Hospitality | Tourism
NEIL P. AMIN
CEO, SHAMIN HOTELS, RICHMOND
The past year has been a bit of a mixed bag for Amin and Shamin Hotels, one of the United States’ largest independent hoteliers.
Shamin, which owns more than 60 hotels, saw its Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa in Short Pump enter receivership in January after falling behind on loan payments amid the pandemic.
That said, Shamin completed renovations on The Landing at Hampton Marina this year, and the company purchased a Hampton Inn & Suites in Newport News along with three Virginia Beach hotels. Amin is also one of 50 investors in Richmond’s proposed ONE Casino + Resort.
In July, Amin was tapped as one of the state’s five cannabis regulatory board members.
Amin earned his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before joining Shamin as chief financial officer in 2002. He was named CEO in 2008.
BEST ADVICE FOR OTHERS: Don’t ask others to do anything that you would not do yourself.
NEW LIFE EXPERIENCE: Climbing Grays Peak (14,278 feet) and Torreys Peak (14,267 feet) in Colorado this past July
THOMAS J. BALTIMORE JR.
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PARK HOTELS & RESORTS INC., TYSONS
A lodging real estate investment trust, Park Hotels has a portfolio with 57 hotels and resorts, offering more than 32,000 rooms.
While weathering the pandemic, Park temporarily closed some hotels. Properties that remained open saw a sharp drop in reservations. For 2020, the company reported $852 million in revenue, a 70% decrease from 2019.
That said, Baltimore, who has led Park since 2016, when he joined the company shortly before its spinoff from Hilton, believes the storm may be passing.
“I continue to be extremely encouraged by our portfolio’s performance over the past several months,” he said in a June statement. “Leisure demand trends continue to accelerate at a faster pace than we had initially anticipated.”
From April through December 2020, Baltimore waived his base salary, contributing $500,000 to a $2.5 million fund to address hardship among employees. Even so, he received $12.66 million in total compensation for the year, about a 54% increase over what he received in 2019.
Baltimore earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Virginia. He’s a member of the board of directors of American Express Co. and Prudential Financial Inc.
LESLIE GREENE BOWMAN
PRESIDENT, THOMAS JEFFERSON FOUNDATION, CHARLOTTESVILLE
Since 2008, Bowman has led the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, the Albemarle County estate of America’s third president.
It’s a high-profile job. In 2013, Bowman sat next to musician Dave Matthews as he prepared to speak at Monticello’s annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony. A year later, she walked with President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande as they toured the historic site.
For all her time in the public eye, Bowman is, at heart, an academic. After earning her bachelor’s in American history and art history at Miami University, Bowman received a master’s degree in early American culture as a Winterthur Fellow at the University of Delaware.
Throughout Bowman’s tenure at Monticello, she’s worked to create educational programming that showcases the “honest, inclusive” history of the free and enslaved people who lived at the historic mountaintop home.
“In Jefferson’s words, we ‘follow truth wherever it may lead,’” Bowman said in a statement about Monticello creating an exhibit space dedicated to Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who bore at least six of Jefferson’s children.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S MOUNT VERNON, MOUNT VERNON
It’s an exclusive club. Just 11 individuals have served as the leader at George Washington’s Mount Vernon since 1858, when the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association purchased the estate from Washington’s heirs.
A noted scholar of American history, Bradburn came to Mount Vernon in 2013 to serve as the founding director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. He is the author and editor of three books and numerous articles on topics such as the history of the American founding and leadership.
Only a few months after Bradburn joined Mount Vernon, he inadvertently found himself at the center of a minor controversy when Politico reported that President Donald Trump had suggested to Bradburn during a 2018 tour of Mount Vernon that it would have been smarter for Washington to name the home after himself. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association criticized the story as inaccurate and lacking context.
Bradburn graduated with degrees in history and economics from the University of Virginia before earning his doctorate in history from The University of Chicago.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CRESTLINE HOTELS & RESORTS LLC, FAIRFAX
Carroll has led Crestline Hotels & Resorts LLC for more than a decade. He first arrived at the third-party hospitality management company in 2004 as its treasurer and later was named chief financial officer and then chief operating officer.
An indirect subsidiary of the Barceló Group based in Mallorca, Spain, Crestline manages 125 hotels — properties with brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt, as well as independent hotels. The company employs more than 5,000 associates, about 600 of whom are in Virginia.
While it was a grim year for the hotel industry overall, Crestline expanded its portfolio of managed hotels by 10% during the pandemic.
Previously, Carroll worked at Dell Technologies Inc., where he held several operations and financial management positions, and served as a naval aviator and lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Carroll sits on the board of directors for Armada Hoffler Properties Inc. in Virginia Beach and ServiceSource, a nonprofit providing support services to people with disabilities.
BEST ADVICE FOR OTHERS: Take care of your team.
KIMBERLY L. CHRISTNER
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CORNERSTONE HOSPITALITY LLC, WILLIAMSBURG
Although Cornerstone Hospitality manages branded hotels, the company is probably best known for its work developing distinctive boutique hotels designed with décor reflecting the history and culture of the regions where the properties are located.
Partnering with Craig Larson, Christner formed Cornerstone Hospitality in 2012. Today, the company owns and manages 18 hotels and
15 food and beverage outlets and banquet venues. Additionally, the company conducts market research for individuals or town leaders considering boutique hotel opportunities.
A year after launching, Cornerstone Hospitality teamed up with Virginia-based MB Contractors and Architectural Partners to form a partnership called Creative Boutique Hotels LLC.
Focusing on developing boutique hotels in historic buildings in small markets, the partnership produced the Craddock Terry Hotels and Event Center in Lynchburg, the Western Front Hotel in Saint Paul and the Sessions Hotel in Bristol.
Previously, Christner worked for Williamsburg-based Beck Co. for almost two decades, including five years as CEO.
She received her bachelor’s in business administration from Saint Leo University in Florida and has earned several certifications from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell.
CHRISTY S. COLEMAN
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JAMESTOWN-YORKTOWN FOUNDATION, WILLIAMSBURG
The pandemic hit a couple of months after Coleman came aboard as executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. The foundation’s two living-history museums, Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, were forced to close for 15 weeks.
Since visitors couldn’t experience history in person, Coleman and her staff hustled to create virtual experiences, ranging from a tutorial on how to make Powhatan-style twined baskets to streaming video from a dugout canoe.
Coleman also maintains a lively presence on Twitter (@HistoryGonWrong), where she fangirls over popular culture and discusses the importance of looking at history through multiple perspectives.
In 2018, Time magazine listed her among 31 people “who are changing the South.”
Coleman was formerly president and CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond. She also worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where she was director of historic programs. While there, she led an effort to stage a reenactment of a slave auction that drew national attention.
A native of Williamsburg, Coleman earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in museum studies from Hampton University.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION, WILLIAMSBURG
Although the pandemic caused the nation’s largest outdoor living-history museum to close for three months, Fleet stayed plenty busy. In 2020, the foundation significantly expanded its digital footprint while raising $62 million in donations.
In September 2020, Fleet watched as Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists excavated the site of the old First Baptist Church, one of America’s oldest churches founded by Black people. In February 2021, the foundation announced a partnership with William & Mary to relocate the Williamsburg Bray School, an 18th-century institution that educated enslaved and free Black children, from W&M’s campus to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.
A William & Mary alum who holds a bachelor’s degree in history and religion and graduate degrees in history, business administration and law from the school, Fleet joined the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in early 2020.
He previously was president and CEO of Richmond-based tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris USA and held leadership positions at its Fortune 500 parent company, Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc.
Fleet is a member of the board of trustees of the William & Mary Foundation and was appointed by Gov. Ralph Northam to sit on the American Revolution 250 Commission.
FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CRESCENT HOTELS & RESORTS, FAIRFAX
In the two decades since George founded Crescent Hotels & Resorts, the business has grown to operate more than 100 hotels and resorts and more than 250 restaurants and bars in the U.S. and Canada. George’s clients include real estate investment trusts, private equity firms and major developers.
Crescent operates a collection of independent hotels under its own label, the Latitudes Collection, while also managing properties for the Marriott, IHG, Hyatt and Hilton brands.
One of the Hilton properties George manages made headlines in October when it changed its name from the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort to the Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak to avoid the offensive term for Native American women. “We wanted to consider the values and perspectives from our associates, guests and the community when determining what was most important in the name,” George said in a statement.
Prior to founding Crescent, George served as senior vice president of operations for Destination Hotels, as chief operating officer for Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. and as senior vice president of operations for then-Interstate Hotels and Resorts.
CHIEF, PAMUNKEY INDIAN TRIBE, KING WILLIAM COUNTY
For more than a quarter century, Gray has sat on the Pamunkey Tribal Council. And in 2015, he was elected its chief.
Gray grew up in Philadelphia but moved to the Pamunkey Indian Reservation in King William County in 1988.
As a younger man, Gray served in the U.S. Air Force before earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas. He later joined the Virginia Air National Guard and worked as a federal civilian employee for the U.S. Air Force.
Before retiring from the Air Force in 2011 as a chief master sergeant, Gray was deployed for multiple overseas tours. In 2017, he retired from the federal civilian service.
As chief of the Pamunkey Tribe, Gray frequently speaks about the HeadWaters Resort & Casino, the $500 million project that the tribe is developing with Tennessee billionaire Jon Yarbrough alongside Norfolk’s Harbor Park. The casino, set to open in 2023, is expected to generate about 2,000 construction jobs, 2,500 permanent jobs and $185 million in annual revenue, not to mention at least $3.5 million each year for the Virginia Indigenous People’s Trust Fund.
JUSTIN G. KNIGHT
CEO AND DIRECTOR, APPLE HOSPITALITY REIT INC., RICHMOND
Knight has spent his career working for Apple Hospitality REIT and the real estate investment trusts that preceded it, all founded by his father, Glade M. Knight. Since 2014, Justin Knight has served as CEO at Apple Hospitality.
Today, Apple Hospitality’s portfolio consists of 232 hotels, mostly properties under the Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt brands, across 35 states.
Facing the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, Knight volunteered to decrease his target compensation for 2020 by 60%.
In May, Knight reported that the REIT had sold three hotels since the beginning of the year for a combined total of $24 million.
Four years ago, Knight suffered serious injuries when the small plane he was piloting, with his son on board, crashed into a cornfield in Buckingham County.
A member of the National Advisory Council for Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business, Knight received his bachelor’s in political science and an MBA from the university.
Knight sits on the board of trustees for Venture Richmond.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, VIRGINIA TOURISM CORP., RICHMOND
On June 15, McClenny addressed the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, asking lawmakers to dedicate $50 million of the $4.3 billion Virginia has received from the federal American Rescue Plan for state and local tourism efforts.
Under her plan, $20 million of that relief funding would be used by Virginia Tourism Corp. for marketing efforts, and $30 million would be divided by state localities to pay for tourism marketing expenses.
Virginia has lost $14.3 billion in travel expenditures due to the pandemic, according to McClenny.
The president and CEO of VTC since 2012, McClenny usually has happier news to share with lawmakers. In 2019, visitors to Virginia spent $27 billion, which contributed $1.8 billion in state and local taxes.
A state agency, VTC works to market the state as a premier travel destination and as a desirable location for shooting films and television shows.
Prior to heading up VTC, McClenny served as head of the Virginia Film Office for more than 20 years. A Southampton County native, she received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Fisk University in Nashville.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, THE UNITED CO., BRISTOL
After a long career, this octogenarian sits on the cusp of delivering his boldest endeavor yet.
Partnering with high school friend and Par Ventures LLC President Clyde Stacy, along with Hard Rock International, McGlothlin plans to open the $400 million Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol at the site of the old Bristol Mall in 2022.
McGlothlin and Stacy began lobbying for a casino in the birthplace of country music several years before the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2000 allowing commercial casino gaming in Portsmouth, Danville, Norfolk, Richmond and Bristol — pending approval by local voters in referendums. In November 2020, 71% of Bristol voters said “yes” to the casino, which is expected to create about 2,000 jobs and $130 million in annual revenue.
If that weren’t enough, in April, McGlothlin opened the Car Barn, a new business that’s part classic car museum/part car lot.
In 2009, a Ukrainian company purchased United Coal, the company McGlothlin co-founded in the 1970s. Today, McGlothlin’s United Co. focuses on coal, oil and gas exploration services, investment management and real estate development, as well as the operation of golf courses and RV parks.
CHRISTOPHER J. NASSETTA
PRESIDENT AND CEO, HILTON WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS INC., McLEAN
COVID-19 dealt quite a blow to the hotel industry. An industry giant, Hilton didn’t escape unscathed.
The company closed 2020 with $4.3 billion in revenue — a steep drop from the $9.5 billion it reported in 2019. The drop was big enough for Hilton to fall off the Fortune 500, sliding from No. 338 to No. 596 on the magazine’s list of the top 1,000 U.S. companies by total revenue.
At the end of 2020, Hilton said it employed 141,000 people, 32,000 fewer than it reported in 2019. For the first quarter of 2021, Hilton announced a net loss of $109 million.
Nassetta, who has led the company since 2007, seems optimistic about its post-pandemic recovery. “We are on pace to see record leisure demand in the U.S. over the summer months,” he said during a May call to investors.
In 2020, Nassetta earned $55.87 million in total compensation.
A graduate of the University of Virginia, Nassetta previously served as CEO for Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. His first real job was unclogging toilets at a Washington, D.C., hotel.
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, FAIRBROOK HOTELS LLC, CHANTILLY
When he was 8 years old, Patel’s parents, originally from the Indian state of Gujarat, migrated from Malawi in eastern Africa to Richmond, where they bought a small motel.
Growing up, Patel pitched in at the family business, cleaning rooms and checking in guests. When it came time for college, Patel commuted to Virginia Commonwealth University and continued helping out at the motel.
By 2003, Patel took over the family business, which continues to grow. Today, Fairbrook Hotels owns 11 hotels in Virginia and Maryland.
In recent months, Patel has been interviewed by NPR and The New York Times, discussing how the pandemic impacted his business. While his properties ran at 80% occupancy before the pandemic, they now run at 40% to 60% occupancy, depending on the location.
In November 2020, then-U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appointed Patel to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. Patel also serves as the vice chair of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: When you help others, you really help yourself.
FAVORITE SONG: “The Way It Is,” by Bruce Hornsby and the Range
BEST ADVICE FOR OTHERS: Appreciate everything and everyone.
PRESIDENT, PAR VENTURES LLC, BRISTOL
The Bristol Herald Courier named Stacy and his longtime friend Jim McGlothlin as the 2020 Bristolians of the Year for their work developing the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol, which is slated to open next year.
McGlothlin credits Stacy with conceiving the idea of bringing jobs to the economically challenged area by building a casino at the vacant Bristol Mall, which Stacy purchased in 2018 for $2.6 million. The duo went on to hire lobbying and public relations firm Alliance Group Ltd. to coax Richmond lawmakers into legalizing casinos — a feat others had tried without success for decades. At the time, Stacy and McGlothlin described their proposal as a moonshot idea — a bold solution to a big problem.
Amazingly, it worked. In 2020, the General Assembly approved legislation to allow casinos in five Virginia cities, including Bristol. In November 2020, 71% of Bristol voters approved of the idea in a referendum.
A former coal mining executive who headed Rapoca Energy Co., Stacy also invested in Dharma Pharmaceuticals LLC, a licensed medical cannabis processor that was sold in July to Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries Inc.
ERIC D. TERRY
PRESIDENT, VIRGINIA RESTAURANT, LODGING & TRAVEL ASSOCIATION, RICHMOND
Terry brought three decades of experience in the hospitality industry when he came aboard as leader of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association in 2014.
A dedicated advocate, Terry promotes the interests of his association’s 1,500 member companies. This year, that’s meant lobbying lawmakers for much-needed relief funds and talking with business leaders and media about the impact of extended unemployment payments on Virginia’s tight labor market, which has disproportionately affected hotels and restaurants.
In April, Terry sent a letter to the chairs of the General Assembly’s appropriations committees asking Virginia’s lawmakers to dedicate more than $270 million from the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan funds to assist hospitality-related industries.
A graduate of Virginia Tech’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program, Terry previously worked in leadership positions for then-The Redstone Cos. Benchmark Hospitality International Inc. and Malibu Entertainment Worldwide Inc.
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: The beach
PERSON I ADMIRE: Ronald Reagan was the first president I ever voted for, and he did an unbelievable job fixing the economy, fighting communism and instilling a pride in America.
BRUCE L. THOMPSON
CEO, GOLD KEY | PHR, VIRGINIA BEACH
Virginia Beach’s historic but crumbling Cavalier Hotel almost certainly faced a wrecking ball before Thompson came to the rescue in 2013.
In his youth, Thompson had worked security and cut grass for the renowned property, and he wanted to see it saved. It took $85 million in renovations from Gold Key | PHR, but the hotel reopened in 2018.
Additionally, Gold Key is developing an assemblage of other surrounding properties to create an oceanfront campus known as Cavalier Resort. The $125 million Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront began welcoming guests in June 2020. Gold Key completed construction of upscale condo development 42 Ocean in spring 2021. The 12-story Embassy Suites, the final piece of the Cavalier campus, should open by 2023.
Thompson also submitted a proposal for the redevelopment of Norfolk’s Military Circle Mall to the Norfolk Economic Development Authority.
Since his son, Josh, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2007, Thompson has worked to raise money for scientific research for ALS and to build facilities for people with disabilities. Josh Thompson died in October 2020 at age 46.