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Texas-EU Summit 2012

This page lists a past conference co-hosted by CES. For current and upcoming events, click here.

About the Conference

(click here to read a welcome letter from Governor Rick Perry)

The 2012 Texas-EU Summit provides small businesses, policymakers and economic development professionals with an overview of how to target trade and expansion business opportunities in Europe.

Texas is the second-largest exporting state to the EU. The summit will focus on promoting and building the international trade capacity of Texas-based small businesses and economic development organizations while creating greater awareness regarding the benefits of exporting.

A few quick facts:

  • Total Texas export to the EU in 2010 exceeded $26.5 billion.
  • The UK, Germany and France are the leading FDI sources in Texas.
  • Eastern and Baltic Countries offer additional opportunities for Texas companies.

The 2012 Texas-EU Summit sessions will be led by international trade policy experts, political and business leaders, and officials from various EU countries' chambers of commerce.

Click here for more information about the Texas-EU Summit 2012.

(Honorary Chair)

Lee Leffingwell is a native of Austin, and grew up in the Bouldin neighborhood in South Austin. His father was an Austin firefighter and later a Travis County Deputy Sheriff; his mother worked as an admissions clerk at the University of Texas.

Lee attended Austin public schools and graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in mechanical engineering.

After college, Lee became an officer and pilot in the United States Navy, and served on active duty in the Vietnam War. He subsequently joined the Naval Reserves, and retired from the Armed Forces after 20 years of service with the rank of Commander.

Lee was a commercial pilot with Delta Air Lines for nearly 32 years, ending his career as an international Boeing 767 and MD-11 Captain.

After retiring from Delta, Lee became a full-time community volunteer in Austin, with a focus on environmental causes. He was appointed to the city's Environmental Board by the Austin City Council in 1999, and subsequently elected Chair by his colleagues.

In 2005, Lee ran for and won the Place 1 seat on the Austin City Council; he was re-elected to that seat in 2008 with 68% of the vote. In 2009, Lee ran successfully for Austin mayor, winning the support of every endorsing Democratic, neighborhood and environmental group in Austin.

Lee is married to Julie Byers, a registered nurse at Seton Northwest hospital. Lee and Julie are the parents of three, and the grand-parents of six.


Coby Shorter III is Texas' current Deputy Secretary of State and oversees the daily operations of the office, including elections, business and public filings and international affairs.

Most recently Shorter served as the deputy director of governmental appointments in the office of Governor Rick Perry, where he oversaw the appointments to state boards, commissions, councils, and task forces that advise the Governor or executive agencies on specific issues and policies.

Previous to his service in Governor Perry's Office, Shorter served as the director for agriculture and conservation for former Governor George W. Bush, director for agribusiness development for the Texas Department of Agriculture, and as an aide to former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm.

A native of Eagle Lake, Shorter received a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University.

Shorter is a pastor and has served the Rosewood Avenue Baptist Church of Austin for more than seventeen years. He and his wife, Patricia, have one son.



Todd Staples is the 11th Texas Commissioner of Agriculture and recently was re-elected to serve a second four-year term in this statewide elected office. Commissioner Staples believes the free enterprise system and individual responsibility are the keys to prosperity for Texas.

From his earliest days of public service as a member of the Palestine city council through his tenures in the Texas House of Representatives and later the Texas Senate, Commissioner Staples has championed such critical issues as protection of private property owners' rights, workers' compensation reform, school finance reform and improving the education of Texas' leaders of tomorrow, just to name a few.

As leader of the Texas Department of Agriculture, Commissioner Staples is diligent in his efforts to support private sector job creation and economic development across the Lone Star State; improve consumer protection from the grocery store to the gas pump; lead true eminent domain reform in Texas; and play an enormous role in continuing to improve the healthy lifestyles of young Texans.

He is also focused on the promotion of agricultural products and businesses using the GO TEXAN marketing program, and has expanded trade opportunities for Texas producers. Commissioner Staples has accomplished these priorities with a philosophy that puts family and taxpayer interests first while also focusing on efficiency.

Commissioner Staples was born in Anderson County where he was active in high school FFA and was elected state FFA vice president. He attended Texas A&M University where he graduated with honors with a degree in agricultural economics.

Commissioner Staples began serving in public office in 1989 when he was elected to the Palestine city council. In 1995 he was elected state representative and served three terms in the Texas House before being elected state senator in 2000 where he served two terms. His public service continues today as Agriculture Commissioner. Following his first election in 2006, he was re-elected to a second term in 2010.

Commissioner Staples and his wife, Janet, have four grown children.


  • Center for European Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st Street
    Austin, Texas 78712