By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — The David Wiessman Bridge Builder 2016 Awards Gala on Thursday, Feb. 25 will unite one of Comedy Central’s “100 greatest standups of all time” with the man credited with creating one of the most durable professional partnerships between Texas and Israel that exists today.
Paul Reiser, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated comedy icon, will grace the ceremony with his comedic stylings, as Ron W. Haddock, oil and gas industry CEO, is presented with the 2016 David Wiessman Bridge Builder Award.
Haddock originally was slated to receive the honor on Oct. 29, 2015 but had to reschedule because of a business commitment.
The award ceremony is part of a special dinner and program sponsored by Alon USA at the Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St.
The event starts with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by the dinner and program from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., followed by VIP photos taken with Reiser.
Clare Freeman, president and CEO of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, said Reiser’s presence and legendary wit would ensure a hilarious evening.
“He’s perfect,” she said. “His wife went to Tel Aviv University and he is a hilarious standup comic.”
Blaine Nelson Chairman of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, agreed wholeheartedly.
“It is going to be a very fun evening — and all for a good cause,” he said. “Paul Reiser is one of our great comedians — one of the great TV stars. He is very supportive of Israel and what we are trying to do here. And Ron Haddock is one of our heroes in Dallas and in the state of Texas. He has been doing business with Israeli companies for many years.”
See Paul Reiser here:
The event itself benefits the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Israel-Texas Science & Education Foundation, Nelson said.
In addition to Reiser meeting and greeting and offering photo opportunities to guests, there will be a silent auction and a live auction. Master of ceremonies for the evening will be Scott Murray.
Freeman said there would be many fun and interesting items up for auction.
“This is going to be a great fundraiser,” she said.
The Bridge Builder Award is presented annually to an outstanding business or leader — possibly both — who has had a significant impact on the capital growth of Texas and Israel.
The 2014 winner was John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. Previous winners include David Wiessman of Alon USA; Chuck Davidson of Noble Energy; and Joe DePinto of 7-Eleven, Inc.
Haddock — chairman and CEO of AEI, an international power generation-distribution and natural gas distribution company — is credited with laying the foundation for the Texas-Israel partnership while president, CEO and chairman of Fina Inc.
Working with David Wiessman, chairman of Dallas-based Alon USA and president of the Alon Group in Israel, Haddock helped engineer the purchase of Fina by Alon Israel Oil Co. Ltd. in August 2000.
As part of the purchase, Alon USA acquired Fina’s 34.4 percent interest in SCS, which at the time was the biggest 7-Eleven license holder in the United States.
The company had stores in Wichita Falls, Big Spring, Midland, Odessa and El Paso, plus Albuquerque, New Mexico. This in effect, was the birth of Alon USA Energy, Inc., described as the powerhouse of convenience stores based in Dallas.
Alon USA later became the 100 percent owner of SCS when it purchased the remainder of its licensed 7-Eleven convenience stores in West Texas and New Mexico from Permian Basin Investments.
The acquisition of Fina created a gigantic partnership between Texas and Israel that continues to grow and flourish, Freeman has said.
The honorary gala chair this year is Jeff Morris, member of the Alon USA board of directors. Gala chair is Blaine L. Nelson.
- After graduating from what is now Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, he started with Exxon in 1963.
- This led to various domestic and international senior executive positions with Exxon — and ultimately resulted in Haddock’s becoming president, CEO and chairman of Fina.
- Haddock and his wife, Sandi, live in Dallas.
- Both are philanthropists: In December 2011 they gave $1 million to support construction of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s New University Hospital. In June of that year, Haddock and his wife gave $1 million to the American Heart Association.
- Reiser, a comedian, actor, author and musician, is most widely known for his role in the 1990s TV sitcom Mad About You.
To inquire about the dinner, contact Camille Barnes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 214-272-4814.