Clear Skies Ahead Podcast

podcast logo of a stylized sun wearing headphones behind a cloudLearn about careers in meteorology and beyond.  Join the American Meteorological Society (AMS) as they talk to experts working in weather, water, and climate sciences.

Description: Clear Skies Ahead: Conversations about Careers in Meteorology and Beyond is a podcast series produced by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Hosted by staff from the AMS Department of Career Development, this podcast series gives listeners the opportunity to step into the shoes of an expert working in weather, water, and climate sciences. Episodes are released bi-weekly.

Trailer: Listen to our trailer here.

Reach out: Send us your ideas for other atmospheric and related science careers you would like to learn about. Please contact us if you would like to participate in a podcast. We are always looking for volunteers!

Episodes

david curtis headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in water resource planning and management"

David Curtis, Senior Vice President of WEST Consultants in Folsom, California

We talk to David about realizing the potential of automated flood warning systems in his career, finding the next generation of skilled communicators in his field, and how a grounding in math and physics has allowed him to enter markets that didn't exist when he earned his bachelor's degree.

Episode Transcript

michelle hawkins headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in federal weather programs"

Michelle Hawkins, Severe, Fire, Public, and Winter Weather Services Branch Chief at the National Weather Service in Silver Spring, Maryland

We talk to Michelle about how a supervisory position allows her to set up others for success in their careers, why diversity can help individuals and organizations reach their full potential, and how social science expertise can aid the NWS mission.

Episode Transcript

paul pisano headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in transportation and road weather"

Paul Pisano, Consultant in the Transportation Operations Sector, in Arlington, Virginia

We talk to Paul about the merits of his time as a civil servant, applying technology to transportation challenges, and how public safety and mobility will always involve the weather.

Episode Transcript

sarav arunachalam headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in reducing air pollution"

Sarav Arunachalam, Deputy Director at the Institute for the Environment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

We talk to Sarav about about his early work in applied research and public policy, how his university fostered on-the-ground connections with the surrounding community, and ensuring that air pollution isn't invisible to the public.

Episode Transcript

graphic collage with screenshot of GatherTown virtual environment and teaser text that reads "learn about a unique AMS professional development experience"

Special Episode: AMS Early Career Leadership Academy

Let's be clear about leadership: it's not just about being a manager. We talk to Becky DePodwin, Leyon Greene, and Matt Lacke about being co-chairs of the Early Career Leadership Academy, its inception, and how you can find your own personal definition of leadership if you apply!

Episode Transcript

meredith garofalo headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career at a national weather network"

Meredith Garofalo, Certified Broadcast Meteorologist at WeatherNation in Centennial, Colorado

We talk to Meredith about the value of working in all areas of the newsroom , flying alongside a satellite on the military's largest transport plane, and what she hopes to accomplish as the chair of the AMS Station Scientist Committee.

Episode Transcript

javier fochesatto headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in atmospheric boundary layer research"

Javier Fochesatto, Professor and Chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks

We talk to Javier about how there is no use for a great scientific idea if it cannot be expressed, why he encourages students to gain a more diverse experience abroad, and being deployed into grizzly country on a glacier.

Episode Transcript

tom kilpatrick headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in energy-relevant research"

Tom Kilpatrick, Oceanographer at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Sterling, Virginia

We talk to Tom about the competitiveness of tenure track faculty positions, the challenges of being a student athlete while studying engineering and applied mathematics, and how a love for surfing inspired him to learn more about the ocean.

Episode Transcript

jeff strong headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in modeling hurricane risk"

Jeff Strong, Research Scientist at AIR Worldwide in Boston, Massachusetts

We talk to Jeff about moving from academia into the private sector, translating high level science to a wide range of stakeholders, and driving across the country for a post-doctoral job at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Episode Transcript

tanya brown-giammanco headshot graphic with teaser that that reads &quotexplore a career in reducing property loss"

Tanya Brown-Giammanco, Managing Director of Research at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety in Richburg, South Carolina

We talk to Tanya about building the testing facility that she now operates, engaging with the major U.S. insurance companies that are investing in her research, and how to make hail in a lab.

Episode Transcript

matt fronzak headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in airline operations"

Matt Fronzak, Weather Portfolio Advisor and Principal Aviation Systems Engineer at the MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia

We talk to Matt about working in baggage and cabin service for Delta Air Lines before becoming the first meteorologist hired from within the company,  managing federally funded research and development centers, and communicating uncertainty.

Episode Transcript

doug hilderbrand headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore the connection between community building and the weather"

Doug Hilderbrand, Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Lead at the National Weather Service in Silver Spring, Maryland

We talk to Doug about the reality of working shifts on a 24/7 schedule, how the Southeast tornado outbreak in 2011 represented a crossroads for the weather enterprise, and how he has partnered with over 11,000 ambassadors as part of the Weather-Ready initiative.

Episode Transcript

vanessa alonso headshot graphic with teaser texts that reads &quotexplore the career of a bilingual broadcast meteorologist"

Vanessa Alonso, Sunrise/Midday Meteorologist at WCBI in Columbus, Mississippi

We talk to Vanessa about borrowing every book on weather from the library while in grade school, being the first student to graduate the University of Miami with a dual major in meteorology and broadcast journalism, job searching during a recession, and her success story achieving the CBM designation.

Episode Transcript

don berchoff headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career as a weather industry executive"

Don Berchoff, CEO at TruWeather Solutions in Reston, Virginia

We talk to Don about flying reconnaissance missions in the Air Force, integrating weather data into operational decision-making, and why he decided to start his own company.

Episode Transcript

carl schreck headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in climate studies"

Carl Schreck, Research Scholar, North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies at North Carolina State University in Asheville, North Carolina

We talk to Carl about about experiencing the power of Hurricane Fran firsthand, how the extreme weather event led him into researching tropical meteorology, and the critical importance of math and computer programming skills in his field.

Episode Transcript

melissa huffman headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in emergency management"

Melissa Huffman, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi, Texas

We talk to Melissa about about her experience with Hurricane Harvey and partnering with local emergency management, local government officials, broadcast meteorologists, and storm spotters to communicate weather risks.

Episode Transcript

rob cifelli headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in hydrometeorology"

Rob Cifelli, Research Scientist and Lead of the Hydrometeorology Modeling and Applications Team at NOAA’s Physical Sciences Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado

We talk to Rob about about the difficulty of long-term planning with a government budget, bipartisan support for a research agenda that involves crucial issues like flooding and drought, and bonding with a diverse array of scientists on field campaigns.

Episode Transcript

karthik mukkavilli headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in machine learning"

Karthik Mukkavilli, Machine Learning Project Scientist in the U.S. Department of Energy's Exascale Initiative at the University of California

We talk to Karthik about the next generation of computing, its transformative power, the emerging interdisciplinary space for machine learning and environmental science, and the cutting edge research taking place in industrial and tech labs.

Episode Transcript

azar abadi headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotlearn about a career connecting climate change with human health"

Azar Abadi, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska’s College of Public Health Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska

We talk to Azar about about how climate change is affecting people worldwide, the need for climate change expertise in many different sectors, and the challenge of communicating climate risks to rural communities in the United States.

Episode Transcript

ryder fox headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotlearn about a career in computational science and the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM"

Ryder Fox, Research Fellow in the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship Program at the University of Miami and Consultant at Diversity Learning Solutions

We talk to Ryder about their nontraditional background, their time-management superpower, the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion advocacy in the sciences, and working for an organization that shares your values.

Episode Transcript

sheila steinberg headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in geographic information systems"

Sheila Steinberg, Professor of Social and Environmental Sciences and Faculty President at Brandman University in Irvine, California

We talk to Sheila about her field work in the Peace Corps, infusing mixed methods research into curriculum, working in an interdisciplinary environment, and the social component of science.

Episode Transcript

brett edwards headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in forecasting"

Brett Edwards, Meteorologist at AccuWeather in State College, Pennsylvania

We talk to Brett about the unrivaled importance of networking, the need for coding skills in the industry, his personal forecasting “wins,” avoiding burnout, and the collaborative science behind a forecast.

Episode Transcript

bernadette woods placky headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in communicating climate science"

Bernadette Woods Placky, Chief Meteorologist and Climate Matters Program Director at Climate Central in Princeton, New Jersey

We talk to Bernadette about transitioning out of broadcast television, how a minor in French eventually coincided with international work around the Paris Climate Change Agreement, mentors that built her climate IQ, and environmental takeaways from Dr. Seuss.

Episode Transcript

randy bass headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in aviation"

Randy Bass, Manager of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Weather Research Branch and AMS Certified Consulting Meteorologist

We talk to Randy about serving as an officer in the Air Force, close calls with tornadoes, transitioning a research capability into operations, and making your next flight as smooth and safe as possible.

Episode Transcript

colleen iversen headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore the career of an ecosystem ecologist"

Colleen Iversen, Senior Staff Scientist in the Environmental Sciences Division and in the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

We talk to Colleen about communicating science, devoting time to her family, having a natural curiosity for the world, asking new questions, finding answers through teamwork, and shaping a story.

Episode Transcript

tim heller headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in talent development"

Tim Heller, Talent Coach and Media Weather Consultant at HellerWeather in Houston, Texas

We talk to Tim about how broadcast meteorology has evolved during his 35 years in the studio, unusual college classes worth taking, navigating station contracts, and communicating the weather in the digital age.

Episode Transcript

graphic collage with microscopic illustration of COVID-19 virus and teaser text that reads &quotspecial episode on the emerging pandemic and work-from-home"

COVID-19 Special Episode: Going Remote

We talk to previous guests Elizabeth Austin, Albert Betancourt, Tony Praino, Max Vido, and Jeff Yuhas about working in weather during the pandemic.

Episode Transcript

max vido headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in energy markets"

Max Vido, Meteorologist at ACES Power in Indianapolis, Indiana

We talk to Max about finding a niche in the energy and long range product line at Accuweather (his previous job), his beneficial mentoring experience with the Board of Private Sector Meteorologists at the AMS, and using climate studies and statistics while working with utility clients.

Episode Transcript

jeff yuhas headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in education"

Jeff Yuhas, a K–12 science teacher at the Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, New Jersey

We talk to Jeff about a blizzard interrupting his childhood paper route, watching the clock tick backwards during his consulting career, and the advantages of teaching in either public or private schools.

Episode Transcript

ronelle williams headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in television"

Ronelle Williams, Broadcast Meteorologist at KSNW-TV in Wichita, Kansas

We talk to Ronelle about why Walmart deserves credit while he was putting his first reel together, trading jokes with Al Roker, and being in the field during a hail storm.

Episode Transcript

marshall shepherd headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in leadership"

Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and Geography at the University of Georgia

We talk to Marshall about getting stung by a honeybee, appearing in front of Congress on NASA's behest, and the ivory tower in science and academia. He was also a past AMS president and we talk about that leadership experience.

Episode Transcript

albert betancourt headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in the insurance industry"

Albert Betancourt, Catastrophe Management Analyst at American Family Insurance

We talk to Albert about taking a roadtrip with his dog and discovering that insurance catastrophe modeling was his dream job, how he uses geographic informational systems (GIS), and why insurances companies buy reinsurance.

Episode Transcript

elizabeth austin headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career as a small business owner"

Elizabeth Austin, Forensic Meteorologist and CEO of WeatherExtreme

We talk to Elizabeth about the public speaking skills needed to give depositions and testimony in the courtroom, how she was able to start her own business while teaching snowmaking and avalanche control in Lake Tahoe, and the impact of weather conditions on litigation.

Episode Transcript

elliot abrams headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career as a forecast provider"

Elliot Abrams, Broadcast Meteorologist & Senior Vice President at AccuWeather (retired)

We talk to Elliot about about why human meteorologists won’t lose their jobs to computers, the stress of covering a major weather event, and how George Washington used a personal forecast to win the Battle of Princeton in 1777.

Episode Transcript

mona behl headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in research management"

Mona Behl, Oceanographer & Associate Director NOAA's Sea Grant Program, University of Georgia

We talk to Mona about the first time she saw the ocean, using science to inform public policy choices, managing publicly funded research, and the mentoring tradition in Indian culture.

Episode Transcript

tony praino headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in innovation"

Tony Praino, Chief Engineer & Meteorologist at IBM Research in Yorktown Heights, New York

We talk to Tony about about the allied skills of engineering and programming for the field of meteorology, his early work on digital storage systems, and the implications of the acquisition of The Weather Company by IBM.

Episode Transcript

jim kurdzo headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career developing radar systems"

Jim Kurdzo, Radar Meteorologist at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts.

We talk to Jim about about the different programming languages used for radar analysis and algorithm development, and the occasional disconnect in radar meteorology between electrical engineering and atmospheric science.

Episode Transcript

jen henderson headshot graphic with teaser text that reads &quotexplore a career in social science"

Jen Henderson, Interdisciplinary Social Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder, Colorado

We talk to Jen about her early training as a creative writer, her interest in the life of Dr. Tetsuya Fujita, and conducting focus groups with forecasters.

Episode Transcript

graphic with teaser text that reads &quotnew from the AMS: step into the shoes of an expert working in the weather, water, and climate sciences

TRAILER

Learn all about the American Meteorological Society's newest podcast and meet some of the professionals working in weather, water, and climate sciences that you'll get to know in future episodes. Subscribe today in your podcatcher of choice!

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About the Team

photo portrait of kelly savoie

KELLY SAVOIE (Co-Host) is the Director of Career Development at the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Boston where she oversees all career development activities including podcasts, webinars, the career center website, certification programs, AMAs, virtual career fairs, and other initiatives. Growing up in New England, she enjoys swimming, hiking, cycling, and winter sports.

 

photo portrait of brandon crose

BRANDON CROSE (Executive Producer and Guest Host) is the American Meteorological Society's Digital Content Creation Manager, where he shepherds all sorts of digital initiatives into life, including this very podcast! He is also a published author (Applause, Smith and Kraus, Hallmark), theatre educator, and audio dramatist (The Ordinary Epic). Twitter: @brandoncrose

 

REX HORNER (Co-Host) is the American Meteorological Society's Career Services Coordinator.  At the AMS, he supports the certification programs and creates resources for individuals in all stages of their careers. Outside of work, he is an avid runner, an amateur illustrator, and a podcast addict. 

 

photo portrait of peter trepke

PETER TREPKE (Editor, episodes 8 to present) resides in Los Angeles and is involved with media and entertainment of all kinds, including podcasts (like this one) and audiobooks, to TV and films. Website: www.PeterTrepke.com

 

photo portrait of steve savoie

STEVE SAVOIE (Theme Music) is a keyboard player, songwriter and vocalist who does solo, duo, and band performances. Steve is also a piano and vocal instructor at the Carver School of Rock.

 

photo portrait of jason emmanuel

JASON EMMANUEL (Co-Host and Editor, episodes 1 to 7)