"Innovative Weather gave me the experience that essentially I wouldn't have gotten until I started doing my first job. Dealing with customers, recording audio and helping to teach interns all helped give me the experience that I have been able to use in my current position as well as issuing alerts and 'warnings' for our clients."
Growing up, Chris Spannagle was always interested in weather. He remembers running to the window every time a storm would roll through, and he was constantly glued to the weather channel waiting to see the radar. As an adult, Chris worked with Innovative Weather from May of 2007 to October of 2008, and became the first employee at Innovative to graduate when he received his masters in December of 2007. While an employee at Innovative Weather, Chris preferred to forecast severe weather events. He says, "The biggest event I can remember working was June 7 and 8, 2008. There were numerous supercells and severe weather that lasted most of the day into the evening with 9 tornadoes, the largest hailstone ever to fall in Wisconsin and extreme straight-line winds. I was also working 2 days later when Lake Delton emptied out into the Wisconsin River." Currently, Chris works as a research meteorologist at the National Weather Service Warning Decision Training Branch and the University of Oklahoma/CIMMS (Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies). He got the position in part due to his time at IW.
"Innovative Weather provides an avenue to bring classroom knowledge to a real world setting while simultaneously working towards a degree, resulting in practical experience in addition to a diploma, making any candidate with that background attractive and valuable to future employers."
Kate Smith joined the Innovative Weather team in 2007 as one of the first forecasters while working on her Masters degree at UWM. She continued to work for Innovative Weather after graduation while also working as a research meteorologist at UWM until 2009 when she decided to focus on her research career. Kate now works as an Associate Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO, where she currently focuses on ensemble forecasting system development, implementing new schemes and techniques into WRF, post processing software, and surge modeling. She enjoys the opportunity to tackle a wide variety of research topics and new modeling techniques. Although Kate is no longer in forecasting disciple, the value of the Innovative Weather experience is immeasurable and played a significant role in getting Kate onto her current research career path. As a researcher at NCAR it is important to not only be at the forefront of new research techniques, applications and theories, but to also understand how those elements impact and apply to real world weather problems and to the users of the new information and technology. Having working knowledge of weather impacts is helpful in determining whether or not new techniques and schemes are behaving correctly and effectively. It is essential to be able to sift through the large amounts of information and decipher what pieces are important or relevant to a particular problem or recipient of that information, and to be able to anticipate what information is needed and how it will be used. The experience gained from working at Innovative Weather provided the means to hone those skills: taking the science and data and forming it into information in a manner that is useful to the end user, and continually working to improve the information as well as the methods by which it is attained.
"Working in the National Weather Service isn't just about forecasting the weather. There is a lot of interaction with customers, whether it be the public, event organizers, or heads of other government agencies. Innovative Weather helped me learn how to concisely articulate the most important facets of a complex forecast scenario in order to meet a client's specific needs."
Mike Kurz can trace his interest in meteorology back to grade school and remembers being amazed at the destruction left behind by an F3 tornado that ravaged Wautoma in 1992. As a middle schooler, Mike resolved to become a meteorologist after repeatedly borrowing all of the library's tornado videos. His interest in weather grew exponentially through college, and he received both his Bachelors (2007) and Masters (2009) degrees in Atmospheric Science from UWM. Right out of high school and through graduate school, Mike interned at WTMJ, where he had the privilege of learning from Milwaukee meteorologist legends John Malan and Paul Joseph. Additionally, Mike was one of the original Innovative Weather forecasters when the operation began in May 2007, and he remained with IW until January 2010 when he accepted a position with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio. Aside from launching weather balloons and forecasting, one of his favorite aspects of his current position is venturing outside the office to interact with NWS customers at outreach events. In his spare time, Mike enjoys traveling to various historical and scenic sites and playing Celtic music on his fiddle.
"Innovative Weather has given me the skills to excel at the communication aspect of this. We live in a job market now where graduates with a 4 year degree can no longer easily obtain work, and yet many “trade” jobs are struggling to get filled; this is a sure sign that obtaining the necessary hands-on, technical skills are invaluable to succeed and get to the next level."
Like most people that enter a career in meteorology, I’ve had an interest in weather since I was little. I remember always being fascinated watching The Weather Channel while my dad prepared to work his lawn maintenance business each day. I can even remember posting forecasts from television on the bulletin board of my third grade classroom. My love for weather continued right through college, where I went on several storm chases through the Atmospheric Science Club at UWM. I would ultimately complete my Bachelor’s Degree in 2007 and Master’s in 2009. I was a part of the original Innovative Weather team from May 2007 until December 2010. Serving for Innovative Weather not only made me a better forecaster, but a better leader and a much better communicator. These skills were developed through things such as frequent communication with Innovative Weather’s clients during adverse weather conditions, mentoring new staff and recording audio for our radio clients. Speaking of radio, I will never forget preparing for an evening shift at Innovative Weather on January 7th, 2008. Record January warmth preceded severe thunderstorms that afternoon, which resulted in several tornadoes over southeast Wisconsin. One included an EF-3 which spun up around 6 miles southeast of my parents’ house! Recording audio for NPR that evening, mentioning confirmed tornadoes that produced significant damage on a January day is an event I will never forget. The skills gained at IW are directly transferrable to my current position as a meteorologist intern at the National Weather Service in Gaylord, MI. We are “first in line” for answering phone calls, which frequently include briefing entities like school boards and road commissions on the forecast situation, as well as doing both recorded and live interviews for our media partners.
"Innovative Weather helped me by giving me the opportunity to apply my meteorological knowledge obtained in the classroom to real world situations. This was a great way to further my understanding and appreciation of the science. I also helped with training new interns and attended meetings with clients, which strengthened my personal and professional confidence."
Dawn Kopacz was with Innovative Weather for nearly four years, from January of 2008 through August of 2011. During that time, she worked thousands of hours, but one event in particular has stuck with her. "My most memorable forecasting experience was Thursday, July 22nd, 2010. In the morning there was a large area of moderate to heavy rain that moved through southern WI, leaving anywhere from 0.5-2 inches of rain across the area. During the afternoon hours, a round of strong to severe storms developed and moved through the area, and then the storms began training over the Milwaukee area through the evening hours. So in addition to lightning, winds and several tornadoes affecting portions of southern WI, there were torrential rains and flash flooding. Travel through the city of Milwaukee and nearby areas became dangerous and nearly impossible. Rainfall totals for the day ranged from 5-9 inches in many areas, including a report of 6.73 inches falling between 5:15-6:15pm at WTMJ-4 on Capitol Drive. It was a long but very exciting day!" Dawn gained hands-on experience forecasting at Innovative Weather, but it also offered her an opportunity to hone her communication skills in a professional setting. Dawn will complete her Ph.D. in Mathematics with an Atmospheric Science concentration in May 2015 and plans to teach at the college level. "I want to help students realize that math and science isn't just about memorizing theories and formulas, rather those equations and principles are tools that allow us to evaluate and understand our world. I want to help? students reach their academic and professional goals, and show them that a degree in meteorlogy can lead to many different career paths." In her spare time, Dawn enjoys sewing, outdoor activities like hiking and fishing, and spending quality time with her husband and their two-year old son.
Growing up in Beaver Dam, WI Zach Uttech was always fascinated by the day-to-day and season-to-season volatility of weather. He quickly developed a passion for winter weather and had a desire to understand why snowstorms and other meteorological phenomena occurred. Zach received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, then came to UW–Milwaukee to complete his Masters and work at Innovative Weather. He was with IW from November of 2011 until April of 2012, when he completed his graduate study. During that time, Zach worked many severe weather situations, but one in particular stands out. "My most memorable forecasting experience at IW was when a bow-echo squall line of thunderstorms moved across southern Wisconsin during the summer of 2011. This line of severe storms produced wind gusts over 70 mph and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. For this specific event, we were able to forecast, for our clients, the potential for severe thunderstorms several days in advance which allowed them ample time to prepare. It was a very rewarding experience when I saw our forecasts come to fruition and we were able to notify Lake Express (one of our clients) of the impending danger a few hours before it arrived. Provided with this information, Lake Express moved their ferry away from the Lake Michigan coastline before the severe winds hit — thereby preventing potential damage from rocks and other near-shore obstacles." Zach was immediately hired as a Meteorologist Intern at the National Weather Service office in Great Falls, Montana upon completion of his Master's degree.
"Forecasting skills cannot really be fully developed in a classroom. You have to experience various real-life forecasting situations and the pressure to make decisions - this is an experience that IW provided. I also became a much more efficient communicator, both to clients (and subsequently to future employers), and to the non-meteorological public."
John Peters completed both his Bachelors and Masters degrees at UWM, the latter of which he finished in May of 2012. He is now working on his PhD at Colorado State University. John's interest in weather was spawned, like many of his colleagues, as a young child. "I initially became interested in geology and volcanology at a very young age - if I remember correctly, 3 years old. I saw a program on TV that showed footage of a volcanic eruption in Hawaii, and I became instantly fascinated. Over the years, this interest spread to other powerful natural processes, such as earthquakes, waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, and various astronomical phenomena. I suppose the interest in weather 'stuck,' since I could easily observe it in my every-day life as opposed to volcanoes, the evolution of rocks, or distant stars/galaxies." He is one of the longest tenured employees of Innovative Weather, from December of 2008 until July of 2012, and that time served him well.
Michael Hansen graduated with a Bachelors of Science in May of 2011, and worked with Innovative Weather from June 2009 through July 2012. Like many other meteorologists, Michael has had an innate fascination about the weather for as long as he can remember. His most memorable experience was the night of the July 22nd floods in 2010. After commuting back from the National Weather Service from his internship during the storms, he had to work the overnight shift at IW. In addition to working with a very tense situation, I got to do my first impromptu phone interview with WUWM. His time at Innovative Weather was very valuable. He says, "IW was able to help me prepare by giving me experience in an operational setting. I really wasn't interested in broadcast meteorology, but I wanted to get into the scientific aspect of forecasting the weather for clients or the general public." Michael is currently working for Wilkens Weather Technologies, a subsidiary of Rockwell Collins, as a Marine Meteorologist. His tasks include forecasting and risk assessment for shipping routes and oil drilling across most of the world.
I received my B.S. in Atmospheric Science in May of 2011 and am currently a Masters student working with Professors Paul Roebber and Clark Evans. Upon completion of my M.S. in Atmospheric Science in May of 2013, I plan to either work towards my PhD or find employment in the research sector that focuses on operational meteorology. I chose UWM because of its diverse and well known faculty within the University and the Atmospheric Science program. I have been with Innovative Weather since June of 2009 and most enjoy analyzing complicated forecast situations, particularly those involving severe weather and winter storms, and having the opportunity to communicate the weather impact to private client operations and the public. I am a lifelong Packers, Brewers and Badgers fan and in my free time I enjoy storm chasing, mountain biking, running, downhill skiing and surfing.
I began working at Innovative Weather in early September after returning for my final year in the Atmospheric Science M.S. program. Since graduating with a B.S. in Atmospheric Science in 2009, my experience has mainly encompassed weather modification for both governmental and private clients. Innovative Weather is giving me the skills and basic on the job experience that an employee at a standard operational forecasting company is expected to have. Upon graduating, I hope to work in an environmental field, in hydrology, or in LGBT advocacy. I occupy my spare time with writing, reading, and enjoying the alternative art scene in Milwaukee.
"I consider Innovative Weather my first 'real' job in the sense that I had the opportunity to deal with real, paying clients and experience both rewards and consequences created by the service I gave, all based on theories I learned in the classroom. The maturity I experienced while working at Innovative has been invaluable and I still use the critical thinking skills I learned to this day."
I graduated from UWM with a B.S. in Atmospheric Science in May of 2012, and I am now working on my master's degree in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. I've had a fascination with science and nature for as long as I can remember, and my interests evolved with rock collections, space posters, and dinosaur books. Finally, in about fifth grade, I discovered meteorology and never looked back. I joined the Innovative Weather program in June of 2010 as an intern, and ended a little over a year later, in September of 2011. It was a hard decision to leave, but I felt a strong pull towards research in the topic of air pollution, sparked by a study abroad trip in January 2011 to Mexico to examine the effects of air pollution on the ancient monuments spread throughout the country. This is what I continue to study at CSU. A very vivid memory for me is actually a collection of multiple occasions when severe weather was likely to strike our client's service areas, only to hit just outside of our forecast zone. I recall the built-up tension and nervousness all suddenly alleviated (besides having to explain to the client why we made such a dire forecast, of course), reminding me just how young and imaginative our field truly is—and how far I was from mastering the science of weather forecasting.
I graduated from UWM in May of 2012 with a B.S. in Atmospheric Science, and have been with Innovative Weather since March of 2011. I started out studying electrical engineering, but decided to pursue my lifelong passion after learning about the Atmospheric Science program here. In the future I'd like to go to graduate school with an emphasis in social science in meteorology and helping people further understand the risks severe weather poses them. In summer you can find me spending as much time outdoors as possible, and in winter local ski hills are a typical hangout.
I graduated in May 2012 from the UWM Atmospheric Science program, and worked with Innovative Weather from November of 2011 through August 2013. I've been a weather enthusiast since grade school, and I chose UWM because it is one of only three schools in the state with an Atmospheric Science program, and the only one to offer forecasting internship opportunities. I moved on to complete an MS in Atmospheric Science at Texas A&M University in 2015. I currently work as a Satellite Climate Data Scientist for Remote Sensing Systems in Santa Rosa, CA, but remain very interested in forecasting in my free time.
My experience at Innovative Weather started in October of 2009 as a meteorologist, but I've taken on programming responsibilities over the past year. I graduated in August 2011 from the UWM Atmospheric Science program, and am currently taking computer science classes as a non-degree seeking student. I decided to go to UWM because of how close it was to home, along with the tuition price compared to out of state costs. I have a general interest in anything technological or science related, and enjoy a good run along with watching sports in my spare time. Like many of my coworkers, I've had a general interest in weather for most of my life, but I remember driving through a storm when I was 12 and it could accurately be described as one of the most memorable and terrorizing experiences I've ever been through.
I worked with Innovative Weather from December of 2011 through early 2014. Since I was very young, I have always been interested in the weather. During thunderstorms, I would hang out in the garage to watch until my parents yelled at me. When I was in 4th grade I got to tour WTMJ and I met John Malan, and I got to interview a National Weather Service meteorologist my sophomore year in high school. After I finish my bachelor's degree, I plan on attending graduate school in hopes of pursuing a career as an operational meteorologist for the National Weather Service. I enjoy working at Innovative Weather and like that it provides real life experience for students and gives us the opportunity to work in the field and get our feet in the door.
My spark of interest in weather didn’t arise until I was 15 years old when I was playing catch with my father in our backyard as cardboard, paper, etc. began falling from the sky. Not 5 minutes later, we were inside and hearing of a F3 tornado that had ripped through Stoughton, WI no more than 30 minutes prior. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how debris from that tornado could be falling in my own backyard! And thus, my interest in learning about weather began. I graduated in the spring of 2012 with my Bachelor’s Degree and worked in two separate stints at Innovative Weather: One from June 2011-January 2012, and the next from August 2012-September 2014. While after graduation, I had considered continuing education in the Master’s Program at UWM, but decided to continue to gain experience by working for Innovative Weather. I recently accepted a position in October 2014 with Schneider Electric in Minnesota, working as an Energy Team Meteorologist, and couldn’t be more blessed with this opportunity. I wouldn’t have been able to acquire this position if it wasn’t for the communication, risk assessment, and weather forecasting skills I gained through my tenure at Innovative Weather. This program is invaluable to the meteorology student who has an interest in operational meteorology, but is more importantly a gateway to a plethora of other opportunities outside of weather through the skills and maturation one develops during their time at Innovative Weather.
I graduated in May of 2013 with a bachelors degree in Atmospheric Science, and have been working at Innovative Weather for the past two years ending in early 2014. This experience has done a lot to teach me about operational forecasting and working in stressful situations. Working with clients has been a great experience that has challenged and improved my communication skills. Since I was little, I have always wanted to be a meteorologist and learning about the weather and having this experience will give me an edge, as I look for a job in operational forecasting, in the coming years. Besides forecasting weather, I enjoy working at New York and Company, playing tennis, and reading a good book.
Innovative Weather was an invaluable opportunity that exposed me to all aspects of a functioning weather office, including forecasting, communication, and life as an operational meteorologist. I experienced both the meteorological and non-meteorological facets of weather forecasting, and that allowed me to mature into a competent meteorologist. In addition to weather forecasting, Innovative Weather also developed and refined my personal and professional skill-sets, many of which are essential given the current job market. Without this experience I would likely not be where I am today, and am truly blessed to have been a part of this program. I began my time at Innovative Weather in November of 2011 and remained there until March of 2015 before moving on to my current position with Quad Graphics. In May of 2013 I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Science and also spent time serving as President of the Atmospheric Sciences Club.
I started at Innovative Weather in November of 2013 as an Intern and became an Operational Meteorologist in March of 2014. I completed my BS in Atmospheric Science in May of 2014 and received runner-up honors for the 2013/2014 Wx Challenge. After graduation I continued to work at Innovative Weather until December of 2014 when I accepted an offer to work as an Energy Meteorologist for Schneider Electric in Minnesota. Given the experience I gained from working at Innovative Weather, I was prepared to forecast and give consultation to some of the biggest energy clients on the East Coast. While there isn’t one particular event that got me interested in weather, I remember watching the Weather Channel and looking at the weather everyday in the newspaper as a kid. It’s a passion that has stuck with me ever since. Besides forecasting the weather, I enjoy storm chasing, spending time outdoors and watching and discussing sports, especially the Brewers and Packers. I will always be Wisconsin at heart even though I no longer call it home.?
I'm set to graduate with my bachelors in May of 2013, and I started at Innovative Weather in January of 2012. After graduation I'd like to work in a similar environment providing forecasts to private clients, though I haven't ruled out broadcasting as an option. I really enjoy the working environment here; it provides an opportunity to hold a large amount of responsibility, as well as a method of applying my coursework. I've always been interested in weather, and I decided to attend UWM because it is one of only three schools in the state that offer an Atmospheric Science degree, and it's fairly close to home. In my spare time I enjoy attending Brewer games and I often spend time up north relaxing on the lake.
I’ve been a student at UWM since 2009, and an intern at Innovative Weather since June of 2012. When I was a small child I remember driving near an F5 tornado, and I’ve had a special interest in weather events ever since. I was reaffirmed of my desire to pursue meteorology as a career choice after flying in a plane through a tropical storm in Florida at age 15. I decided to attend UWM after hearing of the IW program in high school, and because it allows me to commute easily from home. After graduation, I hope to find an operational forecasting job, and to someday work for the National Weather Service. When I’m not working on schoolwork, I’m an avid cook, and love to create meals for my friends and family on a regular basis.
I will be graduating from UWM in May 2014 from the Atmospheric Science program and have been with Innovative Weather since August of 2012. I am like most meteorologists, where my passion for weather started at a young age during severe weather events, and the program at UWM combined with the experience at Innovative Weather, has given me an opportunity to test my skills during real life situations. After I graduate, I hope to find a job in the meteorology field where I will continue to make an impact in decision making. Besides meteorology, I run in 5k's and am training for a marathon, and I enjoy learning about French culture and have received a minor in French from UWM.
I recently joined the Innovative Weather team in August 2012. I'm looking forward to graduation in May 2014. After graduation I plan on going to graduate school to hopefully study severe weather or tropical weather. I am, however, keeping my books open for other potential studies. As a child I'd always watched the local news with my family and idolized the meteorologists. I began studying pre-medicine at Concordia University, but after taking an Introduction to Meteorology course with Mark Baden from WISN, I was convinced that I should take it on as a major. I soon started taking math courses at Concordia University and eventually transferred over to UW–Milwaukee in the summer of 2011. I decided against UW–Madison because of its large size in the program, and after meeting with faculty from UWM and Iowa State, I decided to go with UW–Milwaukee because of class sizes and tuition rates.
I started at Innovative Weather in May of 2011 and graduated a year later with my bachelors in Atmospheric Science. I've recently started graduate studies at UWM, and after I earn my master's degree I'd like to work for the National Weather Service. I've always been interested in weather, but it wasn't until college that I made it a reality. When I originally chose UWM, I did so because of the great faculty at a close to home university. I enjoy working here because of the real life forecast experience and the realization that we save companies money by delivering accurate forecasts. My biggest interests in the field are studying short range high-resolution mesoscale models and going storm chasing, but I also enjoy disc golfing, and playing guitar and basketball.
I have been with Innovative Weather since June of 2014, and I will be graduating with my bachelors in Atmospheric Science in May 2016. I chose UWM because out of the three schools in the state that offers an Atmospheric Science degree it was the closest to home and the most affordable. Like most meteorologists, I have been interested in weather since I was very young. During thunderstorms, I would always go outside to watch the storm approach until it wasn’t safe anymore. My interest in weather was sparked even further after the January 7th, 2008 tornados that tore through my hometown of Kenosha, and did some heavy damage to my aunt and uncle’s home. After graduation I plan on going to graduate school to further my education and hopefully get a job with the National Weather Service. Besides meteorology, I enjoy spending time disc golfing and going to Brewers games.
Jordan is currently a meteorologist with WFRV-TV Channel 5 in Green Bay, WI. His interest in weather sparked as a young boy when a local broadcast meteorologist visited his second grade class. Since then he has been a passionate weather observer, finding entertainment in the movie “Twister” and the television show “Storm Chasers” on the Discovery Channel, which fueled his passion for severe weather events. While at UW-Milwaukee, Jordan became the president of the Atmospheric Science Club, spent a week storm chasing in the northern plains, and attended the 2015 AMS conference in Phoenix, AZ. Altogether these experiences helped to solidify his plan to pursue a career in meteorology. With the forecasting skills learned from Innovative Weather and an internship at WTMJ in Milwaukee, he hopes to one day become a broadcast meteorologist in Green Bay near his home town of Little Chute. On the side, Jordan enjoys playing competitive basketball, rocking out on the guitar and piano, and spending time by the lake with his friends.
I'll be graduating in the spring of 2014 from the Atmospheric Science program, and started working with Innovative Weather in August of 2012. I started at UWM as an undecided freshman, but have been interested in meteorology since grade school. It goes without saying that the movie Twister was one of my personal favorites. Midway through my second year, after gathering information about the Atmospheric Science program at UWM, I decided Atmospheric Science was the way to go. Upon graduating I hope to get a job working for the National Weather Service, but I'm also considering furthering my education and working towards getting a Master's degree. I'm a big football fan, love watching and rooting for the Packers, and also enjoy kicking back and jamming on the guitar or bass.
As with many meteorologists, I can retrace my interest in the weather back to a specific date: May 3rd, 1999. On this date, I watched an F-5 tornado track through my hometown of Moore, OK. The experience led me to the University of Oklahoma (B.S), a study abroad with the University of Reading, an internship with the Storm Prediction Center, and eventually to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (M.S). Arguably the most impactful experience on my young career thus far has been with Innovative Weather (IW).
The only program of its kind, IW provided me with 2-years of invaluable experience in operational meteorology while in graduate school. Forecasting for, and proving decision support services to real-world clients have been instrumental to my development as a professional. Perhaps most importantly, IW allowed me to discover exactly where my deeper interests in meteorology reside: research, teaching, leadership, communications, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
I was only a couple weeks old when Hurricane Andrew made landfall, causing significant damage to Southeast Florida -- my home. Growing up, I would always hear people refer to that monster storm and the possibility of having another catastrophic hurricane. I became intrigued by what caused those systems and how we can predict them. I marveled at the frequent afternoon thunderstorms in the summer and hoped for temperatures to drop below freezing each winter. In 2010, I combined my passion for weather and enjoyment of math and the physical sciences to study meteorology at the Florida State University. I experienced many wonderful opportunities during my undergraduate career that included interning at the Florida Department of Emergency Management and conducting research at the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes and the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies. A few months after graduating with my B.S. degree in Spring 2014, I began working toward my M.S. in Atmospheric Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) as a Research Assistant investigating the influence of assimilating targeted observations upon ensemble forecasts of convection initiation. In October 2014, I began interning at Innovative Weather (IW) where I am enjoying applying my meteorological background while also gaining forecasting experience. When I graduate from UWM, I hope to apply the skills obtained from working at IW by continuing my career in operational meteorology.
Unlike many of my colleagues in the field, I didn't always want to be a meteorologist and wasn't really interested in the field until college. I originally started as an electrical engineer with an aerospace focus at the University of North Dakota back in 2010, where I would later finish my bachelors degree. My first semester freshmen year, I took the introduction to meteorology course as part of my aerospace focus requirements. Within a few weeks, I already enjoyed the challenges of the day to day weather far more than those of circuitry and had changed my major to atmospheric science. Through the rest of my undergraduate years, I always tried to stay busy with extracurricular activities related to the field, both to garner more experience and to make sure I really did like the field I chose before it was too late to change. I did. I got research in with my soon to be undergrad adviser, David Delene; I explored broadcasting with an internships with Weather Nation in the Twin Cities, Studio One, and UND Weather Update; and in the summer between undergrad and grad school I was one of the meteorologists for the State Water Commission in North Dakota for their summer cloud modification project. When I finally got to UW-Milwaukee in fall of 2014, Innovative Weather just seemed like a natural fit, and boy was it ever! I can say with confidence that my service to Innovative Weather was THE most valuable element of my resume in acquiring my new job with the National Weather Service as a meteorologist intern. Between learning to serve different clients with different needs and risks, managing severe weather events, and digging into some of the more obscure kind of weather related problems companies can have, time with Innovative Weather was like educational gold. So in the end I would give this advice to those who follow: With the increasing competitiveness in meteorology, much like engineering, job determinations will come down to your internships, and Innovative Weather is one of the best.
Unlike many meteorologists, Twister was not one of my favorite movies when I was younger. Instead, I loved Apollo 13 and was absolutely fascinated with the exploration of space. However, once I came to realize how long an astronaut could be away from home at a given time, I came to grips with the fact that space was just too far for me. This is when my mom opened me up to the world of weather instead, as she noticed that I would be quite the window-watcher during any thunderstorm or snowfall event. Now ever since sixth grade, I have been chasing this passion, eventually moving from my home on the Southside of Chicago to attain a B.S. in Meteorology at Valparaiso University, to finishing up a M.S. in Atmospheric Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. All the while, I have continued to play my favorite sport of volleyball, cheer on the Green Bay Packers every fall, eat plenty of ice cream, and enjoy all things Disney. Other than school and these hobbies, I have invested much of my time throughout the years in a variety of internships such as the National Weather Service, Weather Services International at United Airlines, and now with Innovative Weather. After having spent the past year with Innovative Weather, I cannot imagine going into the “real world” without having this particular experience. Working with the IW team has helped me to not only enhance my professional skills through client consultation, but it has also enabled me to connect all the pieces of my education and previous experiences in a way that has fully prepared me for the next exciting step of my future.
Dylan Turner is an operational Meteorologist at Innovative Weather, where he does weather forecasting and risk assessments for specific clients across southeastern Wisconsin and the Midwest. Dylan started his internship there in February of 2015 and recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in May of 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Sciences. His passion for weather goes back to when he was a kid as he would watch storm clouds roll in and was fascinated with the different types of clouds seen. He would always watch the Weather Channel as a kid waiting to see when the next storms will arrive. When not working, Dylan loves to play basketball and golf. He is also a passionate Brewers, Packers, and Bucks fan. He also does a lot of volunteer work for the MACC Fund, American Lung Association, and the American Red Cross.
I received my M.S. in Atmospheric Science in May 2015, and I have been a part of the Innovative Weather program since I arrived here in the fall of 2013 after receiving my B.S. in Meteorology from Texas A&M University in May 2012.
A native southeast Texan, I grew up about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. My interest in weather didn’t really begin until I was in high school, but was influenced by several events throughout the years. These include the torrential rains from Tropical Storm Allison (2001), my first snowfall and the first-ever White Christmas along the Texas Gulf Coast (2004), evacuating from – and being chased by! – Hurricane Rita (2005), and riding out Hurricane Ike at home (2008). Living through all of these storms and seeing their aftermath lead me to want to figure out a way to not only better understand and forecast them, but more importantly, to educate others about the weather so that when the warnings come, people will understand the danger and take the necessary precautions. As a UWM graduate student, I was able to do both as I also worked as a Teaching Assistant educating others in the basics of meteorology. Additionally, during my time at Innovative, I have had to opportunity not just to improve my forecasting skills but my professional ones as well becoming a Senior Forecaster and Special Projects Lead in addition to my role as our Social Media Coordinator which has opened a whole new world for me. I have learned and grown so much over the past few years working here alongside friends that I consider my extended family, and I would not trade this experience for anything even though I’m over 1200 miles from home and have quickly learned what true cold is. I never dreamed I would ever consider 32F to be warm.
When I’m not busy trying to stay warm or keeping track of the weather, I enjoy designing and creating various crafts, curling up with a good book, taking photos of the world around me, and making others smile.
Other students who have worked with Innovative Weather since 2007
Jennifer Knapkiewicz, Collin Witherow, Mark Kleemann, Kyle Franzen, Ryan Franke, Sarah Reinke, Melissa Schumann, Brandon , Erica , Jason Palleria, Joey Zipperer, Vinnie Stepnock, Meghan Wessel, Jordan Lamers, Alex Manion