Samuel Phillip Wilson
Public Servant and Business Leader
Phil Wilson was born in Monterrey, Mexico on October 5, 1967. The son of Sam and the late Betty Wilson, he was raised in Brownwood, Texas where his father served as a professor at Howard Payne University. In 1986 Phil moved north to enroll in Hardin-Simmons University, graduating in 1990 with a B.A. degree in Political Science and History and as the recipient of the George Skiles Anderson Medal for outstanding male graduate.
As an HSU Cowboy, he managed to find time to enjoy campus life. He was an active member and officer of numerous student organizations. He was President of his freshman class, a founding member of Theta Alpha Zeta, Vice President of Student Congress, editor of the yearbook and President of the Student Activities Council, President of the Student Communication Association, and President of the Law and Politics Club. In addition, he performed in several theatre productions and was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
Phil’s greatest accomplishment at HSU was meeting his future wife, Kristen. They were married in 1992 and have one son, Christian. They live in Austin today and attend Hill Country Bible Church.
Phil went on to earn his MBA degree from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in 2004.
Beginning in 1991, Phil started on an exceptional professional journey focused on public service by serving for six years as the Regional Director for U.S. Senator Phil Gramm in a 43-county area where he managed events, served as personal aide to the Senator and was an advocate for the public before accepting a position as Director of Communications for Texas Railroad Commissioner Charles Matthews in 1997. Phil again served Senator Gramm and the people of Texas starting in 1999, this time as State Director of Operations.
In 2002, Phil was named Director of Communications for Texas Governor Rick Perry and one year later was installed as the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff. In this capacity, Phil oversaw initiatives related to fostering economic development and job creation for Texans. He also managed federal funding issues and policy development in addition to conceptualizing and implementing the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone Program to aid wind energy distribution. Phil managed the Texas tourism campaign while also giving direction to the “Texas One” program aimed at marketing the state to outside businesses for the economic benefit of all Texans.
Governor Perry appointed Phil as the 106 th Texas Secretary of State effective July 1, 2007. In this role he served as the chief elections officer and chief international protocol officer for the State of Texas. He was also appointed as the Governor’s liaison on border and Mexican affairs while continuing to manage the economic development initiatives on behalf of Governor Perry. Phil capably served as the Governor’s designee on the Emerging Technology Fund and the Texas Enterprise Fund. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Competitiveness Council and as a member of the Border Security Council.
From 2008 until 2011, Phil Wilson temporarily left public service to enter private enterprise as the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Luminant – Texas’ largest electric generation company and a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings. In this role he was charged with overseeing the company’s community relations, communications, and all regulatory and governmental affair efforts.
In 2011, Phil was named as the Executive Director of the Texas Department of Transportation leading the 12,000 person state agency and overseeing a budget of ten-billion dollars while executing the policy direction of the Texas Transportation Commission Board and the Texas Legislature. Phil successfully led this complex, multi-layered organization in its service to the citizens of Texas through development of its new mission and goals including a restructuring of the agency and implementation of a technology solution to provide transparent and accurate stewardship of the financial resources provided by the taxpaying public.
On February 3, 2014, Phil Wilson became the eleventh General Manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority. He serves as that organizations chief executive officer overseeing all projects and operations that support the Lower Colorado River Authority’s public service mission of supplying cost effective electricity for Central Texas, managing water supplies and floods in the lower Colorado River basin, providing public parks, and supporting community development in fifty-eight Texas counties.
During his life, Phil has twice faced the challenge presented by cancer and he has elected to benefit from the attendant lessons brought on from such personal struggles. His strong faith and his wonderful family have been sources of great strength in his journey.
Phil Wilson has dedicated his life to service and achieving the greatest good for those served by offices, agencies and programs which he has led. It is a high honor for Hardin-Simmons University to recognize one of her own and to formally induct Samuel Philip Wilson into the HSU Hall of Leaders.