Jay Johnson, a Bastrop native, is the new Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Diamondrock Hospitality Company.

Johnson is the son of Willie Edna Johnson and the late Naamon Johnson. He attended two years of high school at Bastrop High and his last two years at Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, graduating in 1994. He earned a MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in economics from Morehouse College.

Johnson said Diamondrock Hospitality is a $3 billion real estate investment trust that is publicly traded on the New York Stock exchange.

"The company owns hotels across the Unites States and in the Caribbean," he said. "DiamondRock was a spinoff of Marriott International into a separate public company in 2005."

Johnson said growing up in Bastrop has helped to keep him grounded.

"The sense of community I felt in Bastrop allows me to connect with people on a personal level, an important attribute in any leadership position. It takes a village, and I am bits and pieces of all those in Morehouse Parish, most importantly the educators, who had an impact on my life," he said.

When asked if he had any advice to give the youth of Bastrop he said, "focus on education, particularly math and writing. Those are skills transferable and necessary in any profession."

Johnson currently lives outside Washington, D.C. in the suburb of Chevy Chase, Md. with his wife of 14 years, Erica, and their two daughters Katherine, 6, and Caroline, 18 months.