As a senior in high school, Rad Weaver was determined to become a professional baseball player, but he never expected in 20 years he would be the CEO of McCombs Partners and a new UT
Last month, in a stark contrast to his high school dream, Gov. Greg Abbott selected Weaver to be a UT System regent, with his term officially confirmed Tuesday.
“To be completely honest, I was surprised,” Weaver said. “It’s a great responsibility, and I’m super excited about it, and I’m very humbled to think that (Abbott) would choose me.”
Weaver grew up in San Antonio in a middle-class family. During his senior year of high school, Weaver met Red McCombs, a businessman and UT donor and alum, who would show Weaver endless entrepreneurial opportunities, something Weaver never imagined.
“I say to Red, and I say to him regularly, ‘Thank you for giving me a pick-up to a game that I didn’t know existed,’” Weaver said. “That’s the truth.”
Weaver began working for McCombs the summer before his freshman year at UT, starting with simple errands such as washing his cars.
“I followed him through college, and he had a great career there at UT, both as a student and as an athlete and as a leader in his fraternity,” McCombs said.
When Weaver graduated from the University in 1998, McCombs encouraged him to go to Minnesota for a year to work for the Minnesota Vikings, which McCombs had recently purchased, before returning to his hometown.
“In the various companies that I own or control, I have over a hundred-thousand employees across the United States,” McCombs said. “I would say that not one that I’m aware of has the leadership capabilities that Rad Weaver has.”
Weaver is the current CEO of McCombs Partners, which invests in startups and struggling businesses. Although Weaver said there’s a lot to be learned, such as knowing where the bathrooms are located in the System building, he said he hopes to bring reform to graduation rates, spending and funding.
“If you think of the System as a company, any company of this size has ways (to reduce spending),” Weaver said. “It’s sometimes hard to see from the inside and a little easier to see with a new set of eyes coming in and asking questions.”
The UT System has received criticism from state senators on the lack of diversity on the Board of Regents. Weaver said he understands the concerns, but he knows how to be inclusive of all backgrounds,
“The first high school I went to, there were five percent Caucasian students, so I was absolutely in the minority,” Weaver said. “Many times when we think of diversity, we think of it in terms of the color of the skin and I don’t think that’s totally correct. I think it’s important that we have a diverse mindset at the table for any division that’s impacting the System.”
Weaver said he is grateful for the opportunities he has been given in the past and strives to achieve more than ever for his family and for the students he will be serving.
“I expect to try to win whatever I’m doing every day,” Weaver said.