Don Evans of Midland, Texas, has worn many hats as a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. Born and raised in Houston, he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at The University of Texas at Austin. He then moved to Midland and began his career as an oil field roughneck for Tom Brown, Inc. Ten years later, he took the helm as CEO.
Evans has chaired The UT System Board of Regents and served as the 34th U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
Today, he is president of The Don Evans Group, principal and senior partner of Quintana Capital Group, and chair of the George W. Bush Foundation. But perhaps his most important job is husband, father and grandfather. Evans and his wife, Susan, have two daughters, one son and five grandchildren. He is devoted to family and is a passionate advocate for MD Anderson.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Education: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, UT Austin; Master of Business Administration, McCombs School of Business, UT Austin
Board of Visitors Service:
- Chair (2020-2022)
- Chair: Global Programs Advisory Group
- Member: Officers, Executive, Government Relations, and Membership and Board Development committees
- Year joined: 2008
What aspect of your values best reflects your Texas roots?
You have only one chance to make a first impression. So I believe in a friendly Texas smile, a firm handshake and making sure that others know you care about them.
How did working on oil rigs prepare you for leadership roles in business and government?
You must understand and appreciate the work and the character of the people you are leading. Working alongside them, you gain that appreciation and earn their respect — the coin of the realm for effective leadership.
What qualities are most important in a leader?
Faith, trust, compassion and a humble heart.
What led you to get involved with MD Anderson and the Board of Visitors?
I was blessed to serve on The UT System Board of Regents from 1995 to 2001. During that time, MD Anderson’s president, the legendary Dr. “Mickey” LeMaistre, retired, and the regents selected as president another legend, Dr. John Mendelsohn. It was in those years that I fell in love with the mission and the lifesaving, compassionate cancer care of one of the world’s most remarkable institutions. My family and I have been the beneficiaries of that care and have deep admiration for the cancer center’s amazing professional team of 22,000. Through my commitment to MD Anderson, I have found great joy in serving others.
What do you want to accomplish during your tenure as BOV chair?
My aim is for all board members to be able to pursue their passion for Making Cancer History®. There are so many ways for us to engage with the institution:
- Organizing and attending events that raise support and awareness
- Giving to mission-driven programs that are close to our hearts
- Actively participating in the important committee work that will provide guidance and create momentum for advancing the priorities put forward by Dr. Pisters and his outstanding team
As board members, we have tremendous opportunities to make a difference for MD Anderson. As chair, I want to ensure that every member is involved and inspired.
What gives you hope?
Faith. And a belief in the ingenuity and magic of the human spirit.