Brian Cowan

Brian Cowan was ratified Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, as the new head of the Weber-Morgan Health Department. He's to take over from the retiring Brian Bennion on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.

OGDEN — New leadership is coming to the Weber-Morgan Health Department.

But Brian Cowan, the designated successor to the retiring Brian Bennion, is no stranger to the department. He’s served in it for 25-plus years.

And, as director of administration in the department, he’s been closely involved in the department’s efforts to combat COVID-19, the central focus of the office for the past year.

“I think as far as COVID-19 goes, we’re going to stay on course with what we’re doing now,” Cowan said. That is, the big focus will be on vaccinating the public against COVID-19 as quickly as possible and continued contact tracing to help prevent the virus’ spread.

Weber County commissioners on Tuesday morning ratified Cowan’s pick and Morgan County commissioners were to consider his selection at a meeting later Tuesday. Robert McConnell, the Morgan County Commission chairperson, didn’t expect any hiccups. Presuming ratification, Cowan’s to take over on Friday. The post pays $125,000 per year.

Bennion, who took over as executive director of the department in 2014, announced in December that he’d be retiring in February, setting up the search for his replacement. Weber County Commissioner Gage Froerer, involved in the process, said around eight candidates applied and that the selection committee “pretty much unanimously” selected Cowan. Cowan, Froerer said, has a solid understanding of the department.

As director of administration, Cowan oversees the financing of the health department and the budgeting process as well as vital records, among other things. He previously served as deputy director of the department’s environmental health division and has a master’s degree in public health.

Cowan lauded Bennion’s service as head of the department, particularly his efforts to forge stronger ties with city and county leaders in the two-county area it covers. “I would just like to build upon that,” Cowan said.

Cowan’s online bio said he has spent the bulk of his time in the health department in the environmental health division, “specializing in the onsite wastewater and air quality programs. He has also spent time working in the food service, swimming pools, drinking water, institutions, emergency response and solid and hazardous waste programs.”

He started working in the department in 1993 and has been with it ever since, except for short stints with the health departments in Davis and Salt Lake counties.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!