David Herr wasn't born in Texas, but if you ask him, he'll tell you, "I got here as fast as I could." An energy commodity trader and vice president of the gas division at Trammo Inc., Herr also serves as chair of MD Anderson's Advance Team, a volunteer leadership board of "next generation" community and business leaders. Drawing on his passion for philanthropy and his love of family, Herr leads the Advance Team in multiple efforts focused on one goal - Making Cancer History®. He and his wife, Catherine, have two children, Hudson, 6, and Lauren, 4.
Describe yourself in three words.
Motivated, dedicated, positive. Whatever I do, I try and give 100%. I feel that if you're passionate about something, commit to it and do something. Our actions speak louder than words, and in a world where much can be upsetting, I try to find that one aspect that is positive and put my focus there. I truly respect the doctors, nurses and researchers who are fighting every day for the patients and families being treated at MD Anderson.
How did you first come to know MD Anderson?
When I moved to Houston, I immediately took notice of the MD Anderson commercials on TV. They struck a chord with me and I just started donating. The people who started on this mission, the past and present leaders, the scientists, doctors and nurses who work every day to make cancer history, are my true connection to the institution. I believe we all can play a role in helping beat this disease for good, and I wanted to have a part in that.
What motivated you to be an advocate for MD Anderson?
Private philanthropy has an extremely important role in MD Anderson's mission to end cancer. My thought was that many people, thankfully, have the ability to write a check but I wanted to do something more, in addition to donating financially. A dear friend at MD Anderson nominated me to join the Advance Team. I'm grateful to have served on this team for eight years now. It's truly had an impact on my personal life, my family members' lives and how we think about our future.
"I believe we all can play a role in helping beat [cancer] for good, and I wanted to have a part in that."
What are you hoping to accomplish as chair of the Advance Team?
The Advance Team has been charged with shining a light on MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital and prevention as it relates to the Moon Shots Program. My passion project with the Advance Team is the Sunbeatables Program, which we're trying to get into a lot of the pre-K and kindergarten classes around town. While the program is still in its infancy, we've seen schools in the Houston area taking on the responsibility of educating our youth about the importance of sun safety. It's an unbelievable program.
What's most important in life?
Family is the most important thing. Nothing else can really follow that. If I don't have the support of my wife and kids, I can't really do what I do. I couldn't be the chair of the Advance Team and get involved like I do without the support and immense amount of love from my family. They're my core. They're my strength.
Describe a particularly life-changing moment.
Unfortunately, my father passed away before I moved to Houston. His passing reminded me how important it is to let those you love know it. Life is short, and I'm reminded of that when I realize how many lives have been ruined by this terrible disease we're all fighting. You need to tell people that you love them.
Tell us a little-known fact about David Herr.
I've been fortunate on the golf course to have made three holes in one. The latest came this past year at the Shell Houston Open playing on the Member Course with Shell at a customer outing.
What do you do for fun?
We love to travel with the kids. We go to Colorado for a week every year for summer vacation. I play tennis and I'm an avid golfer. We are a social couple and, more importantly, a social family. We love to be surrounded by good company and enjoy life to its fullest.