Founder, Chairman of the Board, and CEO, Rackspace
From an early age, Graham Weston saw entrepreneurial opportunities in everything around him. He launched his first business venture as a seventh-grader, marketing organic pork in newspaper ads that read “Go Hog Wild!” In high school, he built another business that took photos at livestock shows, and sold them to contestants.
He attended Texas A&M, where he launched another business. This one was inspired by his successful appeal of the multiple, conflicting property tax bills levied by various government entities upon his father’s small ranch, and led him to help other property owners appeal their bills.
Weston went into the real estate business. When prices fell during the Savings and Loan Crisis of the late 1980s, he led his family to buy and develop the Weston Centre, one of the premier office towers in downtown San Antonio. At the same time, he developed a keen interest in the possibilities of the Internet. In 1998, he and a partner provided the original capital for a business idea pitched by three local Trinity University students. They called it Rackspace.com. Weston joined the enterprise as CEO and remained in that position until 2006, when he became chairman.
He returned to the CEO post in February 2014 upon the retirement of his longtime friend and colleague, Lanham Napier, and will remain in that role until the board concludes a careful search for Napier’s long-term successor.
In 2005, Weston was honored by the City of San Antonio for converting one of his vacant properties, an abandoned shopping mall, into a temporary shelter for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Nicknamed the “Hilton of Shelters,” by The Denver Post, it housed more than 2,500 refugees. That property has since been extensively repurposed to LEED sustainability standards and serves as Rackspace’s headquarters.
Weston is active in the development of new options for urban living, entrepreneurship, and entertainment in downtown San Antonio. He helped launch the mayor’s SA2020 initiative, and created Geekdom, which provides a co-working space downtown, along with mentorship and funding for tech startups. He also funds the 80/20 Foundation, which invests in programs to encourage entrepreneurship, technology education, and development in downtown San Antonio.
He was named a Best Boss by Fortune Small Business magazine and was recognized as regional Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.