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Robert C. McNair lived in the Harris community and graduated from Cool Springs High School in 1954, where he was an outstanding athlete and student leader. He continued his education and furthered his leadership skills at the University of South Carolina, where he was the president of the student body in his senior year. While in Columbia SC, Bob met his future wife, Janice Suber.


​After a successful career in the auto and truck leasing business, Bob started Cogen Technologies in 1983. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Cogen Technologies was one of the largest non-utility co-generators of electrical and thermal energy in the United States. After selling Cogen Technologies in 1999, Mr. McNair served as:


  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The McNair Group, a financial and real estate firm, 

  • Owner of Palmetto Partners, Ltd., a private investment company, 

  • Chairman of the McNair Foundation in Houston

  • Chairman of the McNair Educational Foundation in Rutherford County, NC and

  • Chairman  of a biotechnology investment firm, Cogene Biotech Ventures, which he started in 2000.

Committed to bringing a National Football League team to the city of Houston, McNair formed Houston NFL Holdings in 1998 which was awarded the 32nd NFL franchise. His Houston Texans debuted in 2002.


Bob and Janice have always taken their roles as Christian stewards very seriously and after Cogen's initial success, decided to give back to the community where Bob was raised. On Christmas Eve of 1988, Bob and Janice called Chuck Flack, Bob's life-long friend in Forest City, to explore the possibilities of establishing a scholarship program that would increase the number of Rutherford County high school graduates going on to college. They believed that the best way to increase the standard of living in Rutherford County was to raise the level of educational attainment. Chuck Flack enlisted the help of Roger "Buck" Petty, then superintendent of Rutherford County Schools and Ron Paris, then owner of the local newspaper, The Daily Courier, to develop a plan. In 1989, The Robert and Janice McNair Educational Foundation was created.

Robert and Janice remained committed to the Foundation even after his death in November, 2018. The Foundation continues to carry out the legacy of our founder through programs designed to increase college and career awareness, readiness and success for students of Rutherford County Schools.

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