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LIVING LEGENDS


H. BRIAN THOMPSON FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE BOARD CHAIRMAN, GTT COMMUNICATIONS INC., McLEAN


The founder of GTT, one of the world’s big- gest cloud network providers, Thompson has served as chairman of its board of directors since January 2005. The past year brought challenges


for GTT, which was discussing filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June. In October 2020, GTT sold its infrastruc- ture assets division to I Squared Capital for $2.15 billion aſter encountering account- ing problems between 2017 and early 2020. Last year, GTT’s audit committee determined that some financial statements from those years were no longer reliable, and in May 2020, former CEO Richard D. Calder Jr. stepped down. The New York Stock Exchange delisted GTT in July because GTT had failed to file quarterly and annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Thompson, who also heads Vienna- based private equity investment and advi- sory firm Universal Telecommunications, played a significant part in determining pri- vate industry’s role in developing the mul- tinational telecommunications structure in the 1990s. He also serves on the Irish prime minister’s Ireland-America Economic Board and is a board member for Pendrell Corp. and Penske Automotive Group Inc. Thompson studied chemical engineer- ing at the University of Massachusetts and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.


PAUL B. TOMS JR. CHAIRMAN, HOOKER FURNITURE CO., MARTINSVILLE


Aſter two decades leading and expanding the furniture company founded by his


grandfather in 1925, Toms retired in January as Hooker Furniture’s CEO and president. He remains company chairman. When Toms started at his family com- pany in 1983, Hooker had about $50 million in annual sales. He was the third generation to lead Hooker and navigated it through an upheaval in the industry as cheaper foreign goods flooded the American market. He shiſted Hooker’s business model so that it now imports wood and metal furniture and makes residential upholstery goods.


Though its corporate headquarters


is in Martinsville, Hooker employs 800 workers throughout Virginia and North Carolina, from its custom upholstery line by Sam Moore Furniture in Bedford to its higher-end leather line Bradington-Young in Hickory, North Carolina. The company reported annual sales of $515 million last year, although it recorded a $34.8 million loss in the second quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic, Toms said last year. Five years ago, the company acquired


Home Meridian International, making Hooker one of the top sources in the U.S. furniture market. Toms was inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame in 2018.


EUGENE P. TRANI PRESIDENT EMERITUS, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY, RICHMOND


As the fourth president of Virginia Commonwealth University and its longest-serving leader, Trani oversaw major growth of his urban campus, while also increasing its presence in Virginia’s capital city, from 1990 to 2009.


Trani attracted a total investment of $2.2 billion in city infrastructure to the university area and helped transform downtown Richmond’s Broad Street. He also built up VCU’s Monroe Campus and medical college campus, as well as overseeing the establishment of the VCU Health System and VCU’s College of Design Arts in Qatar. The Notre Dame and Indiana University alum started as a history instructor at Ohio


State University and Southern Illinois University. He rose through the administrative ranks at the University of Nebraska, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Wisconsin before VCU brought him to Virginia. Trani continues to research and write.


FIRST JOB: Delivering newspapers in grade school


HOBBY: Collecting golf course ball markers FAVORITE VACATION DESTINATION: London


FAVORITE SONG: University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Victory March


LUCIA ANNA ‘PIA’ TRIGIANI PRINCIPAL AND PARTNER, MERCERTRIGIANI, ALEXANDRIA


A native of Big Stone Gap, Trigiani has become a prominent part of Northern Virginia, where she co-founded the MercerTrigiani law firm and is a noted authority on common interest communities, such as condominiums and retirement communities. She also has chaired the Virginia Common Interest Community Board for a decade, serving three governors, and she represents Alexandria on the GO Virginia state board. A graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Indiana and the University of Richmond’s law school, Trigiani is vice rector of the Longwood University board of visitors and a member of the Flint Hill School board of trustees. Trigiani also has held volunteer roles with the Library of Virginia


Foundation, Virginia FREE, Lead Virginia, Commonwealth Catholic Charities Commonwealth Human Services Foundation and the Little Sisters of the Poor advisory board. She’s the former president and chair of the Virginia Bar Association Board of Governors and a member of VCU Real Estate Circle of Excellence.


She also contributed recipes and stories to “Cooking With My Sisters,”


an Italian cookbook released in 2004 by her sister, bestselling novelist Adriana Trigiani.


26


VIRGINIA 500


Eugene P. Trani photo by Kevin Morley/VCU University Relations


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