Hospitality/Tourism: BRUCE L. THOMPSON
CEO, GOLD KEY | PHR, VIRGINIA BEACH
The man responsible for helping to reshape the Virginia Beach Oceanfront once promoted bands including Grand Funk Railroad and the Allman Brothers Band.
A bartending gig in Virginia Beach helped propel Thompson. When the bar’s owners opened a sail and ski shop, Thompson was tapped to help. Soon, he became the largest ski travel wholesaler on the East Coast, leading him into the hospitality industry. He formed Gold Key | PHR in 1999 after whittling down marketing, finance and timeshare ventures to focus on hotels and commercial and residential real estate.
Named the 2021 Virginia Business Person of the Year, Thompson heads a company that has led more than $1 billion in development investments across Hampton Roads and North Carolina’s Outer Banks, including The Main, a 300-room Hilton hotel in Norfolk, and the $435 million development of the Cavalier Resort, including the renovation of Virginia Beach’s historic Cavalier Hotel.
Privately held, Gold Key | PHR has 2,000 Virginia employees and reports about $140 million in annual revenue.
SOMETHING I’D NEVER DO AGAIN: Work on a hog farm
PERSON I ADMIRE: My son, Josh, who survived 13 years with ALS to see his sons grow up
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT: My boat