Barry Smitherman is a fourth generation Texan with a unique blend of private and public sector experience.
Barry is currently the Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. Created in 1891, the RRC no longer regulates railroads, but oversees the oil, natural gas, coal mining, intrastate pipeline, and gas utility distribution industries in Texas. He was appointed to this position in July of 2011, by Governor Rick Perry, and was elected statewide in November of 2012, winning with 74% of the vote. His term ends December 31, 2014. Over the last three years, the RRC has issued more oil and gas drilling permits, than it has in a similar three-year period, since the mid 80s. Texas oil production is about 2 mm bbls/day and gas production is about 21 bcf/day. Barry is also the Chairman of the NARUC Gas Committee, a position he has held since January of 2013.
Prior to the RRC, Barry was the Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, a position to which he was appointed in April of 2004. He was reappointed in September of 2007 and promoted to Chairman in November of 2007. The PUCT oversees the Texas electricity and landline telecommunications industries. The competitive Texas electric market is generally considered one the most dynamic and free market electric models in the world. As Chairman of the PUCT, Barry also sat on the ERCOT Board of Directors, served as Vice President of the Regional State Committee of the Southwest Power Pool and as a two term member of the US DOE Electricity Advisory Committee.
Prior to beginning public service, Barry spent 17 years as either a municipal bond attorney or as a public finance investment banker. He held leadership positions with Lazard, First Boston, JP Morgan, and Bank One, where he was the National head of tax-exempt origination.
Barry graduated with a BBA summa cum laude from Texas A&M University, with a JD from The University of Texas School of Law, and with an MPA from Harvard University’s School of Government where he was the first recipient of the Joel Leff Fellowship in Political Economy.
Barry and his wife of 27 years, Marijane, have four wonderful children and live in Austin, Texas.