NWA’s Newest Chapter: From Foundation to a California Annual Meeting

January President’s Message
Gail Hartfield, January 2017

Hello, everyone! I am so blessed and honored to serve you as your president for the upcoming year—a year that promises to be yet another exciting one for the NWA. The National Weather Association Foundation is still in its infancy, but we will work closely with its leadership to help it grow and thrive. We look forward to curating our new NWA website and developing it into a premier portal for sharing information on NWA activities, member news, meetings and events, scholarship and grant opportunities, and more. And we will share fantastic new tools, views, ideas, discoveries and innovations via the Annual Meeting, Newsletter, website, social media, and the Journal of Operational Meteorology. All of this will be facilitated by our top-notch Executive Director and her staff, along with scores of smart, energetic volunteers on the committees, teams and Council, all operating together to make this a truly homegrown, unique and strong organization.

I became part of the NWA universe in the mid 1990’s, and since that time it has enriched my life immensely, both personally and professionally, in immeasurable ways. Through my NWA involvement over the years, I have met and become friends with so many wonderful people from all sectors of the weather enterprise who share common goals: pursuing excellence in operational meteorology and sharing their enthusiasm about the weather. Only here can you collaborate so closely with operational-minded academia, NWS and other public-sector forecasters, broadcast meteorologists, private-sector meteorologists, and social scientists to advance the science of weather and climate and, in the process, gain an understanding of the values of each of our contributions.

It was very early in my career that I first heard about the concept of research-to-operations, and I quickly developed an appreciation for the importance of deep connections among meteorological researchers, operational forecasters and broadcasters, and the people and entities that we serve, all working together in a circular process chain. Researchers provide relevant study results to those creating warnings and forecasts as well as to those charged with conveying this information to the public and other user groups in clear and tailored ways; the needs of these users then help inform the research and the process begins anew. It is within this process that we find another common thread: we all put science to work as we serve each other and the public. Each of us cannot achieve maximum success without work and engagement with others in the weather enterprise.

This teamwork, and the resulting service, is what the NWA is all about. It’s the driving force behind this year’s theme, Putting Science into Service, which encapsulates the ideas of collaboration and partnerships, of exploring the science and applying it to improve not only forecasts and warnings but how society uses weather information. You will be able to experience this theme at work throughout the year and at the 2017 Annual Meeting, which will take place in Garden Grove, California, in September. This meeting is in the hands of our terrific Program Chairs, Todd Lericos and Miles Muzio, and countless volunteers.

Before wrapping up this month’s message, I want to offer my deepest thanks and appreciation to our outgoing President, David Freeman, who over the last year has brought wisdom, leadership, kindness, and thoughtful guidance to the NWA helping to make it better than ever. I look forward to continuing our endeavors and helping to facilitate new ones. And I look forward to engaging with all of you in the coming year as we continue to grow the NWA into the premier organization for operational meteorologists.

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