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He's drawn to real estate

Jim Toomey, whose family owns a good deal of property in the Ladysmith area of Caroline County, took a roundabout route into the commercial real estate business.

Since 1991, Toomey has been illustrating and writing the Sherman’s Lagoon cartoon, which now appears in 150 newspapers across the United States including the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and Dallas Morning News. For much of that time he lived in the San Francisco area.

About a decade ago, Toomey and his wife decided to move to the Washington area to raise their children, who are now 8 and 10. Toomey had grown up in Alexandria, and he and his wife settled on Annapolis, Md., as a good place to move.

Toomey’s father, John, started Alexandria-based engineering firm VSE Corp. in 1959 and was its chief executive officer. The company owned a large amount of land off Interstate 95 in the Ladysmith area and continues to have a presence there with a plant that refurbishes military vehicles.

When John Toomey retired from VSE in 1990, he received about 100 acres in the Ladysmith area. The entity that owns the land is called Starr Management Corp.

About 25 acres of the land on the north side of Ladysmith Road between Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 has been developed. That includes the Ladysmith Business Park, the building that houses Countryside Childrens Daycare Center, self-storage facilities, the Ladysmith Professional Building and the building that is home to the Timbers Restaurant.

About five years ago, with his father, now 88, advancing in age, Jim Toomey started to help manage the real estate portfolio, a field in which he had little prior experience. He now makes weekly trips to the region to check on things and meet with local partners Ray Williams and Danny Carter.

And in the meantime Sherman’s Lagoon rolls on.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405


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