Hanks was born in 1960 to parents Ethan and Fae Hanks. The three, along with Hanks' 2 siblings, moved to Rapid City, South Dakota when Hanks was 9 years old. There, Hanks' parents taught in the city school system. Hanks attended Stevens High School, where he was involved in football, basketball, and track. He graduated in 1979. In 1983, he received a degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota.
Following college, Hanks returned to Rapid City to manage a large furniture store, and in 1987, he opened 2 of his own stores in both Rapid City and Sioux Falls. In 2001, after owning his stores for almost 20 years, Hanks built the Heartland RV Park on Highway 79 (which he continues to operate). In 2005, Hanks began work as a licensed real estate appraiser and specialized in large commercial appraisal.
It was not until 1996 that Hanks ventured into politics. He began as an appointed member of the Rapid City planning commission, and in 1998 was elected to the City Council as Ward 1 Alderman. He served on several subcommittees and was elected as President of the Committee. In 2004, Hanks was elected to the South Dakota State Legislature as a State Representative from District 32. After 3 years in this position, Hanks obtained his current position as the mayor of Rapid City. In 2008, he received the Rapid City Elks Club's Distinguished Citizenship Award and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the South Dakota State Municipal League.
Hanks is married to Barb Boyce and has one daughter, Breanna.
- "About Mayor Alan Hanks". Midwest Marketing LLC. 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-03.