It is with a heavy heart that we learned of Pike Powers passing on Sunday. There are many ways to remember this giant in our community, and I hope many of you had the opportunity to work with Pike over the years. If you were lucky enough, you will remember his incredible intellect and sharp sense of humor. He knew how to do important work and have fun while doing it. He was a master at partnering to create the biggest possible outcomes for our community.
Pike was a native of Beaumont, a graduate of Lamar University and the University of Texas Law School. He served in the Texas House of Representatives for more than seven years, representing his native Jefferson County. After several terms in Texas government, he served on Governor Rick Perry’s biotechnology council and was an executive assistant to Governor Mark White.
It was in this role that Pike began his life-long work of advancing Texas’ — and our region’s — high tech economy. He receives, and deservedly so, a great deal of credit for turning our college town into a major global hub for technology and innovation. He was the driving force in bringing the MCC computer research consortium to Austin and creating the Texas technology initiatives in 2002. These initiatives redefined the collaboration between government, academia and private industry, which included the creation of the State of Texas Enterprise Fund in 2003 and the Emerging Technology Fund in 2005.
Pike served as Chamber Board Chair in 1989 and earned the distinct honor of Austinite of the Year in 2005. As a tireless advocate for economic development, he was never satisfied with yesterday’s successes. He constantly pursued how the Austin region and the University of Texas could lead the next wave of innovation or newest generation of technology.
In 2017, he received the Texan of the Year award by the Texas Legislative Conference, an award earned amongst many friends and colleagues at Samsung—a fitting place as he worked hard to bring this important company to Austin.
Pike was a longtime managing partner of the Austin office of Fulbright and Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP). His legacy and leadership will never be forgotten, and our region is incredibly lucky to have been touched by such an influential leader in our community. We will miss Pike, but his legacy will be intertwined with Austin’s success for generations to come.