Robert Rowling (bookended by wife, Terry, and Southwestern Medical Foundation President/CEO Kathleen Gibson) co-founded TRT Holdings in 1989 and currently serves as owner and CEO of the company. Robert earned a business degree from UT Austin and a law degree from Southern Methodist University and started off as a tax lawyer. That didn’t last long. After about a year, he went to work with his dad at Tana Oil & Gas. Fruitful underground discoveries allowed the team to sell Tana Oil & Gas for $476M.
Rowling used that money to form TRT Holdings in 1989 to manage the family money. In 1996 he purchased Omni hotels and Gold’s Gym in 2004. Now, his Omni Hotel chain, his biggest money maker, boasts 20,000 rooms in 60 countries worldwide. In 2013, he donated $25M to the UT Austin Business school’s future home of the McCombs School of Business’ graduate programs (opening 2017).