About Me

Sterling Software and Sterling Commerce

Sam Wyly founded Sterling Software in 1981 and aggressively grew through acquisitions of mainframe computer software businesses. An early large acquisition was a small division specializing in electronic commerce. This division was renamed Sterling Commerce, grew quickly, and became a separate public company. Wyly later sold both companies for a total of $8 billion.

Michaels Stores

Sam followed this success with Michaels Stores. Wyly purchased a controlling interest in the stores in 1982, and took the company public in 1984. At the time of Wyly's purchase, Michaels had 11 stores. Today, the chain has over 1,200 stores in the US and Canada. Michaels is now one of the biggest providers in North America for arts and crafts supplies, framing services, floral arrangements, wall décor items, and merchandise for do-it-yourself home decorators, and employs over 45,000 people.

Green Mountain Energy

Wyly founded Green Mountain Energy in 1997 to help educate people about pollution and climate change. With the slogans "Choose wisely: It's a small planet" and "Clean air through clean energy," Green Mountain Energy created competition in the electric utility industry. Over the next few years, Wyly invested $100 million in Green Mountain, which moved from Vermont to Austin, Texas, in 2000. He is an avid proponent of clean energy and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship that will allow Texas and the US to continue to dominate the energy sector even as sustainable sources replace fossil fuels. Green Mountain is the longest-serving renewable energy retailer whose customers have avoided over 100 billion pounds of CO2, which is like planting 11 million trees.

Sam Wyly -Author

More recently, Wyly has turned his attention to writing books about his experiences, Texas, Dallas and the immigrant spirit.

Texas Got It Right!

In 2012, Wyly published Texas Got It Right!. Wyly shares how Texas has managed to prosper while other states in America are struggling. He attributes the success of the Lone Star State to its tradition of taking risks and embracing change, resulting in a thriving environment for entrepreneurs and innovators. To Wyly, there is no mystery behind the many companies leaving California for Texas. As a successful businessman, Wyly explains why business works in Texas and doesn't work in California.

The Immigrant Spirit: How Newcomers Enrich America

The success of his prior book encouraged Wyly to follow up with a second. Sam Wyly shares compelling and visual stories of many paths from immigrant to successful business owner. He shares stories from towns all over the US and shows, through stories, why immigrants are vital to the American economy.

Dallas Got It Right!

Wyly's more recent book follows up on his earlier book about why so many people and businesses are moving to Texas. In this book, Wyly looks at the city of Dallas as a success story because it draws so many types of people and cultures. The eclectic mix sparks creativity and ingenuity. A government supportive of business keeps out of the way so everyone can thrive.

Books About Sam Wyly

1,000 Dollars and an Idea

In Wyly's 2008 memoir, Wyly narrates the journey of how he founded and built businesses at the forefront of technology, energy, retail, and investments in a period spanning five decades. In his book, Wyly describes his journey from growing up on a family cotton farm in rural Louisiana during the Depression to founding a successful computing company. He then parlays that success into owning major national retail chains. Wyly begins his story in the early 1960s when he started University Computing in Dallas. He then details the hard work that led to his success over the years.

Beyond Tallulah

Dennis Hamilton’s illustrated biography of Wyly tells how he has successfully built 10 companies with 500 million or billion dollar valuations. Beyond Tallulah shows Wyly developed Bonanza Steakhouse, Michaels, and Green Mountain Energy into well-known household names.

Beyond Bubba

Sam Wyly's story is a bright one that follows his journey of personal development and success, where he takes any perceived impediments in stride. Known as "Bubba" to those closest to him early on, Wyly always saw the potential for what could be and worked toward making it happen. Primarily through the use of business endeavors, Wyly's story candidly and humorously details a lifetime of growth and change, proving that what some may see as limitations can actually be used to one's advantage.

Sam Wyly - Philanthropy and Awards

Besides being an entrepreneur, Wyly invests his time in educational institutions, including Southern Methodist University and the Princeton Parents Association. Sam Wyly Hall at the University of Michigan shows Wyly's dedication to the education of tomorrow's business leaders./p>

Sam Wyly Today

Football-loving Texan Wyly proudly lives in Dallas with his six children, twelve grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Samuel Evans Wyly's life is tremendously inspiring. He originates from meager beginnings but accomplished extraordinary things through intense effort and persistence. Today, Wyly is leading a quieter life. In addition to being a loving father and grandfather, he is also very vocal about immigration and politics.

In 2010, Forbes named him one of its 10 greenest billionaires. Additionally, in 2003 Wyly received the Murphy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship from the University of North Texas Murphy Enterprise Center; moreover, in 1997, he received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship. A long-time supporter of public television, Wyly provided the start-up capital for the Dallas PBS station to create a high-quality news program in 1968. The show, called Newsroom, eventually evolved into the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer - one of the most trusted news sources nationwide.

Awards and recognition began early in his career. In 1968, the U.S. Jaycees named him "One of Ten Outstanding Young Men in America," and in 1967, they dubbed him "One of Five Outstanding Young Texans." In 1970, Wyly received Alger Awards from the University of Michigan Business School and Southern Methodist University.


Sam Wyly Portfolio