NOAA 2002-R937
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NOAA News Releases 2002
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NOAA Climatic Data Center Director Recognized for Exceptional Federal Service

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that Dr. Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, N.C., will receive the 2002 Presidential rank of Distinguished Executive Award. This award is presented to senior federal executives committed to excellence in public service. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Each year the president confers the rank of Distinguished Executive and Meritorious Executive on a select group of career members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) who have provided exceptional service to the American people. These senior executives are outstanding leaders, who consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to public service. Through their personal conduct and results-oriented leadership, they have earned and kept a high degree of public confidence and trust. Executives from across federal government are nominated by their agency leaders, evaluated by citizen panels, and then designated by the president.

Karl, is a native of Niles, Ill., and currently resides in Asheville, N.C. He will receive the Distinguished Executive award for his dedication to advance the scientific understanding of climate and his ability to ingeniously and efficiently provide climate and weather data to industrial and business operations.

“Dr. Karl’s leadership, management drive and communication skills, complemented by his ability to attract an increasingly diverse workforce and generate effective coalitions have been outstanding assets to NOAA and the nation. Because of his work, this country and the world are closer to meeting the 21st century challenge of simultaneously fostering economic growth and environmental stewardship,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

Ten NOAA executives will receive separate Meritorious Executive awards.

  • Dr. James Balsiger, regional administrator of NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region in Juneau, has worked for over 25 years to advance understanding of the complex North Pacific marine ecosystem.
  • Dr. Eddie N. Bernard, director of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle for 20 years of extraordinary accomplishments in developing a world-class oceanographic laboratory.
  • Dr. Stephen B. Brandt, director of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich., for his outstanding leadership. He has engaged staff at all levels in decision-making and problem-solving; fostered recruitment, retention and training of next-generation scientists. He has also generated strong partnerships with universities, state and federal agencies that have resulted in new science programs for NOAA.
  • Gary K. Davis, director of NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service’s (NOAA Satellite and Information Service) Office of Systems Development in Suitland, Md., for leadership and innovative strategies he has brought to the nation’s civil meteorological satellite program.
  • Dr. David J. Hofmann, director of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., has demonstrated outstanding leadership in directing the only U.S. laboratory dedicated to long-term, climate-related observations, in particular greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
  • Dr. James E. Hoke, chief of NOAA’s National Weather Service/National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Meteorological Division in Camp Springs, Md., is honored for developing and implementing a state-of-the-art model of the atmosphere that, for over 10 years, served as a basis for every U.S. weather forecast.
  • Dr. Edward R. Johnson, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service Strategic Planning and Policy Office in Silver Spring, Md., is being recognized for highly effective efforts to improve flash flood warning lead time - from 18 minutes in 1999 to 44 minutes in 2000.
  • Retired Air Force Brigadier General Jack Kelly, assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Weather Service in Silver Spring, Md., has built the NOAA Weather Service into a customer-focused, employee-empowered, results-driven organization.
  • Louisa Koch, acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (NOAA Research) in Silver Spring, Md., has skillfully managed a nationwide staff of over 900 with an annual budget of $300 million.
  • Gregory W. Withee, assistant administrator for the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA Satellite and Information Service), in Silver Spring, Md., has shaped the future of operational environmental satellites. Greg has guaranteed environmental observations from every major space agency in the world, while saving taxpayer dollars.

NOAA studies the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property, and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. The agency’s goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for 32 years. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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