NOAA 2001-R202
Contact: Ron Trumbla


The American Meteorological Society has selected Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service for the southern U.S., as the recipient of this year's Francis W. Reichelderfer Award. This national award will be presented January 17, at the AMS 81st Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.

Each year, the Reichelderfer Award is presented for distinguished environmental services to the nation. In announcing the award, the AMS cited Proenza for "exceptional dedication to public service and effective, long-term leadership aimed at producing the highest level of warning and forecast operations across the nation."

One of three awards the AMS gives specifically to weather forecasters, the award is named for the man who headed the National Weather Service (formerly known as the U.S. Weather Bureau) for the longest period (1938 to 1963) in its rich 130 year history.

A meteorology graduate of Florida State University, Proenza began his career at the National Hurricane Center in Miami before moving on to hurricane reconnaissance at the Research Flight Facility. He served in several Southern Region Weather Service offices before joining the staff at NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, Md. Proenza served as the NWS Central Region executive officer in Kansas City until 1987, when he was appointed deputy director for the Southern Region in Fort Worth, Texas. He went on to become acting director and was appointed Southern Region director, February 16, 1999.

One of the most active weather areas in the world, the Southern Region is comprised of ten states, plus the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Proenza leads a team of 1,000 meteorologists, hydrologists, electronics and computer specialists and support staff in more than 50 offices across the southern United States.

Proenza has been nationally recognized by the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society. He has also been named by the NWS Employee's Organization as the National Weather Service Manager of 1998.