His first private venture wasn't all that auspicious.
Through his sales position with General Electric, McDougal saw an opportunity in real estate, especially apartments. In 1969, he and wife Carolyn made their first investment...a 12-unit apartment complex in North Overton. Over years, both the investment and the location would hold immense significance for Lubbock.
He and his family built a real estate and construction empire from the ground up. He has maintained a civic mindedness of equal magnitude.
McDougal serves as president and chief executive officer of McDougal Properties - parent company of McDougal's holdings, which include more than 5,000 apartment units in Lubbock and across the South Plains, a real estate division and construction firm, all family owned.
But back to North Overton...McDougal began buying more property there in the 1990s with plans to construct Overton Park, the largest privately funded revitalization project in the country encompassing 325 acres in the North Overton neighborhood.
Now the 15-story hotel and conference center under construction at Mac Davis Lane and Avenue X provides the anchor structure McDougal had envisioned.
In less than a decade McDougal transformed an area marked by crime and absentee landowners.
He's apparently not through with Lubbock's landscape.
He purchased the dilapidated Pioneer Hotel in downtown Lubbock with plans to renovate it for condominiums.
In recent weeks he has contracted with the city to spearhead a downtown redevelopment plan.
McDougal has received numerous honors from organizations and educational institutions. The Boy Scouts of America honored him in 1997 with a Good Scout Award. Wayland Baptist University presented its first Keeper of the Flame Award to McDougal the following year.
He and Carolyn also were among the initial donors for the United Spirit Arena, and he has been involved with Tech's School of Business.
The McDougals were the 2003 recipients of the Hero's Award from the Lubbock Area Foundation. Introducing them, District Judge Sam Medina said, "These are people who have done something and gone beyond. ... Who give and then give wholeheartedly. They are visionaries who cannot only see the vision, but touch it."
Ramirez blazed the trail in Lubbock for Hispanic businesses and community involvement.
Ramirez was first known in Lubbock to some as "lechero" and to others as "the milkman," for his service territory as a Borden Inc. milk salesman took him to all parts of town. For him race was not an issue. But that was a novel idea in Lubbock when Ramirez moved here in 1955 from Corpus Christi.
He established Jose's, one of Lubbock's best-known restaurants in 1968 at 50th Street and Avenue H. The building's exterior was unpretentious, but inside one felt at home. Long-time customers were known to fill water glasses, refill baskets or serve as cashier.
The walls of Jose's served as a directory of those with whom Ramirez crossed paths including photographs of political greats, entertainers and just common folks.
Ramirez's passion for education led him to champion the cause in Lubbock. From 1974 to 1986, he served on the Lubbock Independent School District Board of Trustees as its first Hispanic member. His service extended beyond the board room to the classroom.
In recognition of his contributions, LISD named a newly built elementary school at 702 Ave. T after him in 1987.
Ramirez was active in the community, lending his service to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America, the Lubbock Juvenile Authority, City/County Health Board, State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, the Lubbock Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the League of United Latin American Citizens, from which he received a lifetime membership.
When Ramirez died in 1995, then-Mayor David Langston, said, "Joe was a true pioneer. He exemplifies the best of Hispanic culture which is so prevalent in this region. He was an extremely hard worker. He was a tremendous family man, and he used a tremendous amount of his time for community service."
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