Inspired by Addiction Therapy, Roanoke Business Owner Creates a New Designated Driver Service

Be Inspired | Do Good

It’s always interesting to find common themes in our guests, because we get to see what’s motivated them. With Diane Rumbolt, we see a lifelong passion for helping others. Her story starts in Toronto, Canada, where she was born and raised. Her childhood was impacted by her father, who struggled with alcohol addiction. This impact would go on to help inspire her to create Big Lick Boomerang, a designated driving service based right here in Roanoke.

Before launching her company, Diane was an emergency first responder and patient care attendant who worked at a local hospital covering shifts working at events where an ambulance was needed. Her love for community and helping others only grew from there.

When she moved to Roanoke, it was because her now-husband Rob got a job. The two married, had three kids, and Diane was a stay-at-home-mom. While she loved being a mom, the urge to do more was there.

Her journey was only beginning. She’s a graduate of the Roanoke Police Academy, and it was there that she got the idea for Big Lick Boomerang.

Diane used her knowledge of ambulance management as the foundation for her company, and she knew the idea might take time to really catch traction.

“When we started, we gauged what Uber had, and we knew a new concept would take a while to catch. We launched in September. We had nothing for two months. People were hesitant with the registration process. Once we got over that learning curve, we had the first calls come in November, then, the Roanoke Times wrote a few articles on us, and that’s when things really started to pick up,” said Diane.

The company might have had a slow start, but it has taken off over the past year. Despite the success her company has had, Diane remains committed to giving back. For instance, she’s just created a driver’s lounge downtown. This gives her drivers a place to rest and pursue other interests, such as part-time hustles and online classes. Anytime someone pays for a Big Lick Boomerang service, $1 goes to ARCH, an organization whose mission is “to provide safe, supportive recovery and opportunities for self-sufficiency after crisis to the most vulnerable citizens in the Roanoke Valley.” And, when riders donate 3 or more items to the company’s food drive, they receive a free mile of service.

When it comes to her business acumen, Diane attributes her success to hard work. “The harder you exercise, the more arteries reach into your heart,” said Diane, paraphrasing something she learned while in paramedic school. “Whether you’re looking at it from a medical or a business perspective, all those little things that you don’t realize that you’re doing come back full circle in the long run.”

Over the course of Diane’s life, she’s experienced the joys and challenges of being a new parent, moving to a new country, and following her heart. All of those things have led her to the success she’s seeing now at Big Lick Boomerang.

When asked what listeners can do to help, Diane asks that any establishment call her company if they have a customer who needs help getting home.

Regarding secrets to success, Diane says that the best tips she can offer are to think outside of the box, never take no for an answer, and always be your authentic self.

Listen to the full interview to hear more of Diane’s inspiring story.


Written by Heather Hawkins

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