Get to Know the Partnership Staff: Pete Eshelman

Pete Eshelman

Pete Eshelman is an outdoors guy. He developed, founded the Blue Ridge Marathon – America’s Toughest Road Marathon, Hill Week, VBR Criterium, and the GO Outside Festival to help build brand recognition for outdoor recreation and increase recognition of the region as a place to live, work, and invest. His work has changed the region’s community narrative to one that places a high value on the outdoors.

Get to know Pete in his own words.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love how quickly our community embraced our regional effort to become a true outdoor community and I’m impressed with how both our public and private businesses partners recognize that trails, rivers, mountains, and lakes are more than just dirt and water – they’re economic and talent generators. Within a few years our community narrative has shifted to one that places a high value on quality of life with an emphasis on outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship. I truly enjoying being part of the positive transformation that is taking place throughout our entire region … it’s pretty awesome.  I like finding ways to improve the outdoor experience for not only residents but also guests: such as seeing how our community came together to crowdfund The Bridges river access point, the development of regional blueways, and hopefully being home to Virginia’s first in-river kayak park. So, what’s the best part of my job … having the freedom and flexibility to get more and more people living the healthy active lifestyle.

What’s the most played song in your playlist?

Most people don’t know this about me, but I’m a huge disco fan.  That’s doesn’t mean I can dance disco, but I love funk and soul music. Disco Inferno by The Trammps probably gets the most airtime. But I’m currently into Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe who headlined at this year’s GO Outside Festival.

What super power would you like to have?

Easy … the power to read minds. Think about it, just in the economic development realm it would be a game changer for projects.

What are you reading right now?

I’m a huge fan of Malcom Gladwell. I just finished Outliers which examines how a person’s environment affects his or her possibility and opportunity for success. Next up … What the Dog Saw, also by Gladwell.

Where’s your favorite place to play in the Roanoke Region?

It’s not so much my favorite place, but rather my favorite way to experience your own backyard (not literally your backyard, but rather your own town). Just hop on a bicycle with no planned route and just go wherever you feel like going. Exploring at a slower pace opens your eyes to things you don’t normally see.

Connect with Pete on LinkedIn.