Tourism

Talk about tourism with David Rothenizer | Local news

CHRISTIANSBURG. A few years later, David Rothenizer returned home.

Rothenizer, who was born in Radford and raised in Montgomery County, was named executive director of the Montgomery County Blacksburg Regional Tourist Office in Christiansburg late last year.

Prior to his current position, Rothenizer worked in Franklin County, where he served as Director of Tourism in the Economic Development Department. He also once served as the first Director of Tourism for both the Carroll County Tourism Office and the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation.

Rothenizer comes from an area that has some cultural differences from Montgomery County, but also some similarities.

Franklin County has gone through significant changes over the years, and one of the areas the area touched was its moonshine heritage, which Rothenizer helped promote during his time there. For example, he was with Franklin County during the creation of the “Virginia for moonshine lovers” slogan, which was unveiled in early 2019 and was available on items such as bumper stickers.

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“Virginia for Moonshine Lovers” is, of course, a play on the well-known state slogan “Virginia for Moonshine Lovers”.

Montgomery County, which is the largest population center in Southwest Virginia by recent population estimates, remains one if not the fastest growing municipality in the western half of the state.

Rothenizer said one of the goals of his current office is to help bring more visitors to Montgomery County and keep them in the area for as long as possible to promote economic growth and ultimately generate income for the area. Some of that income, he says, comes from housing taxes that fund his office.

The Rothenizer office budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is $371,333.

Rothenizer detailed his new features and goals in a recent Q&A session with The Roanoke Times. He discussed outdoor recreation initiatives, the return of passenger trains to the New River Valley, local brewing and coffee roasting, and the area’s heritage, among other topics. (Rotenizer’s answers have been edited for length and clarity.)

What attracted you to opportunities in Montgomery County?

DR: I grew up in Blacksburg. I was born in Radford. When I left here earlier, I was in about the same configuration as I am now. I worked in Montgomery County, but received funding from Blacksburg and Christiansburg, and that was from 1984 to 1988. I was director of environmental protection. We’ve started a garbage disposal and recycling program in Montgomery County. Oddly enough, I come back here working for the same configuration, county and two cities….

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