President Bush Appoints Alumnus Rothman to VTC Board
President George W. Bush has appointed W. Greg Rothman ’89 (political science), president and CEO of RSR Realtors and RSR Appraisers & Analysts in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, to the Board of Directors of the National Veterans Business Development Corporation. Other board members include the Secretary of Defense, the Veterans Administration Secretary and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Says Rothman, who is a Marine Corps veteran, “I am thrilled and humbled by my appointment and intend to be worthy of the honor and the President’s confidence.”
The National Veterans Business Development Corporation, doing business as The Veterans Corporation (VTC), is a federally chartered nonprofit organization created by the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999. This act recognized that America “has done too little to assist veterans…in playing a greater role in the economy of the United States.” The corporation is charged with creating and enhancing entrepreneurial business opportunities for veterans, including those disabled during service. The President of the United States appoints all board members who provide governance over TVC.
“I do a lot of work with local, municipal, county and state governments and governmental agencies, advising them on real estate matters,” Rothman says, noting that he often draws on his political science lessons learned at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass Amherst. “My work is nonpartisan as business should be. Government must become more efficient,” he observes, “and it should be run more like a business with budget constraints. Private-public partnerships and the privatizing of traditional government services are the reality of the future, and I think political scientists can improve how government works.”
Rothman is not new to supporting business development. In 1998, he and four peers determined to stop the ongoing “brain drain” of their friends, siblings, and classmates from Harrisburg which was sorely in need of urban renewal. They founded the Harrisburg Young Professionals—now more than 1,500 members strong. The organization, which Rothman has previously served as president, is a creative catalyst for progress and on the vanguard of “back to the city” and “brain gain” movements, making Harrisburg a more vibrant place to live, work, play, and shop.
The Central Penn Business Journal notes that RSR, founded in 1970, was number one last year in sales volume in that region—over $338 million. In addition, RSR Appraisers and Analysts is ranked first by the Journal. Rothman began at RSR as a sales associate in 1989, became a partner in 1999, and at age 35 in 2001 was named president. “I graduated from UMass Amherst on a Thursday and started selling real estate the next Monday,” he recalls. “And I made a whopping $8,000 my first year. I sold a couple of houses—and my life insurance policy and my baseball cards! The next year I made $18,000—and last year I sold $29 million worth of real estate.” Rothman works between sixty and seventy hours a week but enjoys every minute. “The great thing about my job is that it is different every day,” he says. “Yesterday I was in Baltimore looking at an urban redevelopment loft condominium project and this morning I was inspecting a $280 million waste-to-energy facility for an appraisal and possible sale.”
But life for Rothman hasn’t been only about real estate. In January 1991, when the ground phase of the Gulf War began, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Completing boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, he later graduated from Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and received Meritorious Masts in 1995 and 1998, among many other honors. Promoted several times, he was honorably discharged as Staff Sergeant in 2001, having served in the Reserves as Assistant Operations Chief in the Fire Direction Center and Liaison Chief supervising the Forward Observers. During this period Rothman’s real estate career began its meteoric rise. He credits the Corps with teaching him hard work, teamwork, responsibility and attention to details. “But I also owe a lot to UMass Amherst and SBS,” he says. “The professors were great and the opportunities endless. I learned a lot about life and politics. It was a wonderful experience.”
In general, Rothman is a guy who makes things happen, and his talent is sought after by many community service organizations. He is or has been on the boards of the LOVESHIP, Inc., the Junior League of Harrisburg, the Greater Harrisburg Association of REALTORS®, the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®, the United Way of the Capital Region, and the Trustees of the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. He is on the steering committee of the National African American Cultural Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Rothman and his wife Carolyn “Dede” Uilkema have three children: Nicholas, 15, Eleanor, 7, and Mia, 5. “The greatest joy in my life is my wonderful wife and our three great children,” he adds. “They make the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.”
April 26, 2006