When his new Virginia neighbors ask Alan Cochrane about his time in Houston, he’ll be able to say his volunteer work with The Energy Corridor District Board helped create one of the country’s most vital centers for business and living. But then, Cochrane will most likely credit others for turning The Energy Corridor into what has become renowned as a sought-after headquarters for global and local companies alike.
After years of contributing his time and expertise as The Energy Corridor District’s Investment Officer, Cochrane is leaving the District’s board to join his family and grandchildren on the East Coast.
His participation and community service will be greatly missed, says Clark Martinson, General Manager for The Energy Corridor District.
“Alan has been involved in one way or another with The Energy Corridor from the day it was conceived,” Martinson explains. “His work on the board was invaluable, driven by his deep experience serving as an investment officer for one of Houston’s successful private real estate investment firms, Parkway Investments. More than that, though, Alan brought a spirit of community involvement to The Energy Corridor District. He helped facilitate the vision that is making The Energy Corridor one of Houston’s best places to work and live.”
Cochrane claims he is more of a managerial type than a visionary, good at making sure things “tick and tie.”
“I used to have a framed print that said ‘If I can't do great things, I can do big things in a small way,’ and that has always been my personal words to live by,” Cochrane explains.
Cochrane was there when the seeds were sown for what would become The Energy Corridor. He worked for Parkway Investment/Texas, Inc., the primary developer of The Parkway, the land encompassing both sides of Eldridge Road from Buffalo Bayou to Westheimer.
“In the early 80's, Parkway along with three other developers negotiated with (Harris) County and The Parkway was born,” explains Cochrane. “The developers agreed to construct Eldridge Road from the bayou onward and to extend Briar Forest from just west of Dairy Ashford to Highway 6, if the County would build a bridge over the bayou. Long story short, that all happened and a part of what was to become The Energy Corridor became a reality.”
But it wasn’t until Rick Rice, one of Cochrane’s co-workers and a founding member of The Energy Corridor District Board, stepped down that Cochrane was tapped to become a board member. It didn’t hurt that Cochrane happened to be the property manager for the property owners association covering land along Eldridge from Buffalo Bayou to the southern boundary of The District.
He is quick to credit David Hightower, Board Chairmen for The Energy Corridor, and Clark Martinson for managing the District’s success.
“Other members of the District staff came and went, but David was eternal and had a vision for what the area would become,” he says. “I came to realize that the backbone of the District was David Hightower and the muscle came from the District staff, Clark Martinson being the mainstay.”
Volunteering for The Energy Corridor District was just one of several civic activities Cochrane lent his expertise and time to. He stayed involved in groups like the Lone Star Hiking Trail Club and the Woodland Heights Civic Association, while managing the District’s investments and working as Investment Officer / Project Manager for Houston’s Ned. S. Holmes Investments, where he spent 24 years.
Cochrane says he is looking forward to retirement and spending more time with his young grandkids.
“Alan has been an important part of the District’s success,” said David Hightower. “His experience and thoughtful leadership, especially on property management-related issues has been an invaluable aid to the staff. We will all miss him, but true to character he has his priorities in the right place. We wish him the best.”
“I have always been grateful for the opportunity that I was given,” says Cochrane. “It has been impressive to be able to work with other Directors and District staff that have a vision for the future of The Energy Corridor. It has been an honor for me.”