T.J. Justice is new executive director of Switzerland County Tourism


T.J. Justice may be new to Switzerland County, but as the new executive director of Switzerland County Tourism looks at the task before him in continuing to lead tourism efforts here, he knows the landscape.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, T.J. Justice has been here in the county for the past three weeks transitioning with outgoing tourism chief David Attaway, and as he begins his first week at the helm, he sees positive sights on the horizon.

” I enjoyed a career in Ohio at the state level and in local government for about 20 years,” T.J. Justice said. “I worked in the field of economic development and tourism, including some responsibilities in education and transportation, as well.”

T.J. Justice said that he made a decision earlier this year that he wanted to come back to this region after working for the Coshocton Port Authority in Eastern Ohio for years.

“Switzerland County provided an opportunity, and I thought it was a great fit for me,” he said. “I’m very glad to be here and to help the community move forward and build upon its tourism base.”

T.J. Justice said that the community has a lot of wonderful assets, ranging from the winery to the Ohio River, all of which helps to make his new job easier.

“We have a downtown that has been made over, and there are good people and good resources here,” T.J. Justice said. “We have wonderful bed and breakfasts. I see a lot of assets here that would appeal to any tourist, and am very much looking forward to enhancing those.”

With all of the work that has already been done here in the county, T.J. Justice says that it is his job not only to maintain that standard, but also exceed them.

“We may look at new opportunities that aren’t here yet,” he said. “Whether it’s new events or promotions or attractions, but we’ll certainly take a look at where our strengths are, where our weaknesses are and make the strengths better and address the weaknesses when we can.”

T.J. Justice said that it’s always easier to evaluate the “strengths” of a situation.

“It’s easy to come into a community and see what’s working and what’s effective,” he said. “There are certainly statistics in this office to back that up. The challenge always is to identify the weaknesses and then see if they can be overcome or turned into assets – and that’s obviously a much longer process.”

T.J. Justice also sees the collaboration that has taken place between private groups and government as something very unique and exciting as tourism moves forward.

“I think the neat thing here is the fact that this office has worked with the town and the county and other entities to acquire several buildings downtown and redevelop them,” T.J. Justice said. ” I think that shows a strong commitment on the part of the board here and this office to kind of reinvent Vevay and provide new economic opportunities. That’s a huge strength.”

T.J. Justice said that he’s spent his entire life in Ohio, and he already sees things here that are very unique to this area.

“I think Vevay and Switzerland County should really be proud of how they have invested in their community,” T.J. Justice said. “That’s something that they should be proud of. It’s something that when you get into rural parts of Ohio, it’s very lacking. There’s a huge difference, if you drive up and down the Ohio Valley, you’d see small towns the size of Vevay dilapidated and falling apart. In the case of Vevay, they’d restored and modernized to a certain extent some of the structures downtown, and that is something to be very proud of.”

Saying that he plans to be a part of the Switzerland County community for a long time, T.J. Justice says that he welcomes members of the community to stop by his office and “kick around” ideas. He said that he believes that the community can continue to grow in all areas, including tourism, as people and groups continue to work together.

He also praised the current tourism staff, saying that it makes “all the difference in the world” to come into a new position knowing that he has an excellent staff of people to help him.

T.J. Justice moved to Vevay about a month ago, and has been learning the community and its people.

“Everyone is always welcome to stop by the Visitors Center and say hello,” he said.