Robert D. Rogers, 1936–2013; 43 years in TXI executive ranks

Sources: Dallas Morning News; Texas Industries Inc., Dallas; CP staff

An early vertical integration driver and one of the most seasoned executives in concrete, cement and aggregates, TXI Chairman Robert David Rogers died June 11 in Dallas, a day after his 77th birthday.

Rogers served as TXI chief executive officer from 1970–2004, and chairman of the board since. As the son of company founder Ralph B. Rogers, he had a unique perspective of a heavy building materials operator’s rise in a post-war boom market: Beginning in 1951, Dallas-based Texas Industries grew organically and through acquisitions to a regional player in concrete products, ready mixed and lightweight aggregates. A 1956 payroll of 1,350 spanned operations in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Three years later, Ralph Rogers became the first concrete producer to “backward integrate,” opening TXI’s charter cement mill in Midlothian, Texas, about 25 miles south of Dallas. Entry into the high capital cement business led to a 1964 public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, where TXI shares continue to trade.

Robert Rogers arrived at the family business with two years’ U.S. Navy service, a BA in Economics from Yale University, and MBA from Harvard University. The training and education augmented mid- and late-career activities that included Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas chairmanship (1984-86) and Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business adjunct professorship (2000–2004).

During his 34-year chief executive term, TXI expanded its cement operations with new plants in Texas and Mississippi (1970s–1980s); a 1998 acquisition of Riverside Cement positioned the company as a key producer in the states with the highest powder consumption, Texas and California. By the time Rogers approached his sunset as CEO, TXI had begun a portfolio realignment that would see the shedding of legacy concrete product plants and businesses built or acquired after 1970, including Chapparal Steel and Acme Brick. Under son James Rogers, vice president and chief operating officer, and Mel Brekhus, president and CEO, TXI has continued streamlining its portfolio around cement, ready mixed and aggregate operations, annual revenues remaining above $600 million.