It was the active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season that initially sparked my interest in the weather, as I spent the entire summer glued to The Weather Channel, eagerly waiting each new observation and live report. When I began sixth grade science the following fall, the first unit we studied was weather. It was a sign, a clear indication that my destiny lay in the clouds. I had found my calling, even at the young age of eleven. Meteorology perfectly combined all my strengths and interests - science, mathematics, computers, and communications.
Over the years, I took a deep interest in the communications aspect of meteorology - presenting forecasts and other important weather information to the public. In 1996, I conjured the nickname "Weatherman" Dan and presented weekly weather reports to the Christa McAuliffe Middle School via our televised morning announcements program. This continued through high school as students and faculty looked forward to my regular forecasts and presentations, particularly when potential snow days were in the forecast. Just a few years later, I would find myself studying atmospheric science at Cornell University, interning in weather broadcasting, attending conferences of the American Meteorological Society, and preparing for my career.
While I learned the science of meteorology in the classroom at Cornell, I continued my broadcasting training through extra-curricular means. For four years, I worked for WVBR-FM, a commercial, non-profit radio station run completely by students, and unaffiliated with Cornell University. I served in positions ranging from Disc Jockey to President & General Manager, learning both the on-air and business sides of operating a commercial radio station. I have remained closely connected to WVBR since graduation, and I was recently elected to a second term as Chairman of the Board of Directors. As a student, I was also recruited by Ithaca College's local television news program, Newswatch 16, as weather forecaster and on-air personality. For a week between final exams and commencement, I made my commercial television debut, as I filled in for the vacationing chief meteorologist at WENY-TV, the ABC affiliate in Elmira, New York.
Following graduation from Cornell, my job search kicked into high gear. In July 2006, I accepted a position as a "SkyWARN 7 Meteorologist" with KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma. Living in the middle of Tornado Alley, station management took severe weather very seriously, and provided the meteorologist team with a great deal of authority and responsibility for keeping viewers throughout "Texoma" informed and safe when dangerous weather conditions approached. Part of my job was storm spotting/chasing throughout our viewing area when potentially tornadic storms were forecast. (And yes, I "caught" three tornadoes on March 28, 2007 in the southern Texas panhandle - an incredible experience!) Every spring, we produced an hour-long documentary about severe weather called "The Fifth Season". And perhaps my favorite part of the job was talking to local schools and community organizations about weather and careers in meteorology.
At the conclusion of my contract with KSWO, I accepted a temporary position as Programmer and Researcher for the Northeast Regional Climate Center back at Cornell University. What was meant to be a short-term six month position as I continued my television job search ultimately has turned into over two and a half great years. My primary research project has been the computation of an atlas for extreme precipitation statistics for the Northeast states, an endeavor which was last completed in 1961. In addition, I found a niche as the webmaster and social media king for the department, authoring several web applications with Facebook and Twitter interactions.
Meanwhile, I've maintained an active presence in the world of TV meteorology by freelancing for WENY-TV News in Elmira, New York and News 12 New Jersey. These experiences have been incredible, particularly thanks to the true professionals with whom had the pleasure and privilege of working. Almost my entire current resume tape comes from my fill-in shifts in Elmira and New Jersey.
In March 2009, I was awarded the American Meteorological Society's Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) seal. This designation is granted to broadcast meteorologists who meet established criteria for scientific competence and effective communication skills in their weather presentations. Along with my Ivy League college degree, this is the accomplishment in which I take the most pride as it served as professional recognition that I am a successful forecast and communicator.
Ultimately, I'm confident my professional talents are best suited for broadcast meteorology. Television broadcasting is a strange industry and with new technologies emerging, it's always changing. But that's why I love it! I believe very strongly in the American Meteorological Society's new "Station Scientist" initiative, as broadcast weather personalities are now encouraged to not only present a forecast, but also to educate viewers about pertinent weather or science topics. I'm looking forward to continuing using my Cornell education and my broadcast experience to accurately and clearly communicate weather forecasts and information to the public.
I currently live in Scotch Plains, New Jersey with my dog Doppler!