Bill King has enjoyed a wide and varied -- and ultimately successful -- career in business. He served as president of Southwest Airport Services, a fixed-base operator located at Ellington Air Force Base, from 1999 until the sale of the company in February of this year. In 2009, the Coast Guard recognized Southwest for the support their employees provided during the search and rescue efforts after Hurricane Ike made landfall along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Bill has also practiced law for nearly 40 years. His practice included stints at Bracewell & Guiliani and as the managing partner of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, a law firm representing local governmental entities nationwide. While heading that firm, Bill gained unique insights into how the City of Houston and other local entities operate, particularly their finances. During his tenure at Linebarger, moreover, the firm was awarded the U.S. Conference of Mayors Outstanding Public-Private Partnership Award for the work it did in establishing a land bank of abandoned lots in the City of Houston. Bill also initiated the first procedures in Harris County to prevent individuals over the age of 65 from being foreclosed when they fell behind on their taxes.
During the 1980s, Bill also experienced his fair share of adversity. In his first book, "Saving Face: An Alternative and Personal History of the Savings and Loan Crisis" (Somerset, 2008), he detailed the hard lessons he learned during the collapse of the savings and loan industry. But he also learned something special about Houston in the process. "After I lost everything, I had hundreds of friends who encouraged me to get up, dust myself off, and get back in the game," he later recalled. "We are a city that celebrates and encourages other people’s success, and I just don’t think there are a lot of other places like that."
In addition to his business pursuits, Bill has been actively engaged in his community. While raising his children in the home they knew, he served on the Kemah City Council and was elected to two terms as the city's mayor. This led to his interest in identifying solutions for the serious issue of hurricane preparedness and disaster response.
In recognition of his leadership on this issue, Bill was appointed to gubernatorial commissions in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Rita and Ike. After the disastrous Rita evacuation, the region’s county judges asked him to chair the Houston-Galveston Area Council's Hurricane Evacuation Task Force which drew up new evacuation plans for the region. For his service, he was awarded the Outstanding Service Award from the National Hurricane Conference in 2007.
From 2010 to 2014, Bill wrote a weekly public policy column for the Houston Chronicle, which gave him an opportunity to delve deeper into a broad range of issues confronting the City of Houston: aging infrastructure, public debt, traffic, economic development as well as many others. Last year, he published a collection of his Houston Chronicle columns titled "Unapologetically Moderate" (Bright Sky Press).
Dedicated to Houston
Bill King has demonstrated a life-long, personal commitment to the welfare of all Houstonians. He is one of three co-founders of the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston, which he helped launch in 2006. The Foundation is dedicated to supporting Houston's brave men and women by raising non-governmental funding for critical tools, technology, and equipment that help our firefighters better serve and protect the citizens of Houston.
Bill also has a longstanding involvement with Interfaith Ministries, which operates the Meals-on-Wheels program in Houston, offering over 4,000 hot meals each day to homebound seniors. He has chaired both the IM board and its recent capital campaign to build a new campus.
Bill has also served on numerous other boards including Crime Stoppers, the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Council, the HGAC Transportation Policy Council, St. Paul’s Methodist Church Foundation, the Memorial Hermann Foundation, American Leadership Forum, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Galveston Bay Foundation and the International Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Last but not least, Bill has a longstanding commitment to education. He served on the Board of Regents for Texas Southern University and the HISD Foundation board and was recently asked by University of Houston President Renu Khator to serve on the search committee for the dean of the UH Law Center (his alma mater). In 2012, he co-chaired the HISD bond campaign rebuild its dilapidated high schools throughout the city, which won nearly 70 percent voter approval.
For his civic and community service, Bill has received many awards including the following:
- The Annual Campaign Honoree
- Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston (2014)
- American Leadership Forum
- Jaworski Leadership Award (2013)
- Guardian of the Bay Award
- Galveston Bay Foundation (2012)
- Texas Legend Award
- Galleria Chamber of Commerce (2012)
- Making a Difference Award
- El Centro de Cordazon, (2011)
- Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Award
- General Column (2012)
- Houston Charity Angel
- Fitness Magazine (2009)
- Weather Hero Award
- Houston Weather Museum (2007)