2005: Galveston native Tilman Fertitta is founder, chairman of the board, president, CEO and primary shareholder of Landry's Restaurants, one of the largest dining and entertainment companies in the nation. Projects in downtown Houston, Kemah and Galveston have spurred revitalization of those urban areas.
He has received many awards, including the Residential Builders Model Award from the American Institute of Builders Design and induction into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. The Houston Jaycees named him one of "12 outstanding young Houstonians" in 1986 and Ernst & Young honored him with the Houston Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 1998 he received the Legacy Award for his creativity and design of the Kemah Boardwalk.
He has served on the boards of the Texas Heart Institute, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Sam Houston Area Council-Boy Scouts of America, Central Houston, Inc., and the Greater Houston Partnership. He has served as Chairman of the Houston Children's Charity, the Houston Police Foundation and Executive Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Fertitta was a commencement speaker for 1998 and 2004 graduating classes of the University of Houston.
Fertitta attended Texas Tech University and the University of Houston, where he studied business administration and hospitality management. He showed an entrepreneurial streak even in college when he started his own firm focused on marketing and sales.