Rockbridge CEO James ‘Jim’ Merkel has two decades of experience building hospitality, investment, and operating brands. Jim has always focused on creating great teams while providing the vision for how to grow, lead, and strategically take advantage of an always evolving landscape.
Under Jim’s guidance, Rockbridge continues to grow. Its current success features seven hotel funds and over 250 hotel investments in 38 states with transactions worth over $7.8 Billion to date. The company is currently ranked the ninth largest hotel owner and developer in the U.S., according to Hotel Business Magazine. In 2010, Jim formed RBHD, a leading hotel development and construction business. In 9 years, RBHD has performed $1.8 billion in renovation and ground up construction in 37 hotels.
Jim’s passion and vision extend beyond the investment world and drive a strong commitment by Rockbridge to making a difference in the communities in which it operates. In 2011, Jim created and launched RTRX, a leadership and innovation event that inspires curiosity, ignites conversation, and enables meaningful action. RTRX raises money for cancer research and benefits Pelotonia, a 2-day cycling event in Columbus, Ohio. Through RTRX, Rockbridge has raised over $5 Million in eight years and $1.1 million alone in 2018. Additionally, Jim is the top, individual fundraiser in the nation for Big Brothers Big Sisters. His leadership has driven Rockbridge to raise over $1 million dollars for BBBS.
Jim has held key leadership positions over the last 20 years on industry boards, including the FHG Advisory Board, AHLEF Board of Trustees, and Lodging Industry Investment Council. Through dedicated service, he earned the notable Starwood Hotel and Resorts President’s Award at the annual 2014 North America Owner Conference.