Chairman Barry Smitherman

Comm. Barry T. Smitherman

Railroad Commission of Texas

2014 Southwest Guest of Honor

Barry Smitherman is currently a member of the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC).  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.  His term ends December 31, 2014.   From February 2012 through August 2014, he was Chairman of the RRC.  Barry is also the Chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC) Gas Committee, a position he has held since January of 2013.

Prior to the RRC, Barry was Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), 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.  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 served two terms on the US Department of Energy (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, J.P. Morgan, and Bank One (now part of J.P. Morgan), where he was the National head of tax-exempt origination.  He remains an active member of the State Bar of Texas.


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 Kennedy 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.