Leading texans

4 Houstonians join Texas Business Hall of Fame

Four of the six inductees are from Houston. Photos courtesy

The Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation has inducted six new Texans to its prestigious ranks — and four run their businesses from the Bayou City.

John Arnold, Ric Campo, Jeffery D. Hildebrand, and Paul W. Hobby — along with Austin-based Whitney Wolfe Herd and Dallas-based Thomas O. Hicks — will be honored at Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation's 40th Anniversary and Induction Dinner on on November 3.

“The Texas Business Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its six inductees for 2022," says TBHF Chair Amanda Brock in a news release. "Inductees are recognized as trailblazers in business and exemplary leaders who have made significant contributions in their local communities and beyond, through both philanthropic and civic engagement. Although inductees can be nominated by anyone from the general public, they are selected by their peers and determined by a majority vote by Hall of Fame members."

The TBHF honors business leaders across the state by celebrating and telling their stories. The organization also runs the Future Legends Scholar & Veteran Award Program that grants forty $15,000 awards to scholars and veterans who demonstrate entrepreneurship and innovation at 24 universities throughout the Lone Star State. Both the scholars and the six honorees will celebrated this fall.

“The selection process, combined with the organization’s emphasis on both economic and social impact makes this one of the most prestigious business honors in the state,” says TBHF Legend and the 2022 Master of Ceremonies, Richard Fisher.

Here's more information on this year's honorees:

  • Houstonian John Arnold is the founder of Centaurus Capital LP, an energy-focused, family office investment fund. He also created Arnold Ventures, a philanthropic investment firm focused on health care, education, criminal justice, and public finance.
  • Houston-based Camden Property Trust CEO Ric Campo has also sat on the board of directors of several Houston organizations, including Central Houston, Inc., Greater Houston Partnership, Baker Ripley, and The Coalition for the Homeless, and more.
  • Former Dallas Stars and Dallas Rangers, owner Thomas O. Hicks, is the chairman, founder and partner of Hicks Holdings LLC, a family office that owns and manages real estate, corporate assets and investments, including a private equity firm.
  • Jeffery D. Hildebrand, is the executive chairman and founder of Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Company, Harvest Midstream Company, and JDH Capital. He serves on the boards of Central Houston, Inc., the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston Police Foundation, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Chairman of The University of Texas Investment Management Company, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
  • Houstonian Paul W. Hobby is a founding partner of Genesis Park and GP Capital. He's served as the chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission, the Greater Houston Partnership, the Houston Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ,and the Texas General Services Commission.
  • Austin-based WhitneyWolfeHerd is the founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., the parent company that operates Badoo, Fruitz, and Bumble, three of the world’s fastest growing data apps worldwide. She led Bumble’s IPO in 2021 as the youngest women CEO to ever take a company public.

The awards dinner, presented by Texas Capital Bank, will be hosted in Houston at Hilton Americas on November 3. The dinner is preceded by a private awards luncheon, sponsored by Deloitte, for the Hall of Fame's 40 2022 Scholar & Veteran Award recipients.

Last year's dinner honored six Texans in November 2021, including Houston investment manager Gerald Smith, chairman and CEO of Smith Graham & Co.

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Building Houston

 
 

Kerri Smith of the Rice Alliance joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss Rice's Clean Energy Accelerator. Photo courtesy of Rice

Kerri Smith knows accelerators. Through her over 18 years at Rice Alliance, she's been responsible for overseeing several and was on the founding leadership team of Houston's first energy tech startup accelerator, SURGE. After years of focusing you accelerating Rice University's student-focused program, Owl Spark, she's transitioned back into the energy tech space.

"I've worked with many types of founders. There's not one unique characteristic that everyone has," Smith says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "Our goal is to help move them along and help them move the needle. At the end of the day, we want them to have a good experience and to meet their goals and objectives."

The Rice Alliance's Clean Energy Accelerator launched last summer with its inaugural cohort of 12 cleantech startups, which represented energy sectors from solar and wind innovations to hydrogen, geothermal, and more. Smith says the startups represented a wide range of stages and were from all over — only two companies were from Houston originally. The out-of-town companies were able to make critical partnerships in town and set up a presence and a home here.

"We were able to build a family-like culture among our group, and that was something that was wildly appreciative," Smith, who serves as executive director of the program, says.

Applications for Class 2 of CEA are open until May 31. While the program will offer the same access to mentorship and opportunities, the program will change slightly. CEA will focus on seed and series A-stage companies and will be a hybrid program. Throughout the 10 weeks, which begins in the fall instead of the summer this year, founders will visit Houston three times at the beginning, middle, and the end of the accelerator. Each startup will receive a grant to cover the expenses of the equity-free program.

CEA is just one part of a greater ecosystem of innovation under the umbrella of Rice University, which includes the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The Ion Houston, Owl Spark, and more. All these entities also play into the greater Houston area's innovation ecosystem.

"Rice Alliance has a strong history of demonstrating collaboration with a number of organizations," Smith says. "I think one of the primary benefits that we have in these collaborative opportunities is to ensure that we are collectively building a capable and diverse pipeline of talent to solve for these problems and provide them with access to experiencing all of the benefits of our ecosystem."

With CEA specifically, some of these collaborations include working with Greentown Houston, which is just next door to the program's home at The Ion, and the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative.

"We're a cog in the wheel. We do really well with that. We play well with others – in ways that the founder has a good experience and can benefit," Smith says.

Smith shares more about what she's looking for in the second cohort of CEA on the podcast episode, as well as what she sees as Houston's role in the energy transition. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.

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