Thomas Sayles joins USC Administration as the new Vice President for Government and Community Relations. Sayles, who was born and raised in the University Park area, has extensive experience in business, law and governance.
Sayles will serve as part of President Steven B. Sample's administrative team. Sayles' primary goal is to enhance the already strong relationship between the university and its external constituencies, the community, government officials and other stakeholders.
Sayles has an extensive background in for-profit, nonprofit and government sectors in California. He has served on the governing boards of the University of California and the California Community College systems.
A graduate of Horace Mann Middle School and Washington High School, Sayles holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a bachelor's degree from Stanford University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Before this position Sayles was the senior vice president for government affairs and corporate communications for Rentech Inc., an alternative fuels company headquartered in Los Angeles.
From 1994 to 2007, he worked for Sempra Energy and its predecessor companies, Pacific Enterprises and the Southern California as Co., as vice president of government and community affairs and as senior vice president of consumer marketing. Before that, Sayles served as California Commissioner of Corporations and California Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing. He was also a deputy attorney general in the California attorney general's office and an assistant U.S. attorney.
Sayles was appointed by former Gov. Gray Davis to serve on the Governor's Task Force on Diversity and Outreach and the Commission on Building for the 21st Century. He has served on the boards of directors of Gold State Bancorp and a number of nonprofit organizations. He is currently a member of the boards of Unified Grocers, a buying cooperative serving independent grocery stores throughout the western United States and mid-sized businesses in the city.
"He has a very interesting mix of business acumen, private sector experience, alternative energy, and he has a background in educational initiatives," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry. "I'm really looking forward to working with him."