Celebrating the leaders, builders and founders

The Houston Technology Center’s (HTC) eleventh annual A “Celebration of Entrepreneurs” brought together not only leaders of the Houston business community, but leaders in innovation within the Aerospace, Energy, Information Technology, Life Sciences and Nanotechnology sectors.

The event kicked-off by recognizing and celebrating nearly 40 entrepreneurs for their dedication, commitment and ability to grow successful companies in the Houston market. Many of the entrepreneurs continue to make a huge impact on our community by mentoring and encouraging upcoming entrepreneurs, ensuring our city will continue to be recognized for our entrepreneurial achievement. View a full list of the celebrated entrepreneurs by clicking here.

To honor HTC’s mission of accelerating technologies companies in our five sectors: aerospace, information technology, energy, life sciences, and nanotechnology; HTC presented four Lifetime Achievement Awards to extraordinary people who have made a significant impact within their fields.


Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr., CEO & Managing Director, Vesalius Ventures

Information Technology

Mr. Morrie Abramson, President, Morrie K. Abramson Interests, Inc.

Life Sciences

Dr. James “Red” Duke, Professor of Surgery and the John B. Holmes Professor of Clinical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Medical Director, Memorial Hermann Life Flight™


Dr. Robert Curl, Emeritus Professor, Rice University

The pinnacle of the event concluded by honoring Mr. Raymond Plank most notable for founding Apache Corporation, which his son, Roger Plank, reminded us all just how remarkable that achievement actually was. Apache will very soon be celebrating its 60th birthday.

Mr. Plank retired January 15, 2009, after five decades of building Apache Corporation into one of the nation’s largest and highly respected oil and gas independents. Plank graduated from Yale University in 1944 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps as a bomber pilot in the South Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. Following his military service, Plank returned to his hometown of Minneapolis and with two partners formed an accounting, tax and small business advisory service. Through this enterprise, he became familiar with the types of investments then being offered in oil and gas exploration and production. Recognizing that investors’ interests in this field could be better served through a different concept, Plank formed Apache Corporation. Apache offered its first oil and gas investment program in 1956. Under Plank’s leadership, Apache has evolved from a company that raised investor funds for drilling into an international oil and gas exploration and production corporation that funds its drilling with internally generated cash flow. Apache has become one of the nation’s largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. Today, the company operates in six countries.

Mr. Plank is the creator of the Master Limited Partnership and when asked what led to this he explained, “I was driven by the assumption that many people would want to retire, but a lot of people wouldn’t experience a decline in their income so they were more interested in liquidity, so I wanted to make partnerships and merge, acquiring assets…Five years later, after first being told no by the NYSE, we successful completed the first master limited partnership.” Mr. Plank also described how his father taught him to make the world a better place, which spurred him into launching multiple charitable organizations including, Fund for Teachers and Ucross Foundation.

Raymond commented during his acceptance speech, “I owe so much to so many people. I want to thank the people that demonstrated relationships are all so important.”

Raymond’s commitment, perseverance, hard work, and sacrifice led to his many successes both in business and his life. “Raymond embodies the vitality and true entrepreneurial spirit which has been the hallmark of Houston’s growth and success,” said Walter Ulrich, president and CEO of the Houston Technology Center.  “Businessman, innovator, philanthropist, pioneer and true American, we are proud to have recognized him on May 15th and will continue to support entrepreneurs for years to come,” commented Ulrich.

Thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters who made this event possible.