In Texas, enterprise and innovation transfer in two instructions: people arrive right here to turn their huge goals into authentic points, and people who are from listed here export their brilliant strategies to the rest of the earth. And no, it is not just about oil (though, of program, a ton of it is about oil). Engineering, development, cosmetics, jewelry, medical advances—Texas has a hand in fairly significantly any area you can consider of. And that two-way website traffic reveals no indicators of slowing down.
The Aspiring Planet Chief
H. Ross Perot
The Dallas billionaire tech entrepreneur’s Texarkana accent was the butt of late-night jokes, but the populist frustrations he tapped into throughout his two presidential campaigns have been no laughing subject.
A different Dallas billionaire, minted by the late-nineties dot-com increase, the Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star has flirted with political ambitions and launched a enterprise aimed at lowering prescription drug charges.
T. Boone Pickens
The Oklahoman turned Texan shook up Major Oil by launching unsolicited bids to choose around substantial firms and advocating for shareholder legal rights. His folksy way won him fans—just not in the government suites.
The South African turned Californian turned Texan disrupts industries seemingly for breakfast: vehicles, power, aerospace. And now that he’s taken around Twitter, he can infuriate millions on a day by day basis.
Generations of this household have donated considerably of their oil-derived prosperity to nationwide establishments, these as Yale University. Closer to dwelling, they assisted subsidize the revitalization of downtown Fort Worth.
John and Laura Arnold
The Houston power couple upped the ante on Texas philanthropy by applying their billions to combat Large Pharma price tag gouging, winner birth management access, and press to finish predatory lending in greater training.
He designed his Dallas business into arguably the very first nationwide genuine-estate improvement firm, reshaping downtown skylines throughout the state and placing the stage for the gleaming city landscape Texans now inhabit.
The CEO of the Austin-primarily based printed-housing corporation Icon describes his big construction robots as applications for lifting people out of the world wide housing crisis by building houses quicker to create and a lot more resilient.
The Lifestyle Entrepreneur
Mary Kay Ash
The Dallas cosmetics and multilevel-internet marketing pioneer turned the Tupperware house-bash notion into indulgent community beauty bashes and lifted an army of salespeople in pink Cadillacs.
Chip and Joanna Gaines
The odd-few property renovators built Waco a retail vacation spot, then transitioned into comprehensive-fledged moguls with a line of house items, most effective-providing books, and their individual cable channel.
This boom-and-bust Texan wager everything all through Houston’s go-go seventies, increasing his family’s eponymous section retail store chain and getting on piles of debt—only to crash alongside the oil industry in the eighties.
The Austin transplant bootstrapped her jewelry company into a hectic e-commerce web page and a lot more than a hundred retailers by catering to center-course consumers usually sniffed at by the coastal vogue elite.
The Showboat Lawyer
Richard “Racehorse” Haynes
Beginning with his protection of a River Oaks surgeon accused of poisoning his spouse with an éclair, this Houstonian originated the function of the flamboyant Texas legal defense lawyer.
Thomas J. Henry
Today’s ideal-identified Texas attorneys advertise their prowess in winning multimillion-greenback fits. San Antonio–based Henry utilized that method to establish the self-proclaimed biggest individual-injury business in the point out.
The Health-related Innovator
Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley
Their a long time-extensive feud overshadowed the fact that the put together do the job of two Houston surgeons resulted in the world’s very first prosperous implantation of a absolutely synthetic heart.
James P. Allison
This MD Anderson iconoclast pioneered a new means of preventing most cancers by unleashing the body’s immune process. He won the Nobel Prize—and obtained to play harmonica with Willie Nelson.
This post originally appeared in the February 2023 problem of Texas Monthly with the headline “Icons, Then and Now.” Subscribe today.
Picture 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