I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a twin and attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. I received a BS degree in Honors Physics and Mathematics in 1966, and enrolled in the Ph.D program in Meteorology at Florida State University. I received my Doctorate in 1973 with my dissertation titled: "Transients in the Scattering of Hydrometeors". My major professor, mentor, and best friend was Dr. J. J. Stephens. Upon graduation I moved to Norman, Oklahoma, where I started as a NRC Post-doctoral Fellow at the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) of the movie "Twister" fame. By the mid 1980's I had advanced to be Chief of Meteorological Research and acting Deputy Director of the laboratory. While there, I advanced the use of multiple Doppler Radars to describe the time-dependent three dimensional wind flow in storms and the use of sophisticated numerical models to represent the growth and evolution of tornadic and non-tornadic storms.
In 1985, FSU offered me the position of Full Professor and an opportunity to return to my alma mater, where I remain. My interest in forecasting was to demonstrate the utility of the more theoretical work that occupied much of my research. It started out with Dr. Sandy D' Alemberte's request for a forecast for game day when USC was scheduled to come to Tallahassee as Hurricane Georges was seemingly bearing down on Tallahassee, and that was the consensus view of just about all the other official and unofficial forecasts. I saw things differently and advised that I was confident the game could be held, and it was, and we won!
From then on, I have sought to serve the citizens of Florida and the Southeast by providing the best Hurricane forecasts I can, for whatever benefit might be derived. My research has also broadened to include a strong interest in many aspects of hurricanes. I have been responsible for putting together a "hurricane hunting" Doppler Radar on a Mack Truck that can withstand the most violent winds of a Hurricane. We hope that the data obtained from this research facility will complement other measurements and models to better understand why hurricanes intensify, weaken, go the directions they go and how it might even be possible to mitigate their threat. And, of course, that list can go on and on.
It is exciting work, and the opportunity to work with bright young people is especially rewarding.