Business Hall of Fame honors Gachman as Fort Worth’s Executive of the Year

Arnold G. Gachman, Fort Worth's Business Executive of the Year (Photo by Amber Shumake)

Arnold G. Gachman has a Hall of Fame list of accomplishments in his life, not the least of which is continuing the success of his family’s 108-year-old recycling company, Gamtex Industries.

But his greatest achievement, as attested to by a supportive crowd of about 600 friends, colleagues and admirers at the Fort Worth Club Tuesday night, has been the positive impact he has had on the lives of virtually everyone he has come in contact with over the years.

Arnold Gachman – Arnie, as he’s known to just about everyone – was honored as the 2022 Business Executive of the Year at the 52nd Fort Worth Business Hall of Fame Reception and Dinner, joining an elite group of previous honorees that includes the likes of former Fort Worth Mayor Bob Bolen (1986), U.S. Representative Kay Granger (1999) and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan (2012).

“Arnie used his talents as a businessman, but also his influence and friendship to improve this community,” said his longtime friend H. Paul Dorman, chairman and CEO of DFB Pharmaceuticals and Nanology. “Arnie has influenced me personally.”

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Dorman recalled first meeting Gachman at a coffee shop and being asked to join his group at a table. From there a lifelong friendship emerged, and today they are working on a new drug development program utilizing nanoparticles of chemotherapy drugs to treat various cancers.

Nanoparticles allow direct injection of the drug into a cancerous tumor, which tests have shown allows for a higher concentration of the drug for a longer period of time with minimum exposure to other organs.

“Not only has he accomplished a lot on his own, but a lot more by working with and influencing people in the community,” Dorman said.

Dorman drew some of the evening’s biggest laughs when he began his speech with, “The worst thing you can do is forget your notes. I have my notes. The second worst thing is you forget your glasses. I’m going to wing it.”

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The event was sponsored by Texas Wesleyan University, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Worth Business Press.

Texas Wesleyan President Frederick G. Slabach recalled a time when Gachman visited the school and spoke to some students.

“It is an occupational hazard of university presidents to talk too long,” Slabach began, snagging his own round of laughter from the crowd. “But tonight we’re here to honor Arnie Gachman.”

“In addition to his genuine nature he offered our students real life advice,” Slabach said. “And Arnie stayed and talked to every one of those students and gave each one his cellphone number.”

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Gachman’s plaque-worthy catalog of accomplishments includes:

  • More than six decades in the metalworking industry.
  • Past president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, which honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award in in 2013.
  • Past chair of the Fort Worth Human Resources Commission.
  • Past president of the Board of Governors of the Fort Worth Club.
  • Founding board member of the Texas Cast Metals Association.
  • Vice president of the Recycling Council of Texas.
  • Chair of trustees at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Hospital and board member with numerous other health facilities.

In addition, Arnie and his wife Harriette have been honored with numerous awards, including the All Saints Foundation Moncrief Heritage Award, the Rosenthal Spirit of Federation Award and the 2022 Royal Purple Award from TCU, from where he is an alum.

“Anyone who can fill a room to total capacity needs no introduction. Nonetheless, I’m excited to introduce the 2022 Fort Worth Executive of the Year and one of our city’s finest,” said 2021 Executive of the Year Elaine B. Agather, managing director of central U.S. for J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

Then she added that Gachman’s honor was “long overdue” as she recalled their first meeting years ago.

“He was then and is now the real deal,” Agather continued. “He is honest, selfless, decisive and a visionary. He is the quintessential businessman.

“It’s hard enough to get to the third generation (in a business), and now he’s passing it on to his son.”

Gachman’s son Iric is president and CEO of Gamtex. Arnie remains chairman.

In praising Gachman’s dedication to his craft, Agather said, “He’s shown up consistently for the past 60 years. It’s not the queen, but it’s not bad.”

When Gachman took the stage, the legendary affability that has served him well in business and life was immediately on display.

“The brain can only absorb what the tush can endure,” he said, citing some advice he’d been given earlier in life, adding, “There won’t be a 35-minute speech.”

Then, he looked at Dorman and said, “I pray we make this a reality. The sooner the better, cancer is a killer.”

Acknowledging the academic prowess of Texas Wesleyan, Gachman said, “I attended a class there. It was tough. I don’t know if I could stand up to that today.”

With characteristic humility, Gachman turned attention to former honorees, many of whom he has counted as friends.

“To be included is not only an honor, but to be honest damn overwhelming,” he said, drawing applause and a roar of approval from the audience.

Citing some keys to success, Gachman recalled some advice from his grandfather.

“You can’t play golf on company time and you can’t get a haircut on company time – and I didn’t,” he said, adding with a chuckle, “I took up tennis later on, though.”

Somewhere in the crowd a cellphone rang, to which Gachman responded without missing a beat, “Perfect timing. I was supposed to pause there anyway.”

He closed on a note of gratitude.

“Thanks for giving us a legacy,” he said. “We will promise to continue this into the future.”

The evening included opening remarks by Sameer Vaidya, Dean of the Texas Wesleyan School of Business. Tribute was paid to two recently deceased former Executives of the Year, John V. Roach (1988), chairman, president and CEO of Tandy Corporation; and Clifton H. Morris, Jr., (2001), chairman and CEO of AmeriCredit Corporation.

The Thomas H. Law Scholarship was presented to Karla Almanza, a business administration student. The scholarship is named after 1987 Executive of the Year Thomas H. Law, who was president of Law Snakard and Gambill.

Almanza offered her own words of advice to those in attendance: “Do what makes you happy. You’ll find your way. You’ll find your place.”

Which is exactly what Arnie Gachman did.