Commerce Department and NOAA award Silver and Bronze medals to NEXRAD Operational Support Facility

Members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) Operational Support Facility in Norman were awarded medals for their outstanding achievements recently.

Daryl Covey, section chief for field support, and Terrell Ballard, section chief for electronics maintenance, representing the NEXRAD Hotline Team, accepted the Silver Medal Dec. 7 from U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary William Daley at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. The team was recognized for developing and leading the WSR-88D (NEXRAD) Doppler weather radar hotline in providing world-class customer service.

The Secretary grants the Silver Medal — the Department’s second highest honorary award — to employees who have made contributions of exceptional value in support of overall departmental goals that serve the nation.

“The NEXRAD radar network is the cornerstone of weather forecasts and warnings for protection of life and property in this nation,” said Jim Belville, Director of the NEXRAD Operational Support Facility (OSF). “This team of troubleshooters provides critical assistance to ensure that system outages are kept to an absolute minimum. The fact that the radar network availability exceeds 96 percent is indicative of their outstanding work.”

The military and civilian meteorologists and electronics technicians who staff the hotline provide around-the-clock telephone and onsite support to the tri-agency network of 158 operational WSR-88D Doppler radar sites and 304 user locations. The hotline team has resolved more than 60,000 customer requests for technical assistance – with nearly 90 percent of the requests resolved on the initial call. The hotline has received overall customer approval ratings of 94 percent on the ten most critical aspects of customer service. Both of these measures far exceed industry standards for excellence. The hotline has received five national awards, including Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award, which was presented in June.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded its Bronze Medal to four members of the NEXRAD OSF for their work in radar calibration and streamlining the National Weather Service maintenance reporting system.

William J. Urell, Paul D. Krenek, Douglas A. Martindale, and Jill Stichler were presented with the awards Tuesday (Dec. 14) by Department of Commerce Under Secretary D. James Baker at a ceremony in College Park, Md.

“These four individuals are the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to improve radar data quality and system reliability for the network of NEXRADs,” Belville said. “Their efforts have led directly to greatly improved severe weather warnings for the citizens of this country.”

The Bronze Medal is the highest honorary award given by NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is granted by the Administrator for a significant contribution to NOAA or the Department

More information about the NEXRAD Operational Support Facility is available online at: http://www.osf.noaa.gov.