Hospitality | Tourism
NEIL P. AMIN
CEO, SHAMIN HOTELS, RICHMOND
Like other hoteliers, Shamin Hotels has been hit by the near evaporation of business travel. Amin is CEO of the company, which owns some five dozen properties and is the largest hotel operator in the Richmond region.
Amin graduated The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned his MBA. He’s served on the boards of Richmond Region Tourism and Sports Backers and is a gubernatorial appointee to the Treasury Board of Virginia.
Shamin Hotels has a cluster of hotels in Short Pump, west of Richmond, including the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa. North of the city, Shamin purchased land with The Rebkee Co., selling some of it to Henrico County for an indoor sports arena while preparing a hotel project. This year, Shamin moved its headquarters to downtown Richmond in the Richmond Times-Dispatch building, which it purchased in January.
FIRST JOB: Aside from working in motels, I worked as a sales associate at Circuit City.
HOBBY/PASSION: Middle-distance running
FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: Abaco Island, Bahamas
THOMAS J. BALTIMORE JR.
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PARK HOTELS & RESORTS INC., TYSONS
Park Hotels & Resorts is a real estate investment trust, spun off from Hyatt in 2017, with 60 hotels and resorts and 34,000 rooms. It was one of 35 Virginia companies to make the Fortune 1000 list, ranking at No. 817 in the United States by total revenue.
Coming off a good year in 2019, which included the $2.5 billion acquisition of Chesapeake Lodging Trust, Park saw its reservations drop dramatically in response to the pandemic, like other hoteliers. The company announced a raft of budget cuts, including cutting $130 million from its planned $200 million in capital projects this year. Baltimore waived his salary for the year and stressed that Park was positioned to manage the crisis with $1.8 billion in liquidity.
An alumnus of the University of Virginia, Baltimore earned his bachelor’s degree from the McIntire School of Commerce and his MBA from the Darden School of Business. In 2000, Baltimore co-founded RLJ Development, now RLJ Lodging Trust. He’s held senior positions with both Hilton and Marriott and serves on the executive committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
LESLIE GREENE BOWMAN
PRESIDENT, THOMAS JEFFERSON FOUNDATION, CHARLOTTESVILLE
For the last 12 years, Bowman has led the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns Monticello, the Founding Father’s famed home found on the back of every nickel. Designed by Jefferson, it’s one of the commonwealth’s leading historic tourism attractions.
An art historian, Bowman has served on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House under four presidents. She started her career as a curator and assistant director of exhibitions for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1999, she became director and CEO of the Winterthur, a Delaware museum and 1,000-acre estate.
At a time when the nation is revisiting how we view a history tainted by slavery and institutional racism, Monticello has already been dealing with the more troubling aspects of the legacy of the man who famously wrote, “All men are created equal.”
During her tenure, Bowman has spearheaded Monticello’s efforts to incorporate honest, inclusive history into all of Monticello’s programming. These efforts include restoring the landscape of slavery on the mountaintop, opening The Life of Sally Hemings exhibit in 2018, and mounting Paradox of Liberty, a groundbreaking exhibition on slavery at Monticello in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, GEORGE WASHINGTON’S MOUNT VERNON; CEO/DIRECTOR MOUNT VERNON LADIES’ ASSOCIATION, MOUNT VERNON
Bradburn entered Mount Vernon through scholarship, becoming the founding director of the new, $100 million Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington in 2013.
Bradburn became president and CEO of Mount Vernon in 2018. An author and American historian, Bradburn graduated with degrees in history and economics from the University of Virginia before earning his doctorate in history from the University of Chicago.
Bradburn helped lead virtual tours and education programs while Mount Vernon was closed due to the pandemic. He’s also guiding the institution during a time when the Founding Fathers’ flaws and support of slavery are coming under intense scrutiny. Mount Vernon issued a statement in June, “Why We Honor George Washington,” explaining that “we should not be tearing down but building a fresh legacy upon the firm foundations established by George Washington.”
FIRST JOB: I worked in food service at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Give Me Liberty: A History of America’s Exceptional Idea,” by Richard Brookheiser
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CRESTLINE HOTELS & RESORTS LLC / BARCELO CRESTLINE CORP., FAIRFAX
Carroll has been a C-suite executive at Crestline Hotels & Resorts LLC or its parent company, Barcelo Crestline Corp., for 14 years, holding chief financial and chief operating officer posts. He took the reins of the third-party hospitality management firm as president and CEO in December 2010.
Based in Fairfax, Crestline manages 122 hotels, resorts and conference centers across 25 brands, including IHG, Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt. Its holdings encompass 18,500 rooms, including the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center in Staunton (currently undergoing a name change) and the management of the Berkeley Hotel, which it took over in October 2019.
A Navy veteran and pilot, Carroll graduated the U.S. Naval Academy before earning his MBA from Harvard Business School. He also serves on the boards of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Armada Hoffler Properties Inc.
Carroll has overseen additions to the portfolio, even as the pandemic bore down, announcing management contracts for four new hotels in January, eight in February and two in March.
CHRISTY S. COLEMAN
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JAMESTOWN-YORKTOWN FOUNDATION, WILLIAMSBURG
Long before Confederate statues started coming down, Coleman found herself at the center of discussions about historical narrative soon after becoming president and CEO of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in March 2008.
She oversaw an $8 million expansion of the Richmond-based museum, a rebrand with the Richmond National Battlefield Park and a delicate merger with the Museum of the Confederacy.
The culmination of that merger was last year’s opening of the $25 million American Civil War Museum. Coleman has been nationally recognized for her role and influence as a Black woman helping lead conversations, change narratives and expand perspectives on the Civil War — experiences that make her voice all the more relevant today.
Coleman continues to watch the changes afoot, but she has moved to a new war. In January, she became executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, which oversees two of the state’s major Colonial-era living history museums: Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
A graduate of Hampton University with her master’s degree in museum studies, Coleman will be leading the foundation’s preparations to observe the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution in 2026.
DIRECTOR, VIRGINIA FILM OFFICE, RICHMOND
Virginia’s television and film industry experienced a successful 2019. But with productions canceled or stalled, it also has felt the economic fallout from the coronavirus. The statewide voice of the film industry, Edmunds, issued a morale booster to film-related businesses and freelance creatives in March. The sooner people take health precautions seriously, he wrote, “the sooner we will all be on set together again; often making the content that can provide a comfortable escape for so many during troubling and isolated times.”
Working at the Virginia Film Office for more than 23 years and taking over as director in November 2012, Edmunds has played critical roles in landing major productions such as Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the AMC TV series “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” and the delayed 2020 summer superhero movie “Wonder Woman 1984.”
The film office is part of the Virginia Tourism Corp., a state agency, and Edmunds, a Virginia native who attended Virginia Commonwealth University, is always ready to emphasize the role his industry plays in boosting the economy, marketing Virginia and making the state attractive as a residence for people in the production industry — which accounted for 4,300 full-time jobs and more than $27 million in state and local taxes in 2016.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION, WILLIAMSBURG
The new year brought a leadership turnover in America’s Historic Triangle.
Fleet became the new president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation on Jan. 1, just as Christy Coleman was preparing to take over as executive director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, which runs the Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
The former president and CEO of Philip Morris USA, Fleet is on familiar ground. He earned a string of degrees at William & Mary — a bachelor’s and master’s in history, followed by his law degree and MBA. He became a board member of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in 2009 and has served as president since 2014, leading a $15 million fundraising campaign to upgrade the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.
Fleet spent more than 21 years of his career at Altria Group Inc., leaving in April 2017.
In his new role, Fleet is charged with helping the foundation solve financial struggles while expanding its cultural relevancy. When his appointment was announced, he said, “We are uniquely positioned to shape the national dialogue in important ways that bring us together as a people by commemorating the important events related to our nation’s founding that occurred in Williamsburg.”
CHIEF, PAMUNKEY INDIAN TRIBE, KING WILLIAM COUNTY
After serving on the Pamunkey Indian Tribal Council for more than 25 years, Gray was elected as chief in 2015. With the General Assembly opening the gates to gaming in Virginia, the tribe plans a $500 million Norfolk casino and resort with investor Jon Yarbrough, saying it could bring 2,500 full-time jobs and an economic impact in Virginia of $850 million. Voters will likely see the project on a November local referendum. Gray also is touting the economic boost that could come from a $350 million resort and casino that his tribe wants to build in Richmond.
Gray hopes casino revenues will provide tribe members with better housing and educational opportunities and improved infrastructure on the Pamunkey reservation, including broadband access.
A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Gray is an armed forces veteran who
spent 32 years in the U.S. Air Force.
HOBBY/PASSION: Reading, deer hunting, playing the mandolin
PERSON I ADMIRE: Chief George Major Cook for his work defending Pamunkey Indian rights
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces,” by Radley Balko
CEO, SALAMANDER HOTELS & RESORTS, MIDDLEBURG
Salamander Resort & Spa, a luxury getaway in Loudoun County, closed its doors for two months, but that didn’t stop it from landing among the 20 finalists for favorite U.S. destination resorts this year in USA Today’s 10Best readers’ choice awards.
Johnson, who opened the resort seven years ago, reopened it June 18 after completing renovations and enacting new cleaning protocols to reduce coronavirus risk. She hoped to bring back all 420 employees, she told Loudoun Now, saying she didn’t want to let the community down: “This is my life and soul.”
Salamander Hotels and resorts also operates luxury properties in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Charleston, South Carolina; and Destin and Tampa Bay, Florida. But Johnson is more than a resort operator. A co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, she also co-owns the NHL Capitals, NBA Washington Wizards and the Mystics WNBA team. The venture capital firm she co-founded, WE Capital, invests in startups run by women.
Estimating her net worth at $820 million, Forbes ranked Johnson as No. 31 on its America’s Self-Made Women list in 2019.
CEO, APPLE HOSPITALITY REIT INC., RICHMOND
CEO of Apple Hospitality REIT since 2014, Knight marks his 20th anniversary with Apple REIT Companies this year.
The company’s portfolio is broad. It owns 235 hotels in 34 states, with more than 30,000 guest rooms. Some of those are in downtown Richmond, where Apple bought the Berkeley Hotel for approximately $7 million in October 2019. It also took the plunge last year on a multimillion-dollar renovation to its Richmond Marriott.
Knight told Virginia Business at the time that such reinvestment was a key part of its ownership strategy: “We are generally able to fund our projects through operations, using our strong balance sheet to manage cash flow throughout the year.”
After Knight graduated Brigham Young University in 1995, he worked as an asset manager at Cornerstone Income Realty Trust Inc. for three years before returning to the university for his MBA. He’s active with a number of industry groups and serves on the boards of The Valentine museum and Venture Richmond.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, VIRGINIA TOURISM CORP., RICHMOND
Virginia tourism accounted for more than $26 billion in visitor spending in 2018, boosting local and state tax revenues by $1.8 billion.
That was upended by the coronavirus, however, posing unprecedented challenges to McClenny and her team at Virginia Tourism Corp. During the pandemic lockdown, the state agency launched an ad campaign, “We’re Waiting for You,” to remind people of Virginia’s charms. And in June, the state announced that Virginia Tourism Corp. would be overseeing the WanderLOVE Recovery Grant Program, distributing grants to destination marketing organizations economically harmed by the pandemic.
A native Virginian who was born and raised in Southampton County, McClenny served as director of the Virginia Film Office for more than 20 years before she was named president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corp. in November 2012 — an announcement that received a round of applause at the Byrd Theatre in Richmond during a private screening of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.”
McClenny received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Fisk University in Nashville. She serves on the Virginia Film Festival Advisory Board and is a board member of the National Council of State Tourism Directors. She also has served on the board of the U.S. Travel Association.
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, THE UNITED CO., BRISTOL
He’s built a coal mine business, helped boost the Southwest Virginia economy and donated 74 artworks valued at more than $200 million to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Now McGlothin has his sights set on a casino in Bristol.
McGlothlin, a philanthropist with his wife, Frances Gibson McGlothlin, is a Virginia native who graduated from William & Mary, later earning his law degree. He started his career as a lawyer before cofounding, with his father, what became United Co., leading it for 40 years and spawning several businesses.
In 2018, McGlothlin and a high school friend, Par Ventures CEO Clyde Stacy, brought forward their plan to bring a casino resort to the former Bristol Mall site. With the region struggling financially, they hoped it would be an economic savior — and were betting that the Virginia General Assembly would pass legislation to make it happen.
Their bet has panned out so far, with legislators this year approving gaming in Bristol and four other Virginia cities. McGlothlin and Stacy are working with Hard Rock International on the $400 million venture, which will be put before voters in a local referendum in November.
CHRISTOPHER J. NASSETTA
PRESIDENT AND CEO, HILTON WORLDWIDE HOLDINGS INC., TYSONS
Newsweek named Hilton to its list of “50 U.S. Businesses That Stood Out During the Pandemic” in June. In collaboration with American Express, Hilton offered nearly 1.9 million free hotel rooms to frontline health care workers required to be away from their families.
The pandemic, in turn, has been less kind to Hilton. With business and recreational travel at a standstill, the company instituted pay reductions and furloughs, and announced 2,100 layoffs — cutting more than 20% of its workforce. Hilton brought in $564 million in revenue for this year’s second quarter, a 77.3% decrease from the same period last year, when it reaped $2.48 billion.
“Never in Hilton’s 101-year history has our industry faced a global crisis that brings travel to a virtual standstill,” Nassetta said. “Hospitality will always be a business of people serving people, which is why I am devastated that to protect our business, we have been forced to take actions that directly impact our team members.”
Nassetta, a graduate of the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, spent 10 years at Host Hotels & Resorts as chief operating officer and then as president and CEO. He’s been president and CEO of Hilton for 13 years.
CEO, PAR VENTURES LLC, BRISTOL
Businessman Stacy has teamed up with his decades-long friend, Jim McGlothlin of The United Co., on plans to build the $400 million Hard Rock Casino Bristol. The project has received a thumbs up from the Bristol City Council and School Board, as well as the Virginia Lottery Board, which precertified it as the preferred operator for a casino in Bristol, one of five economically challenged cities where it’s now legal to build a casino. The project will go before voters in a local referendum in November.
The Hard Rock casino plans call for a 600-room hotel, convention center, restaurants and retail shops. It would be built on the site of the shuttered Bristol Mall, which Par Ventures purchased in 2018.
Stacy also is a partner in Dharma Pharmaceuticals, which is poised to become Virginia’s first medical cannabis operation in Virginia. Dharma has built a multimillion-dollar facility in the mall’s former J.C. Penney store. But if the plans for a casino go through, the cannabis operation would move to a new location. In July, the Washington County Board of Supervisors approved Dharma’s proposed medical marijuana retail store in Abingdon.
ERIC D. TERRY
PRESIDENT, VIRGINIA RESTAURANT, LODGING & TRAVEL ASSOCIATION, RICHMOND
Terry is an advocate for the restaurant, hospitality and tourism industries, promoting the interests of his association’s 1,500 member companies.
President of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association since January 2014, Terry is a graduate of Virginia Tech’s Hospitality and Tourism Management School. He now serves as one of the school’s advisers and is immediate past chair of the International Society of Hotel Associations.
After graduation, Terry drew experience from a variety of hospitality positions for more than 30 years — including stops at Marriott Hotels, Hollywood Casino, Benchmark Hospitality and XLerate Group.
FIRST JOB: Pizza cook in hospitality center at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
NEW LIFE EXPERIENCE RECENTLY: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
FAVORITE SONG: Anything by the Rolling Stones
HOBBY/PASSION: Fishing, hunting, cooking
PERSON I ADMIRE: My son, who this year graduated high school in a very challenging time and kept his focus
BRUCE L. THOMPSON
CEO, GOLD KEY | PHR, VIRGINIA BEACH
Virginia Beach began welcoming tourists again this year just in time for the opening of the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront, a $125 million project of Gold Key | PHR. The hotel is a complement and addition to the company’s Historic Cavalier Hotel and Beach Club, for which it completed an $85 million, four-year renovation in 2018.
The next phase of the $350 million Cavalier expansion project will include another hotel, expected to be finished in 2022.
Thompson is the man behind those projects and others — including the 20-story Hilton Norfolk The Main, a contemporary, $175 million luxury hotel and conference center that opened three years ago.
Thompson founded Gold Key Resorts in 1986, expanding the timeshare business into upscale oceanfront hotels and restaurants. Five years ago, Thompson sold the timeshare side of the company to Diamond Resorts International Inc. Gold Key promotes itself as the largest hospitality employer in Virginia, with annual revenues of $140 million.
He’s also active in civic life, raising more than $5 million for ALS research and securing funding for a fully accessible park at the oceanfront. In 2010, he was King Neptune XXXVII for the 37th annual Virginia Beach King Neptune Festival.
FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN, THOMPSON HOSPITALITY CORP., RESTON
Thompson’s entrepreneurial pursuits began early, including the purchase of his family’s hog business from his father at 16 years old. He graduated Hampden-Sydney College and went on to earn his MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business in 1983.
He got into the hospitality industry through the Marriott Corp., where he started working for the Roy Rogers Restaurants chain, which was then owned by Marriott. Nine years later, he staked $100,000 to purchase a franchise for 31 Big Boy restaurants, founding Thompson Hospitality in 1992.
Spotting an opportunity for growth in 1993, he expanded into food contracts services for companies, medical centers and universities. His initial investment turned into the country’s largest minority-owned food and facilities management company, earning a ranking on Black Enterprise and recording revenue of $760 million.
Thompson joined the board of Duke Realty Corp. in 2019. This August, Thompson Hospitality committed to purchase Washington, D.C.-based Matchbox Restaurant Group, which filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. The region’s fifth-largest restaurant chain, Matchbox has 12 locations, including two in Dallas and Florida.