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Hawaii beckons Utah's BBB chief

After spending another week sitting in a cubicle and staring at a computer screen, even the most dedicated worker may daydream about chucking it all and moving to Hawaii.

Bill Beadle, president of the Better Business Bureau of Utah, is making that dream come true.March 31 will be Beadle's last day with the agency he has headed since 1981. Anyone who wants to find him after that will need a ticket to Honolulu and some snorkeling gear.

"I'm going to go over there, relax, work two or three days a week and look for an opportunity," Beadle said Friday. "I already have a sailing club membership in Honolulu. That's my primary purpose. . . .

"I like to say I came here for the skiing and found a career. Maybe the same thing will happen in Hawaii."

It's not that Beadle is taking his decision lightly. He has vacationed in Hawaii the last two summers. He has arranged to help out with that state's BBB on a part-time basis, and he already has some ideas for a wholesale distribution business. He also knows where he's going to live for at least the first six or eight months.

Beadle has looked into the culture, too. For example, he knows that businessmen in Hawaii often dress casually, in what he calls "aloha shirts."

Despite a higher cost of living, he figures he'll save big money on ties.

"My goal is to not have to wear an aloha shirt to work but to be able to wear a T-shirt and shorts," he said.

And life changes aren't exactly new for Beadle. A native of Detroit, he has worked as an insurance salesman in Texas and at resorts in Arizona and Colorado.

He came to Utah in 1978 to sell memberships for the BBB. In 1981, at the age of 27, he was named the bureau's president.

Beadle said he has enjoyed the job, and there are no problems at the bureau. But he has been doing basically the same thing for 19 years.

"This is home, it's just time to do something different," Beadle said. "The best way of breaking out of a rut is to exit the rut."

He decided last May that breaking out for him meant moving to Hawaii by January 1999. Then his house and furnishings sold much faster than expected, moving up the timetable. About all he has left to sell before leaving is some artwork he's hauling around in his car.

Beadle jokes easily with his staff about his impending departure, and he has used his sense of humor in his position. While he takes the honesty and ethics themes of the bureau seriously, he said, it sometimes helps to be lighthearted in such a controversial business.

"We're not saving lives here," he said. "We certainly get involved in serious issues. But I think I always look at the fact that this is a consumer society, and a lot of what we deal with is luxury items compared to elsewhere in the world."

The bureau has made the first cut in its search for a new president, Beadle said, and someone should be chosen before he leaves. Whether or not the new person starts before March 31, Beadle said he will be heading for the sand and surf.

"(The move) is going to stimulate some new experiences, good and bad," he said. "I've only had one or two people question my wisdom. Most say I'm living the dream that a lot of people have. . . .

"It's quite an adventure, because I'm breaking all my comfort zones. I tell people who are envious to track me down in about a year . . . and bring cash."