Joseph B. Swinbank, a highly successful Texas entrepreneur and student mentor, graduated from Texas A&M in 1974 with a B.S. degree in agricultural economics. Development, growth, and entrepreneurial spirit are three key aspects of his life and career. Even while pursuing his undergraduate degree, Mr. Swinbank already was serving as president of the Petroleum Express Company that was involved in wholesale and retail petroleum product sales. After graduating from A&M, he accelerated his business development and built a company that installed self-serve gas pumps at convenience stores. He sold out to his partner in 1976.
Mr. Swinbank next co-founded Sprint Sand & Gravel to produce sand and gravel for ready-mix concrete producers in the Houston area. After starting with a Small Business Association loan, he quickly guided the corporation to producing annual gross revenues of $5 million and employing some 100 people. Later, the Sprint Waste Disposal Company was formed. Within six years, the three departments of the company grossed a combined revenue of $20 million after beginning with only a mere $300,000. This company was sold in 1986 to Tricil Environmental Response, Inc.
If anyone thought Mr. Swinbank’s days were done as an entrepreneur, his acquisitions and expansions during the 1990s proved them wrong. He co-founded Sprint Industrial Services, which was an amalgamation of several transportation and industrial companies. This was followed by investments into roughly eight startups or struggling companies that, through his and his partner’s efforts, have been able to survive and expand within their individual markets. Today, he has investments in eleven businesses in the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast area in fields such as transportation, landfills, garbage, sand mining, tank leasing, gas detection rental, heavy equipment rental, and commercial real estate. These businesses have annually grossed in excess of $100 million during the last several years.
Committed to nothing short of excellence, Joe Swinbank has participated as a “prof-for-a-day” in the Department of Agricultural Economics Rural Entrepreneurship classes and serves as a mentor of students and former students interested in start-up operations. In attributing much of his success as a private venture capitalist to the business background he gained as an agricultural economics major at Texas A & M, Mr. Swinbank has endowed the $100,000 Joe Swinbank`74 Endowed Rural Entrepreneurship Seminar Series to support student-interactive events. He and his wife have also endowed the $300,000 Shirley and Joe Swinbank ’74 Rural Entrepreneurship Graduate Teaching Assistantship to assist with rural entrepreneurship classes.
Outside of his busy professional career, he is a member of the Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church and is serving in his 17th year as Director of Prosperity Bank of Houston.
Mr. and Mrs. Swinbank live in Houston and have three children, Shelly, Will ’02, and Reagan ’03.