ERWIN, GAY TAYLOR. Gay Erwin was born to Dr. William Arlington and Ladye Brantley Taylor in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. She graduated from Longview High School and matriculated to the University of Texas at Austin where she received her B. A. in History and Government. Following graduation from the University of Texas, she did graduate work in Political Science at the University of Houston. At the University of Texas she served as President of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, as a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honorary society, and as Treasurer of the Panhellenic Council.
Gay Taylor and Alan Russell Erwin, a native of Baytown, Texas, were married in Longview on December 28, 1967. Gay and Alan have three children, Andrew Russell, Joshua Alan, and William Kinsey; and three grandchildren, Millah, Mecca and Sawyer. The Erwins are members of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin where Gay served on the Vestry from 2010-2012.
After a productive career in state and federal government, Erwin moved back into the private sector in 1998 to join Strategic Partnerships, Inc. SPI is a full-service government relations consulting firm founded by Mary Scott Nabers that is based in Austin, Texas. SPI specializes in government procurement consulting, governmental affairs services and customized research. Erwin is Vice President of Public Affairs for SPI. She has had an enviable history of success in accomplishing client objectives in the areas of governmental affairs and legislative advocacy. Erwin works with an influential group of professionals at SPI comprised of bipartisan former elected officials, sector experts, budget analysts, government executives and government leaders at SPI.
Throughout her career in the public and private sector, Erwin served as the "first woman" in many management positions. She was the first woman to serve as the chief administrator for the Office of the Attorney General where she served for five years as Executive Assistant for Administration. In this position she was a member of the Executive Committee and as chief administrator, had responsibility for overseeing agency administrative, policy and child support functions. At SPI she served as a private sector member of the Vendor Advisory Committee of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission.
Prior to her work for the Attorney General, Erwin oversaw the operations and management of all Texas offices and staff for U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. She was the chief liaison between the Senator and his constituents, his Washington , D.C. office, and federal agency administrators in Region VI. She coordinated legislative and policy issues between the D.C. office and Texas state agencies, cities, and counties. Erwin was the first woman to hold this position in the Senator's office. Erwin has also served as Director of the Office of Public/Private Sector Partnerships at the Texas Employment Commission and as Executive Director of the Governor's Office for Community Leadership.
Erwin served as Director of the Governor's Commission for Women from 1983 -1985 and during her tenure, she coordinated and initiated the first annual Texas Women's Hall of Fame to honor and highlight the contributions and achievements of women in Texas. The Texas Women's Hall of Fame has continued to recognize women leaders since 1984. Also, during her tenure Erwin started the State Agency Liaison Group (now the State Agency Council) with the mission of promoting women to management and executive levels within Texas state government. Erwin worked with the Liaison Group to initiate the "Women in the Public Sector" annual conferences for women employees in state and local government. Through the years, thousands of women in the public sector have attended these conferences for continuing education and leadership training. Erwin also formed the coalition of statewide organizations and associations that initiated the "Women's Legislative Days" conference held biennially during sessions of the Texas Legislature. The conference continues to provide an opportunity for Texas women to learn about the legislative process, key legislation each session, and how to lobby members of the Legislature.
Throughout her public sector career, Erwin has worked in the legislative and political arena. During her years of service as a member of the executive staff of a Governor, a Texas Attorney General and a United States Senator, Erwin worked as a liaison to the Texas Legislature on policy and legislative issues. In addition to running the district office for a member of the Texas Legislature, she also served as a member of legislative teams for several state agencies during sessions of the Texas Legislature.
As a former campaign manager for statewide elected officials, Erwin understands the nuances of Texas politics as only one who has been a part of this "contact sport" can understand. Erwin has been called a "Steel Magnolia" by those who have worked with her on political campaigns because of her abilities to remain calm, but tough, during crisis situations. Erwin's sense of humor has eased and helped to avert many crises during her public sector career.
Through the Governor's Executive Development Program and Basic Mediation Training at the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the University of Texas School of Law, Gay has established a strong foundation of relationships. She is also a graduate of Leadership Texas and a former member of the University of Texas School of Social Work Advisory Council. She was appointed by Lt. Governor Bill Hobby to serve on the Legislative Joint Training Monitoring Committee for the Job Training Partnership Act and served as the Governor's representative to President Reagan's "50 States Project" in Washington, D.C. She was named "Top Woman Executive in Business" by the Austin Business Executive Magazine, and selected as "Headliner of the Year" by the Longview Professional Journalists' Association.
Information provided by Gay Erwin and taken from Texas State Cemetery file materials.