NOAA 2003-R225
Contact: Pat Slattery
NOAA News Releases 2003
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service (NOAA Weather Service) conferred its highest honor, the Isaac M. Cline Award, to Joseph B. Sullivan, meteorologist in charge of the Weather Service’s Riverton, Wyo., forecast office. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

Each year the NOAA Weather Service recognizes employees for operational excellence in the delivery of products and services in support of the weather service mission. Sullivan received the Cline Award as part of a four-person team in the program management and administration category for pioneering efforts in establishing an effective and efficient teleconferencing system used by Weather Service offices throughout the continental United States. The weather service saves $113,000 a year using the new system.

“Joe Sullivan’s efforts to improve our services for the American people is a testament to his selfless dedication,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly, director of the NOAA National Weather Service.

The NOAA Weather Service and the Department of Commerce will benefit from the cost savings generated by the team’s work, Kelly noted.

The Isaac M. Cline Award is named for the man whose courage and dedication is credited with savings thousands of lives during the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of Sept. 8, 1900. Cline was in charge of the Weather Bureau Office in Galveston when the bustling seaport city was struck by the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The death toll exceeded 8,000, but could have been much higher if not for Cline’s understanding of the weather and his initiative in warning the public.

Eight of the prestigious awards are presented each year in the following categories: meteorology; hydrometeorology; hydrology; support services; upper air observation; leadership; engineering, electronics, or facilities; and, program management and administration.

A native of northern Iowa, Sullivan earned a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Iowa State University and worked as a television meteorologist in Waterloo, Iowa, and Springfield, Mo, before joining the weather service in 1987. His weather service career has included assignments to Springfield, Mo.; Concordia, Kan.; Grand Island, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; Cheyenne, Wyo.; and Central Region headquarters in Kansas City.

Sullivan is known for his work in improving weather service communications to help save lives and prevent property damage. He created the “bullet format” warning style, now the weather service standard. He was part of the weather service’s Radar Web Display team that earned a Department of Commerce Silver Medal and the National Weather Association’s Larry R. Johnson Special Award in 2001 for efforts in displaying WSR-88D radar data on weather service Web sites.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (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.

On the Web:

NOAA: , please visit

NOAA National Weather Service: