South Mississippi personnel file for Aug. 13

Brant Pettis
Brant Pettis

Brenda Blount is the new director of development at Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. She has lived in South Mississippi for more than 30 years and previously served as community business development manager for Barnes & Noble Booksellers. She was director of retail at the Promenade Shops at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino and a senior buyer for Mercantile Stores Company in Mobile. She and business partner Cecelia Shabazz operated Dippady-do Children’s Spa in Edgewater Mall, and she also has a consulting business, A Better You Image Transformation, and is a fashion writer for Gulf Coast Woman Magazine. She has a fashion design degree from The Art Institute of Atlanta and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Tulane University.

Sonja Slater with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources was recognized as a Certified Professional Public Buyer by the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council. The Hurley resident was among 82 people who successfully completed the CPPB examination. She has served as Tidelands Coordinator for DMR since 2013.

Seven litigators from Balch & Bingham LLP have been selected for inclusion in Benchmark Litigation’s annual Under 40 Hot List for 2017, including Brant Pettis, partner in the firm’s Gulfport office. He represents contractors, state agencies and utilities with contract, environmental and regulatory claims. He recently represented a state agency to successfully defend a bid protest regarding a $43 million public construction project. He also serves as counsel for a state agency administering millions of dollars in restoration projects following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Jessie Billups has been appointed executive director of Mississippi Regional Housing Authority No. VIII and and president of South MS Housing and Development Corporation. He has worked for the authority for 21 years and was appointed interim executive director in January. Under his leadership, the agency and its partners will provide affordable housing and rental assistance for more than 9,000 nine people in Mississippi’s lower 14-counties. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years and has a master’s degree in business management from William Carey College.

Carole Lynn Meadows was presented with the University of Mississippi Outstanding Educational Service Award as part of the induction of the 2017 Alumni Hall of Fame. Meadows earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ole Miss in 1960 and a master’s degree in business education in 1964. She was a teacher for 27 years, 22 of those as a professor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She is co-founder of Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, the first children’s museum in the state. She chaired the Mississippi Council on Economic Education Board, is a national leader in providing instruction and curriculum to K-12 teachers to be able to teach students to think from an economic point of view, is chairwoman of Gulfport Redevelopment Commission and a member of the Board of Directors of Charter Bank.

Shwan Jalal, M.D., has joined the practice of cardiology in association with Bassam Baroudi, M.D., at Memorial Physician Clinics, Coast Heart Institute, 4215 15th St., Gulfport. He completed his internal medicine residency and fellowship in cardiovascular medicine and interventional cardiology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit and is board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease.

Pascagoula attorney Karl Steinberger recently spoke to over 100 attorneys attending the Mississippi Municipal Attorneys Conference held in conjunction with the Mississippi Municipal Association Conference in Biloxi. He addressed aspects of the Mississippi Unemployment Compensation Act including rates, options available to municipalities not available to the private sector, claims procedures and case law. He has practiced law in Pascagoula since 1976 and specializes in employment law and workers compensation. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss and a Juris Doctor from University of Mississippi School of Law.