Welcome W. Wilson, Sr. of Houston is Chairman of the Board of Welcome Group, LLC, which, as landlord, owns ninety manufacturing and other industrial facilities in Texas comprising just over 4 million square feet of space. He is also a principal in Kingham Dalton Wilson, Ltd, a regional industrial construction company.
Mr. Wilson has been a real estate developer in Texas for fifty-seven years beginning with his first project in Galveston County, which is now the incorporated City of Jamaica Beach (1,600 home sites). He was also the developer of Tiki Island in Galveston County, now an incorporated City of 1,200 home sites. In total, Mr. Wilson developed 8,000 home sites in four counties in Texas.
In addition to planned communities and industrial property, Mr. Wilson was a developer of apartments; retail centers; office buildings, including two-22 story buildings in downtown Houston; and a hotel, the fifth Marriott Hotel ever built (1965).
Mr. Wilson was recently inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. In the last few years, he also received the Distinguished Alumnus from the University of Houston, the UH Bauer College of Business and the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, Texas Business Icon from the National Real Estate Forum magazine, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Houston Technology Center, the Distinguished Service Award from CoreNet Global and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Business Journal.
Always Welcome: Nine Decades of Great Friends, Great Times & (Mostly) Great Deals
Here is the story of a remarkably vigorous man who has worked hard to discover the secrets to success. His candid memoir, spanning ninety years of a life well-lived, shares the wisdom won through good deals and bad, hard times and happiness. Wilson’s colorful anecdotes bring history to life, providing fascinating business, political, and social vignettes and commentary. Anyone interested in real-estate, politics, higher education, or the personalities that helped Houston boom from a sleepy Southern town into an international city, will find this a treasure trove of information–and a collection of great stories. Wilson’s desire to learn from every experience has allowed him to play a part in many of the significant moments of 20th-century history and remain an active participant as the 21st century unfolds. The energy and enthusiasm for life detailed in these pages are truly inspiring.
Mr. Wilson serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Houston Partnership and serves as the Chairman of its Higher Education Committee.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Wilson owned 10% of the Houston Astros baseball team and served as the Chairman of the Board of two Texas banks. He was also the Chairman of the Board of an American Stock Exchange Company.
Mr. Wilson recently completed three years as Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Houston System (70,000 students) from which he graduated in 1949. He now serves as Chairman of the UH Drive to Tier One Campaign. In 2013 he received an Honorary Doctor’s Degree for his service to UH.
In the 1950’s/1960’s, Mr. Wilson served in the Executive Office of the President under both Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. At age 30, he received the Arthur Fleming Award as one of Ten Outstanding Young Men in the Federal Service (Neil Armstrong and Robert Gates were later recipients) He was a witness to the Atom Bomb test in Nevada in 1954 and the Hydrogen Bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in 1956.
Mr. Wilson served under President Lyndon Johnson as Special Ambassador to Nicaragua in 1966 when Anastasio Somoza was the President of that country.
During the Korean War, Mr. Wilson was a Naval Officer in Japan. Upon his return, he served as an assistant to the mayor of Houston, and Houston Director of Civil Defense during the Cold War.
Mr. Wilson received Distinguished Alumnus awards from the University of Houston and Texas Southmost College, as well as the UH Bauer College of Business.
He is married to Joanne Guest Wilson, and they have 16 grandkids and 16 great-grandkids.