Director of Institutional Advancement
As Director of Institutional Advancement, Sam Smoots leads HCCAC’s community engagement and organizational advancement initiatives. He is responsible for developing and managing capital campaigns, building donor relationships, and expanding the organization’s footprint.
Sam is a seasoned economic development and international business professional whose most recent experience includes leading the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) along with 15 years as an economic development and project finance consultant.
Sam began his career as an International Protocol Officer for the City of Houston, arranging security, itineraries, and transportation for visiting foreign diplomats and delegations. Highlights include the coordination of a week-long economic development mission of eight West African Ambassadors and participating in the logistical arrangements for the 1990 G-7 Economic Summit hosted by former President George Bush in Houston.
He has also worked at the local and federal levels of politics as Legislative Assistant to the late Al Calloway, a Houston City Councilman who was Chair of the Economic Development Committee. He was also a Legislative Assistant in Washington, D.C. for retired Congressman Mike Andrews of Houston where he was responsible for banking, tax, healthcare and economic development legislation.
Subsequent to his time on Capitol Hill he became Program Coordinator for the African American Institute’s (AAI) Democracy program that provided technical support to African nations pursuing democratic transition. He also served as Executive Assistant to the Vice President of AAI. During his tenure at AAI, Mr. Smoots organized international election observation missions, international conferences, trade forums, and international visitor programs.
For eight years he served as Business Development Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation “OPIC”, an independent agency of the US government that has since been renamed the US Development Finance Corporation. Mr. Smoots was responsible for designing and implementing marketing outreach activities to promote OPIC’s financing, political risk insurance, and investment funds programs. During his career Mr. Smoots facilitated over $1.1billion in financing for more than 30 projects across 20 countries. The projects were in a variety of sectors including telecom/IT, hospitality, manufacturing, oil & gas, micro-finance, housing, telecommunications, power, healthcare, and agribusiness. His duties entailed working with American and foreign companies to review business plans and to provide structural recommendations for applications submitted for financing.
He represented OPIC at numerous conferences, interagency and Congressional meetings. He also coordinated OPIC’s participation in Presidential and Congressional Trade Missions to Africa. During the 2000 Clinton – Bush Presidential Transition period, he served as Acting Vice President for the Investment Development Department and was responsible for managing a 17 person staff of business development officers covering 140 countries.
Mr. Smoots has a Bachelor of Science degree in International Trade from Texas Tech University and continued his graduate studies in International Financial Management at the University of Maryland.
He has a Certificate of Completion from the Harvard Business School for International Private Equity and the Federal Executive Institute for Executive Leadership Development.
Sam is a former term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Member of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Angola Chamber of Commerce.