Alumni Spotlight: Billy Schiel (THS, '95)
BILLY SCHIEL, Tomball High School, 1995
Founder & Cultural Architect of Honor Society Coffee Co. in Tomball
Being able to contribute back to his hometown in a way in which he honors his past and leverages his current interests, has allowed Billy Schiel to cultivate something quite special.
Schiel grew up in Tomball and is a proud 1995 graduate of Tomball High School. He attended Tomball Elementary, Tomball Junior High and THS during his education years.
“Growing up in Tomball was special,” he said. “The community of families were tight knit and it felt like everyone knew one another.”
For Schiel, many memories were made and cherished whether it was Friday Night Lights at Cougar Stadium or weekly grocery store trips to Klein’s Grocery. And while growing up in this community was exactly what one could imagine, Schiel made the absolute most of his high school experience.
He represented THS as an athlete playing both football and baseball.
“My high school experience at THS was a fantastic experience,” he said. “A lifetime of memories were made, including meeting my wife of close to 26 years while in high school. We spent a ton of our youthful energy organized around sports (beach volleyball), social gatherings, and church youth groups.”
And while he didn’t realize it at the time, his passion for giving back, would eventually lead him to new opportunities.
After high school, Schiel began taking classes at Tomball College (now Lone Star College) while pursuing an evening job with Compaq Computer as a contract employee in their returns receiving warehouse. He eventually went on to work full time with Compaq. In 1998, Schiel married his wife JoJo and they began their family.
At 25 years old, Schiel received his first true calling.
“I began taking Bible college classes and felt that God was calling and compelling me to lean-in to Christian ministry, specifically pastoral ministry at the local church.”
From there, Schiel continued to pursue Biblical studies, but transitioned his professional career from the tech world to sales in the industrial equipment industry where he worked for Jetstream for about eight years.
But nothing stopped Schiel from continuing to delve into new opportunities.
“It was towards the end of my time with Jetstream that my hobby of coffee roasting began to take on a life of its own,” Schiel recalls.
In 2013, Schiel started his own small-batch coffee roasting business under the name, “Righteous Bros. Coffee Roasters.” During that venture, he set up an online business selling directly to consumers along with weekend spaces at local farmer’s markets. As the business grew, he was able to expand to a full-scale wholesale roasting for coffee shops, restaurants, businesses, and churches.
“That was fun and it grew rapidly over the next three years,” he said. “I eventually brought in some partners to help scale the business and then I exited the business in 2017 to pursue a full-time calling to vocational Christian ministry.”
Serving the local church has always been a part of Schiel’s life, even as early as 10 years old, and he now is the lead pastor of Church Project Tomball.
Through his experiences in church, and serving his community, Schiel never lost sight of what he believes is a true community connector: coffee.
“Coffee has a unique way of connecting people across socio-economic barriers,” he said. “It has been a big part of my life with my daily meetings, and I enjoy all things coffee. I felt for years now that there was a void in the specialty espresso market here in Tomball, and I wanted to be a part of the solution.”
So, it was in 2020 during the pandemic that Schiel believed he could truly be a part of that solution.
“I noticed a major gap in society with how we practice civil discourse…” And then at some point, he thought to himself, ‘We need to create a space that embodies the ethic of honoring one another,” and from there, that is where the name “Honor Society” originated.
In Fall 2022, Schiel opened the doors of Honor Society Coffee Co., located in downtown Tomball, as the Founder and Cultural Architect.
Since the opening, Honor Society Coffee Co. has elevated the Tomball coffee scene.
“I think the hospitality culture that we’ve been able to cultivate and the sense of community that people feel when they visit is special,” Schiel said. “It’s what we mean when we say, “Come for the coffee, stay for the vibes!”
Owning a small business is a big undertaking, but owning a business in the town in which you were raised can be quite rewarding.
“I feel like decades of practicing this [understanding the Biblical idea of “For the City”] is somehow now beginning to bear fruit,” he said. “Sowing seeds of support, care, and love into the community over the years is reaping a lot of personal joy and benefit through the coffee bar.”
As an entrepreneur, Schiel may not have taken your traditional path to success, but every opportunity he was faced with, he maximized. He has learned a lot along the way and is now able to share advice with others.
“Surround yourself with people who value what you value and who have gone where you want to go. Understand your strengths and weaknesses so that you can continue to grow and develop along the journey. Become great at building a great team. Building something from the ground up is rewarding but doing it with others who you can bring along with you on the journey is the most rewarding.”
Married to his high school sweetheart and having raised four children, Schiel has really embraced the gift of family and creativity.
And being able to flourish in his hometown of Tomball has been an extraordinary journey.
“Tomball has a small-town feel, the people who live here are invested in the community, the shared values are primed for people from every stage of life to flourish,” Schiel said. “We have a growing arts community including culinary, performing, and visual. Our education systems are great from K-college. The faith community is strong. There are so many beautiful things that make Tomball great, and I’m proud to call it home.”
- Alumni Spotlight