After 11 years of service and responding to several hurricanes and other natural disasters, Shaun Davis, executive director of the South East Regional Planning Commission is resigning and moving on to a new career. His last day with the SETRPC will be September 28.

Davis, 63, will become vice president of disaster recovery for the Southwest Region for AECOM- an $18 billion Fortune 500 company. His region stretches from Texas to the Carolinas.

He said the company became interested in him because of his experience in disaster recovery the past 11 years. He expects he will eventually relocate to Baton Rouge to be closer to his grandchildren.

Davis explained AECOM, an engineering company, does large scale infrastructure projects in addition to residential disaster recovery housing.

“They’re industry leaders,” he said. “I’m really honored to work with them. I’ve been knowing about them for a long time.

“I’m not leaving for a better job because the Planning Commission is the best job. AECOM is the best opportunity I’ve ever had and that this old dog is not too old.”

The SETRPC Board of Directors will meet on September 19 to lay out their transition process and search requirements for a new executive director.

“They’re a really experienced board. They will find the right person,” Davis said.

Davis has been executive director of the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission since September of 2007, bringing with him extensive political, housing, and managerial experience, according to biographical information from the SETRPC.

He began college at Wharton Junior College on a basketball scholarship and continued his education at the University of Alaska and then the University of Hawaii, both on basketball scholarships.

He began a political career, that spanned more than 20 years, serving 10 years as district director for U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson (“Charlie Wilson’s War), directing political and constituent operations in the east Texas congressional district.

He also served five years as district director for Texas State Representative Allan Ritter, and ultimately became chief of staff for Ritter.

Davis also directed the district operations of former Texas State Senator David Bernsen and spent four years as the director of state and local government affairs for the Temple-Inland Corporation and he was deputy director of the city of Houston’s housing agency during 2005 when that city was host to thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina.

He is the past chairman of the Emergency Preparedness Committee and past chairman of the Executive Director’s Council at the Texas Association of Regional Councils and served as an officer for the Foundation of Southeast Texas.

He has also served as a member of the board of directors for Legacy Community Health Services in Houston.

Davis is the son of Walter and Margaret Davis of Nederland. His father, Walter, is a two time NBA Champion and an Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the high jump in the 1952 games in Helsinki, Finland.

Davis and his wife, Tammy, have been married 40 years and have three children, and twin grandbabies, Etta and Harlan.

AECOM, Davis said, created a standard as the first organization for disaster recovery all over the nation. For instance, following Hurricane Katrina, Congress gave special appropriations to the state. Furthermore, recovery funds were paid directly to homeowner.

The SETRPC, likewise, played a role in giving Texas the opportunity to develop a program that is more efficient by paying the contractor instead. That way, he said, the work can be inspected for a quality recovery and the tax base can return to the area.

“It’s more of a return to normalcy and to keep the population and tax base in place. We’re proud of that in restoring people’s lives,” he said.

In addition to disaster recovery work, the SETRPC has also renovated the 911 program by bringing it into the modern age. Under the Next Generation program, 911 calls can be made from cell phones instead of just a landline. Users can now also text 911.

There has also been renovations in the Area Agency on Aging, the 211 program, etc.

“It goes on and on,” Davis said.

Davis said there are many residents who have no idea the SETRPC exists or what they do.

“We’re like a good software government computer program. You just know we’re working,” he said. “My heart is truly here. I’m a fifth generation Southeast Texan. My heart will always be here.

“I’ve had a career along side some great, great public and elected officials. It’s an honor of a lifetime. There’s also my beloved coworkers. I think they’re the best in the country at what they do. Southeast Texas is in good hands.