Rowling made $476.5 million by selling his father's company, Tana Oil and Gas, to Texaco in 1989. Soon after, he founded TRT Holdings, a private holding company that owns Omni Hotels, Gold's Gym International, and Tana Exploration Co. (a Texas-based oil and gas company), along with other companies and investments, including "a fifth of downtown Corpus Christi."
Rowling is ranked #290 on Forbes' global billionaires' list.
He and his wife pledged $25 million to the University of Texas McCombs School of Business in 2013.
Tana Exploration was one of many companies that received environmental-impact-study waivers from the Interior Department's Mineral Management Services for Gulf of Mexico drilling projects — after BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform exploded in April, 2010.
Tana is among the companies that received the most Gulf of Mexico drilling permits in the first half of 2013, according to Bloomberg.
In the 2011-2012 election cycle Rowling contributed over $6 million to federal candidates and Super PACs, in addition to over $300,000 to state politicians. Rowling gave $3.5 million dollars to American Crossroads, the ultra-conservative super PAC run by Karl Rove. TRT Holdings (the company) gave another $2.5 million to American Crossroads.
In 2006, Tana was fined $165,000 after a leak resulted when safety valves were improperly bypassed.