County Council hires retired naval commander for planning, public works director

The Pierce County Council at its Feb. 23 meeting unanimously confirmed Jennifer Tetatzin, a retired United States Navy commander, as the county’s planning and public works director.

Tetatzin most recently worked in Washington, D.C. for Concurrent Technologies Corporation as a senior principal adviser. As a senior consultant with the Department of Defense, she focused on resilient infrastructure and improving utilities operations across 24 Marine Corps installations. Sixty-four candidates applied for the job, which includes managing Pierce County’s largest department, including permitting, planning, two wastewater treatment plants, ferry system, two airports, surface water management, sustainability and roads and maintenance operations.

Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier said Tetatzin stood apart from the other applicants.

“But I will tell you that of that strong effort, Jennifer Tetatzin emerged universally as the best, most qualified, most talented person to lead the Planning and Public Works Department,” he said in introducing Tetatzin, who joined the meeting by video.

Tetatzin served more than 20 years in the United States Navy before retiring and entering the private sector. During her time in the Navy, Tetatzin led innovation, security, mobility and efficiency initiatives in energy programs throughout the Navy and Marine Corps, working to ensure reliable and flexible utilities, lower cost transportation options and critical facilities operations in support of maritime and aviation missions around the world.

“So, for my entire career, I’ve dedicated myself to improving the utilities, transportation and facilities on military bases, while also working with the surrounding communities in Hawaii, California, Virginia and Europe to finds sustainable solutions that are mutually beneficial for the cities, counties and states that we operate from,” Tetatzin said. Joking that she never captained a ship, nor flew a fighter jet, Tetatzin noted, “the Navy did trust me to manage billions of dollars of infrastructure in complex maintenance organizations…” Tetatzin earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from California State University in Sacramento as well as a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California-Berkley. She is a licensed professional engineer and certified project manager professional.

The Pierce County Council approved a host of other people to various boards.

Brenda Rogers, Cindan Gizzi and Ralph Wisner were confirmed as members of the Birth to 25 Advisory Board, a 20-member group tasked with proposing recommendations to ensure successful development of infants, children and young adults from birth to age 25. Paula Wallace Lonergan was confirmed as reappointed to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Civil Service Commission. Kendra Nguyen was confirmed as a new member of the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Citizens’ Advisory Board. The council passed a resolution celebrating the Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Tacoma, as well as Negro League Baseball for services and contributions in society to Pierce County and the United States. The resolution was passed as part of a Feb. 25 virtual panel conversation at the Buffalo Soldiers Museum.


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