Bill Read

Former Director - National Hurricane Center

Conference Master of Ceremonies


Mr. Read served in the United States Navy and the National Weather Service during his career. His weather service career began in 1977, and he has worked in Sterling, Virginia, Fort Worth, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, Silver Spring, Maryland, Houston, Texas, and Miami, Florida over the years. Bill was appointed as the Deputy Director of the National Hurricane Center From August 2007 until he was selected for the position of director on January 25, 2008.  Bill received the National Hurricane Conference Public Education Award in Spring 2004 for hurricane preparedness efforts. Under his leadership, the Houston/Galveston forecast office conducted an annual Houston/Galveston Hurricane Workshop, which was considered the largest meeting of its kind in the United States.

Alan Gerard

Deputy Division Chief, Warning Research & Development Division

National Severe Storms Laboratory


Prior to joining NSSL, Alan spent over 25 years as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He began his career in 1990 as an intern at the Weather Service Office in Columbus, Ohio, then spent three years as a forecaster in Cleveland, Ohio. In January 1996, he made the move to Jackson, Mississippi, where he was a Senior Forecaster for two years, then was promoted to Science and Operations Officer, and finally served as Meteorologist-in-Charge from 2002 until 2015.


Rob Galbraith

Director - Property & Casualty



Rob  is a Director in the Property and Casualty (P&C) Property Underwriting area at USAA, where his team is responsible for developing and managing our catastrophe underwriting guidelines for all property lines.  Rob has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry in a variety of positions with USAA, Smith Barney, and the Federal Reserve Board.  Rob has earned several industry professional designations and is actively involved as part of multiple industry trade groups.

Sean Sublette


Climate Central


Sean Sublette is an award-winning meteorologist working on Climate Central’s Climate Matters program, bringing 19 years of experience as a broadcast meteorologist.


Before joining Climate Central, Sublette was Chief Meteorologist at WSET in Lynchburg, Va. Previously, he was morning meteorologist at WSLS in nearby Roanoke. Prior to his promotion to Chief Meteorologist in Lynchburg, the Virginia Association of Broadcasters awarded his team Best Morning Show six times in eight years.


Sublette was also an Adjunct Professor at Lynchburg College, teaching two courses: Introductory Climate Science and Meteorology. Before starting his broadcast career, he briefly worked for a federal contractor at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.


He has served on the American Meteorological Society's Distinguished Science Journalism Award Committee and has been a script reviewer for American Institute of Physics’ Discoveries and Breakthroughs in Science. He holds the AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist Seal and was a member of the AMS Board of Broadcast Meteorology from 2006-09, serving as Board Chair in 2009.


Sublette earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Meteorology from Penn State.


Tim Marshall

Meteorologist - Engineer


Tim Marshall is a meteorologist and civil engineer who makes his living surveying and assessing damage in the wake of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and hailstorms. He was born and raised in the Chicago, IL area and became interested in tornadoes when his hometown was struck by an F-4 tornado in 1967. Tim began tracking down hurricanes and studying their damage while

schooling at Texas Tech. Tim’s first hurricane chase

was Allen in 1980. After graduating in 1983, Tim went to work for Haag Engineering Company based in Dallas and has surveyed hundreds of natural disasters during the past 30 years. In that time, he also has tracked down hundreds

of tornadoes and dozens of hurricanes. Tim rode out Hurricane Katrina in Slidell, LA in 2005 and Ike on Galveston Island in 2008. He has served on

the Severe Local Storms the Enhanced Fujita scale committees and was a consultant to the Saffir-Simpson scale committee. Tim has written many publications on building damage and has appeared on numerous radio and television







Gina Eosco

Social Scientist - Risk Communications Expert


Dr. Gina Eosco is a social scientist and risk communication expert with Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs supporting NOAA's Office of Weather and Air Quality. Her focus is on prioritizing social and behavioral science research needs within the weather community, determining ways to translate social science research into application, and learning from practitioners to understand the next research challenge.


Dr. Eosco has over 12 years of experience conducting stakeholder engagement activities, employing social science research, as well as translating science into policy documents. Her prior work at ERG (2012-2017) included working with scientific agencies such as the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service on evaluating storm surge map designs, assessing understanding of probabilistic snow information,, and most notably, the hazard simplification project, an evaluation of the NWS watch, warning, and advisory program. She has extensive facilitation experience conducting over 60 focus groups and workshops over the last few years with emergency managers, broadcast meteorologists, NWS forecasters, and the public.


Prior to ERG, she worked for the American Meteorological Society’s Policy Program (2003-2013).  While at AMS, she worked with scientists in a variety of policy contexts including road weather, hazards and insurance, hurricanes and satellite policy, and global earth observations to name a few. She is an active member of both the American Meteorological Society, as well as the National Weather Association.


Dr. Eosco earned her PhD in weather risk communication from Cornell University focusing on perceptions of risk and uncertainty to weather graphics shown during tornado media coverage. Much of her research focuses on visual effects in the risk communication domain with a specific focus on hurricane graphics such as hurricane track uncertainty and storm surge maps. She has an M.S. in Communication also from Cornell, and a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland.



Matt Kumjian

Assistant Professor of Meteorology

Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science, Penn State University


Matt is an assistant professor at Penn State University, where he has been since 2014.

He leads a research group that studies precipitation physics using dual-polarization

radar observations and numerical modeling, with a particular interest in hail formation and growth, as well as radar-based hail detection and sizing. Matt has published nearly 50 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals on topics ranging from radar, electromagnetic scattering, severe convective storms, winter precipitation, and tropical cyclones.


At Penn State, he teaches graduate and

undergraduate courses on Radar Meteorology, Cloud Physics, Snow and Ice Physics, and Mesoscale Meteorology. Prior to coming to Penn State, Matt received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, and was an Advanced Study Program postdoctoral researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric

Research in Boulder.


Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan

Associate Project Manager

Firewise USA


Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan is an associate project manager with the NFPA’s Wildfire Division, primarily assisting with the Firewise USA program.  She has been working in and around wildfire since 2003 and is a red-carded wildland firefighter and dispatcher.  Before joining NFPA in 2017, Megan worked for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, serving as their Firewise liaison for a year and a half.  Besides moving Washington's Firewise program forward, she was also active in the state's fire coordination center.  Megan holds a Master's degree in Natural Resources from the University of Idaho and a certificate in Fire Ecology, Management and Technology.



John Neilsen-Gammon

Texas State Climatologist

Texas A&M University


JOHN NIELSEN-GAMMON is a Regents Professor at Texas A&M University and is the Texas State Climatologist. Dr. Nielsen-Gammon received an S.B. in Earth and Planetary Sciences (1984), an S.M. in Meteorology (1987), and a Ph.D. in Meteorology (1990), all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Nielsen-Gammon joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in 1991 and was appointed Texas State Climatologist by then-Governor George W. Bush in 2000. Dr. Nielsen-Gammon conducts research on large-scale and local-scale meteorology, basic and applied climatology, and air pollution meteorology. He teaches courses in weather analysis and forecasting, climate, climate change, and computer modeling. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Lon Curtis

Former Meteorologist

KWTX TV - Waco, Texas


Although educated as an attorney, and serving 24 years as a Texas prosecutor, Lon Curtis pursued his passion for weather as a serious avocation before realizing his dream of becoming an on-air meteorologist at KWTX-TV (Waco) in 1997. That opportunity came about, in part, because of his role in storm spotting during a tornado outbreak in May of 1997, including the tornado at Jarrell that killed 27 people. Lon is a member of the American Meteorology Society and the National Weather Association, and holds the AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist certification and the NWA Weathercaster Seal of Approval. (Both certifications are on inactive status since his retirement from broadcasting in 2011.) Lon also authored a peer-reviewed research article published in the AMS journal Weather and Forecasting (2004), on the role of mid-level dry air intrusions as a factor in tornado outbreaks associated with landfalling tropical cyclones. Since retiring, he has continued his interest in the field of severe convective storms, and also maintains a personal website on weather conditions and hazards affecting Central Texas.






Heather Estes

IBHS Research Materials Scientist


Heather is a materials research scientist at IBHS’ Research Center in Richburg, SC. She has extensive experience in data analysis, quality control, sample management, and designing experiments. She was an analytical chemist at PRI Asphalt Technologies where she established a quality assurance program and conducted research and method development for asphalt, construction materials, and crude oil. Heather has more than 10 years of experience with asphalt chemistry, analytical chemistry and laboratory sciences.


Heather is also an experienced field scientist and has traveled abroad to conduct research projects. She is a member of the IBHS Hail Field Study, and studies the effect of severe hail and high winds on roofing materials. She currently serves as a member of ASTM International, The American Chemical Society and National Women in Roofing. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the Florida Institute of Technology and her master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.






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