Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Steve Preston (2008–2009): Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Born in 1960, Steve Preston grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin, alongside four brothers and sisters. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1982 with a B.A. in Political Science and then received an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago in 1985.

After earning his M.B.A., Preston began his career as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers. He also worked as the senior vice president and treasurer of First Data Corporation, the executive vice president of Strategic Services, and chief financial officer of The ServiceMaster Company.

In 2006, Preston was nominated as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and unanimously confirmed by the Senate. At the SBA, he implemented reforms that made the agency more efficient and cut processing times for disaster loan applications.

President George W. Bush nominated Preston in 2008 as the 14th Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Senate unanimously confirmed him. Although Preston was only secretary for less than a year, he took office at the onset of the 2008 fiscal crisis during which time the housing market was significantly affected. Preston continued to work for transparency and efficiency. He advocated less complicated procedures for federal housing loans and implemented regulations to help consumers find lower cost mortgages. After leaving office in 2009, Preston returned to the private sector as president and chief executive officer of Oakleaf Waste Management.