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Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services

Biographies of Speakers

Norma Barr is an internationally recognized leader developer, executive coach, performance development designer and organizational development consultant and advisor.  Barr & Barr Consultants, a thirty-two year old firm, specializes in the people side of business as a fundamental platform for financial performance, leadership, coaching, organizational development, talent development / retention, and ultimately profitability.   One of Norma’s areas of expertise is observation skills to provide descriptive feedback to an organization, executive group, or individual behavior on patterns of persuasion, influence methods, power, conflict, verbal / nonverbal behavior, group dynamics, and analytical, strategic, and relational thinking. 

Mickey Brown is Deputy Director for the Eastern Region of the National Weather Service.  His daily duties include overseeing NWS operations, handling personnel, and labor relations throughout Eastern Region.  Mickey is a member of management’s team for the National Labor Council.  After graduating from Cook College, Rutgers University with a B.S. in atmospheric science in 1987, Mickey worked for two private meteorology companies in the New York City area.  He has served in numerous positions in his career at the National Weather Service.  Mickey lives with his wife, Marcelle, and their two sons, Joseph and David, on eastern Long Island.

Susan Buchanan is the acting director of NOAA Communications at the National Weather Service. Her 15+ years of professional experience in communications includes 9 years with NOAA, three of which have been with National Weather Service Public Affairs.   Prior to joining NOAA, Susan ran the national press office of the Peace Corps after serving as editor of the agency's corporate and external communication publications. Prior to that, she managed the communications office for the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in Charleston. Susan holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Journalism from the University of South Carolina and a Master's Degree in Public Relations Management from the University of Maryland.

Carol Collier was appointed Executive Director of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) on August 31, 1998. The DRBC is an interstate/federal commission that provides a unified approach to water resource management without regard to political boundaries. Before joining DRBC, Ms. Collier was Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s 21st Century Environment Commission.  Prior to that, Ms. Collier was the Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) Southeast Region. Ms. Collier has a B.A. in Biology from Smith College and a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rick Day was named the senior vice president for Operations in September 2008.  He is responsible for the safe and efficient flow and continuity of the FAA’s air traffic operations in the U.S. domestic and international airspace assigned to U.S. control.  With more than 30 years experience in air traffic, Day oversees all gate-to-gate air traffic operations encompassing commercial, military, general aviation, and space transportation. The scope of his duties includes 144 million yearly operations and some 30,000 employees responsible for the infrastructure, engineering and requirements, standards and procedures, acquisitions, and air traffic control staffing and training.  Day holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in management and human relations from Mid-America Nazarene University.  Day served six years in the United States Air Force Reserves.

Julie Demuth is an Associate Scientist III with the National Center for Atmospheric Research Societal Impacts Program. In addition, she is pursuing her PhD in Public Communication and Technology at Colorado State University.  Her research focuses on improving the communication and use of forecast and warning information with an emphasis on forecast uncertainty and high-impact weather events. Julie also organized and implemented the annual Weather and Society * Integrated Studies (WAS*IS) workshop for the past four years. Julie is a member of the AMS Board on Societal Impacts, the AMS Board on Enterprise Communication, and the National Weather Association Committee on the Societal Impacts of Weather and Climate. Julie has a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from the University of Nebraska.

Brian DiGiacomo has been with the Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel since 1991, and is currently the Chief of the Employment and Labor Law Division.  Before becoming the division chief, Brian served as the Chief of the General Law Division from 1996 to 2005, and the Department’s Senior Counsel for Fiscal Law from 1993 to 1996.  His contributions to the Department have been recognized through awards of the Department’s Gold and Silver Medals, as well as several Office of the General Counsel and Office of the NOAA General Counsel distinguished attorney awards.  Brian received a B. S. in economics from St. Bonaventure University and a J.D. degree from Syracuse University in 1982.  Brian lives in Arnold, Maryland, with his wife and two college-age children. 

James Faulkner has been with NOAA for 17 years - primarily in the employee and labor relations arena, but has also worked in the areas of executive staffing, organizational assessment (the Survey Feedback Action initiative) and HR policy/program management.  Prior to NOAA, Jim began his HR career working in the two most industrial places of the federal government:  the Navy Shipyard in Philadelphia and the Naval Ordnance Station in Indian Head, Maryland.  Jim honed his employee and labor relations craft at these DOD facilities.  He has carried these skills over to NOAA, working cases for most line and staff offices over the past 17 years.  Jim earned his Bachelor's of Science Degree from Penn State in 1986.  While a Maryland resident for 20 years, Jim is a native Philadelphian and remains a loyal fan of that city's fine professional sports franchises.

W. Craig Fugate was appointed as the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2009.  Prior to coming to FEMA, Mr. Fugate served as Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.  His agency coordinated disaster response, recovery, preparedness and mitigation efforts with each of the state's 67 counties and local governments.  Mr. Fugate began his emergency management career as a volunteer firefighter, emergency paramedic, and finally as a Lieutenant with the Alachua County Fire Rescue. Eventually, he moved from exclusive fire rescue operations to serving as the Emergency Manager for Alachua County in Gainesville, Florida. He spent a decade in that role until May 1997 when he was appointed Bureau Chief for Preparedness and Response for FDEM.  Mr. Fugate and his wife Sheree hail from Gainesville, Florida.

Dr. Holly Hartmann is Director of the Arid Lands Information Center at the University of Arizona, and a co-investigator within the Climate Assessment for the Southwest, a  NOAA-funded Regional Integrated Science and Assessment project.   Holly serves on the Climate Working Group of the NOAA Science Advisory Board. She is a member of the AMS Committee on Climate Services and the AMS Board of Economic Enterprise Development. She is also on the Board of the International Environmental Modeling and Software Society’s Board and an Associate Editor of their journal, Environmental Modeling and Software.  Holly received her MS degree in water resources management from the University of Michigan and her PhD in hydrology and water resources from the University of Arizona.

Dr. Jack Hayes is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator for Weather Services and National Weather Service Director.  Prior to this position, Dr. Haves served as the director of the World Weather Watch Department at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  Before joining the WMO, Dr. Hayes served in several senior executive positions at NOAA, including as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOAA Research and the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service. As Director of the Office of Science and Technology for the NWS, Dr. Hayes had oversight of the infusion of new science and technology essential into weather service operations.  Dr. Hayes received both his Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees in meteorology from the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California.  A Fellow in the American Meteorological Society, he also graduated from Bowling Green State University, with a bachelor's degree in mathematics.  Dr. Hayes has been married to his wife, Sharon, for over 37 years and has three grown children.

Byron Noriyoshi Kunisawa, founder of CULTURAL SOLUTIONS, INC., is a third generation Japanese-American who was born in an internment camp at Topaz, Utah, and spent his early childhood in an African-American community in West Oakland, CA.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University.  He is an internationally recognized lecturer and consultant in the areas of: Workforce Diversity, Organizational Development, Multiculturalism, and Systemic Change.  He is the creator of the theory: Designs of Omission, and founded the Multicultural Training Resource Center (MTRC) in San Francisco, California, one of the first organizations in the nation dedicated to addressing the needs of culturally diverse populations and the organizations that served them.  Byron resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be contacted at his website:

Margaret (Peggy) Morse has been an Employee/Labor Relations Advisor with NOAA in the WFMO Employee/Labor Relations Division office in NOAA since 2009, where she presents the Employee Relations portion of NWS Management and Supervision course.  From 2007-2009, Peggy was an Employee/Labor Relations Advisor with Department of Navy.  In that role, she served as chief negotiator in Department of Navy (DoN) labor contract negotiations, represented DoN before various third parties in administrative forums, and served in various training roles for DoN employee/labor relations training courses.  Peggy holds a BA from SUNY Oneonta and a Masters of Library/Information services from USC.

Barry Myers is CEO of AccuWeather, Inc.  He previously served as the company’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel.  Barry has been a Member of the Board of Directors of the American Weather and Climate Industry Association, the weather industry’s trade association, for almost two decades and the group’s Chairman for Government Relations.  He has served as advisor to three different Directors of the United States National Weather Service at the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization Meetings in Geneva.  He presently serves as an advisor on the Environmental Information Services Working Group of NOAA’s Science Advisory Board.  Barry is a recognized expert in weather information exchange internationally and public/private/academic relationships in the weather field here in the United States.  He received B.S. and M.S. in business administration and economics from Penn State and a J.D. from Boston University law school.

Dr. Jeffrey K. Lazo is Director of the Societal Impacts Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He is an economist with extensive experience in nonmarket valuation of environmental and natural resource commodities. His current work focuses on the communication and value of weather information and the economic impact of severe weather events. Jeff is a member of the NOAA Science Advisory Board’s Environmental Information Services Working Group, the World Meteorological Organization Forum on the Socio-Economic Applications of Meteorological and Hydrological Services and WMO’s WWRP Societal and Economic Research and Applications Working Group. He is editor of the new American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Society, and Climate. Jeff received a BA in economics and philosophy from the University of Denver and his Masters and PhD in environmental and natural resource economics from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Dr. Heather Lazrus is a postdoctoral research associate and the deputy director of the Social Science Woven into Meteorology (SSWIM) program housed at the National Weather Center and jointly funded by NOAA  and the University of Oklahoma.  Heather obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in the field of environmental anthropology.  Heather’s research interests fall within SSWIM¹s objectives to improve the efficacy of weather forecasts and warnings, reduce social vulnerability to atmospheric and related hazards, and understand community and cultural adaptations to climate variability and change.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco was sworn in as the ninth and first woman Administrator of  NOAA in March 2009. Her scientific expertise includes oceans, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well-being.  She received a B.A. degree in biology from Colorado College, a M.S. in zoology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University. While teaching at Harvard (1975-1977) and Oregon State University (1977-2009), she was actively engaged in discovery, synthesis, communication, and application of scientific knowledge. Dr. Lubchenco has studied marine ecosystems around the world and championed the importance of science and its relevance to policy making and human well-being. A former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the International Council for Science and the Ecological Society of America, she served 10 years on the National Science ecosystems, with recent work in Svalbard, Greenland, and the Alaskan arctic.   Dr. Lubchenco has provided scientific input to multiple U.S. Administrations and Congress on climate, fisheries, marine ecosystems, and biodiversity.
Dr. Lubchenco co-founded three organizations that communicate scientific knowledge to the public, policy makers, the media and industry.  She co-chaired the Synthesis for Business and Industry of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, an international scientific evaluation of the consequences of environmental changes to human well-being.  She also served on the Pew Oceans Commission, the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, the Aspen Institute Arctic Commission and the Council of Advisors for Google Ocean. 

Elise Steinberg is the NOAA team leader for the Department of Commerce, Office of General Counsel, Employment and Labor Law Division.  She has been practicing employment and labor law for her entire career, having represented both management and labor organizations.  Elise joined the Department of Commerce in 1998 and has been providing legal advice to NOAA since 2003.  She is the recipient of a number of Distinguished Attorney awards.  Elise is a 1988 cum laude graduate of Brandeis University, where she was awarded a  Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics.  She received her Juris Doctorate from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she served as the Editor in Chief of the Cardozo Women's Law Journal.  Elise lives in Maryland with her husband and three young children.

Melissa Tuttle Carr is an independent consultant, working as a Freelance Meteorologist/ Weather Producer at CNN in Atlanta, GA, and as a contractor for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO.  Previously, she spent over eleven years at The Weather Channel (TWC) in Atlanta, GA.  Melissa has an extensive background in broadcast meteorology and in data, product and project management.  Melissa was the TWC liaison to the NWS for over two years.  She is a 2006 fellow of the Weather and Society-Integrated Studies (WAS*IS) program and created the WAS*IS Partnership Initiative.  She sits on the AMS Board on Societal Impacts and recently served as the Social Science Expert on the NWS Service Assessment team for the Southeast Flooding event of September 2009.  Melissa has a Bachelor of Science degree in atmospheric science from the University of Wisconsin.

Chris Vaccaro is the acting Media Relations Director at NOAA headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. Prior to joining NOAA in 2004, he was a science/weather journalist with USA Today's print, online and broadcast divisions. Since Hurricane Gloria struck his Long Island home in 1985, Chris has had an avid interest in meteorology and he first crossed paths with the NWS as a student intern at the NWS office in Upton, N.Y. Chris earned an undergraduate degree in meteorology and social science from Lyndon State College and holds a Masters in Communications from the University of Oklahoma. He is also a graduate of the WAS*IS program and is currently on the AMS Board on Enterprise Communications.

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