Dallas County Welcomes New Director of Planning and Development

Luis Tamayo began work as Dallas County’s new Director of Planning and Development on January 11. Luis replaced Rick Loessberg, who retired from Dallas County after 36 years of service. Prior to joining Dallas County, Luis served as Chief Planner at the City of Dallas. He has over 20 years of experience in public- and private-sector planning. Read the Dallas County Messenger’s conversation with Luis below. 

Luis Tamayo, Director of Planning and Development

Why Dallas County? Why were you motivated to join the organization? 

Dallas County for me was the logical choice. It is home! But beyond that, I was eager to work for county government. My first professional job was at a county. I feel there is a lean, can-do attitude at the county level, and I found that here. With that attitude comes a diversity in the work. At the county, I know I will get to wear multiple hats and that no two days will be the same. What encouraged me the most to join Dallas County was the genuine positivity and welcoming spirit that I found from every Dallas County employee I encountered. 

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing as Director of Dallas County’s Planning and Development Department?

First, I want to build on the things that work. My predecessor practically built Dallas County’s Planning and Development Department and has handed me an excellent program. One of the things that works is the county’s outdoor spaces. Few people realize the magnitude of Dallas County’s Open Space System. Established in 1976, this system now includes 21 preserves designed to resemble national parks and over 3,500 acres of land to explore throughout the county. One of the things the pandemic has taught us is the value of outdoor spaces that allow us to get out and breathe freely. As a result of the pandemic, more and more people are discovering the benefits of natural beauty. I want to make sure that as Dallas County continues to grow physically and economically, we can enhance these preserves and allow more residents to discover them.   

What would Dallas County constituents be pleasantly surprised to learn about your department? 

I think the public may be surprised to learn about the types of programs that we oversee in the Planning and Development Department. Besides the Dallas County Open Space System, the Planning and Development Department also publishes The Dallas County Chronicle, the Dallas County Historical Commission’s newsletter. The Historical Commission helps tell the story of Dallas County’s history and recommends historical markers to the Texas Historical Commission (THC). I always pause to read historical markers when I encounter them…and now you know where the process starts!

This conversation is edited for clarity.