Harris County welcomed five new directors on Jan. 25, who will head county entities such as the Harris County Flood Control District and the Harris County Engineering Department.

In an unanimous vote, commissioners named Christina Petersen as the flood control district’s executive director on Jan. 25. During the last three years, Petersen served as deputy general manager for the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, according to a Jan. 25 press release from the Harris County Office of County Administration.

Petersen will be the first female director since the district’s inception 85 years ago.

“For the first time in the history of Harris County ... there will be a woman, a female engineer, who is leading that organization,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said during the Jan. 25 commissioners court meeting. “It's exciting. It's been a long time coming.”

Alan Black served as interim executive director for HCFCD after former director Russ Poppe resigned in June 2021. Matthew Zeve, who served as deputy executive director for the district, confirmed in a Jan. 26 email to Community Impact Newspaper that he will be resigning from his position, effective Jan. 28.

Milton Rahman—who previously served as the deputy chief of staff for Garcia—was unanimously approved for the position of county engineer on Jan. 25. He will be the first South Asian to hold that position, Garcia said.

“The roles of flood control district director and county engineer are integral to Harris County’s regional leadership in developing drainage and transportation infrastructure, including the implementation of the 2018 Flood Bond as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in flood mitigation projects along the county’s waterways and roadways,” a press release from the office of county administration said.

The county administrator’s office also announced on Jan. 25 other county director positions that were filled: Daniel Ramos will lead the office of management and budget; Lisa Lin will pilot the office of sustainability; and Sara Mickelson will head early childhood initiatives.

Ramos will be filling County Administrator David Berry’s shoes after he was promoted from the budget director position to his current role in June 2021. His last position was as deputy city administrator for the mayor in the city of Baltimore, where he was employed for nearly a decade, according to a Jan. 25 press release.

Lin and Mickelson will be the first individuals to serve in their new roles for Harris County. Lin will bring over 15 years of sustainability experience for institutions, including the Houston mayor’s office, the city of San Antonio and Rice University. For almost 10 years, Mickelson held a career in public service, most recently as an independent consultant working with various institutions.