2002 Trailblazer Award Recipient: Bob McNair

2002: Robert C. “Bob” McNair, a leading businessman, sportsman and philanthropist in the city of Houston for more than 50 years, is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Houston Texans. Committed to bringing a National Football League team to Houston, McNair formed Houston NFL Holdings in 1998. The NFL announced that the 32nd NFL franchise had been awarded to McNair in October 1999, returning football to Houston in 2002. McNair is working to bring Super Bowl XXXVIII to Reliant Stadium in 2004 and is actively involved in NFL affairs, chairing various committees.

McNair made his fortune through energy company Cogen Technologies, which he founded and eventually sold in 1999. It was the largest privately-owned cogeneration company in the world. He owns interests in other cogeneration power plants. McNair is chairman and CEO of The McNair Group, which is dedicated to real estate and financial sector ventures. He also owns private investment entities that manage his private and public equity investments. 

He is a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame and is a current or past member of the Boards of Trustees of a number of institutions including Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Heart Institute, Houston Grand Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Greater Houston Partnership, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Free Enterprise Institute, Sigma Chi Foundation, Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Houston, and the World Presidents’ Organization.

McNair is chairman of The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, which has made grants to a wide range of charitable organizations and programs. It also funds research to find cures to breast and pancreatic cancer, diabetes and neurological problems. The Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation funds scholarships in his home state of North Carolina.

McNair graduated from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, in 1958 with a B.S. degree. In 1999, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of South Carolina. The Houston Texans Foundation supports local charity and community events.