Donald L. Evans, Midland, TX
Born in Houston, Texas, Don Evans attended the University of Texas in Austin, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1969 and an MBA from the McCombs School of Business in 1973. In 1975, he moved to Midland and began working on an oil rig for Tom Brown Inc., a large independent energy company. Ten years later, he took over the company as CEO and expanded it into Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, and later into natural gas production. In 2000, Evans was appointed Secretary of Commerce by longtime friend and then-president George W. Bush. In that capacity he advised the president on many issues, including pro-growth and job-creating economic policies, international trade, business concerns, and energy policy. He oversaw a diverse Cabinet-level agency with some 40,000 workers and a $5.8 billion budget focused on promoting American business, both at home and abroad. His department gathered vast quantities of economic and demographic data, issued patents and trademarks, helped set technical standards, forecast the weather, conducted oceans and coastal zone research, managed marine fisheries and sanctuaries, enforced international trade laws, and developed telecommunications and technology policy.