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    The Waterman Cometh

    T. Boone Pickens making waves with new water pipeline

    Bloomberg News reported on November 6 that T. Boone Pickens "may have engineered one of his shrewdest takeovers yet." The octogenarian chairman of BP Capital LLC, Dallas, has devised a way to create a water district on eight acres of land outside Amarillo. Pickens hopes to use the land to condemn property and sell tax-exempt bonds to build an expansive water pipeline.

    The financial news service reports that Pickens' plan includes a 328-mile, $2.2 billion pipeline to move water from the panhandle, which is home to the 174,000-square-mile Ogallala Aquifer, to the suburbs of Dallas and San Antonio. Best known for his dealings in oil, Pickens' Mesa Water Inc. has acquired 200,000 acres of Texas water rights and may seek to double that amount.

    In addition to the multi-billion dollar pipepline, Pickens' vision includes piggybacking windpower farms on the surrounding ranchland and feeding their electricity into to the grid through a transmission network built along the water pipeline's right-of-way. The amibitious project could cost upwards of $10 billion altogether, however the idea is meeting with some resistance that could hamper plans.

    Salon.com ran an article on the subject "High noon at Ogallala aquifer" in Feb. 2001. .:.

    Image: Ogallala Aquifer, USGS

    One that Got Away

    Former Austin start-up nets big money

    Originally founded in Austin in 2002 with backing from Sevin Rosen and ARCH Ventures, Innovalight Inc. has just raised $28 million to bring its new clean energy technology to market. In early 2005, the company moved from Austin to Minneapolis, Minn., stayed a year, and moved to Santa Clara, Calif. (close to home for the firm's CEO Conrad Burke), and is finally making settling in Sunnyvale, Calif.

    The company originally hoped its technology could lead to a nanotechnology-based light bulb that would never wear out. That technology has since been applied to a create thin-film silicon solar technology. VentureWire reports that Innovalight is one of the first companies that is moving into the manufacturing stage with its thin-film solar cells, which will be funded by the latest round of investment.

    The irony in the constant moving for Innovalight is that Austin is turning out to be a hotspot for clean energy technology, and has been judged a better place to start such companies than places like Silicon Valley. .:.

    Growth Engines

    Inc. Magazine debuts new super list

    Having previously published the Inc. 500, the New York-based publication recently upped the ante by publishing the Inc. 5,000. The list includes 325 Texas-based companies for 2007, which can be viewed here. The state of New York had just 288 listees, while California had 667. .:.

    After the Afterglow

    TXU's chief executive ponders future

    Following the $45 billion buyout of TXU by private equity groups KKR and TPG, the Dallas Morning News reports, John Wilder will leave the company with $270 million. At just 49 years of age, Wilder now must figure out what he plans to do next. The DMN today details the contents of a letter Wilder sent out to TXU employees, which includes taking six months off to work on his "life list" of to-do items and possibly pursuing board positions with other energy companies.

    Some of those personal pursuits Wilder plans on doing include riding a camel in the desert, learning ballroom dance with his wife, reading the Bible cover to cover, and spending more time with his son. A copy of the entire letter is available here. Three things he said he won't do is run for political office, hunt or fish everyday, or write a book. .:.

    TEXecutive Index

    The Lives and Times of Texas Triangle Business Leaders

    1. Adams, Wade; Chairman of the Board - Texas Nanotechnology Initiative [Austin]
    2. Ansari, Anousheh; [Dallas]
    3. Armstrong, Lance; Chairman- LiveStrong Foundation [Austin]
    4. Caster, Sam; [Dallas]
    5. Cuban, Mark [Dallas]
    6. Dell, Michael S.; Founder, Chairman & CEO - Dell Inc. [Austin] [Updated: 2/2/2009]
    7. Hamill, Denny; Treasurer - Texas Nanotechnology Initiative [Austin] [03-02-09]
    8. Haynes, Richard "Racehorse" [Houston]
    9. Jamail, Joe [Houston]
    10. Kirk, Ron; Partner, Vinson & Elkins [Dallas]
    11. Kordzik, Kelly K.; President - Texas Nanotechnology Initiative [Austin] [03-02-09]
    12. Langdale, Mark; President - George W. Bush Foundation [Dallas] [Updated: 1/29/2009]
    13. Perot, Ross [Dallas]
    14. Persinger, Terry L.
    15. Pickins, T. Boone; Founder - Mesa Energy [Dallas]
    16. Rogers, Lorene; former-President - Univeristy of Texas, Austin [Dallas]
    17. Rowling, Robert B.; Owner and Chairman - TRT Holdings, Inc.
    18. Stanford, R. Allen; CEO - Stanford Group [Houston]
    19. Susman, Steve [Houston]
    20. Wilder, John
    21. Ziegler, Jeff .:.

    Tour de Texas

    Armstrong running circuit to raise support for cancer bond

    The Chronicle reported on October 10, 2007, that Lance Armstrong was in Houston to build support for a cancer research effort. It is part of an effort by the the seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor to raise voter awareness of a new proposition on the Nov. 6 ballot.

    Known as Proposition 15, the proposal would enable the sate to issue $300 million a year in bonds over 10 years to cancer research. Potential recipients would be universities and biotechnology research companies, who would compete for grants made by a state cancer research center. .:.

    Enterprise Index

    Companies referenced on .:.TexasTriangle.

    Ever the Contrarian

    Perot's Hillwood goes against the grain in real estate

    The Ross Perot-owned real estate development company Hillwood [Plano] is developing an $86 million boutique hotel in Atlanta's Midtown area. Such hotels cater to well-heeled travelers, promising high levels of hospitality, service, and discretion.

    Hillwood is well known for its work in Dallas as the developer of the American Airlines Center and the $3-billion, 75-acre mixed use Victory Park project (above). .:.

    Mannatech Co-Founder Resigns

    CEO steps down, remains chairman

    Under pressure from shareholders and regulators accusing the company of using illegal sales tactics, Sam Caster, who co-founded Mannatech Inc. [Coppell] in 1993, resigned as CEO. He retains role as board chair, reports the Wall Street Journal.

    The board of directors selected Terry L. Persinger, current President and CEO, as interim CEO.

    The $410 million dietary supplements maker went public in 1999, and has experienced rapid growth. However, the Texas attorney general is pursuing the company for false marketing claims, and a number of shareholder suits have been filed against the company. .:.

    Houston's Most Popular, or Hated, Lawyer

    Attorney's hourly fee breaks four figures

    With major league baseball players able to make as much as $15,000 an hour, why should a major league lawyer like Houston's Steve Susman, co-founder of plaintiffs' litigation firm Susman Godfrey LLP, worry about raising rates to a measly one-grand-an-hour rate? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, law firms around the country have grappled with the question for years--fearing client backlash.

    Money quote: "We have viewed $1,000 an hour as a possible vomit point for clients," an unnamed partner in a New York firm told the Journal.

    But with lawyer fees rising at 6 to 7% a year since 2000, reaching the four-figure mark was inevitable. Houston's Susman is known for trying large cases around the country. He is one of many attorneys cited in the article who have decided that, yes, their time is that valuable.

    Driving the increases, in part, are the rising salaries firms are paying associates. Many firms around the country have decided to raise first-year associate pay to $160,000 a year to hire the best law school graduates. .:.

    Born to Build

    Serial entrepreneurs are a different breed

    The psychological make-up of entrepreneurs who found and grow multiple ventures does seem to be different than the average joe, reports The Wall Street Journal on August 20, 2007. According to a 2000 study, such entrepreneurs had a higher propensity for risk, innovation, and achievement. They were less scared of failure, and were able to recover better when failure did happen.

    Those that had initial successes also had the advantage of being able to call on network of contacts for capital, advice and recruitment to launch new endeavors. The paper cited multiple examples of such types of entrepreneurs, including Anousheh Ansari .

    Ansari, an Iranian-American, recently made news by becoming the first woman space tourist--paying Russia to hitch a ride on one of their rockets to spend one week on the International Space Station. Her family is also the money behind the $10 million Ansari X-Prize, which was created to spur a non-governmental space race among private inventors.

    Her current company is Prodea Systems, Inc. [Plano] , which designs software for managing so-called "digital homes" and their multimedia systems. It has locations in Chennai, India, and Beijing, China. Her previous success is Telecom Technologies, Inc. [Richardson; Telecom Corridor], which she co-founded with her husband, Hamid, and brother-in-law, Amir, in 1994. It was ranked by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte & Touche as one of the fastest growing comnpanies in the country. It sold for $750 million to Sonus Networks in 2000. .:.

    The Technically Hip

    iPhone sales show tech hotspots in the Triangle

    Even before its launch, iPhone was being feted as one of the biggest product launches in tech industry history. And from the lines at stores, media attention, and more than 500,000 devices sold over a single weekend, iPhone seems to have earned such laurels.

    Put another way, Americans went to the polls, voted (with their wallets and pocket books), and elected iPhone to the coveted positioned of New, New Thing. In this light, it's interesting to look at exit polling data from the iPhone launch in Texas.

    Altogether, Apple has 12 retail sites in Texas (all in the Triangle): 5 stores in the Houston metro (Friendswood, The Highlands, Sugarland, and 2 in Houston proper); 4 in Dallas-Fort Worth (Dallas, Plano, Highland Park, and Southlake); 2 in Austin; and 1 in San Antonio.

    At the end of opening weekend, CNNmoney.com reported that both Austin's stores were out of phones. As was Dallas. The remaining 9 stores throughout the state had phones still in stock, however. In contrast, CNN.com reported that 34 of 36 stores in California were out of stock at the end of the weekend (both stores still with iPhones were in San Francisco--Apple's home turf). While in New York, only 1 of the state's 12 stores were out of stock.

    Assuming there were no logistical foul-ups, which resulted in some stores being shorted, it would seem that tech early adopters abound in Austin - no surprise there. The Big D also is home to techie hipsters, not surprising given the concentration of big technology enterprises in the city. (It was reported that one eager shopper in Dallas paid $800 just to get to the front of the line to buy herself an iPhone.) .:.

    Riding Google's Coat Tails

    Dell partners with search giant

    An interesting new white paper was released by Austin-based Dell this month. The paper details how the computer maker has partnered with Google to produce an enterprise search appliance, packaged in a distinctive yellow enclosure.

    Not the first such pairing, last year, Dell struck a deal to pre-load its PCs with Google's search software and to point users to a joint Google-Dell homepage. How successful these moves have been is not clear, but if nothing else Dell is able to bask in the glow of the hottest company in technology even as its own halo has dimmed. .:.

    Phone Hacks

    Austin firm can't wait to get inside Apple's iPhone

    Forbes.com posted a story detailing how an Austin-based Portelligent sent engineers to wait in line for Apple's new iPhone - intent on buying one or two phones for the purpose of tearing them apart.

    According to Forbes, Portelligent, and companies like it, "sell reports detailing the processors, memory and materials used in each device to customers that include consumer electronics manufacturers and analysts."

    The reports determine which companies supplied what components to Apple, something the firms themselves are not allowed to disclose, as well as allow business analysts to determine Apple's gross margins.

    With anticipation running high for the iPhone, what's inside the device is very significant. The Wall Street Journal reported on June 28 that Apple's market capitalization has risen $34 billion since it annonced the iPhone and its plan to sell 10 million units. [San Antonio-based AT&T also stands to benefit greatly from iPhone because the mobile phone works only on AT&T's network.] .:.

    Ties that Bind

    Family biz owners take note

    Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business [Waco] is looking for Texas' best family business."The family- owned firm is extremely important in the economy of the United States, comprising 80 to 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America," said J. David Allen, Director of the John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship. "When family-owned firms are able to continue the business into the second and third generations they have achieved what very few are able to achieve."

    Criteria for application include being a business organization, public or private, home based in Texas that has one or more of the following characteristics: 1) has been owned and operated by different generations of a family; 2) the potential exists for ownership to be passed on to a younger generation; 3) more than one member of a family has active employment in an organization owned by a family; 4) a family holding company which is presently operating a business.

    Applications for the 18th annual event will be accepted through August 15 and the award ceremony will take place in November. Winners will be chosen in three categories based on the size of the company: small, medium and large. The Hankamer School will also distribute awards based on the special categories ofFamily Values Award, Community Commitment Award, Fastest-Growing FamilyBusiness Award, Well-Managed Family Business Award, Founders Award andHeritage Award.

    Winners from last year's event include First Dallas Holdings, Inc. of Dallas in the small business category, Pulliam Pools of Fort Worth in the medium category, and DAVACO, Inc. of Dallas in the large category. .:.

    Houston Fortune 1000

    Below is a list of the 49 Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in the Houston area.

    #5 ConocoPhillips [Houston ]
    #30 Marathon Oil [Houston ]
    #65 Sysco Corp [Houston ]
    #103 Plains All American Pipeline [Houston ]
    #106 Lyondell Chemical [Houston ]
    #177 Enterprise GP Holdings [Houston ]
    #181 Waste Management [Houston ]
    #186 Continental Airlines [Houston ]
    #201 (TAKEN PRIVATE '07) Kinder Morgan [Houston ]
    #229 Reliant Energy [Houston ]
    #233 Anadarko Petroleum [The Woodlands ]
    #259 TEPPCO Partners [Houston ]
    #270 CenterPoint Energy [Houston ]
    #278 Baker Hughes [Houston ]
    #293 Apache [Houston ]
    #324 Smith International [Houston ]
    #333 National Oilwell Varco [Houston ]
    #351 Enbridge Energy Partners [Houston ]
    #377 Group 1 Automotive [Houston ]
    #449 El Paso [Houston ]
    #462 Frontier Oil [Houston ]
    #495 BJ Services [Houston ]
    #537 FMC Technologies [Houston ]
    #539 EOG Resources [Houston ]
    #553 Cameron International [Houston ]
    #616 (TAKEN PRIVATE '07) EGL [Houston ]
    #632 American National Ins. [Galveston ]
    #660 Noble Energy [Houston ]
    #664 Benchmark Electronics [Angleton ]
    #674 Southern Union [Houston ]
    #681 US Oncology Holdings [Houston ]
    #745 Pride International [Houston ]
    #747 Westlake Chemical [Houston ]
    #750 Stewart Information Services [Houston ]
    #796 Adams Resources & Engy. [Houston ]
    #823 Quanta Services [Houston ]
    #836 HCC Insurance Holdings [Houston ]
    #848 Quanex [Houston ]
    #855 Dynegy [Houston ]
    #879 Oil States International [Houston ]
    #892 Men's Wearhouse [Houston ]
    #910 Grant Prideco [Houston ]
    #921 Metals USA [Houston ]
    #925 Goodman Global [Houston ]
    #931 Service Corp. Intl. [Houston ]
    #933 Pogo Producing [Houston ]
    #950 ExpressJet Holdings [Houston ]
    #953 Newfield Exploration [Houston ]
    #954 Hanover Compressor [Houston ]

    Weighted heavily to energy, Houston's economy has the densest concentration of large companies in Texas. For every 1 million residents, Houston has 8.8 Fortune 1000 companies. Dallas-Ft. Worth has nearly as many, with 7.6 per 1 million, and San Antonio-Austin have 2.6 per 1 million. .:.

    Metroplex Fortune 1000

    Below is a list of the 43 Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in the DFW Metroplex.

    #2 Exxon Mobil [Irving ]
    #101 AMR Corp [Fort Worth ]
    #111 Electronic Data Systems [Plano ]
    #116 J.C. Penney [Plano ]
    #137 Kimberly-Clark [Irving ]
    #155 D.R. Horton [Fort Worth ]
    #157 Burlington Northern Santa Fe [Fort Worth ]
    #162 Texas Instruments [Dallas ]
    #174 Fluor [Irving ]
    #234 (TAKEN PRIVATE Oct. '07) TXU [Dallas ]
    #246 Dean Foods [Dallas ]
    #258 Tenet Healthcare [Dallas ]
    #276 Southwest Airlines [Dallas ]
    #306 Energy Transfer Equity [Dallas ]
    #316 Commercial Metals [Irving ]
    #346 Celanese [Dallas ]
    #372 Atmos Energy [Dallas ]
    #410 Blockbuster [Dallas ]
    #417 Triad Hospitals [Plano ]
    #424 Affiliated Computer Svcs. [Dallas ]
    #426 GameStop [Grapevine ]
    #466 RadioShack [Fort Worth ]
    #482 XTO Energy [Fort Worth ]
    #502 Brinker International [Dallas ]
    #517 Neiman Marcus [Dallas ]
    #518 Holly [Dallas ]
    #541 Michaels Stores [Irving ]
    #559 Lennox International [Richardson ]
    #586 Torchmark [Mckinney ]
    #603 Trinity Industries [Dallas ]
    #627 Crosstex Energy [Dallas ]
    #645 Flowserve [Irving ]
    #678 Sabre Holdings [Southlake ]
    #723 Pioneer Natural Resources [Irving ]
    #758 Zale [Irving ]
    #759 Rent A Center [Plano ]
    #788 Perot Systems [Plano ]
    #799 Builders FirstSource [Dallas ]
    #826 HealthMarkets [N. Richland Hills ]
    #859 Alliance Data Systems [Dallas ]
    #903 Pier 1 Imports [Fort Worth ]
    #913 ENSCO International [Dallas ]
    #916 AmeriCredit [Fort Worth ]

    Of note is that DFW has 7.60 Fortune 1000 companies per 1 million residents. Much higher than San Antonio-Austin, at 2.60, but less than Houston, with 8.8 Fortune 1000 per 1 million residents. Interstingly, also, is the fact the the Metroplex has just 1 company in the top 100, but it's a real giant, #2 Exxon Mobil. .:.

    Austin-San Antonio Fortune 1000

    Below is a list of the Fortune 1000 companies in Austin-San Antonio corridor.

    #34 Dell Inc. [Round Rock ]
    #16 Valero Energy Corp [San Antonio ]
    #27 AT&T [San Antonio ]
    #128 Tesoro [San Antonio ]
    #180 USAA [San Antonio ]
    #330 (TAKEN PRIVATE Sep. '07) Clear Channel Comm. [San Antonio ]
    #411 Whole Foods Market [Austin ]
    #414 Temple-Inland [Austin ]
    #779 Rush Enterprises [New Braunfels ]

    That means the combined San Antonio-Austin region, with 2.45 million people, has 2.60 Fortune 1000 companies per 1 million residents. By contrast, DFW has 7.16 such companies per 1 million residents, and Houston has the highest ratio at 8.8 companies per 1 million residents. This indicates a relative lack of large enterprises in the southwest corner of the Texas Triangle. .:.

    The Southwest Metroplex

    In 30 years, San Antonio and Austin could become one mega city

    The forces that brought together Dallas and Fort Worth to create the Metroplex are a harbinger of things to come in the southwest corner of the Texas Triangle. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Dr. Robert Lang of the Metropolitan Institue at Virginia Tech has determined that DFW was the earliest example of what he calls a megapolitan region.

    Such regions are charactertized by having two or more core cities, separated geographically, but sharing a cloud of interacting and interrelating communities. Lang estimates that in the coming years, this very same process will result in the merging of the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) of San Antonio and Austin-Round Rock into a single metroplex. (Other such agglomerations around the U.S. include Phoenix-Tucson; Washington, D.C. and Richmond; Orland and Tampa; Los Angeles and San Diego.)

    Separated by just 85 miles, the two core cities will grow together to such a degree that by 2040 the two metros will essentially one continguous urban region, known as a consolidated metropolitan statistical areas (CMSA). And it could happen sooner.

    Today the two regions have a combined population of 3.96 million people. Thanks to high-growth rates, the population is expected to reach nearly 6 million by 2030. With Austin constrained in its ability to grow to the west, its expansion is moving south and north along the I-35.

    In fact, Lang found in his study, that the northern San Antonio counties of Guadalupe and Comal already have a significant percentage of residents commuting north to Austin. Based on the most recent U.S. Census data from the year 2000, 9 percent of residents in Guadalupe went north and 7 percent did in Comal. If this pace continues or accelerates, San Antonio and Austin will merge in the coming decades.

    The two core cities of Austin and San Antonio will retain their distinctive personalities, but the communities in counties to the north of San Antonio and the south of Austin will increasingly intermingle and merge. The rate of metroplexification may accelerate considerably if a plans to build a massive Trans-Texas Corridor along the I-35, connecting north Texas to Mexico, go through. .:.

    Clean and Mean

    Austin CEO named E&Y's Entrepreneur of the Year for region

    Ernst & Young announced on June 6 that Jeff Ziegler, CEO of Austin-based TechTurn, was the regional Entrepreneur of the Year winner. Ziegler's TechTurn collects, recycles, refurbishes, and remarkets technology products from large organizations to make a profit and minimize impact to the environment.

    TechTurn is a poster child for Austin's developing clean technology cluster. The Wall Street Journal reported that Austin even outpaces the vaunted Silicon Valley in this burgeoning area. So TechTurn's success seems particularly appropos.

    According to TechTurn, 300 of the Fortune 500 send their used technology to the company to be refurbed and resold around the world. As regional winner, Ziegler is now eligible to compete for the national E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award. .:.

    10-Gallon Headquarters

    Big business thrives deep in the heart of Texas

    Texas is home to some of the biggest companies on the planet. And the vast majority of the more than 100 Fortune 1000 companies are concentrated in the Texas Triangle. Below is a list of 22 firms that fall within 200 largest public companies in the U.S. (Clicking on a company will take you to a list of their annual reports filed with the SEC going as far back as 1994.)

    #2 Exxon Mobil [Irving]
    #5 ConocoPhillips [Houston]
    #16 Valero Energy Corp [San Antonio]
    #27 AT&T [San Antonio]
    #30 Marathon Oil [Houston]
    #34 Dell Inc. [Round Rock]
    #65 Sysco Corp [Houston]
    #101 AMR Corp [Fort Worth]
    #103 Plains All American Pipeline [Houston]
    #106 Lyondell Chemical [Houston]
    #111 Electronic Data Systems [Plano]
    #116 J.C. Penney [Plano]
    #128 Tesoro [San Antonio]
    #137 Kimberly-Clark [Irving]
    #155 D.R. Horton [Fort Worth]
    #157 Burlington Northern Santa Fe [Fort Worth]
    #162 Texas Instruments [Dallas]
    #174 Fluor [Irving]
    #177 Enterprise GP Holdings [Houston]
    #180 USAA [San Antonio]
    #181 Waste Management [Houston]
    #186 Continental Airlines [Houston]

    In addition to these, there are scores of other giant companies in the Texas Triangle. In fact, 79 other Fortune 1000 firms are at home inside the Texas Three-Step. .:.

    Ab Ovo

    S.A. startup gets national attention

    A new Web 2.0 venture is launching from San Antonio. Called Incuby, the site seeks to create a community where inventors can display their inventions to the general public, entrepreneurs, and investors.

    According to TechCrunch.com, "the team behind Incuby have toured the United States meeting with different inventor groups. They found that inventors are tired of the high costs associated with travelling and presenting at trade shows and are ready for 'a place of their own on the web.'"

    Incuby will move into a closed beta test in coming weeks, but is currently in development. However, being featured by the massively popular and influential TechCrunch.com gives the company a huge initial lift. .:.

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