Met Club
SeCAPS
Meteorology

Keynote Speakers for SeCAPS 2016



Dr. Marshall Shepherd
Director, Atmospheric Sciences Program
UGA Athletic Association Distinguished Professor
Department of Geography
University of Georgia

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather and climate. Accolades include the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences, the 2015 Association of American Geographers Media Achievement Award, and recognition as an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Fellow. As the 2013 President of the AMS (only the 2nd African-American AMS President), the host of the Weather Channel’s Sunday talk show Weather Geeks, and a frequent contributor to Forbes Magazine, Dr. Shepherd has a highly-visible presence in the field of atmospheric science. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in physical meteorology from Florida State University and was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from the FSU Department of Meteorology. Dr. Shepherd currently serves as the Director of the UGA Atmospheric Sciences Program and is a Full Professor in the Department of Geography.
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James Spann
Chief Meteorologist
ABC 33/40
Birmingham, AL


James Spann has been the chief meteorologist for ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, AL since 1996 and has been a TV weather anchor for 36 years. The recipient of the two highest awards in the nation for a broadcast meteorologist (“Broadcaster of the Year” by the National Weather Association in 2012, and “Award for Broadcast Meteorology” by the American Meteorological Society in 2013), James is universally highly-regarded in the Broadcast Meteorology field. Mr. Spann has won two Emmys in 2001 and 2014, and he was elected to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle in 2013, representing outstanding achievement spanning at least 25 years in the broadcast industry with a proven record of mentoring and community involvement. Mr. Spann was one of the first TV weather anchors in the nation to earn the coveted “Certified Broadcast Meteorologist” status from the AMS and also holds the NWA Seal of Approval.
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Mike Gibson
Developer/Owner
Gibson Ridge Software, LLC


Mike Gibson is a software design engineer with more than two decades of experience writing PC applications and operating system software. His primary specialty is graphics and font technology, from the application program interface (API) down to the driver level, and he is the inventor or co-inventor in three patents related to that work. Mr. Gibson is the developer and owner of Gibson Ridge Software (GRS), LLC, which was created in 2005. GRS produces viewers for weather radar data. Applications include GR2Analyst for viewing Level II radar data, GRLevel3 for viewing Level III data, and GREarth for real-time, worldwide weather data with a focus on the continental United States. All viewers feature high-speed, high-quality radar displays with intuitive user interfaces. All GRS applications are written in multithreaded C++ using the base Windows APIs for speed and efficiency.
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Rich Thompson
Lead Forecaster
Storm Prediction Center


Rich Thompson has been a lead forecaster with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK, since 2000, and he has worked at the center as a forecaster since 1994. Prior to that, Rich began his career as a professional meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Houston. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Rich maintains a life-long passion for weather, and specifically severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. He’s led and contributed to numerous projects and publications related to improving severe thunderstorm and tornado forecasts, with topics ranging from proximity soundings to WSR-88D characteristics of tornadic storms. Most recently, Rich has consolidated years of forecasting experience into a series of online lectures covering the end-to-end process of forecasting tornadic thunderstorms. This online effort was followed with a collaborative, formal meteorology course (led by Dr. Ariel Cohen) to share this information with students at the University of Oklahoma. In his spare time, Rich enjoys storm chasing, softball, and is a sports enthusiast.
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