Noted Texas business leader Drayton McLane Jr., a pioneer in modern transportation logistics, was inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor at a luncheon ceremony in Houston on Thursday, Sept. 8. The luncheon was co-sponsored by the Greater Houston Partnership and the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).
“Drayton McLane deserves recognition as one of the most visionary transportation leaders in this state and country,” said Dennis Christiansen, TTI agency director. “He wrote the book on distribution and logistics.”
During his tenure as president and CEO of the McLane Company, McLane played a key role in retailing giant Wal-Mart’s entry into the grocery business. His technology-driven focus on distribution logistics helped Wal-Mart become the largest grocery retailer in the world in less than 10 years.
“Transportation is the only issue in state or federal government that impacts every human being,” said McLane. “It is very humbling to be here. Thank you for this honor.”
McLane began his career in 1959 unloading trucks for the family grocery business. He became president of the McLane Company in 1978. During his tenure, he propelled that company into a $19 billion firm, achieving an average growth rate of 30 percent per year.
In 1994, McLane resigned his positions as chairman of the McLane Company and vice chairman of Wal-Mart to focus on serving as chairman of the McLane Group, a family-owned company consisting of several entities, including the Houston Astros baseball team.
McLane’s background in transportation logistics led the Texas Transportation Commission in 2008 to ask that he serve on the 2030 Committee. That blue-ribbon panel was tasked to help identify transportation funding needs in Texas over the next two decades.
Other speakers at the luncheon ceremony were Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, and Scott McClelland, president of the Houston division of HEB.
McLane becomes the 34th member of the Hall of Honor, which was established in 2000 by TTI as a way to recognize select individuals who played pivotal roles in the advancement of transportation in Texas and the nation. Each individual inducted is recognized by a plaque on permanent display in the hall, which is located at TTI on the campus of Texas A&M University.