George P. Mitchell, Chairman (1919-2013)
The late George P. Mitchell was the chairman and chief executive officer of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., a Fortune 500 company, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange prior to its merger in January 2002 with Devon Energy Corporation.
A native of Galveston, Texas, George graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in petroleum engineering, with additional emphasis in geology.
Following service as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, he joined a newly formed wildcatting company, first as a consulting geologist and engineer and later as a partner. He was named president in 1959, and under his leadership the company grew and evolved into one of the nation's largest independent oil and gas producers.
George's crowning accomplishment in the industry was pioneering drilling and completion technologies that created a shale gas revolution. He drilled for gas in a rock formation known as the Barnett Shale, found across northern Texas, and enabled viable production through the first successful application of the hydraulic fracturing technique to dense shale formations.
His unconventional thinking and unwavering determination changed the energy future for the United States, with potential to significantly impact the world. In the late 1960s, George led his company to develop a real estate project on a scale never seen in the booming Houston area. Today, The Woodlands, the 25,000-acre planned community 25-miles north of Houston, has a population of 100,000, and is deemed one of the “greenest” communities in the U.S., with a quarter of its total area protected as green space, including greenbelts and forest preserves.
Joined by his late wife, Cynthia, George also took leading roles in the rejuvenation of Galveston's historic Strand District by restoring more than 20 buildings and operating three hotels. In 1985, the couple revived the mid-winter Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston, which now draws 500,000 visitors annually.