National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Kyle Struckmann

Location: Warrenton, VA (metro Washington DC)
FAA Command Center
Job Title: National Aviation Meteorologist

Educational Background:

  • BS in Atmospheric Science from Stony Brook State University, Stony Brook NY
  • Master of Business Administration, University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • BS in Mass Communication, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO

Describe the career path that led you to your current job with the National Weather Service.

  • Very unconventional.  I first worked in communications/public relations and grants management for non-profit organizations in the St. Louis and Washington DC metro areas.  But I was always interested in meteorology.  So, I went back to school full-time to pursue a degree in atmospheric science.   While attending Stony Brook State University, I worked as a student intern at the NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) serving New York City.   After graduating from Stony Brook in 2006, I briefly worked in the private sector at a company that manufactures weather observation stations mainly for military installations and factories.  I was then hired as a Met Intern by the NWS WFO in Wakefield, VA in 2007, and worked there until March 2008.   I was promoted to an aviation meteorologist at the New York Center Weather Service Unit in Ronkonkoma, NY.  After two years there (2008-2010), I returned to WFO New York City as a general forecaster (2010-2012).  From 2012-2015, I worked as an Emergency Response Meteorologist at WFO Baltimore/Washington.  This position was part of the NWS Weather-Ready Nation Pilot Project.  I worked extensively with emergency managers in many Virginia cities and counties to help  improve NWS decision-support forecasts and briefings to help them plan for hazardous weather.  In 2015, I went to NWS Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.  I was the Team Lead for the NWS Operations Center, which collects and shares information with NWS Leadership about weather events and impacts throughout the US and its territories, including tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, fires, and hazardous material spills.  In October 2016, I became an aviation meteorologist once again at my current position at the FAA Command Center.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I provide aviation Impact-Base Decision Support Services at the FAA Command Center.  This involves briefing key FAA operational staff and leadership about weather forecasts that impact aviation anywhere in the US.

What was the most interesting, exciting, or impactful weather/water event you experienced while working for the NWS and why does it stand out?

  • During Hurricane Sandy, I was deployed to the New York City Office of Emergency Management.  For several days, I briefed the Mayor and other key city officials and representatives from human service agencies about impending impacts from the storm. 

What made you decide to pursue a career with the NWS?

  • Although I tried a different career path first, the seeds were planted as a child when I toured the NWS Weather Service Office that served St. Louis.  They were very welcoming, encouraging and helpful. 

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • On every level of the organization, meteorologists believe in the mission of what we do and everyone gives 100% to support our country.  In terms of the meteorology, every day provides a different challenge and chance to learn.

What advice do you have for someone interested in a career with the NWS?

  • If you believe in your heart that you want to pursue this career, do it with all of your energy and passion. 

What training or coursework would you recommend to someone interested in following your career path?

  • Make sure the university you attend has all of the coursework needed to meet educational requirements to work with the NWS.  Look for opportunities to intern with the NWS.  Besides core meteorology, IT and communications skills are probably the most important skills to have.  And “people” skills are just as important here as they are anywhere else.