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Robert C. McNair
Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Robert C. 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. McNair is perhaps best known in the business community as the founder of Cogen Technologies, which was sold in 1999. Cogen was the largest privately-owned cogeneration company in the world, with aggregate capacity of 1,400 megawatts.

Robert C. 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.  McNair is perhaps best known in the business community as the founder of Cogen Technologies, which was sold in 1999.  Cogen was the largest privately-owned cogeneration company in the world, with aggregate capacity of 1,400 megawatts.

McNair serves as chairman of The McNair Group, headquartered in Houston, Texas, where he oversees an investment portfolio that includes interests in two cogeneration plants in the eastern United States.  McNair owns Palmetto Partners, Ltd. and RCM Financial Services, L.P., private investment entities that manage the McNairs’ private and public equity investments, and is a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame.

Committed to bringing a National Football League team to Houston, McNair formed Houston NFL Holdings in 1998.  On October 6, 1999, the NFL announced that the 32nd NFL franchise had been awarded to McNair, returning professional football to the city of Houston in 2002.  McNair’s efforts and influence have also played an integral role in bringing two Super Bowls to Reliant Stadium: Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl LI, to be played in February of 2017. His Texans won their first AFC South title in 2011 and gave the city its first NFL playoff game in nearly 18 years, a 31-10 win against Cincinnati in the Wild Card round on January 7, 2012. The Texans claimed their second consecutive AFC South title in 2012 and finished the regular season 12-4, matching the most regular-season wins in the city of Houston’s NFL history.  McNair hired Bill O’Brien as the third head coach of the franchise in January 2014, ushering in a new era of Texans football following a disappointing 2013 campaign.

McNair is actively involved in NFL affairs serving as chairman of the Finance Committee and is a member of the Audit committee.

As Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the AdvoCare Texas Bowl, McNair revived Houston's collegiate bowl game on December 28, 2006.  The game now features teams from the Big 12 and SEC conferences and on average draws nearly 58,000 fans each year to NRG Stadium, 6th best among non-College Football Playoff bowls.  McNair selected DePelchin Children’s Center as the charity beneficiary of the Bowl game in 2006, and DePelchin has been awarded nearly $700,000 in financial support and received more than $11,000,000 in promotional value through the Texas Bowl partnership.

Stonerside Stable, a major thoroughbred horse farm in Kentucky, is also among McNair’s successes.  A 1,947-acre thoroughbred horse farm and racing stable, Stonerside was home to more than 275 racehorses, broodmares, yearlings and weanlings.  From its inception in 1994, Stonerside won 72 Graded Stakes races including Grade I wins in the Belmont, Breeders’ Cup Mile, the Travers, the Haskell, the Hollywood Gold Cup, the Cigar Mile, the Carter, the Swaps, the Wood Memorial, the Matriarch and the Oak Leaf Stakes.  Stonerside also has finished second and third in the Kentucky Derby and was the co-breeder of Fusaichi Pegasus, winner of the Derby in 2000.  Stonerside has bred the winners of over $50-million, including the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Raven’s Pass and 2008 Champion American Juvenile colt Midshipman, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.  Stonerside was named breeder of the year in 2007 and 2008 by Kentucky horsemen.  McNair served on the boards of the Breeders’ Cup and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.  He was awarded the Allan Bogan Memorial award for outstanding services to the Texas Thoroughbred Association.  McNair is a member of the prestigious Jockey Club which governs the sport of thoroughbred racing.  In October 2008 McNair sold Stonerside Farm and Racing Stable.

McNair is Chairman of The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, The Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation in Forest City, NC, and the Houston Texans Foundation.  The McNair Foundation was honored as the 2003 Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and in November 2004, the Foundation was honored by the Houston Independent School District with a Hall of Fame Award.  Young Audiences of Houston awarded the Foundation its Houston Community Arts Partner Leadership Award in 2008.  The McNair Foundation was honored by the Neuhaus Education Center in March 2012 for their loyal support over the past 15 years.  The Foundation was one of several honored at the Mayor’s Literacy Leadership Breakfast in May 2012 for their support of literacy training for adults.  In March 2013, the Foundation was honored by Hermann Park Conservancy for support of its Centennial Gardens.

The McNairs have given generously to a wide array of charitable, scientific, literary, educational and religious organizations through the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation.  Major support has been given to scholarship programs at Baylor College of Medicine’s MD/PhD Program, the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Rice University, Austin College, Virginia Tech and Houston Community College.  Educational initiatives supported include the HISD Fine Arts Program, Project GRAD, Teach for America, Neuhaus Education Center and local charter schools.  Contributions to the community include the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat at the Houston Zoo, the jogging trail at Discovery Green, Equestrian Center for the San Jacinto Girl Scouts, McNair Cub Scout Adventure World, the Computer Training Center Room for the United Way, McNair Hall and McNair Plaza at Houston Baptist University, and sponsorship of community outreach programs for the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Young Audiences.  The McNairs endowed the Janice and Robert McNair Chair in Public Policy at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, which currently is held by the founding director, The Honorable Edward P. Djerejian.  The McNairs turned their philanthropic focus to medical research in 2007 and gave a transformational gift to establish the McNair Medical Institute at Baylor College of Medicine to fund the McNair Scholars Program which recruits top physicians/scientists in the fields of juvenile diabetes, breast and pancreatic cancer and the neurosciences.  Additional McNair Scholars Programs were established at M.D. Anderson, Menninger Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and Texas Heart Institute.

The McNairs adopted three horses for the Houston Police Department’s Mounted Patrol and renamed the horses Texan Star, Cushing 56 and J.J. Watt 99.  Major donations were made in 2013-14 to the AD Players Theater, the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage, the United Way 2-1-1 Capital Campaign, the Star of Hope Family Place, Houston Parks Bayou Greenways 2020 and Houston Zoo for their Phase II African Forest campaign.

McNair is the recipient of many awards, including the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Liberty Award, the Northwood University Outstanding Business Leader Award, the Association for Private Enterprise Education’s Herman W. Lay Memorial Award, the Distinguished American Award from the Houston Chapter of the National Football Foundation, the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Rotary Club of Houston, The South Main Center Association City Builder Award, the Houston Advertising Federation Annual Trailblazer Award recognizing him for significantly enhancing the overall image of Houston both locally and globally, the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, The Denton A. Cooley Leadership Award from the Texas Heart Institute, the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge National Award for Outstanding Patriotism, Responsible Citizenship and Community Involvement and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes President and Mrs. George H. W. Bush Community Impact Award.  In June 2005, Rice University announced that the newest building on the campus, the 167,000-square-foot home of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, had been officially named Janice and Robert McNair Hall by the Rice Board of Trustees.  In January 2006, the McNairs were the recipients of the Texas Association of Partners in Education Award for the Texas Outstanding Sports Partnership.  In October 2007, the Baylor College of Medicine bestowed their first Pink Ribbon Hero Award for Ambassadorship on the McNairs for their support of past Pink Ribbon Houses and for their commitment to the fight against cancer.  In April 2009 the McNairs were honored at the annual KIPP Academy dinner as devoted supporters of education for inner city and underprivileged youth.   In May 2009 McNair was named Entrepreneur of the Decade by the Houston Technology Center.  In November 2009 McNair was awarded the James A.  Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership which recognizes nationally and internationally renowned leaders for their excellence in public service and civic life.  In December 2009 McNair received the inaugural Rotary Lombardi Humanitarian Award.  In February 2010 Janice and Bob McNair received the Encore for Excellence Award from the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts for their support of the fine arts in the Houston Independent School District.  In April 2010, the McNairs received the Kezia DePelchin Award for their support of the DePelchin Children’s Center and long history of philanthropic efforts in the Houston area.  In May 2010, McNair was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.  McNair also is a founder of the Cotswold project, a revitalization project focused on downtown Houston.  The Association of Fundraising Professionals honored the McNairs at their National Philanthropy Day Luncheon on November 3, 2010 with their Maurice Hirsch Award for Philanthropy, the highest recognition given to honor an individual or family for their exceptional generosity and outstanding civic and charitable responsibility.  The McNairs were selected to be featured as Houston Treasures in The Social Book – 2011, a Houston publication.  McNair was honored by the Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas as a member of the Class of 2011 Laureates, JA Hall of Achievement in April 2011.  Texas Children’s Cancer Center honored the McNairs as the 2011 Community Champions in September 2011.  The McNairs were honored to serve as headliners of the Escape Family Resource Center’s annual Celebrity Serve Benefit in April 2012.  In October 2012, the McNairs were honored at the 10th Anniversary of McNair Hall at Rice University.  McNair was one of the Men of Distinction honored at the May 2013 luncheon benefitting medical research and treatment for children in the Texas Medical Center.  Bob and Janice McNair were Honorary Co-Chairs of the Impact a Hero Gala in May 2013 and the Honorary Campaign Chairs for raising money for the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Houston.  They were the Community Partners Honorees along with the Houston Texans at the Houston Symphony’s Centennial Opening Night in September 2013.  In November 2013, they were the Honorary Event Chairs for the DePelchin Children’s Center Gala.  Houston Community College Foundation honored the McNairs with their Crystal Eagle Award in February 2014.

McNair 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; the Greater Houston Partnership; the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Free Enterprise Institute; the Sigma Chi Foundation and the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Houston, and the World Presidents’ Organization.

Born in Tampa, Florida, McNair and his wife, Janice Suber McNair, have been residents of Houston since 1960.  Mr. McNair graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia in 1958 with a bachelor of science degree, and Mrs. McNair is a 1959 graduate of Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina.  In 1999, Mr. McNair received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the University of South Carolina.  In May 2010, he was presented with an honorary doctor of humanities in Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine.