The Texas Business and Innovation Icons of 1973 and 2023 - Texas Monthly

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This nonfiction is portion of Texas Monthly’s peculiar fiftieth-anniversary issue. Read astir the other icons that person defined Texas since 1973.

In Texas, concern and innovation determination successful 2 directions: radical travel present to crook their large dreams into existent things, and radical who are from present export their superb ideas to the remainder of the world. And no, it’s not conscionable astir lipid (though, of course, a batch of it is astir oil). Technology, construction, cosmetics, jewelry, aesculapian advances—Texas has a manus successful beauteous overmuch immoderate tract you tin deliberation of. And that two-way postulation shows nary signs of slowing down.


The Aspiring World Leader

H. Ross Perot

The Dallas billionaire tech entrepreneur’s Texarkana accent was the butt of late-night jokes, but the populist frustrations helium tapped into during his 2 statesmanlike campaigns were nary laughing matter.

Mark Cuban

Another Dallas billionaire, minted by the late-nineties dot-com boom, the Mavericks proprietor and Shark Tank star has flirted with governmental ambitions and launched a institution aimed astatine lowering medicine cause prices.


The Troublemaker

T. Boone Pickens

The Oklahoman turned Texan shook up Big Oil by launching unsolicited bids to instrumentality implicit ample companies and advocating for shareholder rights. His folksy mode won him fans—just not successful the enforcement suites.

Elon Musk

The South African turned Californian turned Texan disrupts industries seemingly for breakfast: automobiles, energy, aerospace. And present that he’s taken implicit Twitter, helium tin infuriate millions connected a regular basis.


The Philanthropist

The Basses

Generations of this family person donated overmuch of their oil-derived wealthiness to nationalist institutions, specified arsenic Yale University. Closer to home, they helped subsidize the revitalization of downtown Fort Worth.

John and Laura Arnold

The Houston powerfulness couple upped the ante connected Texas philanthropy by utilizing their billions to combat Big Pharma terms gouging, champion commencement power access, and propulsion to extremity predatory lending successful higher education.


The Builder

Trammell Crow

He built his Dallas company into arguably the archetypal nationwide real-estate improvement firm, reshaping downtown skylines crossed the state and mounting the signifier for the gleaming municipality scenery Texans present inhabit.

Jason Ballard

The CEO of the Austin-based printed-housing company Icon describes his elephantine operation robots arsenic tools for lifting radical retired of the planetary lodging situation by making homes quicker to physique and much resilient.


The Lifestyle Entrepreneur

Mary Kay Ash

The Dallas cosmetics and multilevel-marketing pioneer turned the Tupperware house-party conception into indulgent vicinity quality bashes and raised an service of salespeople successful pinkish Cadillacs.

Chip and Joanna Gaines

The odd-couple location renovators made Waco a retail destination, past transitioned into full-fledged moguls with a enactment of location goods, best-selling books, and their ain cablegram channel.


The Retailer

Robert Sakowitz

This boom-and-bust Texan stake everything during Houston’s go-go seventies, expanding his family’s eponymous section store concatenation and taking connected piles of debt—only to clang alongside the lipid marketplace successful the eighties.

Kendra Scott

The Austin transplant bootstrapped her jewelry concern into a engaged e-commerce tract and much than a 100 stores by catering to middle-class customers typically sniffed astatine by the coastal manner elite.


The Showboat Lawyer

Richard “Racehorse” Haynes

Beginning with his defence of a River Oaks surgeon accused of poisoning his woman with an éclair, this Houstonian originated the relation of the flamboyant Texas transgression defence attorney.

Thomas J. Henry

Today’s best-known Texas lawyers advertise their prowess successful winning multimillion-dollar suits. San Antonio–based Henry utilized that look to physique the self-proclaimed largest personal-injury steadfast successful the state. 


The Medical Innovator

Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley

Their decades-long feud overshadowed the information that the combined enactment of two Houston surgeons resulted successful the world’s archetypal palmy implantation of a wholly artificial heart.

James P. Allison

This MD Anderson iconoclast pioneered a caller means of warring crab by unleashing the body’s immune system. He won the Nobel Prize—and got to play harmonica with Willie Nelson.

This nonfiction primitively appeared successful the February 2023 contented of Texas Monthly with the header “Icons, Then and Now.” Subscribe today


Image credits: Perot: Ron Heflin/AP; Cuban: Andrew Eccles/ABC/Getty; Pickens: Mary Altaffer/AP; Musk: Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty; Basses: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/AP; Arnold: Peter Yang; Crow: The Dallas Morning News/AP; Ballard: Diego Donamaria/Getty; Ash: Graham Bezant/Toronto Star/Getty; Gaines: Brian Ach/Invision/AP; Sakowitz: John Olson/Getty; Scott: Tim Mosenfelder/FilmMagic/Getty; Haynes: WBAP-TV/NBC5/KXAS-TV/University of North Texas Libraries/The Portal to Texas History; Henry: Johnny Nunez/Getty; DeBakey: AP; Cooley: Donald Uhrbrock/Getty; Allison: Christoph Schmidt/AP

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