Bruce Thompson has been a leader in the travel industry for more than 25 years. His first venture grew to become the largest ski operator on the East Coast. That company evolved into Professional Hospitality Resources (PHR), as Thompson expanded into hotels and restaurants. In 1986, he entered the vacation ownership industry, co-founding the highly successful Gold Key Resorts. Today, his companies generate annual revenues exceeding $170 million and employ over 2000 associates. Thompson’s companies own and manage hotels, resorts, commercial real estate and restaurants in Virginia and North Carolina. In 2011, he launched a large mixed use development at the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
Thompson has been an ardent supporter of the travel industry, serving as a director of the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and on the board of many tourism and development organizations. Thompson served for seven years on the Governor’s Travel Advisory Committee, American Resort Development Association Board, Resort Area Advisory Commission, Resort Leadership Council, Virginia Beach Festivals Committee and the Virginia Small Business Financial Authority. He was chairman of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Transition Team for Film and Tourism and was appointed to the Governor’s Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission. In July 2010, Thompson was appointed by the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) Foundation Board of Trustees to serve on the EVMS Board of Visitors. In recognition of his accomplishments in the timeshare industry, Thompson was awarded “Best Industry Leader” in 2012 by Perspective Magazine, the leading trade publication for the timeshare and fractional ownership industry.
Thompson is a vocal proponent of community service. Since 2008, he has organized the largest Walk to Defeat ALS efforts in that organization’s history, raising more than $5 million to support the ALS Society, patient care and medical research. In 2009, he designed and secured funding for the world’s first fully accessible oceanfront park for the disabled, JT’s Grommet Island Beach Park and Playground for EveryBODY, which opened on the Virginia Beach oceanfront in May 2010. I Thompson received the 2009 ARDA Ace Philanthropic Award, the 2009 Outstanding Community Visionary Award from Amerigroup Foundation, the Virginia Center of Inclusive Committees Humanitarian Award and Gold Key Resorts (a company piloted by Bruce Thompson) received the 2010 ARDA Ace Community Service Award. After many years in support of the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, Thompson was crowned King Neptune XXXVIII in 2010. He is a member of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. In April of 2012, Thompson received the Lenora B. Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award from Volunteer Hampton Roads, recognizing his continued commitment to the community