McLane named chairman of Texas Central board

Drayton McLane Jr.

Texas Central, developers of the state’s high-speed train, announced Dec. 8 that business leader, entrepreneur and former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. has been appointed chairman of its board.

McLane joined the board in January.

“The more involved I have gotten with the Texas Bullet Train the more I realize its positive transformational impact on our state and our nation,” McLane said. “I am a business man who is meticulous about what I get involved in, and I am excited to be leading this project that leverages the capital and spirit of entrepreneurs instead of relying on taxpayer dollars.”

The trains would travel at speeds up to 205 mph, linking the state’s largest commercial hubs and half of the state’s population in 90 minutes. The project is expected to generate $36 billion in economic activity over the next 25 years.

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McLane replaces Richard Lawless, who remains as a board member and chairman emeritus.

The announcement comes after Texas Central recently selected Irving-based Fluor Enterprises and The Lane Construction Corp. to handle pre-construction planning, design and engineering services, with WSP USA conducting engineering work on their behalf.

McLane, a native Texan, oversaw a family grocery business that he grew into what is now one of the largest foodservice distributors in the world – McLane Company. Using innovative technology and efficient business practices, he expanded the company into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that Wal-Mart acquired in 1990. McLane now is chairman of the McLane Group and other family-controlled companies.

From 1992 until 2011, McLane was sole owner, chairman and CEO of the Houston Astros baseball team. During his leadership, the Astros won five division titles, built a new stadium and played in the team’s first World Series.

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McLane is a graduate of Baylor University and former chairman of Baylor’s Board of Regents. In 2012, McLane gave the lead donation for the construction of Baylor’s on-campus football stadium, a project that cost $260 million and now bears his family name, McLane Stadium.