About Susan

Susan campaigning door-to-door
Susan Combs
Promoting Go Texan as Agriculture Commissioner
Susan's photo from her ranch
Susan's photo from her ranch
Susan's photo from her ranch
Susan's photo from her ranch

Entrepreneur, Public Servant, Author & Modern Woman

Susan Combs

Susan Combs

Susan Combs is a common sense, no-nonsense public servant who changed the face of government while assuring that free enterprise thrives. As a business leader, Combs has managed her cattle ranching operation for more than 30 years on land in the Big Bend area of Texas that has been in her family since 1882.

While some may talk loudly, Combs actually gets things done. This problem is common to any level of government, as well as to the business community. Combs chooses to lead using her intellect and determination to solve problems and to forge the way forward.

Combs has been featured in TIME magazine, Fox News, Bloomberg, Bond Buyer, the Wall Street Journal Online, the Washington Post and other state and national media outlets. Additionally, she has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, USA Today, TownHall, Houston Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman and Investors Business Daily.

As a speaker Susan Combs talks about the challenges of being a woman in a leadership role, but that’s not her only specialty. For her work in helping combat childhood obesity, she was featured in the HBO multi-part series, The Weight of the Nation, as well as numerous newspapers and TV programs. Combs also talks on best practices and knows how to bring out peak performance in both business and government. After all, this is a person who issued over 50 policy reports on government efficiency, natural resources, state spending and debt, the effects of obesity costs for business, public and higher education, water and other pertinent topics. She also draws upon her experiences as a business owner, drawing parallels between her audiences’ challenges and those she’s faced as a Texas rancher.

Combs is direct, and wins high marks for her ability to get to the heart of the matter at hand. A former state representative and Texas’ first female Agriculture Commissioner, she is also known for her work as former Texas State Comptroller where she streamlined tax processes, which shortened refund time by 78% and decreased response time to taxpayer inquiries by two-thirds.

Combs also recaptured nearly $600 million in unremitted-but owed sales tax and transformed internal processes – thereby saving over $12 million, and cutting nearly $400 million in government purchasing through strategic sourcing and streamlined purchasing during her total time in office. She was Texas’ chief tax administrator and served as the purchasing officer for 221 state agencies and over 1,700 local entities.

Now that her time as Comptroller has come to an end, Combs is currently working with Lone Star Success, an online effort dedicated to showcasing the social and economic strengths of the state of Texas. As a speaker, she brings her knowledge and experience in business and politics to the people. She made state government work smarter—and she can help you do the same for your business or organization.

Most recently, Susan has authored an inspiring book titled, Texas Tenacity: A Call for Women to Direct their Destiny, where she speaks on her life experiences that directed her future and motivated her steadfast determination to succeed. Texas Tenacity is a reflection of Combs’ tenacity by highlighting her ability to overcome obstacles and use her personal strength to push forward in her career. It’s available for order on amazon here: http://amzn.to/2hARQxW

GWB_Susan“Susan Combs is so full of energy she even makes coffee nervous.” 
– Gov. George W. Bush, swearing in Susan as Texas’ first woman to become Agriculture Commissioner


  • Launching HERdacity, a nonprofit online community where modern women can build bonds and share experiences
  • Launched TXSmartSchools that evaluates academic, financial, and demographic data to identify public school districts and campuses that produce high academic achievement while also maintaining cost-effective operations
  • Advisory Board Member for Museum of the Big Bend
  • Board Member for Its Time Texas
  • Currently working with Lone Star Success, an online effort dedicated to showcasing the strengths of the state of Texas, especially economically
  • Currently a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Entering her 35th year of managing a ranching operation
  • As Comptroller, returned $1.3 billion in unclaimed property to its rightful owners in 8 years—more than the prior 44 years total
  • Managed $50 billion in state funds as Comptroller
  • Introduced new technologies to achieve 65% increase in electronic payments by the state’s Treasury
  • Developed innovative strategies to solve regulatory problems relating to the federal Endangered Species Act, in the national defense arena and oil/gas sectors
  • Launched $5 million science fund through state universities to gather data on species subject to federal Endangered Species Act listing
  • Created job-related fund to provide equipment to high-growth tech jobs for increased earning potential—the total to date is $26.7 million with increased salary projections of $760 million—the only fund like this in the U.S.
  • Developed national model for evaluating public schools across the state
  • Former Presiding Officer, Interagency Task Force on Economic Growth and Endangered Species
  • Fellow for University of Texas Center for Identity
  • Honorary Vice President, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
  • Board Member, Texas Wildlife Association
  • Principal, The Maravillas Group
  • J.D., University of Texas, School of Law
  • B.A., Vassar College

Selected Honors & Awards

  • Highest Score, Following the Money (Government Spending Transparency)
  • U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Taxpayer Hero Award
  • Young Conservatives of Texas, Hero of the Taxpayer Award
  • Marathon Kids Heroes for Health Award
  • Honorable Bob Bullock Award for Outstanding Public Stewardship, Government Technology magazine
  • Honorary Life Membership Award and Legislative Honor Roll, Texas PTA
  • Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers, Government Technology magazine
  • Champion of Small Business Award, National Coalition for Capital
  • Legacy Award in Honor of Efforts on Behalf of Private Property Owners, Texas Association of Realtors
  • Inaugural Leadership Award in Obesity Prevention, Michael & Susan Dell Center for the Advancement of Healthy Living
  • Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, American Medical Association
  • True Grit Award, Leadership in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity, Texas Division of the American Cancer Society
  • Distinguished Service Award, Texas Pediatric Society
  • Leader of the Year in Texas Agriculture, Progressive Farmer magazine
  • Man of the Year in Texas Agriculture, Texas County Agricultural Agencies Association
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