Former Secretary of Commerce
Donald L. Evans was the 34th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the voice of business in government. Secretary Evans was a core member of President Bush's economic team, advising the President on many issues, including pro-growth and job-creating economic policies, international trade, business concerns, and energy policy.
He oversaw a diverse Cabinet agency with some 40,000 workers and a $5.8 billion budget focused on promoting American business, both at home and abroad. His Department gathered vast quantities of economic and demographic data, issued patents and trademarks, helped set technical standards, forecast the weather, conducted oceans and coastal zone research, managed marine fisheries and sanctuaries, enforced international trade laws, and developed telecommunications and technology policy.
A former businessman in the oil and gas industry, Secretary Evans strongly believes in the free enterprise system, corporate accountability, and corporate stewardship. He sees his main mission in government as working to create a climate for U.S. and world economic growth. "President Bush and I share the belief that governments don.t create wealth and prosperity: people do. It is government's role to create the right conditions in which America's workers and businesses will flourish," Evans says.
International trade was at the top of Secretary Evans' agenda. He was confident that given a level playing field, U.S. businesses and workers can compete with anybody in the world. Like President Bush, he believes in an aggressive, pro-active trade policy. Under his leadership, the Department devoted significant resources to fighting unfair trade practices that harm U.S. companies and enforcing compliance with international trade agreements.
At the direction of the President, Secretary Evans launched a government-wide Manufacturing Initiative. This is a major effort based on some 50 recommendations by industry to make manufacturers more competitive in world markets. Many of the recommendations are being put into effect, including: a new President's Manufacturing Council; a new Commerce assistant secretary for manufacturing; a get-tough Unfair Trade Practices Task Force; a tax simplification study by the Treasury Department; and a comprehensive regulatory review by the President's Office of Management and Budget.
Secretary Evans worked closely with Congress to secure Trade Promotion Authority, which gives President Bush power to negotiate new trade agreements that ensure America's leadership in global markets. Since then, free-trade deals have been concluded with Morocco, Australia and five countries in Central America. Secretary Evans has visited 26 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, to promote American exports, open foreign markets and secure a more peaceful and prosperous world. He has led trade missions to Russia, China, Mexico, and several African and South American countries.
Maintaining U.S. leadership in high-tech industries also is a focal point for Secretary Evans. He directed efforts to redefine government's role in research in order to spur the development of more cutting-edge technologies; to promote the expansion of E-commerce and telecommunications with as little government intervention as possible; and to improve the Department's economic data collection and distribution capabilities.
Secretary Evans equally accords high priority to the Commerce Department role as steward of the nation's marine resources and center for atmospheric research and forecasting. Under his direction, the Department is focused on improving and streamlining the nation's marine fisheries management system in order to meet conservation, commercial, and recreational objectives. The Department also is implementing the Administration's Climate Change Research Initiative, a massive research program aimed at improving our understanding of climate systems and developing analytical support for policy and management decisions benefiting safety and quality of life.
Secretary Evans was sworn into office on January 20, 2001. Born in Houston, Texas, in 1946, he attended the University of Texas at Austin, receiving a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1969 and an M.B.A. in 1973. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternity. During school breaks, he worked in a Texas steel mill.
In 1975, Secretary Evans moved to Midland, Texas, from Houston and began his career as a "roughneck" working on oil rigs for Tom Brown, Inc, a large independent energy company. Ten years later, he took the helm of the company as CEO, continuing in that position until being tapped by the President to lead the Commerce Department.
Secretary Evans is a self-described optimist who believes the highest calling in life is serving others. As a result, he has been very active in community service over the years. In 1995, Governor Bush appointed him to the Board of Regents of the University of Texas; he was elected Chairman of the Board in February 1997 and served two consecutive terms. Secretary Evans was a board member of the Scleroderma Research Foundation for eight years and was a driving force behind Native Vision, a program that provides services to about 10,000 Native American children. He was involved with the United Way for many years, serving as President of the Midland branch in 1989 and Campaign Chair in 1981.
In December 2001, the University of South Carolina awarded Secretary Evans an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. In September 2002, the University of Texas awarded Secretary Evans its Distinguished Alumnus Award. In November 2002, he was inducted into the University of Texas Red McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame.
Secretary Evans has made significant contributions in local and national politics over the past 25 years, having worked on behalf of Governor Bush's successful gubernatorial campaigns in 1994 and 1998, and serving as Chairman of the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign.
Secretary Evans says his passions in life are his family and friends. He is married to Susan Marinis Evans. They have two daughters, a son and a granddaughter.