He’ll be on the road in Hawaii and the West Coast in his new role as a senior vice president with BRE Hotels & Resorts. Sunday was John C. Tolbert’s last day as president and managing director of the Boca Raton Resort & Club.
But Tolbert is so engrained in the community, his leaving would leave a big hole. He’s executive vice chairman of the Boca Chamber and was named Business Leader of the Year in 2018. He has raised thousands by chairing fundraisers for the Boca Raton Museum of Art and Florence Fuller Child Development Centers. He danced in Boca’s Ballroom Battle for the George Snow Scholarship Fund. He’s on the historical society board and he’s chairing Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County’s 2020 CEO Build. He’s on the executive committee for ESPN Events’ Boca Bowl college football matchup. And that’s not even his professional affiliations.
Tolbert spoke to Boca Voice before he started his new job for the Resort’s former owners, the Blackstone Group.
Q: I’m sure your inner circle knew, but let everyone else in on your plans.
A: Much of my initial priority will be focused on the west coast and Hawaii, Arizona and California, but my home base ideally will be Boca Raton.
Q: Nobody else gets this involved when they move here for a job. Why made you do that?
A: I come from a family where my mother was the third person to be mayor of our town [in Maryland]. My father was a colonel in the Air Force. I grew up on a dairy farm and we still have the same family house since 1750. Being involved in the community just came naturally.
Q: What will you be doing now?
A: Relaunching post-Covid the Hotel Del Coronado, the Grand Wailea Maui, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Turtle Bay Resort, King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach and La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs. Also some phased reopenings and renovations.
Q: You’ve been president and manager director of the Resort and Boca Beach Club since December 2015, but you’ve lived here a lot longer. When did you move to Boca?
A: In 1995 when Wayne Huizenga launched Boca Resorts Inc. [Blackstone bought the Resort in 2004. Last June it was purchased by MDS Partners.]
Q: What do you see for yourself and the Resort in a changed future?
A: I wake up excited and go to bed fulfilled. The new owners are the perfect owners for this club, from Addison Mizner and his brother to the next 100 years, they couldn’t have found a better owner and investment strategy. Their track record speaks for itself.
Q: What will you do now when you’re home?
A: I love our Resort and I look forward to being a part of it. I will definitely join the club.
By Marci Shatzman