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Barry Smitherman

Barry Smitherman

Barry Smitherman is a fourth generation Texan appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the PUCT on April 21, 2004. He was reappointed on September 13, 2007 and promoted to Chairman on November 14, 2007. He was recently awarded the State Leadership award by the American Wind Energy Association for the PUCT’s pioneering renewable energy zone policy for proactive transmission development.  He was also recently selected one of the Energy and Utility Industry’s “Great Transformers” for 2010 by a partnership which includes Forbes magazine.Barry is a member of the State Bar of Texas, a member of the Governor's Competitiveness Council, an ex officio board member of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the Texas Regional Entity (TRE), a member of the Regional State Committee (RSC) for the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment, served as one of 30 members of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC) and is Vice-Chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Panel on Federal Environmental Regulations. Barry grew up in Highlands, Texas; a working class neighborhood on the east side of Houston. He graduated from Ross Sterling High School in Baytown and continued his education at Texas A&M University receiving a BBA summa cum laude. He received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law while working at the State Capitol for Senator Lindon Williams. Afterward he received a M.P.A. at Harvard University and was awarded the first Joel Leff Fellowship in Political Economy by the Kennedy School of Government.Between 1986 and 2002, Barry was a public finance investment banker working with state and local governments throughout the South, Southwest and Midwest to build infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, airports, water and sewer systems, schools, hospitals, and sports facilities. During this time he held leadership positions with First Boston, Lazard Freres, JP Morgan Securities, and Bank One Capital Markets.  Beginning in 2003, Barry began a second career as a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s office.  During this time he successfully prosecuted many jury trials against defendants charged with DWI, assault, theft, possession of controlled substance, and numerous other crimes.  At the time of his appointment to the PUCT, Barry was part of the prestigious Family Criminal Law Division (FCLD) which prosecutes domestic violence cases, especially cases where the victim has recanted the occurrence of the crime.In 1990, Barry was a member of the American Center for International Leadership delegation to the former Soviet Union.  In 1996, Barry was a delegate to the State Republican convention in San Antonio.  Barry is also a former adjunct professor of public administration at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and a former member of the Boards of the Texas Public Finance Authority, and the Harris County Health Facilities Development Corporation.Since joining the PUCT in 2004, Barry has supervised in issuance of over $5.6 billion in “transition/rate recovery bonds” issued by various utilities operating in Texas.  These securitization financings have saved Texas ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.