Emmett joins Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies

Former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has been named a fellow in energy and transportation policy in the Center for Energy Studies (CES) at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, the institute announced July 1.


At the Baker Institute, Emmett, who managed the nation’s third-largest county for more than 11 years, will serve as the lead of the inaugural Houston Global Freight Summit, working with the Center for Energy Studies team, Baker Institute event planners and a local advisory committee including the Port of Houston, Greater Houston Partnership and representatives of carriers, shippers and transportation intermediaries.

Emmett’s research will also focus on carbon-capture sequestration and hydrogen in the Gulf Coast region.

“Ed adds important depth in transportation policy to CES, especially with regard to freight and passenger logistics and movement,” said Ken Medlock, senior director of the center. “His experience and expertise adds tremendous value to several ongoing initiatives at CES and will be an important point of emphasis for the continued evolution of energy markets.”

Emmett is also professor in the practice at Rice’s School of Social Sciences, where he teaches classes in transportation economics and policy as well as social policy, and a senior fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, working on policy projects related to Houston and Harris County. He is also a fellow at the university’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders and provides assistance as the university seeks to fully realize its goal of engaging with and empowering Houston and its metropolitan region.

He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987, where he served as chairman of the Committee on Energy, was a member of the Transportation Committee and represented the state on numerous national committees relating to energy and transportation policy. In 1989, he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to the Interstate Commerce Commission and served for three years.

Emmett, who served as Harris County judge from 2007 through 2018, was also director of Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, chairman of the Harris County Juvenile Board and chairman of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties Policy Committee.

Internationally recognized for his work in transportation and logistics policy, he was named Transportation Person of the Year by Transportation Clubs International and one of the top 20 logistics professionals by Logistics Forum. He has received numerous awards and honors, including Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and the President’s Call to Service Award.

A graduate of Houston’s Bellaire High School, Emmett went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in economics at Rice in 1971 and a master’s degree in public affairs at UT Austin in 1974.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.