Developer wins business honor
By Brian McNeill
bmcneill@dailyprogress.com | 978-7266
Friday, June 1, 2007

A longtime local real estate developer was named the 2007 Small Business Person of the Year for the Charlottesville region.

Charles Rotgin Jr., founder and president of Great Eastern Management Co., received the annual award Thursday at the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s spring luncheon at Farmington Country Club.

“I’m truly honored to receive this, particularly because it’s from a group of peers,” said Rotgin, whose properties include Pantops Shopping Center, Seminole Square and the future North Pointe development in northern Albemarle County. “Looking at the list of previous recipients, it’s certainly a who’s who of this very special community in which we live.”

Rotgin was selected for his business savvy, the numerous jobs he has created over the years and for his community service - including serving with the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, the Free Enterprise Forum, Habitat for Humanity, the Blue Ridge Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and others.

“He’s a no-bones, hardcore businessman, but one who cares about and gives back to the community,” said Ivo Romenesko, president of The Appraisal Group Inc. and the 2006 small-business person of the year.

Romenesko bought his first house from Rotgin in 1973. “He’s something of a legend in Charlottesville,” Romenesko said.

After graduating with a degree in economics from the University of Virginia in 1966, Rotgin remained in the Charlottesville area and took a job in the insurance sales industry. In 1971, he founded Great Eastern and began focusing solely on real estate development, construction and property management.

Over the years, Rotgin has given generously to Martha Jefferson Hospital and other local nonprofits, as well as mentoring young business people, said Mary Loose DeViney, vice president of Tuel Jewelers and chairwoman of the chamber board.

“He’s taken the wealth that he’s derived from this community and he’s given it back in ways that people don’t even know came from Chuck Rotgin,” DeViney said. “He doesn’t just sit on the hill and count his money.”

Former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles was the keynote speaker at Thursday’s luncheon. Baliles, the director of UVa’s Miller Center of Public Affairs, encouraged the crowd of more than 300 to support programs and policies that promote educational opportunities.

“Education is the key to our future,” Baliles said. “And we all have an obligation to preserve it, protect it and promote it.”

Past honorees

Past winners of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year award:

2006: Ivo Romenesko, The Appraisal Group
2005: Jim Carpenter, Gitchell’s Photography
2004: Michael Gaffney, Gaffney Homes
2003: Frank Stoner, Stonehaus Development
2002: Bill & Kate Hamilton, Hamilton’s Restaurant
2001: Joyce Robbins, Adams & Garth Staffing
2000: Felicia Rogan, Oakencroft Vineyard
1999: William Lewis, Duplex Copy Center
1998: Rodney Thomas, Charlottesville Press Inc.
1997: Susan Payne, Payne Ross & Associates
1996: Mark Lorenzoni, Ragged Mountain Running Shop
1995: Jack Horn, Martin/Horn
Tom Powell, Town & Country Exxon
1993: Chuck Lewis, Kathy’s Produce
1992: Sheldon Anderson, University Florists
1991: Teresa Shotwell, Terry’s Place
1990: A. Darden Towe, Towe Insurance Services
1989: David Sloan, Sloan’s Restaurant
1988: Edna Burgess, Burgess Continental Coiffures
1987: Laurence Richardson, WINA/WQMZ
1986: Eugene Williams, Dogwood Housing Ltd.
1985: Bobby Mincer, Mincer’s Pipe Shop