Speeflo founder, paint-spray innovator and philanthropist Gustave S. Levey has received an honorary doctoral degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev for his longtime support of solar initiatives.
The degree was scheduled to be awarded yesterday by The Greater Texas Region of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, at the Houston Intercontinental Hotel.
Levey, a lawyer and inventor, “has been a longtime proponent of solar energy initiatives, which have helped position Ben-Gurion University as a global leader in alternative energy technology,” the university said in a statement. “In addition to his foresight as a major supporter of BGU’s initiatives in this area, he has also been instrumental in securing important patents for BGU in the solar energy arena.”
Levey is president of GSL Investments Inc., a Houston real estate company. He also founded Speeflo Corp., which manufactured gas- and electric-powered paint sprayers. He sold the company and secured 19 patents, some of which have revolutionized the spray-painting industry.
Speeflo was acquired in 1995 by a holding company that also owned Titan Tool. In January 1999, Wagner Holdings Inc., a global development and manufacture of airless spray equipment, acquired the Titan Tool and Speeflo brands.
BGU President Rivka Carmi called Levey “a brilliant, generous and humble man who has been a longstanding philanthropic supporter of Israel, as well as the Houston community, and is most deserving of receiving the university’s highest honorary award.”
He added: “Many years ago, Gus saw that alternative energy technology would become an important strategic asset to Israel and provided immeasurable support in establishing BGU in this field.”
Levey has been able to combine his philanthropic interest in education with his real estate acumen, converting several Houston commercial buildings into schools. He and his wife Marjorie also underwrote the Marjorie and Gustave Levey Dormitory located on the American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) Dormitory Complex in Beer-Sheva.
Levey began his education at Wichita University and then served as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps. After his service, he earned a B.S. in economics and a law degree from the University of Houston.