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Texas Business Hall of Fame x Ion: Entrepreneurial X-Factor with Beaver Aplin

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Category: Community & Engagement, Corporate Innovators, Founders & Startups, Investors & Capital, Keynote, Networking




May 22, 2024
8:00 am - 10:00 am CDT


4201 Main Street
Houston, TX 77002


Do you ever wonder what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest?

What is their secret to success? It’s more than just drive or determination—it’s that elusive “X-Factor” that propels them to greatness.  Join us for a special edition of the Ion’s Speaker Series, in partnership with the Texas Business Hall of Fame (TBHF), to delve into the essence of success with two Texas entrepreneurial legends. Beaver Aplin, founder of Buc-ee’s, will recount his journey from launching his first Buc-ee’s in 1982 to what has become an unrivaled experience that Texans can’t resist, whether they’re on a quick local errand run or embarking on a cross-country road trip. Beaver will be interviewed by another Texas titan, Graham Weston, co-founder of Rackspace.

All are invited to attend, but space is limited.

We hope you’ll join us for this conversation, which promises to inspire and provide insights into building an unexpected brand and experience.

This event is co-hosted by the Texas Business Hall of Fame and is a special edition of their “Entrepreneurial X-Factor,” usually invite-only; we’re opening this up to the Ion community to hear from these two legends. The Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation honors the accomplishments and contributions of outstanding business leaders in our state by celebrating their impact on both business and community. We tell their stories to inspire and instill the same sense of enterprise, community, and excellence in all generations of Texans.

The Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation was created in 1982 by a small group of Texas businessmen and businesswomen to focus awareness on the positive achievements made by outstanding business leaders and to honor their contributions to their community and state.  In addition to recognizing six transformational business leaders each year, the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation awards $15,000 prizes in both the higher education and veteran community to those who demonstrate exceptional entrepreneurial aspirations and excellence. 


About the Speakers

Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, President of Texas-based Buc-ee’s stores, earned a Bachelor of Construction Science at Texas A&M in 1980. In the summer of 1982, he opened his first Buc-ee’s in Lake Jackson, Texas.

Over the last 40 years, he has built a chain of destination travel centers dedicated to providing an elevated experience for the driving public through service and selection. Passionate about community involvement, Aplin has a long history of being active at the local and state levels. He is currently Chairman of Texas Parks and Wildlife, a board member of The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M, and a member of the Lieutenant Governor’s Transportation Advisory Board as well as a member of the Governor appointed ERCOT board selection committee. He is the recipient of the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award, the 2022 McLane Leadership Business Award, and most recently, the 2023 Friend of Wildlife Award. Previously, he was a 9-year board member of the Brazosport Independent School District, including a two-year tenure as board president.

Aplin and his wife, Joanie, reside in Texas and have five children.


A lifelong entrepreneur, Graham Weston launched his first business as a seventh grader, marketing organic pork. In high school, he developed a business taking photos at livestock shows to sell back to the animal’s owners.

He went on to attend Team A&M, where he launched a venture helping local property owners to appeal their tax bills. Transitioning into Real Estate, Weston bought and developed the Weston Centre, which quickly became a premiere location for businesses to headquarter. In 1998 he took a chance on an unusual business idea pitched to him by three young computer geeks and co-founded Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX), serving as CEO until 2006 when he accepted the position of Chairman. In the same year, Weston was voted “Best Boss” by FORTUNE Small Business and regional “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernest & Young. Graham Weston is passionate about issues of urban development, information technology education, and entrepreneurship.

He is co-founder of Geekdom, a collaborative workspace and start-up accelerator, as well as the 80/20 Foundation, which seeks to further Weston’s goals through considerable charitable gifts and endowments.




8:00 AM
Networking Breakfast
9:00 AM
Fireside Chat


Ion District Parking Garage

Enter 4111 Fannin Street into your GPS for directions directly to this parking garage, located a block from the Ion. Parking in the Ion District Garage is free for the first two hours.

Red Parking Lot

Enter 4203 Fannin Street into your GPS for directions directly to the red parking lot, located across the street from the Ion. This lot is for overflow guest parking and tenant parking and is free for the first three hours.

For more information and access to pay online for parking in the red lot, click here





Texas Business Hall of Fame