NOAA 2004-R219
Contact: Ron Trumbla
NOAA News Releases 2004
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Veteran meteorologist Steven Cooper has been appointed deputy director of the National Weather Service (NWS) Southern Region – serving 10 southern states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to his appointment, Cooper served as chief of the Southern Region’s Climate, Water and Weather Division (CWWD). He replaces Gary Grice, who retired in January. The NWS is an agency of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Steven Cooper not only brings a rich and varied level of experience and expertise to his new position, he has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership skills,” said Bill Proenza, director, NWS Southern Region. “His innovative leadership style has been instrumental in the development of numerous initiatives and programs that have proven highly beneficial to the Southern Region and the NWS.”

Proenza said that Cooper’s dedication and hard work played a critical role in the successful modernization of the NWS Southern Region during the last decade – and that his leadership will enhance the National Weather Service performance.

Cooper launched his career 24 years ago as a meteorology intern and then forecaster at the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Albuquerque, N.M., from 1980 to 1986. He served as meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service offices in Bristol, Tenn., from 1986 to 1988 and Amarillo, Texas, from 1988 to 1992 before joining the team at Southern Region Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. He served as assistant chief of the Meteorological Services Division from 1992 to 2000 – when he was promoted to chief of the Southern Region’s Climate, Water and Weather Division.

He led the Meteorological Services Division in the successful implementation of NWS modernization and restructuring across the southern United States – during the mid 1990s. He and his team were recognized with NWS Modernization Awards in 1995 and 1996. He received the Commerce Department’s Bronze Medal for coordinating weather support for the 1996 Paralympics – and the National Weather Service Southern Region Isaac M. Cline Award for Leadership in 2002.

Cooper has served on a number of national hurricane committees and as team leader for several NWS Disaster Service Assessments, including: The April 25, 1994, De Soto/Lancaster Tornado (Texas); the May 5, 1995, Fort Worth-Dallas Hailstorm/Flash Flood; and, the March 20, 1998, Hall/White County (Ga.) Tornado.

In 2000, Cooper was among a small group selected to participate in a year-long NOAA/NWS Senior Leadership Potential Program (SLPP). Along with former Deputy Regional Director Grice, he co-developed an innovative Southern Region leadership development program called Building Leaders for A Solid Tomorrow (BLAST).

As the NWS liaison with Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) since 1998, he was instrumental in securing that agency as the primary partner in the Southern Region’s highly successful Turn Around, Don’t DrownTM program. Cooper was one of the principle developers of JetStream – a web based educational program designed to help people learn about various weather phenomena and how to be prepared when hazardous weather threatens.

He received a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Florida State University (1980) and a master’s degree in geography (Climatology) from the University of New Mexico (1985).

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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. To learn more about NOAA, please visit