Lakes Family Campground.

The family-owned business employs nearly 280 teammates year-round and employs an additional 300 teammates in-season. In 2006, it was named one of the fifteen “Best Places to Work in South Carolina.”

Prestwick Country Club offers 18 outstanding holes of golf and fully stocked pro shop has garnered regional and national recognition. In March 2017, the SC Golf Course Rating Panel announced “Myrtle Beach’s Perfect Round” of golf, considering all the courses in the area, the “Perfect Round” features Prestwick’s #9 and #18 holes. Golf Digest rated Prestwick with 4.5 stars in 2006. Prestwick was also recognized as one of the “Top 5 Grand Strand Courses for 2019” by Myrtle Beach PGA Golf Pros, and “One of the 5 Best Kept Secret Golf Courses in America” by Golf Digest in August 2004.