Past Recipients of the Traiblazer Award

The American Advertising Federation-Houston will honor Martha F. Turner for her continued commitment to excellence and service, as well as her vision as a marketing and advertising trailblazer, on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. 

Martha Turner is President and CEO of Martha Turner Properties, a billion dollar, Houston-based independent residential real estate company. The company is currently ranked fourth on the Houston Business Journal’s “Largest Houston-Area Residential Real Estate Brokerage Firms” list, ranked by 2011 transaction sides of closed sales – the best year in the company’s 31 year history. 

Martha was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2009 in recognition of her contributions to keep Texas at the forefront of the nation's economy.  Martha’s support of education, health care, women’s organizations, and the arts has also earned her a reputation for commitment to community and to service. 

2010-2011: The recipient for 2010-2011 was Leroy Shafer, COO of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The “Man behind the Brand” is an incredible man, fellow Aggie and real champion of the Houston community.  Shafer has been instrumental in developing the Show into an internationally known entertainment and sports extravaganza by attracting some of the world’s biggest music performing stars, crossing all musical genres and pioneering the use of lights, sound and video projection.
Thanks in large part to Leroy Shafer’s efforts the HLSR stands as the beacon of the successful intersection of philanthropy, entertainment and inclusion. Shafer helped lead the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to a record 2.26 million visitors in 2011, his 38th year with the organization.
2009: The AAF-Houston presented the 2009 Trailblazer Award to Leslie L. Alexander. Alexander, owner of the Houston Rockets, has devoted his efforts to making his team a champion, both on the basketball court and in the community. Alexander's dedication to winning has resulted in two NBA championships with the Rockets, which gave Houston its first professional sports championships.

Alexander is also the founder of the Evelyn Alexander Home for Animals Foundation, which provides permanent homes to abandoned and abused animals.  He presently sits on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of the United States, the Children's Assessment Foundation, Clutch City Foundation and Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital. 

2008: The 2008 recipient was Walter E. Johnson, Founder and Chairman of Amegy Bank of Texas. Johnson, a pioneer of banking and charitable work for our community, has been a longtime champion for the City of Houston.  With such an important statement that the AAF-Houston Trailblazer represents, it seems fitting to reflect upon some of the other recipients of this prestigious AAF-Houston award.
2007: In 2007, a man who led Houston’s attempt to host the 2012 Summer Olympics was recognized by AAF-Houston. George A. DeMontrond, III, president of DeMontrond Automotive Group, was chairman of the Houston 2012 Foundation and he also served on the Super Bowl XXXVIII Host Committee Board. DeMontrond is also a board member of Metro, Houston Grand Opera, the Mental Health Association of Houston and is a lifetime vice president of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
2006: Since the establishment of the Trailblazer award in 1997, only one winner has been an entire business entity. H-E-B was recognized in 2006 for its collective efforts in improving Houston and its continuous faith in the city. H-E-B has a long history of contributing to various charities and is committed to its involvement in the community. It is one of the largest independently owned retailers in the country.
2005: Tilman Fertitta is a native Texan who is the CEO of one of the largest dining and entertainment companies in the country. Fertitta is the founder of Landry’s Restaurants that includes, among various others, Joe’s Crab Shack, Cadillac Bar and Saltgrass Steakhouse. The company employs more than 30,000 people nationwide.
Fertitta was recognized in 1998 for the creative design of the Kemah boardwalk that transformed the Clear Lake beach side community into the most popular tourist attraction in the Houston area. With the opening of the Downtown Aquarium, Landry’s solidified itself as a pivotal player in the revitalization of Downtown Houston. The innovative restaurant fused cuisine and family entertainment in the heart of downtown’s urban setting. Landry’s also invested in downtown’s rebirth with the baseball themed boutique hotel Inn at the Ballpark, just moments away from Minute Maid Park.
Along with being active in the local political scene, Fertitta serves on various boards including Boy Scouts of America and the Museum of Fine Arts. His dedication to the City of Houston is why Tilman Fertitta was the 2005 Trailblazer Award winner.
2004: In 2004, John Nau, III became the eighth recipient of the highly coveted AAF-Houston award. Nau is the CEO of the nation’s largest Anheuser-Busch distributor. With more than 700 employees and offices in the greater Houston area, Silver Eagle Distributors is the number one beer distributor in the city.
Nau has a long history of philanthropic and civic involvement in Houston. Among many others, he has served on the boards of The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance Advisory, the Good Samaritan Foundation, and the Greater Houston Partnership. He also served a four year term as chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. He was appointed to that position by President George W. Bush.
2003: In 2003, the AAF-H was pleased to honor Jim McIngvale with the Trailblazer Award in recognition for all that he has done for the City of Houston. In Houston, almost everyone knows “Mattress Mack.” Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture, is a local icon and hero. His story embodies the American dream. In 1981, the newly wed McIngvales moved to Houston with $5,000 and a dream. Gallery Furniture one of the most successful businesses in Houston and also one of the biggest and most successful furniture stores in the nation.
McIngvale has given much back to the community where he realized his dream. He frequently furnishes homes of those in need. He also speaks to the youth in area schools and helps to furnish teachers’ lounges as well. He has given generously to the scholarship program held by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. 
His own daughter started an organization called “Peace of Mind” for fellow sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She was diagnosed as a teenager. In 2007, the McIngvale family helped to bring the OCD Foundation’s National Conference to Houston and also provided financial assistance for over 500 attendees, including mental health professionals, educators, and OCD sufferers.
Anne Mrok-Smith
Author: Anne Mrok-Smith
Category: news