David Attaway leaving tourism after five years of leadership

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After five years of leadership at Switzerland County Tourism, tomorrow (Friday) is David Attaway’s final day on the job. His tenure has executive director has seen some of the biggest growth in county history, and sets the stage for even more programs to come.

David Attaway said that his decision to leave is based on his desire to move closer to his girlfriend, as the couple has maintained a long distance relationship over the years, with him here and her in Colorado. She’s now accepted a job in Lake Tahoe, California – so David Attaway sees this as the time to move a lot closer.

“I’ll probably be moving to around a couple of hours from Tahoe, but I don’t have any definite plans yet,” David Attaway said. “It’s been kind of a crazy situation, personally, over the past couple of years.”

David Attaway said that he is still unsure as to whether or not he will look for a job in tourism or opt to go back into private industry. He was the head of Caesar’s in Lake Tahoe before coming to Switzerland County.

“Mainly I want to find something that interests me, like this project did,” he said. “I want something with a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities to it. I like that.”

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, David Attaway’s family moved every three years while he grew up because of his father’s job with the federal government. He says that he lived in Tahoe longer than anywhere else, but Switzerland County comes in second.

David Attaway came to Switzerland County around Halloween of 2005, and looks back over the past five years with real pride for what has been accomplished, as the landscape of the county looks quite different than when he arrived.

“You know, I’m proud of what everybody has done,” he said. “We had some people pull together: the foundation, county government, town government, economic development, and tourism. I am proud of the group effort that was made, and the results are pretty spectacular.”

David Attaway said that when he came to this position, his board charged him with the task of pulling all of those entities together and find cooperative ground on which to help the county move forward.

“The board that we had at tourism, and still do, is an aggressive, visionary group that want to make things happen,” David Attaway said.

And what comes next?

“I think they are going to stay focused on some of the product development opportunities that are in the community, as well as strengthening the marketing and trying to get more tourist visitation here,” he said. “That’s ultimately our end goal is that, and to provide some economic enhancement to all of the local businesses and people who live and work in the county.”

And what impact has Switzerland County had on David Attaway? Coming from big operations and large companies – when he ran Caesar’s he had more employees than Vevay has residents – he has found a home here.

“It was different, but very enjoyable,” he said. “There are lots of great people here. You’ve got people who are very interesting and willing to take some risks and come from varied backgrounds, whether they grew up here or moved here. They are all interested in making this community a better place to live and work.”

As David Attaway leaves, the new executive director of Switzerland County Tourism is already on site.

T.J. Justice will take over the executive director’s chair after years in Ohio, and David Attaway feels that Switzerland County Tourism is being left in good hands.

Even though his last day on the job is Friday, he will remain here for awhile as he finishes up some consulting work that he has been doing, as well as taking his time packing up before the move. He expects to remain in the county for the next month or so while he finishes up those projects before leaving the area.

“I’m not in any rush,” he said. “To me, it’s really important to find something that I’m a good fit for and the job is a good fit for me. I enjoy working a lot, so to find something that I can wrap my arms around and get excited about is the most important thing for me at this point in my life.”