NOAA 99-R212
Contact: Curtis Carey


A top-level National Weather Service director was named today by the Department of Commerce. Xavier William "Bill" Proenza is the new director for the Southern Region of the National Weather Service, which is headquartered in Ft. Worth, Texas.

"I am fully committed to ensuring that we have the best weather service in the world and I am confident that Bill Proenza has the experience and expertise to help us maximize the $4.5 billion dollar investment American taxpayers have made in modernizing the National Weather Service," said Commerce Secretary William M. Daley.

D. James Baker, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, announced the personnel selections today. "Proenza will help NOAA and the United States remain a leader in weather and climate science and service."

As NWS Southern Region director, Proenza will manage all operational and scientific meteorological and hydrologic programs for the southern portions of the country, including critical severe weather warnings and forecasts, hydrologic forecasts and flood warnings, climatology and observing networks. Proenza will direct weather operations for ten states: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, plus the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Proenza, a native of New York, was raised in Florida and is a Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex resident. He joined NOAA in the mid-60s and has held a diverse array of field and management positions throughout the country. A meteorology graduate of Florida State University, Proenza has served the NWS for more than 30 years. In 1987, Proenza joined the NWS Southern Region Headquarters as its deputy director. He has been the acting director of this region since January of last year. The NWS Employee's Organization recognized him as the NWS manager of the year for 1998.

"I am confident that Bill Proenza's skills as a leader and his commitment to public safety will further our mission of protecting life, property and enhancing the economy in the most active weather area in the world," said John J. Kelly Jr., NOAA assistant administrator for weather services and NWS director. "His strong community partnerships will continue to be the hallmark of the NWS Southern Region's commitment to service to the nation."