While Hy Byrd Chaired Gulf Interstate
In a earlier weblog, I discussed the previous doyen of the Houston social scene, Joanne Johnson King Herring, girlfriend of Charlie Wilson, performed on the display screen by Julia Roberts, and later married to a wealthy businessman named Davis. I started my analysis on her lengthy earlier than George Crile wrote Charlie Wilson’s Struggle. Extra accurately, I used to be researching her husband, as a result of he was operating a pure gasoline company for years earlier than it turned Enron, which was already teetering on the usher in August 2001 and used as its excuse for its global collapse the destruction of the World Commerce Center on September 11.
You possibly can name me a cynical skeptic if you want.
When i first heard of Joanne Herring, I was doing analysis into an informally organized political group that met in Houston, Texas and often given credit score for offering the funds that elected Lyndon Johnson to Congress and later to the Presidency. Herring ‘s husband was ancillary to that group, not an precise member, and he came to my consideration once he moved the corporate headquarters of his company, Houstopn Natural Fuel, from the Petroleum Building, the place it had been positioned since 1927, to 1200 Travis Avenue across from Houston’s largest division retailer, then called Foley’s.
Petroleum Building, 1314 Texas Ave.
Robert Ray Herring began working for Houston Pure Gasoline (HNG) Firm in 1963, when a corporation he had arrange in 1958 to build pure fuel pipelines (Valley Gasoline Corp.) was bought out by HNG, and he became president in 1967. Herring’s earlier employer had been Fish Engineering owned by Ray C. Fish, additionally the largest stockholder in El Paso Pure Gas, as effectively because the founder of Pacific Northwest Pipeline Co. that built a pipeline from the San Juan Basin of Colorado and Artesia, New Mexico to Puget Sound. Fish died in 1962, at about the time Valley Gasoline Firm was purchased by HNG.
For a few years Houston Fuel & Gasoline (the securities of which have been held by Houston Gas Securities corporation) had produced the pure fuel purchased and distributed by the HNG Co. to Houston shoppers. Consolidation started in 1928 when the inventory of Houston Fuel Securities, then owned by Empire Energy of new York, was bought by a local company composed of William L. Moody, III and Odie R. Seagraves.
Completed by the top of March 1930, the consolidation was summarized by Time Magazine as follows:
Final week was introduced a major gas consolidation in the southwest. Firms affected are Louisiana Gas & Gasoline Co. a subsidiary of Electric Power & Light (which in turn is controlled by Sidney Zollicoffer Mitchell’s Electric Bond & Share Co.) and United Gas Co. which Odie Richard Seagraves organized in 1928. Mr. Seagraves, together with William Lewis Moody III, represent what is commonly identified because the Moody-Seagraves interests. Able promoters, Mr. Moody and Mr. Seagraves have developed many a Texan and Southwestern business, including accommodations, cosmetics, railroads. Mr. Seagraves has a big ranch at Kerrville, Tex. Though the brand new gasoline company will be organized as a subsidiary of Electric Power and Mild, Messrs. Seagraves and Moody retain a large inventory curiosity and will in all chance be represented on the directorate. Electric Bond & Share can have a controlling curiosity within the as but unchristened new firm, which can even purchase from Standard Oil of recent York the pure gasoline properties in Texas and Louisiana owned by Magnolia Fuel Co. a regular subsidiary….Significance of this consolidation lies: within the prolonged affect of Electric Bond & Share; within the drift of the natural gasoline business away from its petroleum and toward its public utility affiliations; within the probable status of the newly formed firm as the first of many far-reaching consolidations which ought to in the end create a brilliant-gas state of affairs comparable to the already existing tremendous-power programs in the electric area.
In keeping with Griffin Smith, Jr. in an article, “Empires of Paper,” in Texas Monthly (November 1973), within the thirties:
Vinson Elkins…was a ‘4-client firm’: the
Nice Southern Life Insurance coverage Firm,
the production end of United Gasoline Company, and
Pure Oil Company.
All however the final have been headquartered in Houston. Choose Elkins saw another useful resource, nonetheless, and exploited it brilliantly. The local impartial oil men had by no means catered to Baker & Botts; they all the time thought it was too near the large oil companies and Japanese finance. The Decide, carrying his banker’s hat as president of First [Metropolis] National, gave them loans; VE in flip did their legal work…This neat little arrangement catapulted VE into the big time.
In December 1965 forty two% of United Gasoline Company inventory was offered to Pennzoil Company. Solely four years earlier a subsidiary, Shreveport-primarily based United Gas Pipe Line, among other companies, had negotiated lengthy-term contracts with Texas Japanese Transmission Co. permitting the latter firm, formed at the tip of WWII by George and Herman Brown and other Houston associates, to increase. Pennzoil was formed in July 1963 when South Penn Oil shareholders accepted a merger with Zapata Petroleum and Stetco Petroleum, permitting Zapata stockholders to trade 4 shares of Zapata widespread stock for one share of Pennzoil inventory and Stetco shareholders to alternate seven for one. In 1959 Zapata Petroleum split off part of the corporate into Zapata Offshore, with the new stock going to George Bush, who beforehand had been a shareholder of the previous company; he subsequently obtained no interest in either Pennzoil or United Gas by advantage of the mergers that occurred subsequent to the Zapata cut up.
HNG had bid on long-term contracts to provide fuel to different major cities in Texas, however it was being bombarded at the moment by competition waged by a Texan named Oscar Wyatt via his corporation, Coastal States Fuel, particularly in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin, who claimed he may save the cities money.
In 1955 the agency became the Coastal States Fuel Producing Firm, engaged in collecting and distributing pure gas from the South Texas oilfields. In the early 1960s Coastal bought the Sinclair Oil Corpus Christi refinery and pipeline community and established a subsidiary referred to as Lo-Vaca Gathering to produce pure fuel to Texas cities and utilities. When Lo-Vaca curtailed its gas supplies and raised costs throughout the vitality disaster of the early 1970s, customers sued Coastal. Regulators ordered the subsidiary to refund $1.6 billion in 1977, and Coastal spun off Lo-Vaca as Valero Power to finance the settlement.
Newspaper articles from that early period tell us that Hy Byrd, who grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, had change into rich from building the pipelines to carry fuel from the south to northern areas and that in 1962 he determined to “branch out into the aerospace business”–a call that came at the same time Senator Lyndon Johnson was utilizing his influence in locating an arm of the NASA program in Houston.
Byrd also went into banking by acquiring the stock of the Montrose Nationwide Financial institution (located at 3400 Montrose Road), altering the name to Central Nationwide Bank.
The majority possession of the bank was managed on the time by Hy Byrd’s corporation, Gulf Interstate Corp. During this time, Houston Pure Fuel was beneath the management and control of a variety of businessmen, succeeded as president in 1967 by Robert R. Herring.
A noted architectural agency was hired to design an office constructing for the bank at 2100 Travis at Gray Road, and other businessmen who had purchased stock within the bank positioned their very own companies within the constructing. Hy Byrd was president of the financial institution, fuel oil fill box and another individual involved in Central National’s banking syndicate was L.E. Cowling, (answerable for the founding and preliminary capitalization of Alabama Nationwide Life Insurance Company, Capital Nationwide Life Insurance Company of Houston, Texas, and Southern States Life Insurance ) later a defendant named in an intricate scheme of company insider loans within the Shell v. Hensley case, 430 F.2nd 819 (1970).
2100 Travis – Central Sq.
William Wayne Caudill had been acclaimed for his faculty building design before he moved from College Station to Houston in 1959–senior partner of the Caudill Rowlett Scott (CRS) firm of architects, which would ultimately turn out to be CRS Sirrine–and professor from 1961 to 1969 at Rice College where he additionally served as chairman of the division of structure. The Rice professor was chosen to design the bank’s workplace building. During each the Johnson and Nixon administrations, Caudill was appointed to federal authorities advisory commissions, most notably tapped to be “architectural marketing consultant to the Division of State on international buildings” from 1974-seventy nine for President Gerald Ford’s administration. The CRS firm’s history is recounted beneath:
Within the late 1960s, as the growth at school development began to wane, CRS branched out into the well being care market and broadened its planning and design capabilities. To adapt to its new deal with design, the firm renamed itself once more in 1970, incorporating in Delaware and changing into CRS Design Associates. The following 12 months CRS made its initial public offering of 350,000 shares at $12 a share on the American Exchange. With the resultant infusion of money, CRS started a technique of enlargement, and it immediately started acquiring other companies, especially in construction management and design. Beneath the management of Chairman Thomas A. Bullock, certainly one of the original partners, CRS would acquire ten corporations over the following eleven years; these firms had been businesses as diverse as interior design, water useful resource engineering, and pulp and paper, and their acquisition reworked the nature, size, and position of the company.
Inventory Issued in 1971 by Underwood, Neuhaus & Co. of Houston, TX
In 1971, the first year it publicly reported revenues and income, CRS had revenues of $8.Seventy nine million and web income of $955,000, up from $6.465 million and $500,000 the yr earlier than. In 1972, CRS made its first major publish-public offering acquisition, buying A.A. Mathews, a development engineering agency specializing in tunnel design with workplaces in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C. and Rome. With this stroke CRS moved into the civil engineering market. The same year, CRS additionally purchased a water assets engineering company, Stevens, Thompson & Runyan, Inc. which had places of work in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, for 232,000 frequent shares and $1.65 million in cash. With these acquisitions, CRS’s businesses boomed. By 1973, revenues totalled $17.1 million and brought the firm a net income of $1.464 million.
In 1973, CRS and a joint enterprise associate, McGaughy, Marshall & McMillan, had been awarded one in every of the biggest Middle Jap projects ever, to supply full architectural and engineering services for the King Abdulaziz Military Academy close to Riyadh. By 1976, the agency had 761 staff, and revenues of $33 million, with a internet revenue of $2.3 million. As the firm brought in additional construction and engineering contracts, the numbers continued to rise. In 1979, the agency had $50 million in revenues and $2.85 million in internet earnings.
In 1978, CRS acquired Clark, Dietz & Associates-Engineers, an Illinois-primarily based civil engineering firm that specialised in environmental engineering, for $5.25 million. That yr CRS melded the 4 engineering companies it had bought within the last 5 years into one, STRAAM Engineers. CRS continued to develop its international enterprise, finishing large works at King Fahad University in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, within the 1970s, about 70 percent of CRS’s income derived from international orders, most of which came from building faculties, hospitals, and other establishments within the Middle East.
Also in 1978, Saudi businessman Ghaith Pharaon purchased a large stake in CRS, shopping for about 20 p.c of the agency’s shares at about $20 per share. Although he became the agency’s biggest shareholder, the eight authentic partners nonetheless owned a larger share between them, and have been basically left in control. However altering circumstances in the world economic system and marketplace pressured CRS to transform itself in the 1980s. It went into the decade closely reliant on foreign building business. But by the end of the decade, it will focus extra on domestic design and power generation.
Army orders would proceed to play an necessary function in the corporate’s progress in the 1980s, simply as they’d in the 1970s. In 1980 CRS acquired a contract of about $fifty six million from the U.S. Air Power to supply furnishings and equipment for the Saudi Arabian F-15 aircraft program. And the following 12 months CRS acquired a subcontract to formulate the master plan and building logistics planning for an MX missile base within the western United States, which contributed considerably to the firm’s revenues of $76 million and revenue of $5.25 million in 1981.
That very same year CRS acquired Geren Associates, an architectural and engineering firm based in Fort Price, Texas. To develop its home construction business, CRS purchased four common contracting firms the next year: Metro Southwest Construction, based mostly in Dallas, and Western Empire Construction, Colo-Macco, and Summit Constructors, all of which had been primarily based in Denver. This transfer vastly expanded CRS’s regional coverage.
By 1981 orders from the Center East had slipped whereas different areas of enterprise had grown, and only one quarter of CRS’s revenues came from projects within the Center East. Nonetheless, the 1980s brought profitable Center Japanese contracts to CRS. Between 1982 and 1987, CRS managed a five-member worldwide consortium of corporations that planned, designed, and did construction administration for a $2.1 billion project for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior to offer 12,000 housing units.
In 1982, CRS began acquisition talks with J.E. Sirrine, a privately-held mill architect and engineering company based in South Carolina that had been in existence since 1902. However CRS canceled the talks in March 1982. In 1983, although, the talks have been revived and the sale went via. Sirrine has been CRS’s most necessary acquisition, and it has helped change the course of the company. At the time, Sirrine’s important appeal was that it had a large home enterprise, and that it represented new geographic and enterprise areas. Sirrine offered engineering services to the growing pulp and paper, tobacco and chemicals enterprise in the fuel oil fill box southeastern United States. More importantly, although, Sirrine was a serious energy plant designer. After the acquisition, in October 1983, CRS Group formally modified its name to CRS Sirrine, Inc.
While Hy Byrd chaired Gulf Interstate, the company also purchased a forty% curiosity in Kenneth Schnitzer’s workplace building at 1200 Travis Road (between Polk and Dallas Streets)–called “the Houston Pure Gas Constructing” for its Petroleum Refining Process Equipment core tenant. Across the road from 1200 Travis, Gulf Interstate additionally acquired a leasehold interest in the Americana Constructing which had a number of floors for parking, leased to Foley’s Department stores (now Macy’s) on the opposite side of Travis Avenue.