by Su Clausen-Wicker
Before Tom Rose accepted the job of Patrick County administrator in 2011, he served as interim administrator for the county– two times.
Rose, who spent much of his childhood in Patrick County, returned in 2007 with two decades of management and business experience in the private sector under his belt. He’d started at least six businesses– an S corporation, a C corporation, and several LLCs (limited liability companies)– and worked in the real estate field, all learning experiences, he says. Rose began his Patrick County government career as economic development director, after two invitations from the county administrator, before he himself filled the top administrator position.
“Most people don’t know that Patrick County pioneered the world’s first wireless broadband network operating in unused TV channel ‘white spaces’ in 2010,” he says. “At least 95 percent of Patrick can now connect to high-speed Internet, despite our mountain topography. We’re more attractive to relocating companies.”
This fall Rose is finalizing negotiations for a 44-room hotel near Woods Brothers Racing Museum in Stuart. The museum commemorating the oldest racing family in NASCAR is one of the town’s perennial attractions. Rose also foresees new development along U.S. 58, where the infrastructure for business is now in place. The Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, of which Rose is chairman, is working to increase job growth in Southside Virginia. The Mayo River rail trail, which Anderson & Associates has been involved with, is closing in on the finish line, and the county has other trail plans in the pipeline. Clearly things are happening in Patrick County.
“County lodging occupancy has increased 600 percent in recent years,” Rose says, “due to progressive action for our county tourism committee and the growing interest in our attractions.
Rose can reel off at least a dozen visit-worthy attractions in Patrick County, beginning with Fairy Stone State Park and Philpott Lake and ending with music festivals and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Because of Patrick’s multiple recreation opportunities, his daughter and son play in multiple baseball and softball leagues within the county.
“Patrick County may be a quiet place, but it offers a lot of activities,” Rose says. Life in the county keeps him busy, between his children’s sporting events, county business, and all the activities that he and his family can enjoy just from living in Patrick County – festivals, outdoor recreation, and mixing with great people.