About Will Wynn
Will Wynn is a sought-after speaker on the national and international stage. He consults with and advises a number of governments, utilities and private entities on issues related to energy policy, downtown revitalization, public health and the creative class.
Will Wynn was elected Austin’s 50th Mayor in 2003 and served (the maximum) two terms ending his service in June 2009. He also served on the Austin City Council from 2000 to 2003.
Born and raised in the deep north end of Beaumont, Texas, Wynn was the sixth of seven children, and the fifth of six boys. He graduated cum laude from Texas A&M University in 1984 with a degree in Environmental Design. He also completed the optional and demanding three-year cooperative education work/study program.
Prior to first being elected to public office in 2000, Wynn chaired the Downtown Austin Alliance, and has long been a leading advocate for transforming downtown Austin into one of the most vibrant in the U.S. His tenure in office saw transformational, positive change to the urban core, particularly related to residential development and the expansion of cultural and performing arts venues. Additionally, Austin’s economy is now regularly recognized as one of the very strongest metro economies in the country.
In 2002, in the wake of a significant economic downturn, then City Councilmember Will Wynn chaired Austin’s Taskforce on the Economy. One of its three primary programs, focused on nurturing Austin’s creative class, became known as the Keep Austin Weird initiative.
Wynn has over 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, with projects large and small. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and believes that only through dramatically better land use practices can cities like Austin appropriately deal with challenges like traffic, air quality, public health and fitness, housing affordability and environmental protection.
In addition to his many duties locally, Wynn rose to a leadership position with the U.S. Conference of Mayors organization. From 2004 to 2009, he chaired the USCM Energy Committee, and helped to drive national debate on federal energy policy and climate protection. Wynn also served for nine years on the Board of Directors of Austin Energy, the last six as Chairman. Austin Energy – the ninth largest public power utility in the U.S. – is now considered by industry analysts to be one of the most progressive, environmentally-friendly electric utilities in the country. Under Wynn’s leadership, Austin dramatically expanded both the the requirements and market penetration of its green building program; nationally promoted plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs); created the country’s most aggressive solar rebate program; pushed for substantial upgrades to the International Energy Conservation Code; dramatically increased its renewable energy portfolio, including a 325-acre, 30-megawatt solar field and a 100-megawatt (wood waste) biomass plant; mandated energy audits prior to existing home sales; announced its smart-grid initiative; and created a city-wide climate protection program of which Newsweek wrote “the city of Austin has taken the reins. Its climate protection plan, unveiled last February by Mayor Will Wynn, is seen by environmentalists as the country’s most aggressive municipal initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.”
Wynn received training from Al Gore at The Climate Project in Nashville and has presented his Austin version of the slideshow that inspired the Academy Award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, to hundreds of community groups, business leaders and policy makers in calling for dramatic expansion of climate protection measures, specifically energy efficiency policies.
Wynn has been featured in numerous national publications, such as Time, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. President Barack Obama said, “Mayor Wynn has emerged as a national leader on energy policy and I’m honored to have his support.”
Wynn is an avid fitness and health advocate. It is thought that he became the first mayor in history to run his/her city’s marathon while in office. Wynn used that run in 2007 to raise over $20,000 for the celebrated nonprofit MarathonKids. He has also run the Chicago and NYC Marathons.
Wynn was named Austinite of the Year by Austin Under Forty (back when he was under 40), then named Austinite of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce; was awarded Scenic Austin’s first annual Scenic Hero Award; was named Energy Executive of the Year by the (9,000-member) Association of Energy Engineers; received the Alliance to Save Energy’s prestigious Charles H. Percy Public Service Award; is a Distinguished Alumni of Texas A&M’s College of Architecture; and, following Austin’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was named Local Public Official of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.
Will Wynn and his two daughters, ages 18 and 15, live in downtown Austin. Their electricity bill averages $50 per month (500 KwH, all from renewable sources). He walks to work and to most of his weekly errands. He welcomes questions about his carbon footprint.
Mr. Wynn’s Insights
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