Texas Industries, a Delaware and Fortune 500 corporation headquartered in Dallas, produces concrete, cement, steel, and precast masonry products and has been involved in coal mining, paper products, real estate, and construction. Texas Industries finds, mines, and processes raw materials; it also manufactures such finished products as precast panels and walls and prestressed beams, which it distributes and markets. The fully integrated company owns more than thirty subsidiary and affiliated companies, including Chaparral Steel, Brookhollow Corporation, Southwestern Financial Corporation, three cement plants including a major facility at Hunter, Texas, and other Southwest and international branches. Texas Industries was founded in 1951 by Ralph B. Rogers, who attended Boston Latin School and Northeastern University, had been involved with Hill Diesel Engine Company, Ideal Power Lawnmower Company, Indian Motorcycle Company, Rogers Diesel and Aircraft Corporation, Rogers International Corporation, and Armstrong Rubber Export Corporation. He had also served as president of the Cummins Diesel Engine Company of New York before coming to Texas. After working with an East Coast aggregate company, he invested in the Texas Lightweight Aggregate Company, became its president in 1950, and subsequently decided to leave to found his own company. After acquiring a series of firms in allied fields in North Texas, he built up his enterprise by adding others in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, New York, and Minnesota. At the same time, Rogers established the headquarters of Texas Industries between Dallas and Fort Worth to take advantage of the expected growth of the construction industry in the Southwest.
Because the major cost associated with cement production is distribution, a growing producer has to build plants near growth areas to be competitive. The new firm began cement production in 1960 after completion of a plant at Midlothian, Texas, a site chosen for its proximity to a 600-year reserve supply of limestone. Deliveries were made to construction sites by cement trucks around Dallas and Fort Worth. First-year sales were $217,000. By 1962 the company was operating more than fifty concrete-related plants in seven states. In 1953 it acquired Bridgeport Stone Plant, in Wise County, from Fort Worth Sand and Gravel, and in 1968 a major limestone deposit in Southern California near Plaster City. The company also briefly owned a quarter interest in a mahogany firm. In 1960 Texas Industries became the first vertically integrated cement producer in the country. In 1964 it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and in 1974 it expanded outside Texas into Mississippi. By 1985 the company shipped over 2.6 million tons of cement annually. In 1962 it established storage terminals in seven cities and began to diversify with the acquisition of Brook Hollow Industrial Park and the Empire Central office community, both in Dallas, through its Southwestern Financial Corporation. Steel manufacturer Chaparral Steel, which became a partially owned subsidiary in 1975, was fully acquired by 1985 and yielded revenue of over $400 million by 1992. Because it developed the capacity to produce a ton of steel in 1.8 man-hours, as compared with six to eight man-hours for other firms in the American steel industry, and because its employees developed a technique that allowed continuous-casting machinery to run longer, the company managed to succeed during a period when many steel companies faltered. Chaparral was a wholly owned subsidiary until 1988, when Texas Industries sold 20 percent to the public, thus allowing investors to offset the sluggishness of the cement market.
Brookhollow Real Estate, which has belonged to Texas Industries since the 1950s, does business-park and mixed-use development in Dallas and Houston. The company was a significant contributor to corporate profitability until the mid-1980s, when declining real estate values caused Texas Industries to suspend all its construction and retail property ownership. However, the modest improvement in real estate in the 1990s caused the company to reenter the market. Texas Industries, which employed 3,000 workers in 1975, is considered an environmentally responsible corporation; it has burned waste-derived fuel since 1987. Corporate revenues from concrete, steel, and real estate in fiscal 1992 totaled $899 million. Ralph Rogers, who retired as CEO in 1975, served as president of the Dallas Foundation for Health, Education and Research and supported University Medical Center, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Parkland Hospital, the Arboretum, and the Dallas Botanical Society. He was credited with saving the Public Broadcasting Service during the Nixon administration. He also originated the Children's Television Workshop, expanded local station KERA, and provided support for the Public Communication Foundation for North Texas. The Mary Nell and Ralph B. Rogers Magnetic Resonance Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, named for Rogers and his wife, develops magnetic resonance imaging as a diagnostic tool. The Ralph B. Rogers Foundation and Texas Industries Foundation are both products of the company's development.