Robert Eckels
Texas Central Railway - President

April 18, 2019
5430 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77056

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Robert’s long and distinguished career in the public sector gives him a keen sense of what it takes to make large infrastructure projects a reality. As TCR’s President, Robert is doing what he does best – engaging and bringing together potential investors and project partners, managing key relationships with community and elected officials and TCR’s current partners, and keeping the public and critical stakeholders informed of the project’s progress. Robert’s widely acclaimed leadership acumen and his determination to succeed, especially in efforts offering a significant positive impact to the state of Texas, have placed TCR squarely on the path to success.
Robert served as County Judge for Harris County, Texas from 1995 until 2007 when he joined the international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP as a Partner focused on Transportation and Infrastructure, Public Finance, Public Private Partnerships (US P3), Homeland Security and Disaster Law, Government Relations and Public Law. Robert has operated his own independent legal practice and is today a Member of the Texas based law firm, Gray Reed & McCraw, P.C.
Robert was founding chairman of the Texas High-Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation from 2002 to 2010, a coalition of local governments, educational institutions and the private sector working to bring high-speed rail to Texas.
As County Judge, he served as Chair of the Harris County Toll Road Authority, a 500 lane-mile toll road system - the only county-owned toll road system in the nation and a pioneer in interagency partnerships and applying technology for efficient operations.
With the Texas Department of Transportation and local jurisdictions, he built the Houston Transtar Transportation and Emergency Operations Center into a global model of interagency partnerships for transportation operations and sustained training and planning for disaster mitigation, response and recovery.
For a decade, until he left office in 2007, Robert served as chair of the Houston Galveston Area Council Transportation Planning Council and has served on numerous state transportation finance and planning commissions and committees.
Judge Eckels received international recognition for Harris County’s response to Hurricane Katrina and the floods, wind and storm surge that led to massive destruction and loss of life in New Orleans and the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama.  The Harris County Astrodome and Reliant Park became the largest shelter operation in U.S. history as over 250,000 residents of storm ravaged areas fled to the Houston region.
For his work in hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Esquire Magazine named him “Best and Brightest - Citizen of the Year” of 2005 for his extraordinary leadership.  “When the City of New Orleans evacuated to Houston, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels was an island of competence in the face of catastrophe,” Esquire wrote.  American City and County Magazine named Robert “County Leader of the Year 2006.”
Robert, who was first elected as a State Representative in his 20’s, served six terms in the Texas Legislature before being elected county judge — a role in which he oversaw executive, legislative and judicial functions of a county that is home to nearly four million residents.