NOAA 2001-R311
Contact: Pat Viets


James F.W. Purdom, who recently retired from the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has received the 2001 Presidential Rank Award for extraordinary contributions to NOAA's management and programs. He was among federal senior executives honored by President George W. Bush at a ceremony Oct. 15.

In his position with NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Purdom was director of the Office of Research and Applications, which provides guidance for the development and evolution of spacecraft and sensors to meet future needs. ORA conducts oceanographic, land surface and atmospheric research on the use of satellite data for monitoring environmental characteristics and their change. The office also develops applications of satellite data and algorithms to produce satellite products, for uses relevant to NOAA's mission.

Purdom, who is now a senior research scientist at Colorado State University's Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, was recognized leader and team builder within NOAA and has been instrumental in advancing the use of satellite data for both ocean and atmosphere applications. World renowned, he chaired the World Meteorological Organization's group that is responsible for the redesign of the global observing system and assuring improved utilization of satellite data worldwide. The ORA management structure that he developed has led to a motivated and productive workforce. Under Purdom, employees have been inspired to exceptional levels of accomplishment: providing leadership on national and international working groups; implementing unprecedented science-based product development; gaining international recognition through various awards; and contributing to numerous scientific publications.

He lives in Fort Collins, Colo., with his wife Francine. He was born in Atlanta and raised in Decatur, Ga., where he attended high school. Purdom holds a doctorate in atmospheric science from Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colo., (1986), a master's in atmospheric science from St. Louis University, St. Louis, Mo., (1968), and an associate bachelor's in mathematics/physics from Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky., (1965). He has been with NOAA from 1972 until his retirement earlier this year.

NESDIS is the nation's primary source of space-based meteorological and climate data. NESDIS operates the nation's environmental satellites, which are used for weather forecasting, climate monitoring, and other environmental applications such as fire detection, ozone monitoring, and sea surface temperature measurements. NESDIS also operates three data centers, which house global data bases in climatology, oceanography, solid earth geophysics, marine geology and geophysics, solar-terrestrial physics, and paleoclimatology.

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