Biographical Information for 2011 National Severe Weather Workshop Speakers
(listed in order of appearance)
Christopher S. Strager is Director of the National Weather Service (NWS) Eastern Region. Prior to assuming this position in January 2010, Mr. Strager served as Meteorologist in Charge of the National Weather Service’s Forecast Office in Pittsburgh, PA.
Mr. Strager started his meteorological career as an enlisted weather observer with the Air Force in 1978. After a short tour at Griffiss Air Force Base in New York, he was selected for an Air Force ROTC scholarship in 1979. While in college, Mr. Strager was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. He subsequently served several assignments as a weather officer, forecasting at locations such as K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Michigan, the United States Southern Command Headquarters in Panama City, Panama, and Andrews Air Force Base, MD.
Mr. Strager left Air Force active duty in May 1992, and started his career with the NWS at the Portland, ME, Weather Forecast Office. In November 1993, he transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Route Traffic Control Center/Center Weather Service Unit in Oberlin, OH. He transferred to the Grand Forks, ND, Weather Forecast Office in October 1995, where he received a Department of Commerce Silver Medal for his work during the Red River Flood of 1997.
Mr. Strager joined the Pittsburgh, PA, Weather Forecast Office in the position of Senior Meteorologist in 1998. He shared the 1999 NWS Isaac Cline Award for Meteorology for his actions during the Pittsburgh Tornado Outbreak on June 2, 1998.
Mr. Strager was promoted in October 2003 as Regional Aviation Meteorologist at the Alaska Region Headquarters in Anchorage. While in this position he also served as the national program manager for the NWS’s Volcanic Ash Program. He became the Alaska Region’s Deputy Regional Director in December 2004 where he remained until moving to the Pittsburgh Weather Forecast Office.
Mr. Strager received his Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Pennsylvania State University in May 1983. Selected under the Air Force Institute of Technology program to work on his graduate studies, Mr. Strager received his Master’s degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M University in 1989.
Chris has maintained his ties with the Air Force, having been a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 146th Weather Flight since 1994. In October 2000 he assumed command of the unit, where he continues in that position today. Chris was brought to active duty with the Air Force for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. During this time he led a five-person Special Operations Weather Team to Kuwait, where they provided specialized aviation forecasts for Iraq and Kuwait during the initial phases of the Iraqi conflict. The Air Force awarded Chris the Bronze Star Medal for his service.
Chris and his wife, Crystal, married in 1983, and are the proud parents of two children, Elizabeth and Andrew.
Greg Carbin is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Storm Prediction Center (SPC), in Norman, Oklahoma. G reg is SPC’s spokesperson and subject matter expert on thunderstorm forecasting, the climatology of severe local storms, and tornadoes. In his role he also develops and conducts a wide array of informative and educational presentations geared toward diverse groups ranging from Congressional Staff and Emergency Managers to Rotary Clubs, students, and other meteorologists.
Prior to starting his career with the National Weather Service in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1993, Greg was a private sector meteorologist in New York and Vermont. He earned his B.S. degree in Meteorology from Lyndon State College in 1985, and has completed some graduate level course work at the University of Oklahoma, while an employee of the NWS. Greg has served as chair, or co-chair, on the National Severe Weather Workshop Planning Committee since 2007.
Jared Guyer is an Outlook/Mesoscale Forecaster at the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Prior to arriving at the SPC in 2003, Jared worked at NWS offices in Hastings, Nebraska and La Crosse, Wisconsin. He is originally from southeast Illinois and he earned his B.S. degree from Valparaiso University in 1999.
Walter J. Zaleski Jr.’s career in meteorology began in 1976 with the United States Air Force (U.S.A.F.) where I received education and training as a “Weather Observer” at Chanute AFB, Illinois. Graduation from Chanute AFB was followed by a two and a half year assignment at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama, where tropical weather observing, forecasting and radar skills were honed. During 1980, I was reassigned to a remote base in South Korea where I provided weather observing, forecast & radar support to Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine & South Korean military flight missions. Following an Honorable Discharge from the U.S.A.F. in late 1980, I accepted a civilian position as a “Meteorological Technician” with the D.O.D. at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Detroit, Michigan, where I continued to improve weather radar, forecast & observational skills.
In the fall of 1982, I joined the National Weather Service (NWS) in Detroit, Michigan as a “Meteorological Technician” and continued to improve and develop weather observing, forecasting and radar skills pertinent to Great Lakes meteorology. Improvements in Weather Radio broadcasting, promoting severe weather awareness, and development of radar based weather warning techniques were important achievements during my tenure in Detroit. By August 1991, I was promoted to “Meteorologist” in Atlanta, Georgia, where I enhanced my skills in Public, Aviation, Fire Weather, Agricultural and Radar meteorology for the Southeast U.S. climate. I also assumed, expanded and further developed the Skywarn Spotter, NWS public speaking and Radar Warning and Verification programs during that time. In January 1995, I accepted the promotion to “Warning Coordination Meteorologist” (WCM) at the NWS office in Tampa, Florida. The WCM serves as a meteorological operations expert in forecast, radar and warning programs of the NWS. Also, as the WCM, I served as the NWS’s liaison between media, government and public entities in West Central and Southwest Florida.
In March 2002, I accepted the position of “Regional WCM” at the NWS’s Southern Region Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. As Regional WCM, I provide support and guidance on virtually all NWS programs, policies and procedures to 32 field office WCMs in the most weather active region in the country. I have over 25 years of radar, weather observing and forecast experience specializing in tropical and severe storm meteorology. I’ve been fortunate to gain experience with four generations of weather radar which includes the latest Doppler radar. Total government service is 30+ years. Nearly five years of college education, that specialized in Meteorology, Math, Science, and Broadcast Communications, were accumulated from several academic institutions throughout my career which has included Auburn University, Eastern Michigan University, San Jose State University, New York State University, and the Community College of the U.S. Air Force.
Bob Duncomb, from Wewoka, OK, is a meteorologist currently working for Ultra Electronics, ProLogic. He graduated from OU with an M.S. in Meteorology in 1996 with a thesis titled “Verification of VORTEX-94 Forecasts.” (Dr. Charles A. Doswell III, Thesis Advisor). He retired from the Air Force in January, 2003 after 20 years of active duty service where he served as a Weather Officer his last 10 years. Bob has been married to wife Tamy for 26 years. They have 9 children; eight of whom they adopted, and one grandchild. Nine family members were home at the time an EF4 Tornado hit their home in Harrah, OK on May 10th, 2010. Everyone was inside a 5 x 8 garage floor storm shelter except Bob who was above ground in an interior hallway closet.
John Robinson began his career with the National Weather Service in Little Rock in 1974, one month after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Texas A&M University. He worked his way up from Meteorologist Intern to Forecaster at Little Rock, then transferred to a Forecaster position at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Route Traffic Control Center in Miami when that program began in 1978. One year later, he transferred back to Little Rock after being offered a Lead Forecaster position. He was promoted to his current position as Warning Coordination Meteorologist in 1998.
In 1999 and 2000, he served on the National Transportation Safety Board’s Meteorology Group during the investigation of the American Airlines accident at Little Rock in 1999. John is a certified instructor at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, and is an instructor for the Arkansas Department of Correction, as well. He also serves as an Emergency Management Liaison Officer for the State of Arkansas. In 2006, he was named Arkansas Federal Employee of the Year in the Scientific and Medical Category. In 2008, John was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for his service to emergency management.
Gary Woodall is the Meteorologist in Charge at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Phoenix, AZ. Gary received his Bachelors Degree in meteorology from Florida State University in 1985. He did his graduate work at the University of Oklahoma, and received his Masters Degree in 1988. Gary is a 23-year veteran of the National Weather Service. Before moving to his current position, he served at the NWS Offices in Midland, Lubbock, the Southern Region Headquarters in downtown Fort Worth, and the Fort Worth Weather Forecast Office. Gary’s professional interests include tornadoes, severe weather, and the training of hazardous weather spotter groups.
Brian Klimowski currently serves as the Meteorologist in Charge at the NWS office in Flagstaff, AZ. He received his MS and PhD degrees from the University of Wyoming, he where performed research on radar analysis techniques, and the origin of damaging winds within organized convection.
Tony Robinson currently serves as the Recovery Division Director for DHS-FEMA Region 6 in Denton, Texas. In this position he is responsible for the administration of the Public Assistance and Individual Assistance programs authorized under the Robert T, Stafford Act in the five-state region that includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. He also oversees the Presidential disaster declaration request process, the Long Term Recovery Support Function and Recovery planning for FEMA Region 6.
Mr. Robinson is a native of Winchester, Virginia and has 26 years of federal service with over 20 years in emergency management. He has served in numerous positions throughout his career, including Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, Response and Recovery Division Director and Administration and Resource Planning Division Director. He has provided leadership and oversight during more than 40 federally-declared disasters, including Hurricane Andrew, Loma Prieta Earthquake, Typhoon Pongsona, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav.
Mr. Robinson was appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to serve as the Deputy Federal Coordinator for Super Bowl XLV in 2011, in Arlington, Texas. He has served on FEMA’s National Response Teams for National Special Security Events (NSSE) including the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics and the 2004 G-8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia. He has also served in special International assignments with the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) in Argentina and the Border Governors Conference in Mexico.
Mr. Robinson was presented the Nancy Doherty Special Achievement Award by the Dallas-Fort Worth Federal Executive Board recognizing the Federal Employee of the Year in 2008. Prior to joining FEMA, Mr. Robinson worked for the Department of the Army at Fort Belvoir Research and Development Center.
Dr. John R. Tassey
John R. Tassey, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and Director of the Health Psychology Clinic at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Tassey is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. He served as the National Mental Health Consultant for the American Red Cross from 1997 through 2007. He is the Disaster Mental Health Chair for the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross where he helped coordinate the mental health response to the AP Murrah Federal Building Bombing in 1995 and the May 1999 tornadoes in Central Oklahoma. He continues to provide consultation to the Oklahoma City Bombing Recovery Project. Dr. Tassey was appointed chair of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the mental health response to the Oklahoma City Bombing. He deployed to the Washington, DC area following the attacks of September 11, 2001 and subsequently trained mental health providers and members of the religious faith community in the Greater New York area on the mental health consequences of mass casualty incidents. He was a member of the NDMS Disaster Medical Assistance Team OK-1 from 1996 through 2001.
Andy Bailey has been a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) for 18 years and is currently the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) at the NWS office in Kansas City, MO. In this position he serves as the principle NWS liaison with the emergency management and media communities and is responsible for all of his office’s public education and outreach activities in northwest and central Missouri and far eastern Kansas. Essentially his activities are aimed at making the office’s forecast and warning programs more effective. Many of his initiatives have had a broad reach across the NWS, including his work with the Integrated Warning Team (IWT). A key aspect of his IWT work is to apply social science research to the warning process in an effort to improve the efficacy of severe weather warnings.
Additionally, he is an instructor at the International Association of Venue Manager’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security where he instructs venue managers on hazardous weather threats specific to large event venues. Prior to this position, he served as WCM at the NWS in Las Vegas, NV, General and Senior Forecaster at the NWS in Rapid City, SD and Intern at the NWS in Des Moines, IA. Prior to joining the National Weather Service Andy was employed with a private meteorological firm in Madison WI, and an ABC TV affiliate in Iowa. He earned his B.S. in Meteorology from Iowa State University.
Franklin N. Barnes has 32 years of law enforcement and public safety experience. He began his career with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Reno, NV in 1978 and retired after more than 20 years of distinguished service and achieving the rank of Captain. He began his second law enforcement career at the Oklahoma City Police Department in January 1999. In November 2007 he was assigned as the Police Liaison to OKC Emergency Management. On August 19, 2008 Police Chief Citty appointed him as the Emergency Manager for the City of Oklahoma City. During his 32 years in law enforcement in two states he has had experience responding to and managing at different levels a variety of natural and manmade emergencies and disasters including wildland fires, large and small plane crashes, mudslides, severe winter storms, tornadoes, floods, and industrial explosions. In just the last three years he has been involved with eight events that received either Presidential Major Disaster Declarations or Small Business Administration Disaster Declarations.
He has been involved in numerous multiagency and multijurisdictional projects requiring collaboration to develop full scale exercises and a variety of operational, tactical, functional and hazard specific plans. He oversaw a major revision to The City of Oklahoma City’s Emergency Operations Plan which was approved and adopted by the Oklahoma City Council on May 18, 2010. He has served as the Central Oklahoma Regional Outdoor Warning System Guidelines Task Force Chair since its formation in May of 2010.
He received his Associate of Science Degree in Law Enforcement from Moorpark College, Moorpark, California and his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada- Reno.
He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and Oklahoma Emergency Management Association (OEMA). He is an Oklahoma Certified Emergency Manager (OCEM) and FEMA Level 1 Professional Continuity Practitioner. He has received FEMA Certificates of Achievement for their Professional Development Series and Advanced Professional Series. He is an Adjunct Professor at Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City where he taught Emergency Management courses. He is a Part-Time Instructor for Oklahoma State University Fire Service Training. He is a recipient of the J. Stannard Baker Award for Outstanding Achievements in Highway Safety, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Certificate of Meritorious Service, and Oklahoma City Police Department Meritorious Service Award.
Keli Pirtle Tarp is Public Affairs Specialist for the five National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Partners in Norman, Okla.: National Severe Storms Laboratory, Storm Prediction Center, National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office, NEXRAD Radar Operations Center and NWS Warning Decision Training Branch. She handles media relations, external and internal communication programs and special events.
With NOAA since January 1999, she previously served as Public Relations Director for the Norman Chamber of Commerce for nearly seven years. Her career has included public relations positions with Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, and Brookshire Grocery Company in Tyler, Texas. Keli earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Baylor University and attended The University of Maryland’s graduate program in journalism and public relations. In August 2005, she completed a master’s degree in communication from The University of Oklahoma.
National Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Chris Maier, has served in the National Weather Service (NWS) for 19 years. The majority of that time Chris has spent working directly with our nation’s emergency management community. He manages the NWS’ StormReady, TsunamiReady, Skywarn weather spotter and Post-Storm Data Acquisition programs. Prior to his 2006 arrival at NWS Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, Chris served as the Warning Coordination Meteorologist in Juneau, Alaska, and as the Utah Fire Weather Program Manager in Salt Lake City. For a decade he served as an Incident Meteorologist (IMET), working on wildfires and oil spills as a part of incident management teams. A 1991 graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Meteorology, Chris was born and raised in the Philadelphia area.
Ken Graham is the Meteorologist-in-Charge at the National Weather Service office serving the New Orleans/Baton Rouge region. He received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree at the University of Arizona, with a minor in Physics and Mathematics. He then headed to Mississippi State University to teach physics and earned a Master of Science Degree in Geosciences. While in Mississippi, he was a partner and customer of the National Weather Service as television meteorologist for CBS and an agricultural meteorologist across the state for the Mississippi Network Radio.
Ken began his National Weather Service career as an Intern Forecaster in New Orleans. His career took him to agency’s Southern Region Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas as the Marine and Public Program Manager during National Weather Service Modernization in the early 1990s. He became the Meteorologist-in-Charge at NWS forecast offices in Corpus Christi, Texas and Birmingham, Ala. While in Birmingham from 2001 to 2005, his office won Department of Commerce medals each year for innovative services like Instant Messaging with television stations during critical events such as the Veteran’s Day Tornado Outbreak.
Ken was part of the team which created the BLAST program, Building Leaders for a Solid Tomorrow which is still training leaders after 14 years. He served as Systems Operations Chief at Southern Region Headquarters where he won a Bronze Medal for leading a team to make critical repairs in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. He was the Chief of Meteorological Services at National Weather Service Headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., where he worked closely with partners to improve services and briefed Congressional Committees on the vital service the National Weather Service provides to the nation.
As the Meteorologist-in-Charge in New Orleans, his office won the Department of Commerce Bronze medal for innovative services during Hurricane Gustav and Ike and the National Weather Association’s Operational Meteorology Award for 2010 for Decision Support Service for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Ken led the effort to provide more than 4,300 Spot Forecasts and Emergency Response Meteorologist deployments for more than five months to support the Federal response to the worst oil spill in the nation’s history. He recently led the service assessment for the Pacific Basin Tsunami in Samoa. He was the Chairman of the New Orleans Federal Executive Board representing 26,000 Federal employees and was the New Orleans Combined Federal Campaign Chairman raising over 1.2 million dollars for charity. Ken is a member of the National Weather Association, American Meteorological Society and International Association for Emergency Managers. He is also a HAM Radio Operator.
Bill Proenza is the Regional Director of the National Weather Service (NWS) Southern Region, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The Southern Region encompasses approximately one quarter of the contiguous United States including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, amounting to 20 percent of the NWS’s employees. The region is one of the most severe weather active areas in the world.
A meteorology graduate of Florida State University, Proenza began his career at the National Hurricane Center in Miami and as a flight meteorologist on “hurricane hunter” aircraft (1963-1967). During his lengthy career with the National Weather Service, he received numerous performance commendations and awards, including recognition from the NWS Employees Organization as the NWS Manager of the Year for his collaborative leadership (1998).
Proenza has held a diverse array of field and leadership positions throughout the United States. His experience in the southern, northern and eastern portions of the Nation has afforded him a unique familiarity with many types of weather threats such as winter storms to tropical cyclones, and tornadoes to tsunamis, flash floods to severe droughts including fire weather.
He also provided key leadership in the modernization, restructuring, and staffing of the National Weather Service as well as managing weather forecasting, severe weather warning, and climate services. He was first assigned as Regional Director of the NWS Southern Region in 1998 and held that position through 2006.
He served as Director of the National Hurricane Center from January through August of 2007. During that time, he received an award from the scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory for his satellite and hurricane research advocacy for the Nation’s hurricane warning program. He also received in 2007, the NWS Employees Organization’s national Kip Robinson Award for courageous leadership while at the National Hurricane Center. Since September, 2007, he has served in the South’s senior NOAA position of Regional Director of the National Weather Service Southern Region.
Proenza is a long standing member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), the National Weather Association, and the International Association of Emergency Managers. In 2001, the AMS recognized him with its prestigious Francis W. Reichelderfer Award for outstanding environmental services to the Nation. Two years later, he was named a “Fellow of the AMS” and in 2006, the AMS national membership elected him as a Councilor on the AMS leadership board.
In 2009, he received the annual Career Excellence Award from the International Association of Emergency Managers for outstanding and innovative support to the Nation’s emergency managers and responders. The award also recognized his courageous leadership while at the National Hurricane Center.
Proenza is an internationally recognized meteorologist officially representing the U.S.A. Since 2005, he has led United States delegations to the United Nations (UNESCO) meetings on tsunamis and the oceans. In 2007, Proenza served as chairman of the World Meteorological Organization’s Hurricane Sub-Committee and now serves as a senior member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization’s Region IV which encompasses over 30 nations in the Americas.
Dr. Elbert W. (Joe) Friday, Jr.
Elbert W. Friday, Jr. is a Professor Emeritus of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. He is the Past Commissioner of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Weather and Climate Enterprise Commission and is a past president of the AMS. He has served as the Director of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) at the National Academy of Sciences, the Director of NOAA Research and the Director and Deputy Director of the National Weather Service. He served as US Permanent Representative to the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization from 1988 until 1998. He completed a 20-year career in the United States Air Force. He was selected for the rank of Colonel in 1977.
Dr. Friday received all three degrees from the University of Oklahoma. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive. The Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association selected him as the 1993 Federal Executive of the Year. He received the 1997 Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society. He has served as Deacon, Elder, Trustee, and Chairman of the Board of Calvary Christian Church in Burke, Virginia.
Dr. Peter B. Roohr
Dr. Peter B. Roohr is a meteorologist managing the fire weather science and technology and Small Business Innovation Research programs within the Office of Science and Technology at Headquarters National Weather Service. He is also a subject matter expert in topics of lightning, winter weather and volcanic ash. He grew up in Alexandria VA and obtained a B.A. degree in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia (minor in Astronomy), and M.S. (1991) and PhD (1999) degrees in Atmospheric Science from Colorado State University. His thesis and dissertation concentrated on the incorporation of lightning data into nowcasting of phenomena such as intense bands of snow and ice. From 1986 to 2007 he was a U.S. Air Force officer managing major weather system program acquisition and technology transition, as well as directing the diverse operations and policy development of four major weather squadrons/divisions in Korea, within AF Materiel Command, at AF Weather Agency and at the Pentagon.
Rich Thompson was born and raised in Houston, with an interest in weather since his earliest memories. He attended the University of Oklahoma where he completed a BS and MS in Meteorology from 1989-1992. Rich started his NWS career at his hometown NWS office, and then transferred to the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City during the summer of 1994. The name of the unit changed to SPC in 1996, and then SPC moved to Norman. He has worked as an outlook and mesoscale forecaster with the SPC, and became a lead forecaster in late 2000. Rich spends some of his free time each spring pursuing supercells across the Great Plains. His wife, Daphne, serves as the Educational Outreach Coordinator at the National Weather Center.
Roger Edwards, an 18-year veteran of SPC, specializes in forecasting and research of tornadoes and supercells, large-venue preparedness, the EF Scale, and hurricane-spawned tornadoes. He also is chief Editor for the Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology. Roger attended OU for his undergraduate degree as well as graduate school, while working at the National Severe Storms Lab and chasing with their intercept teams. After that, he spent 3 years at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, experiencing Hurricane Andrew, before transferring to the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City. An avid outdoor photographer, Roger also has chased supercells and tornadoes for 26 years. He also holds a dubious distinction of having his homes inside a hurricane, tornado and earthquake since becoming a professional meteorologist.
Jessica (Proud) Losego
Jessica is a meteorologist at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She leads the NC-FIRST effort in North Carolina and works on several other emergency management decision support projects. She also deploys and tests various atmospheric sensors in North Carolina for use in short term forecasting in winter weather and thunderstorms. Jessica received a B.S. in meteorology from Penn State University and an M.S. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. She recently received a certificate in Disaster Management from the University of North Carolina.
Mike is currently a Senior Branch Forecaster at the NWS/NCEP Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC). He focuses on Quantitative Precipitation and Excessive Rainfall Forecasting, while supervising the many forecast desks in HPC. He graduated from Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma and received his BS degree in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma 1983. From 1983-85 he was the afternoon drive Meteorologist for WKY radio and TV-Met for OETA-TV in Oklahoma City. In 1985 Mike joined the NWS and has held several positions in Toledo, Cleveland and presently Camp Springs, MD, including the Warning/Preparedness Meteorologist at Cleveland. Mike is a frequent contributor to the COMET program focusing on QPF and Excessive Rainfall Forecasting.
Kevin Scharfenberg is the Severe Storm Services Coordinator for the National Weather Service. In his role Kevin is responsible for coordinating program planning and changes to policy for the severe local storms program. Kevin will also soon take on a second role as acting Cooperative Network program manager. Previously, Kevin worked at the National Severe Storms Laboratory and NWS office in Little Rock, Arkansas. Kevin has Bachelors and Masters degrees in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. Sheldon Drobot
Dr. Sheldon Drobot is a Scientific Program Manager within the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Research Applications Lab (RAL). His research interests lie within the realm of the societal impacts of weather and climate phenomenon, particularly as they relate to surface transportation. Some of the research areas he is leading include (1) Determining the viability of using vehicles as mobile weather collection platforms; (2) Developing decision-support systems to help transportation agencies better plan for and account for weather variability in their daily operations; and (3) Assessing what risk factors lead people to make choices in dangerous weather situations.
Ross Dixon, CCM, has been involved in TV/Radio Meteorology for nearly 42 years, In addition he has participated in Consulting and Forensic Meteorology during this time. Mr. Dixon resides in Oklahoma City, OK.
Cedar League is a researcher at the Trauma, Health & Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She received her MA in geography at UCCS studying the societal impacts of natural hazards. For the past two years, Cedar has worked for the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA), researching public warnings and how emergency managers use radar technology to aid in their decision-making during the warning process. Cedar is a past participant of the Weather and Society: Integrated Studies (WAS*IS) program.
Jon Tankersley is a Deputy Emergency Manager for the City of Newcastle, Oklahoma and is the Shelter Manager/Weather Operations/CERT Coordinator for the City. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jon served 32 years in the USAF and Oklahoma Air National Guard as a Medic and a Pilot. He worked for the State of Oklahoma as a Medical Technologist specializing in Toxicology. He is a Nationally Registered Paramedic, an American Red Cross Instructor Trainer in Health and Safety, a volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps, and a Paramedic with the National Disaster Medical System. He has been working with the CASA system for over two years.
Dr. Thomas Behler
Dr. Behler is a Professor of Sociology at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. He is also very active in the Weather and Society Integrated Studies (WAS*IS) initiative. In fact, from August, 2009 through July, 2010, Dr. Behler led the WAS*IS initiative by serving as a Visiting Scientist in the Societal Impacts Program at the National Center For Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. Dr. Behler is also an active amateur radio SKYWARN net operator, and is legally totally blind. These two factors, in combination with his clear interest in integrating meteorology with the social sciences, best explain his involvement in developing an enhanced basic SKYWARN training program for the visually impaired.
The Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) of the National Weather Service (NWS) provides training to forecasters on science, technology, and human factors related to issuing weather warnings. Primary themes of this training include radar interpretation, situation awareness, assessment of the near storm environment, and effective warning issuance. Over the past year, WDTB instructors have delivered on-line dual-polarization radar training to NWS forecasters and partners, including media and emergency managers.
Andy Wood (CIMMS/WDTB) is the training lead for the Dual-Polarization Radar Training for NWS Partners Course (http://www.wdtb.noaa.gov/courses/dual-pol/outreach/)
Paul Schlatter (NWS/WDTB) is the training lead for the Dual-Polarization Radar Operations Course for NWS forecasters (http://www.wdtb.noaa.gov/courses/dual-pol/)
Dale Morris (CIMMS/WDTB) contributes to the Dual-Polarization Radar Training for NWS Partners Course and has worked with emergency managers and media since the mid-1990s
Chris Siewert currently acts as the GOES-R Proving Ground’s liaison to NOAA’s Storm Prediciton Center (SPC) and Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) at the National Weather Center building in Norman, OK. He is responsible for demonstrating and training National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters on the improved capabilities and enhanced products that will be available on the next-generation GOES-R weather satellites.
While earning his bachelor’s degree in Meteorology from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN and his master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Alabama – Huntsville in Huntsville, AL, Chris focused on the use of satellite data in forecasting convective and lightning initiation. Following the competition of his master’s degree in 2008, Chris went to work as a visiting scientist at EUMETSAT in Darmstadt, Germany for a year developing a convective initiation algorithm to be used on the European suite of geostationary satellites. In April 2009, Chris moved to Norman, OK where he currently serves as the SPC’s satellite focal point and liaison to the GOES-R Proving Ground.
Jordan Gerth is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison studying atmospheric and oceanic sciences. His primary area of expertise is satellite meteorology. He currently works to transition new and experimental satellite products directly to operational meteorologists in the field as part of the GOES-R Proving Ground, a readiness activity to prepare forecasters for the next-generation geostationary satellite platform. His other research includes studying the impact of retrieved atmospheric parameters from satellite observations in numerical weather prediction model solutions. Jordan also pursues interests infusing new technology into the forecast process and serves on professional committees for both the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association.
Jim Gurka received a B.S. Degree in meteorology from the Lowell Technological Institute in 1970 and a M.S. Degree in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1972. He joined NOAA (NESDIS) in the summer of 1972, developing applications for meteorological satellite data (especially aviation applications), and teaching forecasters how to use the information. In 1982 he accepted a position as a forecaster/lead forecaster at the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Boston, MA. During his tenure at Boston, Jim continued to focus on remote sensing applications, serving as the office’s Satellite Program Leader, and the NEXRAD focal point. In 1994, Jim moved to NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, where he served as the NWS Satellite Program Manager, and the Scientific Studies Program Manager. While at headquarters, he began documenting the NWS requirements for the GOES-R series, and he led the NWS Lake Effect Snow Study, to determine the need for additional NEXRAD radar sites in the vicinity of the Great Lakes. In 2000, he returned to NESDIS to serve as the team lead for GOES-R requirements. In November 2005 he became the acting GOES-R Program Scientist and served in that position until Oct. 2008. Currently he is the GOES-R Ground Segment Project Scientist and deputy to the GOES-R Program Scientist.
David Santek is scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For more than 25 years, he has worked in the area of algorithm and software development for processing, analyzing, and visualizing data from geostationary and polar-orbiting weather satellites. More recently, his emphasis has been investigating the optimal use of satellite-derived winds in numerical models.
Rick Smith is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the NWS’s Norman Forecast Office. He organizes NWS Norman’s hazardous weather preparedness activities, and leads a team of meteorologists who help train severe storm spotters throughout the office’s 56 county area of responsibility, and works closely with the media, emergency managers and other state, county and local government officials to ensure that communities in central and western Oklahoma and western north Texas are ready when hazardous weather threatens. Rick has been a meteorologist with the NWS since 1992, working at offices in Memphis, Tennessee, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Fort Worth, Texas before coming to Norman in 2002.
Dale Morris holds BS and MS degrees in Meteorology from the University in Oklahoma (1991, 1998). Since 2006, he has worked with OU’s Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) on assignment with the NWS Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB). At WDTB, he designs instructional materials that are delivered via distance learning methodologies to forecasters. In particular, he supports a number of training initiatives, particularly those that involve displaced real-time simulations, partnerships among NWS stakeholders, and the technology refresh of the NWS AWIPS workstations. In the early 1990s, Mr. Morris helped to implement the Oklahoma Mesonet, where he was involved with real-time data collection and archiving, quality assurance, and development of display software for end-users. He was also instrumental in integrating products from the NWS’ WSR-88D radar system into services for customers of the Oklahoma Mesonet.
Paul Schlatter is a Meteorologist Instructor with the NWS WDTB. He is the project lead for the NWS Dual Polarization Operations Course. He is happy to do media interviews related to the dual polarization upgrade. He earned a BS in Engineering/Physics from Westmont College in Santa Barabra, California and an MS in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. He has been with WDTB for almost 7 years.
Andy Wood (CIMMS/WDTB) is the training lead for the Dual-Polarization Radar Training for NWS Partners Course (http://www.wdtb.noaa.gov/courses/dual-pol/outreach/)
Chris earned a BS/MS in Administration of Justice (Law Enforcement/Public Safety) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is a volunteer communicator with Oklahoma and Canadian County Emergency Management and has been storm spotting since the late ’70s and chasing since the mid ’80s. He is an Extra Class amateur radio operator with call sign WA9V. He developed his first SKYWARN class in 1985 and has been teaching classes around the country ever since.