Planner-in-Residence: Mr. Merrill Flood
Current title: Director of Millennial Campus Planning and Local Community Affairs; When I was with the City of Greenville, I started as a Planner and over my 29 years with the City held the titles of Planner I, Planner II, Senior Planner, Assistant Planning Director, Director of Planning and retiring as an Assistant City Manager in 2017.
Hometown: Clinton, NC
Hobbies: Music (playing musical instruments), Photography, Sports enthusiast, and Cyclist
Colleges attended and degrees: East Carolina University 1983-87, B.S. Urban and Regional Planning, UNC School of Government 1995-96, Municipal Administration
First Job: Town of Garner NC 1987-88 Enforcement Planner I
Specializations: Land Use Planning, Affordable Housing Initiatives, Urban Redevelopment and Revitalization Strategies, Economic Development, City Management, Public/Private Partnerships, and Disaster Recovery.
Years at ECU: Planner-in-Residence (Professor in Practice) since 2018
Courses Taught: Global Cities (PLAN 2030); Planning Practicum (PLAN 4099); Planning Studio (PLAN 4096). Also offered a Planning Table Talk Series (for two semesters)
Special Moments as a PIR: I would have to say the interactions with the students and the opportunity to share or impart some knowledge about Urban Planning from a practitioner’s point of view. The students are eager to hear what they will be expected to know and do when employed. I like to make sure aspiring understand the expectations, norms, and practice aspects of a career as a planner. I try to teach and demonstrate in my interactions with students real-world applications such as government structure, the tools of planning and their relationships (comprehensive plans to zoning, subdivision ordinances, sign ordinances, etc.), map and deed reading, land use planning techniques, understanding the relationship of general statutes to planning, elected and appointed board dynamics, (written, oral and visual) presentation skills, and project development. I enjoy working with students who are approaching employment and helping them prepare for securing the job and preparing them for that first year of employment. I like hearing from students when they get employed or after employment when they tell me that what I told them is exactly what they do or experience on a daily basis or when they say they use something learned in my class.
Advice for students: The advice I give students centers around understanding that you don’t have to know everything but how to find the correct solution or answer a problem. Also, to learn as much as they can, by exposure to planning and related fields. Planning and life all about relationships.
What I love about the department/program: The ECU Planning Program has an established history of producing outstanding Planners, so to be a graduate of the program and now being associated with it as a Planner-In-Residence, this is full circle for me. I couldn’t have “Scripted” this next phase in my career. The faculty and staff in the department are great and are committed to students’ success and the clients and communities where we provide guidance. Having to chance to shape the next generation of planners is both exciting and rewarding.