Doing Business With the National Weather Service
Information about National Weather Service<@VM>The CIO file: Barry West
- By Evamarie C. Socha
- Feb 21, 2003
National Weather Service
1325 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, Md. 20910
Feb. 9, 1870Director:
John "Jack" Kelly Jr.What it does:
The National Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and oceans. It is the official U.S. agency for issuing warnings of severe weather. It provides data and products for a national information database that may be used by other organizations, both public and private. Organization:
The National Weather Service comes under the guise of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration within the Commerce Department. NWS divides its coverage into six regions, and there are 122 forecast offices throughout the nation and some territories. There are also regional and national support centers nationwide.The budget2004 budget request:
$824 million2003 budget:
$800 million 2002 budget:
Barry West, National Weather Service CIO
Henrik de Gyor
Chief Information Officer Took the job:
Smithsburg, Md.Home now:
Married to Laurie (Zadd) West. Two children: son Steven, 19; daughter Tiffany, 16.Hobbies:
Loves motorcycling. Owns two Harley-Davidsons, a Sportster and a 100th anniversary Road King Classic. Also enjoys bicycling, running and deer hunting. Last book read:
"Leadership" by Rudolph GiulianiAlma mater:
Bachelors in information systems from Northern Michigan University; master of science in administration from Central Michigan University; master of science in information technology and executive CIO certificate from the University of MarylandWT: What are the IT challenges the agency faces?
West: Some major challenges that we face are dealing with architecture, really having a solid enterprise architecture in place; the explosion of the Web, it continues to grow. Right now, weather.gov is rated as one of top five Web sites in government, so it's meeting the needs of citizens through expanded growth efforts. Also, keeping up with so many emerging technologies and leveraging them into our business needs. WT: Are your agency's needs different from those of other agencies?
West: Different in the sense that we deal more with dissemination of data vs. transaction processing that you may see at other agencies. We deal with getting information out. Our core business is alerting the public to weather, warnings and advisories, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding, and getting that information out as quickly as possible. So technology plays a very important role in the lead time, giving as much lead time to the citizens as possible so they can evacuate.
We get heavily involved in modeling data, dispersion of data, a lot of areas that deal with supercomputing as well. It does have a different twist in that we deal with a lot more scientific work here. WT: What do you look for in companies with which you are thinking of doing business?
West: Past performance, delivering on time and delivering a quality product or service. WT: A year from now, where do you see weather service's technology capabilities?
West: I'd like to see our bandwidth positioned where it's seamless to users and also where we're using some of the newer technologies, such as e-authentication, GIS and grid computing.