December President’s Message

December President’s Message
Final Thoughts
Dave Freeman, 2016 NWA President

I know it sounds corny, but it really does seem amazing that it is time to write my last message to you as President of our National Weather Association. It feels like the year has flown by and that it can’t really be December. But I have pitched my inning, and I see President-Elect Gail Hartfield warming up in the bullpen, ready for her first pitch as President in just a few days.

Hopefully, you have a sense this year that the National Weather Association has taken some important strides and that it is better positioned to serve the operational meteorology community. I sure have that sense having watched the progress.

Externally, the NWA helped advocate and educate about operational meteorology concerns such as the GOES spectrum issues. The NWA’s voice helped remind decision-makers that the best weather information in the world does no good unless it is fast and rock-solid reliable. The NWA leadership, professional and elected, will stay on top of this issue and watch carefully for other issues that require our attention.

The NWA was approached by National Weather Service leadership to provide input on a plan to better achieve its mission in the coming years. The Council was briefed on the Operations and Workforce Analysis at its mid-year meeting and a special session was scheduled at our Annual Meeting. This was topped off by an unprecedented meeting between NOAA leadership and the NWA Council. (See the November President’s Message in the Newsletter.)

Our WeatherReady Fest, held in conjunction with our very successful Annual Meeting in Norfolk, was the largest public outreach event in NWA history. Thousands of people turned out to learn about the many facets of meteorology and preparedness. And, I must say, it was heart-warming to see the army of NWA volunteers who turned out early to help set up and staff the event. Vice President Bill Murray and his team deserve our gratitude.

Internally, seeds that were planted during President Elizabeth Page’s term came to fruition with the establishment of the National Weather Association Foundation. This new 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation provides the opportunity for tax-deductible donations to support students and teachers in atmospheric science. Donations are already coming in—just go to the Foundation's website here and click Donate! I believe the Foundation will make it possible for all of us to “pay it forward” and help the next generation of operational meteorologists.

The NWA also rolled out a new website using contracted professional services. In so doing, the Council gave special recognition to the volunteers who brought us through the years to this point. We stand on their shoulders and our gratitude was expressed at the Awards Banquet.

The Council has continued to look at the NWA’s committee structure to ensure that the Association is positioned well to serve the evolving needs of the community. Everyone realizes that it is important to be alert to changing conditions in our field, and adapt to keep the NWA relevant and attractive to new members. I have been so impressed with the forward-thinking consultations we have had!

I would also like to share with the members that there has been a strong effort to develop the functioning of our elected and professional leadership. Last January, I met with Executive Director Janice Bunting to chart the coming year and one of the goals we adopted was to raise the level of functioning of the NWA, and the understanding of the roles of the elected and professional leadership. Janice has been a great partner in this. She continues to work hard to bring our business operations into compliance with current best-practices, always with an eye toward providing top-level customer service to our members. My year as President would not be complete unless I took the opportunity to recognize her contribution, and thank her for her outstanding leadership.

And now my friends, I come to the end, where I must express my gratitude to all of you for allowing me this opportunity to serve. I love the National Weather Association and it has been a very high privilege to serve you in this office. Thank you all for giving me that opportunity, and for making this a wonderful and memorable year.

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