The IMPACT Award is WHA’s highest honor. It was best described in 2015 by Ted Nelson, past chairman of the West Houston Association, who created and bestowed the first award.
“The West Houston Association was formed in 1979 by business leaders interested in promoting quality and timely infrastructure development in order to preserve and enhance the quality of life experience that so many in West Houston had come to enjoy. The Association created the IMPACT Award in 2004 as a way to honor the exemplary life’s work of individuals who set high standards for quality growth and the pace for others to follow. By virtue of this criterion, the IMPACT Award is not ubiquitous, it has been given only a handful of times since its inception. The gifting of the award is designed to be a rare and singular honor. The individuals here have set these standards for themselves and others to follow. The West Houston Association is proud to honor them for their commitment and dedication.”
Awarded in 2019. Throughout his distinguished career, Larry Johnson played an active role in developing the Houston region. As the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Development Corp., Larry become one of the nation’s most successful land developers by cultivating a strong reputation for vibrant, responsible development and impeccably designed communities. Known for innovative and environmentally sensitive master planning, the company earned a distinguished reputation for communities that foster an active, family-orientated lifestyle while preserving the natural beauty of the local landscape.
Johnson Development Corp. has won more awards than any other developer, including the prestigious Grand PRISM as Developer of the Year. The company also won a PRISM for Humanitarian of the Year for its support of events and causes in its master-planned communities. As the 2013 Greater Houston Builder’s Association Developer of the Year, The Johnson Development Corp. has developed four Houston-area communities that rank among the nation’s top-20 best-selling master-planned communities, according to a report by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. No other developer in the nation landed more than one community on the list.
Mr. Johnson served on the board of several private and publicly held organizations, including Board of Regents of Texas Tech University, The Center of Opportunity Urbanism, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Development Board, Texas Tech Health Science Center, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Mr. Johnson was a member of the Houston Realty Business Coalition, the Transportation Advocacy Group, Urban Land Institute, the Greater Houston Builders Association, the Texas Association of Builders and the National Association of Home Builders. Larry was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni award by Texas Tech University in 2009, the Houston Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, and the 2021 Legends Award from Builder Magazine.
Awarded in 2017. Few have brought dramatic change to the way in which Greater West Houston has developed and is viewed. Ted Nelson has provided a vision for the future that has guided the West Houston Association and the development industry, creating beautiful and enduring communities that are simultaneously aspirational and attainable.
Ted Nelson began his career with The Woodlands Development Corporation in its residential development division. He then served in several capacities for American General Land Development’s (predecessor to Terrabrook) Houston operations where he was instrumental in planning and developing Cinco Ranch and other communities. He served as Vice President/General Manager for Terrabrook’s Houston operation and in a regional capacity in Texas before its acquisition by Newland in 2003. Mr. Nelson currently serves as President, Newland/NASH Portfolio and has held multiple positions of leadership at Newland over the past two decades. With more than 40 years of master-planned community experience, he heads the operation of Newland’s development and acquisition activities through hands-on leadership and tactical oversight.
As Chairman of the West Houston Association from 2003-2005, Ted brought the organization together to develop WHA’s MasterPlan 2050, which has had a lasting influence on development and infrastructure planning. Mr. Nelson has taught several courses in real estate related subjects and is involved with the Urban Land Institute. He was appointed to the board of the Texas Real Estate Advisory Committee by the governor of the State of Texas in 2013, and was reappointed in 2021.
Awarded in 2015. Joe B. Allen became the fourth recipient of the IMPACT Award. West Houston Association created the IMPACT Award as a way to honor the exemplary life’s work of individuals who set high standards for quality growth and the pace for others to follow. Few could match the positive and pervasive impact of Joe B. Allen on the commercial and residential development in the Greater West Houston area as well as the development of critical elements of infrastructure which support and expand quality growth in Greater West Houston.
His legal practice has focused on public finance and related legislative activities, including developing mechanisms for providing infrastructure for new development; working with both public and private entities on a wide range of issues related to construction, financing, and operation of public infrastructure; and representing private entities contracting with public bodies. Mr. Allen has served as both general counsel and bond counsel to public entities in a wide variety of financings, including tax increment reinvestment zones for major retail developments and the first toll road in Fort Bend County, Texas.
Mr. Allen is the principal author and lobbyist of major laws that impact development issues, including S.B. 249 (reorganized the Texas Department of Water Resources into the Water Development Board and the Texas Water Commission) (1985); Impact Fee Act (1987); Special District bankruptcy statute (required Texas Water Commission approval for any special district to file for bankruptcy) (1987); Special District legislative package (16 new laws to correct statutory deficiencies) (1989); S.B. 626 which achieved a comprehensive reorganization and recodification of the statutes affecting the administration and operations of Special Districts (1995); S.B. 1865 (35 changes in the statutes affecting the administration and operations of Special Districts )(1997); S.B. 1444 (numerous changes to the Water Code to allow water districts to operate more efficiently and effectively) (2001); H.B. 1541 which made 55 changes in status affecting the administrations and operations of special districts (2003); S.J.R. 30 and S.B. 624 which authorizes special districts to finance parks and recreational facilities (2003).
Awarded in 2012. Development and transportation – Ned Holmes has interwoven these two natural partners in growth to the benefit of all current and future Houstonians. Building on an early career in finance, Mr. Holmes founded Commercial Bancshares, Inc., which later merged into Prosperity Bancshares. Concurrently, Parkway Investments/Texas became the managing vehicle for Mr. Holmes’ real estate investments and development throughout Greater West Houston.
In addition to his business interests, Mr. Holmes has served with distinction on public and private commissions including the City of Houston Planning Commission from 1983 to 1988; the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission from 2003 to 2006; the board of directors of the West Houston Association 1982 to 1992; and as chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership in 1999, sitting on its board of directors and executive committee for the last 20 years.
In 2003, Mr. Holmes was appointed by Governor Perry to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission where he served until his appointment in 2007 as a commissioner of the Texas Department of Transportation. He served on the commission until July 2012. From his chairmanship of the Port of Houston Authority to his tenure on the Texas Transportation Commission Ned Holmes’ contributions to transportation initiatives throughout Houston are unparalleled. As one state transportation official noted, “Ned Holmes was the right man at the right time. He capitalized on his excellent relationships with local and state officials with a calmness that brought sanity to the process. The momentum he started will carry these projects through to completion for the benefit of all Houstonians.” Largely due to the efforts of Mr. Holmes, funding and construction of Segment E of the Grand Parkway began in 2011 and the project is expected to be completed by 2015. This, according to Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton, is Ned Holmes’ “Grand Slam”.
Award in 2005. David S. Wolff of Wolff Companies became the second recipient of the IMPACT Award. In David’s five decade career as a developer, he has left a profound and positive impact on Greater West Houston and on the West Houston Association especially as David served as its founding chairman in 1979. David is a true visionary but unlike many visionaries, he never simply sits back, he leads by rolling up his sleeves to make the visions reality. He did this in the 70’s by creating the 550 acre Park 10 Regional Business Center on the OLD Interstate 10. At this time, Park 10 was on the edge of Houston’s universe in those years. That investment took vision and grit.
Today, we all proudly refer to it and the surrounding area as the Energy Corridor—one of greatest concentrations of energy companies and related activities in the world. Not resting on his many accomplishments, David and his wife Mary were the impetus for what now is the first and only satellite campus of the renowned Texas Medical Center and home to Methodist Hospital West Houston and Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. David sees real estate development as a vehicle “to shape what is going to happen in a better way.” David Wolff has served his community well as a founder of the Houston Economic Development Council and as chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors.
Awarded in 2004. Walter Mischer, Sr. of Mischer Investments was the first recipient of the IMPACT Award. No person better embodied the criteria for the West Houston Association IMPACT Award than this legendary Houston developer and businessman. All of us in or related to development today stand on his shoulders. His vision and tireless advocacy to establish the Municipal Utility District concept as a way to publicly finance infrastructure in unincorporated areas for new development set the stage for growth in Houston and throughout Texas. Make no question about it; without MUD financing, the landscape of Houston would be substantially different than it is today. Beyond development,
Mr. Mischer was a successful and distinguished banker, and perhaps more importantly was active and untiring in his support of numerous civic affairs; many of which still bear his family name with pride.