Doug Heady, Chief Meteorologist, KOAMTV

Doug Heady, Chief Meteorologist, KOAMTV

Please describe your educational background and what sparked your interest in atmospheric or related sciences.

I have always wanted to be a meteorologist, well since I was about 5 years old. To be honest, I am not sure what sparked it, I have just always been into it. I was the kid that stood up in class and gave the forecast for the week. I went to Kansas University and got my Bachelor's of Science back in 2002.

What was your first job in the field and how did you end up in the job you are in now?

I actually got a TV job as the back up to the back up when I was 18 years old at a cable station in Lawrence, Kansas. I worked my way up to the Chief by my 3rd year in school. I stayed at that job for a year and then got the weekend position at KSHB NBC in Kansas City. I got promoted to mornings and sat there for a couple of years. I got the chance to be the Chief Meteorologist at KOAMTV in Joplin, MO. I took it and have been there for 17 years now.

What opportunities did you pursue that you knew would be beneficial to securing a job in the profession?

The biggest thing is getting your feet wet. I found a meteorologist when I was young. Bryan Busby (Chief in Kansas City) allowed me to come to the station and bug him my entire childhood. Bryan, actually got me my first job. Besides that, look ahead and take every class you can in high school.

What other courses/skills beyond the required math and science courses do you think would be the most helpful to individuals wanting a career in your profession?

Physics and computer courses. I struggled the most in math, physics and computer courses. They are hard and you have to work. Anything to get you a jump on those courses.

What is your typical day on the job like?

I am a worker, so not everyone's schedule is like mine. I usually start around noon with a look at the models at home. I will get to work around 2:30 pm and start to forecast. Once I have my forecast done, I will start to build all of my graphics for the shows. I do a 5, 6, hour-long 9, then a 10 newscast. Between newscasts, I will look through our current pattern, update the web/apps, write weather stories, look at new models, and build additional graphics. I get home around 11:30, and then I will get back to work and go through emails, social media, and write a blog. I usually get in bed by 3 am and then repeat at 9 am.

What do you like most about your job? What is the most challenging thing about your job?

Hands down, telling people about the weather. I live and breathe the weather and I get so excited to tell people about it. I get to do what I love! Most challenging is balancing life. I am a husband, a father with a demanding job with terrible hours. You have to find what fits for you!

Does your job allow for a good work/life balance? If not, why?

I think you have to find what works for you! Everyone is different. I have found that balance. I am a night owl so a chief job is better for me. But you have to always remember in any field, family is first. My employers know this!

Over the course of your career what is the most exciting thing that has happened to you?

Gosh, not sure exciting but intense. By far is severe weather. I have been on air for 3 EF-5 tornadoes, 4 EF-4 tornadoes, 4 EF-3 tornadoes, and not sure how many little tornadoes. Plus of course the Joplin EF-5 on May 22, 2011. However, as a meteorologist, you have to realize this will have a serious mental effect on you. Meaning dealing with huge weather events that take life.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently in your career?

Honestly no! I never thought I would be 40 years old in a small/midsize market. I thought I would work up to the national level. However, I love my job and couldn't ask for more!

What are some "must haves" on a resume if a person wants to gain employment in your field?

Well a seal, or both! The biggest things I look for are weather knowledge and how you communicate in person. If you can't communicate in person, you will struggle communicating to thousands of people. Also, work ethic! If you are going into this field, you have to be willing to put the time and hours in.