Midland History-Kyle Womack
Written By: Valerie Edgren
Date: August 16, 2019
Kyle Womack was the catalyst of many firsts in the early years of the Midland office. He managed the office for 30 years and has served as vice president of the corporation and on the firm’s board of directors for more than two decades.
Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas. After graduating 7th in his class of about 400 at Permian High School in 1971, he attended Texas Tech University and graduated in 1975 with a degree in civil engineering. He became a licensed professional engineer in Texas in 1980 and New Mexico in 1984.
In 1979, he returned to the Midland area and opened Parkhill’s Midland office on the strength of his long-term relationship with Midland International Airport. Kyle was only 27 years old during this achievement for Parkhill. In the words of his co-worker, longtime architect/engineer Dan Hart, Womack was a “trailblazer.”
“He’s one of the real entrepreneurial thinkers in the history of the firm,” Dan said, “the second being Jay Edwards.”
Gary F. Harris, a retired project engineer, said that Womack was a strong leader, very cordial and outgoing — qualities that later made him a positive influence as office manager.
Kyle’s likability spread. He served as president of the Midland Chamber of Commerce, which opened doors to new projects. Kyle designed many major subdivisions and retail projects for the Scharbauer brothers of Midland, including master planning and designing recreational facilities for Grassland Estates in Midland. Because of a combination of all the work in the Permian Basin, he was named a Heritage Foundation of Odessa Distinguished Citizen.
The most notable of Parkhill projects in the Midland area was the Midland Airport Terminal. Womack led the team that researched terminals across the nation to develop design ideas for what would become the award-winning new terminal.
“At the time we did the Midland Airport Terminal, it was the largest public works project the city had done,” Kyle said.
Marv Esterly, the former director of airports for the Midland International Air and Space Port, remembers those years.
He said, “The Parkhill team was always willing to go the extra mile, and I attribute that to the leadership initially instilled by Womack and later continued with Jay Edwards.”
Other notable projects included the Scharbauer Sports Complex and creation of a water district for Crane County.
Bobby Burns, president and CEO of the Midland Chamber of Commerce and former mayor, said Kyle and Jay were vital in the multipurpose Scharbauer Sports Complex in Midland – which included a 5,000-seat AA professional baseball stadium and a state-of-the-art football stadium.
Monte Hoppel, general manager of the RockHounds AA Baseball Team at the sports complex, said working with Kyle and Project Professional Joe Vincent, and the rest of the Parkhill team was fortunate.
“It was a pleasure working with those guys thinking about what’s best for Midland and what’s best for the fans, rather than trying to do a stadium that capitalizes on the number of seats,” Monte said.
In 1981, Kyle became a stockholder of the firm. Around that time, another major undertaking was a first for Parkhill in the Midland area but also firm-wide. Crane County formed a water district and Kyle was a big part of planning for it.
In 2013, in another milestone for Parkhill, Gov. Rick Perry appointed Kyle to serve as a member of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. He had served on numerous boards, committees and volunteer agencies, including the Texas Society of Professional Engineers as national director of Region III. He is a fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the Texas Engineering Foundation recognized him as a distinguished engineer and fellow. Among his other honors, Kyle is a past recipient of the Engineer of the Year for the Permian Basin Chapter of TSPE as well as the Travis Chapter of NSPE.
Kyle retired in December 2019 and now resides in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, with his wife Brenda.
Darcy Knight, the Midland office’s first bookkeeper, said Kyle was an even-tempered, patient supervisor who made his mark in the community.
“He knew a lot of people and built relationships throughout the community. He was key to the success of the office growing so much, I believe – I really do.”