Member Spotlight: Andrew Cothern

Andrew Cothern is the communications manager for Virginia Tourism Corporation. He graduated from James Madison University with a degree in media arts & design.

How long have you been a member of PRSA? What do you enjoy most about the chapter?

I’ve been a member of PRSA for a few years. I really enjoy getting to meet all the different people in this field.

Tell us how Virginia Tourism is adapting and what your biggest challenges are right now. Any surprise positives happen as a result of these changes?

It’s been a challenge since our main goal at Virginia Tourism is to get people to travel here. But since people are not traveling right now, we’ve had to switch gears on how we market travel. We’ve been doing that by focusing on virtual ways people can visit from their homes and helping to support our local restaurants, wineries, breweries, and other businesses who are struggling right now. It’s been great to see our industry really step up and support each other. We’re happy to see that people are still really wanting to travel once this is all over. So for now, we’re sharing that love of travel from a distance with “We’ll Be Waiting,” our marketing campaign that showcases why Virginia is such a great destination and encouraging travelers to keep dreaming of their next trip because Virginia will be here when they’re ready.

Tell us about your home workplace set up.

My work setup is my home office which doubles as my music room. My record collection serves as the background music as I do work every day. In the VTC office, I usually wear headphones, so this should come as no surprise to my coworkers.

What is working for you to remain productive and innovative in your work life right now?

I’ve found that having a routine every morning is helpful. Shower, get dressed, walk the dog, make coffee, make a list of the day’s tasks. That helps me stay focused. Also, getting away from my workstation during lunch allows me to recharge.

What are some virtual or socially-distanced ways we can still enjoy our beautiful Commonwealth?

More and more of Virginia’s museums, historic sites, and attractions are moving online and people can easily visit Virginia from home. This could be a museum tour at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, a Facebook live Q&A with animal keepers at the Virginia Zoo, or watching a live streaming concert at the Floyd Country Store. People wanting to get out of the house can visit our LOVEworks signs, which are located across the state and all unique in each destination. These have always been a great photo opportunity for travelers – just remember to keep your distance from other people.

How are you staying entertained while social distancing?

Since I can’t go to record stores or concerts, I’ve been buying a lot of vinyl recently and watching live streaming concerts (I recommend the Broadberry’s Couchella series). I’ve also been reading a lot more than I ever have before. Some of my favorites during quarantine have been “Tales from the Loop” by Simon Stålenhag, the “Vinyl Detective” series by Andrew Cartmel, “4 Kids Walk into a Bank” by Matthew Rosenberg, and the 32 volumes of “The Walking Dead.”

Would you like to be our next member spotlight or do you have a member to suggest? E-mail Jenny Pedraza, APR, at