Profiles in Midstream

Robert Nichols

Senator Robert Nichols

Senator Robert Nichols was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2007 and represents District 3, including 19 counties covering the greater part of East Texas and Montgomery County. Prior to his election as a Texas State Senator, he was a Texas Transportation Commissioner for eight years. Earlier in his career, he was a businessman in his hometown of Jacksonville, Texas where he not only built four successful manufacturing facilities, earned 32 U.S. patents, and created over 900 jobs for his fellow Texans, but he also served on the city council and was elected mayor. Senator Nichols' lifetime of contribution and service made him aware of the reasons the Texas economy is so successful and the problems facing it. His knowledge of the midstream industry, that part of the state’s energy infrastructure that transports, processes, and stores produced oil and natural gas, enabled him to recognize the fact that this complex system was a bit of an orphan in the energy-focused academic world. No academic research institution was focusing on identifying and solving the problems of the huge and complex midstream system serving Texas, its industry, and its citizens. To correct this failure to meet the needs of an important industry, he worked with President Ken Evans of Lamar University to create and fund the Center for Midstream Management and Science, which is housed at the Lamar campus in Beaumont, Texas. The Midstream Center opened for business on September 1, 2019 with funding from the Texas legislature that was sponsored by Senator Nichols.

It is strategic thinking of leaders like Senator Nichols who enable us in our
effort to build the Midstream Center into a problem-solving cornerstone of the midstream industry, clearing house and developer of innovative midstream technologies, and ultimately a thought leader in the midstream sector. We are proud to have him on our team at Lamar University and to name him as the Center for Midstream Management and Science’s Profilesin Midstream honoree.

Senator Nichols is a 1968 graduate of Lamar University with a B.S. in
Industrial Engineering. He worked his way through college by selling fireworks and ironing clothes for other students. He married his high school sweetheart, became the proud parent of three children, and became not only a great citizen of the great state of Texas, but also an important founder of the Center for Midstream and Management at Lamar University.


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September-Dr. Helen Lou
August-Dr. Chun-wei Yao