Welcome Wilson, Sr.
Welcome Group – Chairman of the Board
Houston Real Estate Developer for 62 years. Chairman of Welcome Group, landlord to 4,035,000 square feet of Manufacturing and Industrial Facilities in 87 locations in Texas.
First projects in the 1950s and 1960s were Master Planned Communities, Jamaica Beach and Tiki Island in Galveston County, both of which are now separate cities. He later developed apartments, retail centers, hotels and three downtown office buildings.
Honors include: Inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame, Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Houston Business Journal and Awarded an Honorary Doctor’s degree from the University of Houston, where he was a BBA grad in 1949.
Of note, he received the University of Houston Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1970, the UH Bauer College of Business Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996 and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley in 2018.
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.
In the past, he was Chairman of the Board of two Houston banks, was Chairman of an American Stock Exchange company and owned 10% of the Houston Astros baseball team and was on the Board of Directors. In March 2019, he celebrated his 91st birthday.
He was a long-time Chairman of the Board of Regents of the University of Houston, Chairman of its Drive to Tier One Status and is now Chairman of its Political Action Committee. He is a Director Emeritus of the Greater Houston Partnership, having served a long time as its Higher Education Committee Chairman.
In the 50s and 60s he served in the Executive Office of the President under Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy (Civil Service rank of GS-17). He witnessed the Atom Bomb test in Nevada and the Hydrogen Bomb test at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
In 1958, he was awarded the Arthur Fleming Award as One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in Federal Service. Out of 600 who received this award since 1948, Wikipedia lists him as one of the “Notable Twenty” along with Astronaut Neil Armstrong (moon landing), Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Fed Chairman Paul Volcker.
He was invited and spoke to a joint session of the New Mexico Legislature. He was appointed Special Ambassador to Nicaragua by President Lyndon Johnson. After World War II, he served for two years as a Naval Officer in Japan, having graduated first in his class in officer’s school.
He married his college sweetheart, Joanne Guest, on the day he graduated from UH, 70 years ago. They have 5 kids, 16 grandkids and 16 great-grandkids, one of whom is in college.