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Getting to know: Tom Rumora, Spotsylvania economic development director



Where you grew up: Born in the working-class “Southside” of Columbus Ohio. Croatian grandfathers labored in factories and quarries where education and English were not requirements!

Education: Catholic elementary and public middle/high school (football, basketball and track), then Ohio State University.

Career: Career experience includes positions with a civil engineering firm, construction company, city planning agency, concrete products manufacturer, housing developer, municipal business retention office, residential real estate agency and community-wide diversity awareness program sponsored by Nationwide Insurance and Honda of America.

Have held five military-base-related positions in Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Florida and Marine Corps Base Quantico, the last of which brought me to the region in 2008 and to Spotsylvania in the fall of 2011. (In Texas, the community took ownership and operational responsibility for an active military base—a nationally unprecedented action! This experience may help the region anticipate and react to federal/military changes yet to come.)

What you think of the region: We enjoy living, working and exploring in the region, particularly since my wife’s interest in history and genealogy includes the Jamestowne Society, Colonial Dames, Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Washington Heritage Museums and Central Rappahannock Heritage Center!

Your thoughts on Spotsylvania’s economic future: Continued growth in defense, technology, healthcare, tourism and quality-of-life factors such as housing and retail services that attract large proportions of federal/military families seeking the optimal balance of affordability, convenience and safety. We also plan to replace the industrial jobs lost at the General Motors plant across State Route 2 from the Fredericksburg Country Club.

What are the biggest economic opportunities and risks for the county: Biggest opportunities involve being an affordable and desirable place for residents, employers, employees and visitors to invest their money and time. Biggest risks involve external factors such as federal/state/regional actions that impact the economy, transportation, education and development.

What you see as your role in the county: Support the vision of the supervisors, the strategy and metrics of the Economic Development Authority and the needs of the business community and stakeholders as a player-coach, innovator and problem-solver.

Family: Mary, my wife, and I have family members scattered around the country: siblings in Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan; nieces and nephews in several states; a daughter in Ohio and a grandson stationed at Quantico.

Age: 63

Hobbies: Amateur musician, library addict and art-of-the-possible activist.

Favorite restaurants: Firebirds, Bravo, Park Lane Tavern, The Pub and farmers markets in Spotsylvania. Also, The Globe & Laurel and Sammy T’s in the Spotsylvania “suburbs” of Stafford and Fredericksburg!

Person from history you’d most like to dine with: Alexander Spotswood (lieutenant governor of Virginia in the early 18th century), or Daniel Burnham (father of American city planning)—the latter of whom said “Make no little plans, for they lack the magic to stir men’s souls.”

—Bill Freehling