Texas is known for several things: Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and Lucchese boots. Jack Hill, Senior VP of Project Development at Texas Rangers, works with all three. Jack has had a major impact in building many successful sports facilities the last 30 years. He helped lead the construction and oversee all operations of the AT&T Stadium for the Dallas Cowboys – including the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders locker room, where the cheerleaders pull on their iconic white Lucchese boots before each game. The relationship between the Dallas Cowboys and Lucchese continues today. Lucchese is proud to be the Official Boot of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
Jack Hill grew up in Fort Worth and lived there his whole life. He went to college at Texas A&M where he studied building construction. He said, "You can imagine boots and cowboys are very big there, too!" All of his summer jobs were in the construction industry because he decided he wanted to get more on the building side and less on the design side.
Tell us about yourself.
Today, I am the Senior VP of Project Development at Texas Rangers where I am currently working on my sixth stadium. I tell everybody I’ve got the greatest job in the world. I love the people I work with, and I love to see the reaction of the fans. These projects are long — it’s like running a marathon because you know it’s going to be a few years until you finish, so you just have to take it one step at a time. I couldn’t choose anything better to do than what I’m doing.
Tell us about your experiences in construction.
Growing up, I worked a different construction job every summer. Whether I was working for a surveyor, commercial roofer or residential framer, it seems like I always spent the summers in the field. It was interesting to be a part of the constructive process and seeing the projects progress from day-to-day.
Once I graduated from school, I worked for a general contractor managing construction projects, estimating and bidding projects. After a few years working construction projects, I was hired by a real estate developer to help them negotiate construction and architectural contracts as well as manage the day to day activities. I had budget and schedule responsibilities and worked on the project administration side.
In the early 1990s, I received a call about a new ballpark from the ownership of the Texas Rangers. At the time, it didn’t have a name, we just called it “the ballpark”. It would later become The Ballpark in Arlington and eventually Globe Life Park. They said, “We got your name from some people in the industry. Would you be interested in coming down to talk to us? We’re going to build a new ballpark in Arlington and we need someone to work on the day-to-day management.” I remember how excited I was to be a part of it. Coming from someone who’d been working primarily on commercial office buildings, I was thrilled to be involved with something as monumental as a major league ballpark… It’s seemed like a dream.
After completing the Ballpark, I went up to Milwaukee and worked on another baseball park for the Brewers eventually named Miller Park. My role there was primarily pre-construction and involved setting up the design and construction team. During that time, I got a call from Hillwood Development Company, whose ownership also owned the Mavericks. Voters in Dallas had just passed a new arena project. Hillwood asked if I’d be interested in coming back to Dallas and helping them with the project. I jumped at the opportunity and the chance to come back home. Being an arena project, it had some differences from a ballpark, but because of the size and complexity, it also had a lot of similarities. The project from design to completion took about 4 years and became American Airlines Center. After its completion, it was time to look for the next project.
Having now had a successful experience with two major league baseball stadia and a professional sports arena, this put me into a good position to take on an NFL stadium project. The Cowboys hired me to oversee their new home in Arlington, Texas. I just remember thinking how massive the project was and how unique the project would be with its contemporary design and retractable roof. The project would become AT&T Stadium. It’s hard to believe it’s celebrating its tenth year and, to this day, it’s still beautiful and known as one of the country’s best stadia.
From there, I went to Santa Clara, California and worked for the San Francisco 49ers on the Levi’s Stadium project. Being in the heart of Silicon Valley, Levi’s Stadium is known for its open design, unique placement of suites, and technology innovations. Growing up a Cowboys fan, it was interesting working for one of their biggest rivals. It was a great experience for me and my family, and a time I will always fondly remember.
In 2016, after traveling from California to Dallas about every other week to be with my family, I received a call to see if I would be interested in coming back home to work on the new Texas Rangers Stadium in Arlington. Shortly after, I accepted the job to come back and work on Globe Life Field, which is where I am at today.
What’s your day-to-day responsibility like as a project developer?
When building a stadium or arena project, teams need somebody with expertise to oversee the development process, help them select their design team, negotiate construction agreements and help manage all the decisions necessary to keep the project moving. Typically, these projects will have a tight schedule and good communications among team members is vitally important. I’ll work with all of the project’s stakeholders including team ownership, the public entity, sponsors, fans, the design and construction team and the various departments within the organization.
In addition to being involved with the development of some truly great projects, with each new project, the other fun part of my job is seeing the latest technology innovation, which continues to evolve and improve the fan experience.
What led you to become a project developer?
I like the camaraderie and the constructive process. It’s intriguing to take on the issues which appear daily. It’s fun to see the project come out of the ground. You can envision what it’s going to look like when the design team provides the initial design sketches; additionally, you get to provide a lot of good input on ultimately what the fans will see and enjoy. Now, with the retractable roof and technology innovations, you’ll see that these stadium projects aren’t just for sports anymore, but also a myriad of other type events such as concerts, private parties, monster truck, and rodeos.
What are you looking most forward to?
I’m looking forward to the completion of Globe Life Field, the celebrations, and the fan’s reaction to seeing it for the first time. It’s always rewarding knowing you were a key part of the project and now you’re seeing millions of people enjoy the work you and the other team members worked so hard to accomplish.
What kind of boots do you keep in your collection for being on the job?
Without a doubt, my favorite Lucchese boots which I wear everywhere are my black ostrich boots. They’re extremely comfortable, stylish, and versatile. To keep them looking good, I try to not to wear them on days when I’m in the field. Typically, I’ll wear them in the office. They’re suitable for all sorts of events including presentations, board meetings and family events. Being from Texas, it’s appropriate to wear them with a tux. I appreciate the fact that they’re the perfect combination of style and comfort, which is important in my line of work.
Are you a big Lucchese fan?
As a longtime Lucchese customer, I am a big fan! Lucchese makes great boots and they’re very comfortable. They are the nicest shoes you can put on. It seems like I’ve always had at least one pair in my closet at any given point in time. Typically, I'll wear a roper boot when I’m on site. They’re comfortable, easy to clean and great for everyday wear. I continue to be a big fan because of their perfect fit.
For more information about Jack Hill and Globe Life Park, visit the Texas Rangers website. Globe Life Field is expected to open in March of 2020!