The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 66

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Still Low-Profile
DICK ROBERS HAS ALWAYS BEEN a
man with ideas. Even in retirement-after
five years-he can't resist the temptation to
say, "I have a great idea for you," to almost
anybody who will listen. Over the years,
those who have listened have been many
and the benefits have been considerable.
Robers has used his talents in industry,
government, cultural organizations and
charities. His ideas have always been upfront, often a little ahead of the crowd.
When he suggested, in 1989 as a member of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, that the proposed Virginia Tech
"Smart Road" be used to develop smart
vehicles, some laughed but serious people
took his advice.
"I remember this bigwig calling me and
saying, 'Who do you think you are, Buck
Rogers?'" The test bed, of course, has developed into one of the largest programs
in Virginia Tech history and is the site of
considerable development for the auto and
road-building industries.
As a one-term member of the board of
supervisors (he was beaten by Fuzzy Minnix because "I favored consolidation"), he
helped build the Spring Hollow Reservoir
and the Smith Gap Landfill, two monumental accomplishments by a board that has
had little to recommend it in recent years.
While he was president of Maid Bess
Corporation, he recognized that health
insurance costs were eating companies
and employees alive and he helped found
a hospital coalition of businesses that
urged a merger of Carilion and LewisGale. Carilion "took it to court and we
lost. But it was a good idea." After that,
he helped found-and became chairman
of the board of-New Horizons, a health
care group that takes care of the poor in
the Roanoke Valley. That includes dental care.
66 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

DAN SMITH

Dick Robers' approach to problem-solving (read, think, synthesize, suggest) has
occasionally rubbed people the wrong way. That has never stopped the flow of ideas.

Dick Robers He helped build the Spring Hollow Reservoir and Smith Gap Landfill.

He then turned his attention to TAP, the
Roanoke poverty agency with the national
reputation. His business acumen led TAP
to form a real estate group, which became
quite profitable and enabled it to stretch
dollars a long way.
He and a group of business buddies
founded the think tank Issues Management
Group ("That was more of a hobby") and
he found a spot consulting with Center in
the Square on its recent renovations. At one
point, he served on the Roanoke Regional
Airport Commission.
"I was always in the middle of things,
trying to keep a low profile," he says. But
the ideas kept coming. "I read a lot and I'd
get one idea from this area, another from
somewhere else and they'd merge with
something new."
These days, the man who has been

termed a "visionary" upon occasion has
toned it down a bit. He is the president of
the Hunting Hills Place (where he and his
long-time artist wife Mary Jane live) Homeowners Association and he is periodically
writing articles for the local daily. "I am occasionally asked to consult on something,"
he says, smiling.
There was a point a few years ago when
an excited Robers met with Congressman
Bob Goodlatte with an idea to retrofit a decommissioned aircraft carrier and use it as a
hospital ship and rescue vehicle for regions
in emergencies. "It could go anywhere in
the world, ferry people on helicopters, fix
things, take care of the sick and dying. A
workforce would live on board, ready for
action, bring back refugees."
The idea, obviously, went nowhere.
-DAN SMITH
THEROANOKER.COM


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - January/February 2017

Front Cover
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Lunch With . . .
Streets of Roanoke
The Gist
Events
25 Great Things in Roanoke, 2016
Five National Best-Selling Authors Right Here?
Making it in Roanoke
The “From-Scratch” Bullington Home
Blue Apron, La Petite Fondue: Two for Distinctive Dining
The Dish
SPECIAL SECTION: Valley Life
SPECIAL SECTION: The Menu Dining Guide
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Intro
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover1
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover2
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 5
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 6
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 7
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 8
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 9
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Letters/Worth a Click
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 11
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - From the Editor
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 13
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Lunch With . . .
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 15
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Streets of Roanoke
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 17
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - The Gist
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 19
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 20
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 21
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Events
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 23
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 24
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 25
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 26
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 25 Great Things in Roanoke, 2016
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 28
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 29
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 30
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 31
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 32
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 33
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Five National Best-Selling Authors Right Here?
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 35
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 36
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 37
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Making it in Roanoke
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 39
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 40
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 41
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 42
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 43
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - The “From-Scratch” Bullington Home
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 45
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 46
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 47
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 48
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 49
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 50
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - SPECIAL SECTION: Valley Life
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL2
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL5
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL6
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL7
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL8
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL9
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL10
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL11
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL25
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL28
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL29
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL31
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL33
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL34
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL35
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL36
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL37
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL38
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL39
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL40
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL41
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL42
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL43
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL44
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL45
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL46
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL47
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL48
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL49
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL50
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL51
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL52
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL53
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL54
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL55
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL56
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL57
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL58
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL59
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL60
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL61
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL62
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL63
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL64
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL65
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL66
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL67
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL68
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 51
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 52
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 53
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 54
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 55
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Blue Apron, La Petite Fondue: Two for Distinctive Dining
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 57
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 58
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 59
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 60
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 61
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 62
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 63
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 64
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 65
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - The Dish
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - SPECIAL SECTION: The Menu Dining Guide
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M2
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M5
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M6
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M7
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M8
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M9
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M10
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M11
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M12
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M13
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M14
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M15
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M16
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M17
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M18
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M19
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M20
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M21
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M22
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M24
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M25
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M26
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M27
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M28
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M29
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M30
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M31
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M32
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M33
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M35
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M36
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M37
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M39
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M41
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M42
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M43
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M44
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M45
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M46
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M47
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M48
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