In 2007, The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation created SOAR Inc., a Texas, non-profit, 501c3 organization to raise funds for building Morgan’s Wonderland. Construction on the $36 million project began in spring 2009, and the colorful park opened a year later. SOAR has taken on expanded responsibilities as a result of the impressive success of Morgan’s Wonderland. It has become the coordinating function for what’s now known as Wonderland, Texas – facilities in the former Longhorn Quarry in Northeast San Antonio all focused on helping the special-needs community. These include Morgan’s Wonderland, Morgan’s Inspiration Island, and future developments.
Native San Antonian Hartman grew the company he founded at age 19 into the largest locally-owned homebuilding and land development enterprise. In 2005, he sold it and pursued – along with wife Maggie – bold initiatives to help the special-needs community. Inspired by daughter Morgan, who was born with cognitive and physical special needs, the Hartmans opened Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive, non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland in 2010. The tremendous success of the theme park spawned other ventures such as Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park, Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex, new Morgan’s Wonderland Camp and projects under construction such as the Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, or The MAC. These endeavors and more to come now comprise the Morgan’s Wonderland Inclusion Foundation (MWIF), which coordinates planning, fundraising and communication for the entire Morgan’s Wonderland “family.” Since 2005, the Hartmans have committed more than $75 million for the betterment of people with special needs.
Hartman has worked alongside husband Gordon in trying to make life better for individuals with special needs. A lifelong San Antonian, she was employed in the mortgage business when she met Gordon. They married in 1991, and after daughter Morgan’s birth, she became a stay-at-home mom to focus on Morgan’s care and well-being. In 2013, Hartman was diagnosed with and successfully treated for breast cancer. As a result of that experience, she became a staunch advocate for early detection and treatment. She is actively involved with Morgan’s Wonderland and other members of the Morgan’s Wonderland Inclusion Foundation (MWIF) “family” of Ultra-Accessible™, fully-inclusive venues, and she also devotes her time and energy to the foundation’s annual gala fundraiser and to many other organizations that assist those with special needs.
Dr. Marian Sokol
Dr. Sokol is the executive director of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, whose mission it is to foster healing for grieving children and their families. She was founding executive director of Any Baby Can Inc., of Texas, a model support center for children who are chronically ill or disabled. The organization was recognized by President George H. W. Bush as a Presidential Point of Light. For decades Dr. Sokol has served as an executive consultant on maternal and child health issues. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, with a doctorate from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Heriberto “Berto” Guerra Jr.
Born in Roma, Texas, and raised in Corpus Christi, Guerra began his career with Southwestern Bell in 1978 and retired as vice president-legislative and constituency affairs for SBC (now AT&T). He is now the co-owner of two auto dealerships, Toyota of Boerne and Nissan of San Marcos, and he chairs the board of the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), the city’s water supplier. Last year, he earned Ernst & Young’s National Entrepreneur of the Year award. In 2007, he was named Distinguished Alumnus of Texas State University in San Marcos, and he also completed the Executive Management Program at Penn State University.
General James T. Hill, USA (Ret.)
General Hill, an El Paso native, earned his commission as an Army officer in 1968 after graduating from Trinity University in San Antonio. He advanced during his 36-year career to lead I Corps and Fort Lewis, Wash. and retired as commander of the Southern Command in 2005. He founded The JT Hill Group, a consulting company, and he has shared his expertise with companies and organizations in areas such as cybersecurity, defense, and biotechnology. He sits on numerous boards including Professional Contract Services Inc., a not-for-profit company specializing in the employment of persons with significant disabilities. He is also the Vice-Chair and Chair-Elect of the San Antonio Area Foundation and a member of the Trinity University Board of Trustees.
Joe C. McKinney
McKinney, vice chairman of the board of Broadway National Bank, assumed that post in 2002 after serving as chairman of the board and CEO of JPMorgan Chase Bank in San Antonio. He began his banking career in 1974 after earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. McKinney serves on the boards of directors of USAA Real Estate Co., and Luby’s Inc., and devotes considerable time to charitable and civic organizations such as the Cancer Therapy & Research Foundation, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Texas Research Park Foundation and University Health System Foundation.
Mark W. Roenigk
Roenigk is chief operating officer of Rackspace Hosting of San Antonio, a managed cloud company. He is responsible for the computing platforms on which Rackspace delivers products, services and support to customers in over 120 countries. He started his career as an engineer at Compaq and later held senior leadership roles at Microsoft, Intuit, Sirius XM and eBay. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in management, he has been a strong supporter of charities dedicated to enriching the lives of children with disabilities. He is a board member for Taelor’s House Foundation and supports the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association.
Pablos is an executive, attorney, and Republican politician. He served as Secretary of State of Texas and has a vast knowledge of business and community. He has a degree in Biology, a Master of Business Administration, a Master in Hospitality Management, and a Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law. He was described as the “driving force” behind the creation of the San Antonio campus of Hilton College, at which he formerly served as an adjunct lecturer of hospitality law. He has a passion for helping individuals with special needs and believes community service is not only essential, it’s expected.