Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Don Evans (2001–2005): Secretary of Commerce

In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush nominated his campaign chairman and one of his closest friends, Don Evans, to become commerce secretary. Evans was born in Houston, Texas, in 1946, earning a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas, Houston, in 1969, and a master's in business administration from the same institution in 1973.

After completing his studies, Evans went to work in Midland, Texas, starting in drilling operations, for the oil and gas company of Tom Brown, Inc. He became president of the company five years later and chief executive in 1985.

Evans was present at the beginning of George W. Bush's political career, serving as a fund-raiser for his failed congressional campaign of 1978 and chairing Bush's successful runs at the Texas governor's chair in 1994 and 1998. In 1997, Bush appointed him to the University of Texas System Board of Regents, where Evans served as chair in 1997 and 1999.

The new commerce secretary has served on many boards in Texas, including the United Way, and has a reputation for being a hardworking and effective manager. Evans was very active in the Bush presidential campaign and was instrumental in helping the President raise a record $100 million for the race.

Evans announced his resignation after the 2004 election. Bush nominated the CEO of the Kellogg Company Carlos Gutierrez to succeed Evans, who was confirmed by the Senate.