Our Staff

Brandon Dudley

CHIEF OF STAFF

CONTACT:  Email Brandon | 713-991-6881

Brandon oversees the operations of the various departments in Precinct One. Prior to joining Precinct One, Brandon worked as Chief of Staff for then-Senator Rodney Ellis for more than a decade. In that position, he oversaw the operations, and contributed to numerous initiatives in the areas of criminal justice reform, voting rights, economic opportunity, and environmental justice.

In addition, Brandon has worked for civil rights organizations doing legal and policy advocacy, and directed and worked as a counselor for various educational and empowerment programs for at-risk youth. Brandon has served as board member of the Texas Civil Rights Project-Houston, the Houston Downtown Management District, and the Midtown Redevelopment Authority. He also was a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, American Leadership Forum's inaugural criminal justice class, City of Houston Planning Commission, and the New Leaders Council-Houston Chapter.

Brandon received his BA in Political Science and attended the Graduate School for Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center.

Dawn Hurd

DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION

CONTACT:  Email Dawn | 713-991-6881

Dawn is in charge of planning, directing, and overseeing the activities and operations of the Administrative Team including handling correspondence with internal and external agencies and the complex management support for Commissioner Ellis, from scheduling meetings, implementing his priorities & procedures, to coordinating events and travel.

Before working as Commissioner Ellis’ Director of Administration, Dawn served as a Casework Manager and Legislative Aide to the then Texas State Senator Ellis from 2014-2017.  Dawn has experience in multiple levels of government and has more than 10 years of extraordinary service to the constituents of Houston/Harris County.

William J. Taylor III

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT & INFRASTRUCTURE

CONTACT:  Email William | 713-991-6881

William advises Commissioner Ellis on the development of major infrastructure projects (parks, green spaces, roads and hike-and-bike trails), and he works on infrastructure issues with internal staff and other county departments and agencies, as well as businesses that provide professional services for infrastructure projects. 

Prior to working for Commissioner Ellis, William served as Vice President of Government & Regulatory Affairs for Calpine Corporation, where he directed advocacy programs for a national power generator headquartered in Houston. He also worked as director of Texas Southern University’s Mickey Leland Center and as Visiting Associate Professor of Law at TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.   

William has held legal positions in the private and public sectors, including the Harris County Attorney’s Office. His career in public service includes serving as Chief of Staff to the late Congressman Mickey Leland; as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy; and as Counselor for the U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Clinton Administration). He received his undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Eric Brewer

DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES

CONTACT:  Email Eric | 713-991-6881

Eric Brewer, SCP-SHRM/SPHR, currently serves as Precinct One’s Director of Human Resources. In this role he leads all Human Resources initiatives for Precinct One that support our values, mission and leads to an improved employee experience.

Eric has over 25 years of experience in various human resources roles leading and providing subject matter expertise to talent acquisition, benefits design and administration, compensation, employee relations, performance management, change management, succession planning, payroll, safety and employee engagement/experience.

Undergraduate Degree in Human Resources from The University of Alabama in Birmingham in Birmingham , AL and a Graduate Degree in Human Resources from Webster University in Kansas City, MO.

Sophie Elsner

DIRECTOR OF POLICY

CONTACT:  Email Sophie | 713-991-6881

Sophie Elsner leads Precinct One’s policy team, which seeks to advance the mission of the precinct through thorough research, analysis, development, and implementation of public policy relevant to our constituents.

Prior to joining Precinct One, Sophie practiced as a legal aid attorney. She participated in housing justice movements in Austin and Boston, working with diverse coalitions of low-income residents and tenants associations. She clerked for the Honorable Keith P. Ellison in the Southern District of Texas in Houston. Before law school, she investigated human trafficking and modern-day slavery at an investigative journalism non-profit. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Matala Idi

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS

CONTACT:  Email Matala | 713-991-6881

Matala Idi currently serves as the Director of Community Relations. Matala has over a decade of community engagement experience and has been part of the Precinct One family since the beginning of Commissioner Ellis’ tenure.  

Prior to joining Team Ellis, Matala gained municipal government, state government and non-profit experience when he managed community relations in different capacities for Texas State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia, Houston Councilwoman Wanda Adams, and Baker-Ripley formerly known as Neighborhood Centers. 

Matala is a proud alumni of Sam Houston State University earning a B.A. in Political Science and Criminal Justice.

Sherea McKenzie

DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT & INITIATIVES

CONTACT:  Email Sherea | 713-991-6881

Sherea leads the department that supports and facilitates coordination and collaboration between divisions within the Precinct, Harris County departments and the broader community.  The Department assists Precinct One in implementing and enhancing strategies to provide inclusive, innovative, responsive, collaborative and fair high quality services and programs.

Sherea liaisons with multiple county departments and initiatives that affect overall county operations. She advises the Commissioner on matters related to judicial operations and associated ancillary services; and special projects related to health care access for eligible individuals and other county-supported services. Additionally, Sherea serves as a Precinct One representative to the legislative committee that provides direction to the Office of Legislative Relations (OLR).

Sherea received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Fisk University and a Juris Doctorate from the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Nisha Randle

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

CONTACT:  Email Nisha | 713-991-6881

Nisha Randle is an experienced communications and public relations professional who has worked both in the private sector and political campaigns.

As Communications Director, Nisha develops and executes Precinct One’s strategic communications plan. Her department ensures that residents and stakeholders have consistent, transparent, and clear messages that center on the values of Precinct One. Nisha and her team work across all Precinct One departments as well as with other stakeholders in Harris County to manage content development and deliver key messages across multiple distribution channels online, in-person and in print.

Nisha is a native Houstonian and proud graduate of the University of Houston. She is also a graduate of the 2019 Class of Houston’s chapter of the New Leaders Council as well as the Higher Heights Senior Leadership Fellowship. She is passionate about empowering her community through education and civic engagement.

Dr. Marlon Smith

DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

CONTACT:  Email Marlon | 713-991-6881

Marlon brings over 20 years of experience to Precinct One. His unique mix of direct service to communities, nonprofit and faith-based organizations in the area of program planning, community development and outreach, particularly in poor and underserved communities gives the Precinct One Program department the ability to develop programming that meets the needs of our community.

Prior to joining Precinct One, Dr. Smith worked as both a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant and as the Senior Manager of Policy and Engagement for Baker Ripley (formerly Neighborhood Centers Houston); served for seven years as the Texas State Reentry Manager for the Innerchange Freedom Initiative (IFI), one of the oldest and largest faith-based pre-release prison reentry programs in the country under Prison Fellowship Ministries. During his time at IFI, he developed partnerships with local, state, and national public officials, educators, and advocacy organizations to affect the rate of incarceration in communities of color, and developed programs and policy initiatives to address the challenges previously incarcerated men and women face when they leave prison and jails. His work helped reduce the recidivism rate of program graduates to thirteen percent, and increased the number of men enrolled in a college degree program by over 65 percent.

Dr. Smith attended Texas Tech University and the University of Houston, earning a Bachelors’ Degree in Journalism/Public Relations with a minor in African American Studies. He went on to earn his Masters’ Degree in Theological Studies from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. He later earned his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, majoring in Humanities and Culture with a Specialization in Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies, from Union Institute & University. Dr. Smith continues to teach and lecture in the area of African American Studies and racial equity and is the author of two books: Black Lives Houston: Voices of our Generations and Reshaping Beloved Community: The Experiences of Black Male Felons and Their Impact on Black Radical Traditions.