Dennis J. Harris, Sr. is the Director of the Galveston County Department of Parks and Senior Services. In this position he directs the overall administration of Galveston County Parks, Beach Pocket Parks, Public Boat Ramps, and Senior Services to include Title III B and Title III C Federal Funding. In addition he has management oversight of the Galveston County Veterans Services Office and the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Service.
Harris led the development and implementation of a Park Master Plan which recommended $21 million in capital improvements. As Director, he has been responsible for over $17 million in park upgrades and improvements.
Harris was the President of the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS). He was the first African American to hold this position in TRAPS 65 year history. He has authored numerous articles in the organizations, quarterly magazine and newsletter. He has served on both regional and state level working groups, which led to three reports titled Parks & Wildlife for the 21st Century: An overview of the Texas Tech University Studies in Conservation and Recreation for the Coming Decades; Recommendations for Environmental Improvement: A Report of the Houston Environmental Foresight Habitat, Parks, and Water Issues Work Group; as well as the Center for Houston’s Future: Report of the Regional Task Force on Parks and Open Space.
Harris has received several honors including the outgoing past president’s award (2005); the induction into the American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration (2004); Texas Recreation and Parks Society(TRAPS)- Region 4 Park Director of the Year (2002); the United Way of Galveston’s Company Campaign Coordinator Award (2001); and TRAPS Minorities in Leisure Service Outstanding MILS Member Award (1992).
Since graduating with a B.A. in 1980 from Prairie View A&M University (TX), Harris has served as a Recreation Specialist and Assistant Superintendent of Youth Sports and Aquatics for the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department and served as Recreation Superintendent and Assistant Director of the City of Fort Worth Parks & Community Services Department.
Harris has been active in many professional and community associations. He has served as TRAPS- Past President (2004-2005), Legislative Committee (1996-2004), State Conference Planning Committee (1997-1998),TRAPS- Board of Directors (1990-1992),TRAPS- Minorities in Leisure Services Branch President (1990-1992); and the Texas Parks and Recreation Foundation, Board of Directors (2000-Present); the National Recreation and Park Association-( NRPA) Southwest Regional Council Board of Directors ( 2000-2005), Awards Committee Chair (1992-94); NRPA-Council of Affiliate Presidents (2003-2004); and a board member of the NRPA Ethnic Minority Society Inc. (2003-2005) and (2009-present).
Harris has also served on the Houston Environmental Foresight Committee-Phase II Work Group (1998-2000); United Way of Galveston, Board of Directors (1997-2002); North Galveston County YMCA, Board of Directors (1998-2004); Galveston County Tennis Association, Inc. (1997-1998); First Texas Council of Camp Fire, Inc. Board of Directors (1992-96); Tarrant County Youth Collaboration, Inc., Board of Directors (1993-1995); Communities in Schools/Fort Worth, Inc., Board of Directors (1993-1995); Galveston County Historical Foundation; National Forum for Black Public Administrators; Amateur Softball Association; Texas Amateur Athletic Federation; Texas Turfgrass Association; and Texas Gulf Coast Director’s Association.