TXDOT welcomes new executive director

Phil Wilson, TXDOT's 19th executive director
Phil Wilson, TXDOT's 19th executive director

AUSTIN, TX (News Release) - During their regular monthly meeting Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission selected Phil Wilson as the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) 19th executive director, effective October 17, 2011.

Wilson currently serves as senior vice president of public affairs for Luminant, an electric generation company headquartered in Dallas, and previously served as Texas Secretary of State. As secretary, Wilson was responsible for elections and acted as the governor's chief liaison on the Texas-Mexico border and issues with Mexico. He has also served as Chairman of the Governor's Competitiveness Council, where Wilson helped identify ways the state could improve its economic position for continued long-term success.

Wilson's public service also includes time as an aide to U.S. Senator Phil Gramm and on the senior staff of Governor Rick Perry. "Phil's experience as a public servant and member of the Texas business community has prepared him well to lead the department as it continues to modernize," said Ted Houghton, Texas Transportation commissioner and chair of the commission's executive director search committee.

"While TxDOT is certainly a national leader in transportation infrastructure development, there are opportunities for Phil to guide the department through this period of transition, emerging a more responsive and efficient organization." "I am honored to be selected as the next executive director of TxDOT. This is an agency with a rich history in successfully building for our future with dedicated employees," said Wilson. "I look forward to working with the agency, Commission, Legislature and local communities on the most efficient and effective ways to build infrastructure for Texas."

During his time as secretary of state, Wilson led a number of transportation-related programs, including the Border Colonia Access Program and the Texas Interagency Work Group on the Texas and Mexico Border Affairs initiative.

The secretary of state also serves as the state's chief economic development officer, and in that role, Wilson worked with TxDOT professionals in bringing new opportunities to the state. As a chair of the Governor's Competitiveness Council, Wilson and his colleagues made several transportation recommendations to improve the state's competitiveness, including proposals to re-examine public-private partnerships, expand inland ports, repair and maintain the state's existing infrastructure and advancement of rail relocation efforts.

Wilson succeeds Amadeo Saenz, Jr., who retired from state service at the end of August. Wilson is the department's first executive director since legislation was passed in 2009 removing the requirement that the position be occupied by a professional engineer. He holds a bachelor's degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and a master's degree in business administration from Southern Methodist University.