NOAA 2000-230
Contact: John Lesli


As a high school student in Lebanon, Shukri A. Wakid was intrigued by the elegant laws of science. That early fascination with science would pave the road to his selection as Chief Information Officer of the National Weather Service. Wakid, whose appointment became effective April 10, assumes the role of managing the information technology improvements that will help strengthen the agency's weather, water and climate forecasting.

Brig. Gen. (Ret.) John J. Kelly, Jr., director of the National Weather Service said, "Judging from Dr. Wakid's past successes, he will help transition the National Weather Service beyond modernization into an era that builds on and improves our evolving technological capabilities."

Transitions come easily for Wakid. While still in Lebanon, he grew accustomed to the culture of the United States as an undergraduate student at the American University in Beirut, where he graduated in 1967.

As CIO at the Weather Service, Wakid specifically will oversee computer security, standards, information technology policy and planning.

Wakid, a pioneer in the development of ISDN technology, which speeds up Internet access, brings to the NWS a string of accomplishments. He was the chief information officer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and also headed the NIST Information Technology Laboratory, where he managed IT services and research programs ranging from computer security to high-performance systems.

In the early 1980s, Wakid designed telecommunications networks and developed Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) programs at Bell Laboratories. He also was an atomic physics researcher at NASA and the University of Pittsburgh. In 1989, Wakid was named one of the nation's top 25 communication visionaries by Communications Week magazine. A year earlier, he was selected as a "newsmaker" by Data Communications magazine for his pioneering work in ISDN.

In 1991, Wakid received the Federal R&D 100 Award, the Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award in 1992, and the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive in 1993. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and vice-chairman of the Technical Advisory Board of its computer society. Until recently, Wakid was a member of the Board for the Instructional Management Systems of the Educom Consortium.

Wakid graduated from the American University in Beirut in 1967 and in 1971, he earned his Ph.D. in Atomic Physics from Louisiana State University. He was a Fulbright-Hays Ex-change Fellow in graduate school and a Rockefeller Fellow in undergraduate school.

A prolific writer, Wakid has co-authored more than 60 articles on technology topics including improving the quality of Internet service, measuring the performance of high-speed networks and quality assurance for software.

He lives in Gaithersburg, Md., with his wife and two sons.