Jeff Heaton

Program Manager

Jeffrey S. Heaton is a Program Manager with more than 30 years of experience in managing multidisciplinary programs in the fields of coastal sustainability, community planning, environmental science, and flood protection. 

Since joining the Institute in 2013, Heaton has focused on establishing accurate project budgets, monitoring those budgets along with project schedules, preparing monthly monitoring reports on project status, and coordinating cost, schedule and performance issues with clients.  As Program Manager, Heaton fulfills this role on all active and pending Institute projects.

In addition to his Program Manager role, Heaton led a Steering Committee composed of representatives from state agencies, universities, industry associations and other interested parties to plan and convene a Focus Group of community leaders with the purpose of developing a new vision for the Capital Area’s water resources. Known as the Into the Blue 2050 Focus Group, the meeting was held in October 2014 and the ensuing report was published and distributed in January 2015. This report has propelled the Institute into a new leadership role in the emergence of the Baton Rouge area as an economic, cultural, social, and sustainable global water capital.

Heaton also assists the Institute's scientists by coordinating land rights matters for field teams including determining coastal land ownership, landowner notifications, negotiations on terms and conditions, processing of access agreements and coordination with field teams. Heaton also prepares the quarterly reports submitted as a grant requirement to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF). The Institute currently has five grants from BRAF. These reports address current activities, active projects, staffing updates, financial reports, press releases, and media mentions.  

During his 30 years of diverse experience, Heaton has worked as a coastal planner, project manager, and program manager on a large variety of projects, including complex public and private sector programs. He frequently worked with scientists from government and academia to manage programs and projects that advanced our society’s understanding of coastal and environmental issues. His program management experience includes large indefinite delivery order contracts with a contract capacity in the tens of millions. Deliverables varied widely from panel meetings, peer reviews, and research plans to programmatic development in areas such as sampling protocols, pollution prevention regulation and acid rain reduction.

Heaton combines experience as a federal employee, federal contractor, environmental consultant and disaster management consultant to bring to the Institute a thorough understanding of the program management needed to address issues confronting coastal communities.

Heaton holds a master’s degree in oceanography from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. His research considered the biological and chemical processes at the freshwater/saltwater interface in the Chesapeake Bay Estuary. After graduation, he worked as an oceanographer for the Naval Oceanographic Office in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. While there his work dealt with the temperature and salinity profiles of the world’s oceans. In the early 80’s, his focus changed to water quality and he worked at the New Orleans District US Army Corps of Engineers and was involved with flood control projects and marsh creation. In the 90’s, as a private consultant, Heaton became involved in climate change and coastal protection. For the last decade, he has focused on helping communities plan and implement risk management and disaster management strategies to address increases in storm surge and hurricane frequencies.