Lawson McDowell was almost born in the backseat of a Buick, but a wild ride through the wheatfields near Dodge City, Kansas, arrived at the delivery room in the nick of time. That was in 1950. It seems Lawson has been in a hurry ever since.
At age seven, his family moved to the oil fields of West Texas to establish roots in the wildcatter town of Andrews. Lawson grew up with rattlesnakes and roughnecks in the bare-knuckled oil boom years of the 50s and 60s. In 1965 Andrews County was the nation’s foremost oil producer.
After high school, Lawson plunged into the oilfields where laying pipelines and sandblasting oil derricks soon convinced him to excel in college. He attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas where he won four letters in NCAA swimming before graduating in 1972.
After college, Lawson went to work for Southern Pacific Railroad, learning train operations and rail yard management across the Southwest United States.
He advanced through the ranks, eventually serving in leadership roles in Los Angeles, Tucson, Kansas City, and St Louis. In Denver, he served as Director of Safety and chaired the Association of American Railroad Safety Section in Washington, D. C.
Lawson attended executive classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. While MIT retooled and polished his skills, he developed a love for Boston and the Red Sox.
For many years, Lawson served as Director of Network Operations for Union Pacific where he helped meet the nation’s demands for premium rail services. Lawson retired in 2015 to dedicate more time to his greatest passion, his wife Virginia.
He and his wife, Virginia, live in Omaha, Nebraska.