Faculty Profile: Barry T Smitherman
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Barry Smitherman is the founder and Managing Partner of Smitherman + Associates, LLP. He is a consultant to, and private investor in, the Texas energy space. Barry is also the Chairman, President, and co-founder of the Texas Geothermal Energy Alliance (TxGEA), a 'trade organization' dedicated to education, public awareness, and advocacy on behalf of the Texas geothermal industry. (www.txgea.org)
Barry served on the Texas Railroad Commission from 2011 through 2014, and was Chairman of the Commission from March 2012 through August 2014. Initially appointed by Governor Rick Perry to a vacant seat on the RRC, Barry ran for statewide election, in November 2012, garnering 73% of the general election vote. In 2014, he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Texas Attorney General.
Prior to joining the RRC, Barry was on the Public Utility Commission of Texas, from April 2004 through July 2011, and served as Chairman for the last four years of his tenure. During this time period, he served two terms on the U.S. DOE Electricity Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC,) Chairman of the NARUC Gas Committee, the ERCOT Board of Directors (ex-officio), the Southern States Energy Board, and the Regional State Committee of the Southwest Power Pool.
Barry presently serves on the Board of Directors of Centerpoint Energy, Inc, (CNP), a Houston-based electric and gas utility serving 2.8 million metered electric customers in the greater Houston area and in southwestern Indiana, and 4 million natural gas customers in six states, including Texas. (www.centerpointenergy.com) In 2021, CNP was the best performing utility stock in America. Barry previously served on the Board of NRG Energy, Inc., a large Texas-based independent power producer which also owns a number of retail electric providers, including Green Mountain Energy, Direct Energy, and Reliant. (www.nrg.com) In 2017, NRG was the best performing stock in the S&P 500. Before joining the board of NRG, Barry was a partner at Vinson & Elkins.
Barry is also the Chairman of BIG (Brookwood in Georgetown), a non-profit which provides work, artistic, and housing opportunities for special needs adults in central Texas. (www.brookwoodingeorgetown.org)
Prior to beginning public service, Barry spent 16 years as an investment banker, holding leadership positions with J.P. Morgan Securities, First Boston, and Banc One Capital Markets, where he was a Managing Director and National Head of the Public Finance group. During this time, he led over $7.5 billion in tax-exempt bond and note offerings saving hundreds of millions in debt service for state and local governments.
Barry received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law, his M.P.A. from Harvard University, and his B.B.A. summa cum laude from Texas A&M University.