Joel Cowley serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™, where he is responsible for the efforts of 35,000 volunteers and 120 full-time staff in conducting a 23-day event that draws nearly 34,000 livestock show entries and an annual attendance of more than 2.4 million. He began working at the Show in 2005 as the Executive Director of Agricultural Exhibits and Competitions, and was promoted to president and CEO in 2013. His prior experience includes working in the food service and international divisions at Certified Angus Beef LLC, serving as an extension beef cattle specialist at Michigan State University, and coaching the senior livestock judging team at Texas A&M University.
Cowley has been active on a number of boards, including the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Texas 4-H Foundation, the Texas FFA Foundation, the University of Houston Bauer College of Business, and the Super Bowl LI Community Council. He was named the 2017 Executive Communicator of the Year by the Houston Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.
He holds an associate’s degree in agricultural education from Northeastern Junior College, a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Michigan State University.
Cowley resides in Richmond, Texas, with his wife Tammy. They have two daughters, both college students.