Deal brings land use planning experience to Sea Grant outreach team

By: Melissa Schneider / Published: Aug 18,  2014

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) has added a new outreach position that will focus on land use planning. Stephen Deal has joined the university-based organization as an extension specialist.

“The addition of this position will enable the consortium to work more closely with communities on land use planning issues, such as stormwater management and sea level rise, and expand our outreach and training programs to provide professional development opportunities for city planners and floodplain managers,” said Stephanie Showalter Otts, the director of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program, which is a component of the consortium's outreach program.

In his new position, Deal will be responsible for managing MASGC’s outreach programs that involve community resilience and climate adaptation. As part of his work, he will design outreach programs and provide technical assistance to Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coast cities and towns on a variety of topics and issues.

“Geography is a crucial defining element, one that not only determines how we build in a place, but also how we perceive a place,” Deal said. “My goal will be to help communities devise policies and solutions that are best tailored to fit the unique geography and history of the Gulf Coast region.”

Deal holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Clemson University in South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in history and urban studies from Furman University in Greenville, S.C. He has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA worker with the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority in West Virginia and has experience working with regional planning agencies, city governments and heritage tourism groups.

He will be working out of the City of Biloxi’s municipal building located at 676 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. He can be reached at

This position is made possible through a cooperative effort between The University of Mississippi and The University of Southern Mississippi, with funding from the National Sea Grant College Program.


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