On May 17,
1971, Bob Hibbetts, a graduate fresh out of the University of Texas, went to
work as an entry-level accountant for George Mitchell, the founder of The
Woodlands. His legacy with The Woodlands Development Company – then called GMA,
Inc. – began that day.
Hibbetts moved to The Woodlands to help set up the master planned community’s
first water district. He was one of the first few people to live in the area,
alongside Scott Mitchell, architect and son of George Mitchell. Both men moved
into the Settler’s Corner Townhomes, which now overlook the Tournament Golf Course
in the Village of Grogan’s Mill.
moved into Settler’s Corner, Woodlands Parkway and Grogan’s Mill Road weren’t
even paved,” Hibbetts says. "We had to cut through a gated logging road to get
to the townhomes. That logging road is now where the Tournament Golf Course is
Hibbetts, in 1971, the gated entrance into The Woodlands was next to Lamar
Elementary, and the old logging road leading to the Settler’s Corner Townhomes
went by a Grogan Cochran mill pond, now located in Tamarac Park, one of the
oldest parks in the community.
to the water district, Bob also helped start the first volunteer fire
department in The Woodlands.
by the name of George Robertson and I drove a yellow fire truck from Elmira,
New York to The Woodlands for the Grand Opening Ceremony on October 19, 1974.”
remembers some of The Woodlands’ first landmarks, including The Woodlands Inn
and Conference Center, now The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center, a few
production model homes, large custom homes off North Millbend Drive, and The Woodlands
Athletic Center. At the time, everything was located in the community’s first
village, Grogan’s Mill.
Over his 45-year
tenure, Hibbetts has watched The Woodlands grow exponentially.
when The Woodlands Mall was anticipated to open for years and finally did so in
1994,” Hibbetts says. "In the early 2000s, The Woodlands Waterway® and Waterway
Square® opened in Town Center. There were always visions of the Town Center expanding,
but it was hard to imagine until the actual day came along. Another exciting opening
was Hughes Landing in 2013, which offers a little bit of everything. There’s multifamily
living, retail, office space and even a hotel on Lake Woodlands. It’s amazing.”
Hibbetts is The Woodlands Development Company's longest-serving employee.