Orange Beach’s Lannie Smith recognized for leadership in coastal resilience

April 23, 2019
Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice Members Tracie Sempier, left, and Stephen Deal, right, congratulate Lannie Smith.

By: Stephen Deal | Published: April 23,  2019 | Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium | See orginal article at

During its annual meeting earlier this month in Fairhope, Alabama, The Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice presented Lannie Smith, building official and floodplain manager with Orange Beach, Alabama, with the Spirit of Community Award in the individual category.

Each year the Gulf of Mexico Climate and Resilience Community of Practice, an organization advancing the study of climate science and the ways cities can adapt to these challenges, gives the Spirit of Community Award to recognize an individual and a community that has done an exemplary job of communicating climate challenges. Individuals and communities who receive the award also demonstrate a keen understanding of resilience and why it is important to provide cities and regions with additional capacity to absorb adverse economic or environmental changes.

In his role as building official and floodplain manager for the city, Smith has nurtured more resilient policy choices, largely by building better and balancing local economic interests. He has experienced disasters first-hand, learned best practices from peers, shared personal experiences with colleagues and decision-makers, and found common solutions to benefit the community in multiple ways.

Smith has worked with partners across local, state and federal government, the private sector and academia to increase resilience in his community and in other communities across the Gulf.

When he was working on implementing the 2012 International Building code for the city of Orange Beach, Smith worked with local government colleagues, the mayor and city councilmembers to develop new code requirements calling for more hurricane-resistant construction. The result was the Coastal Construction Code Supplement, which led to Orange Beach and 13 other communities building to the IBHS FORTIFIED Home standard.

More recently, he led the efforts to start the first National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System user group in Alabama, the South Alabama Flood Engagement Team (SAFE-T), which increases the capacity of Alabama coastal communities to better manage flooding issues.

In addition to his service to local and state agencies, Smith has done exemplary work for the Climate and Resilience Community of Practice and has been directly responsive to its goals. He has been an active participant in the organization — sharing lessons learned, supporting colleagues and lending his perspective to conversations to help others achieve their goals. He also hosted the group’s 2014 annual meeting.

Smith is a proven leader in resilience through action and engagement within the Climate and Resilience Community of Practice and with other coastal researchers and experts across the Gulf.

See orginal article at