John Magness, a development executive who helped transform the Inland Empire into a national logistics epicenter, died on Saturday after summiting a mountain in Argentina, the Southern California News Group reported.
“John was an outstanding father, patriot and a man of faith,” Ross Perot Jr., who owns the Dallas-based development firm Hillwood, where Magness worked, said in a statement.
Magness was 58 and was married with two children. He died from medical complications shortly after reaching the 23,000-foot peak of Mount Aconcagua, in western Argentina, as part of a fundraising effort for veterans’ children.
“Words cannot express the magnitude of an individual with such integrity,” added Mike Burrows, executive director of the Inland Valley Development Agency, in an email to the newspaper chain.
“The stars of AllianceCalifornia” — a public private partnership Magness led — will always shine brighter because of John.”
Magness, a West Point graduate and Desert Storm veteran, joined Hillwood in 1997 and, as the leader of the firm’s California expansion, subsequently helped orchestrate a deal with local officials that transformed San Bernardino’s Norton Air Force Base into a major logistics hub.
Hillwood then added millions of square feet of commercial and industrial development around the base, which helped establish both San Bernardino and the broader Inland Empire into one of the world’s most important logistics and industrial centers; in 2021, it reached another milestone when Amazon moved into a Hillwood-developed air cargo center at the San Bernardino International Airport.
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