National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Luis Ingram-Westover

Location: Key West, FL
Key West Weather Forecast Office
Job Title: Lead Forecaster

Educational Background:

  • Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Valparaiso University, Indiana

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

  • I began my career in the private sector for a small firm in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in 2011. After four years, I left the private sector to pursue a career with the National Weather Service. My first weather service office was Anchorage, Alaska, where I started as an intern. I was then promoted to General Forecaster in 2017 at the Elko, Nevada office. In 2018, I transferred to the Key West Florida office, where I was later promoted to Lead Forecaster in 2021.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I provide forecasts for the Florida Keys and surrounding coastal waters to a wide range of users including mariners, tourists, and emergency managers. In addition, I proudly serve as one of the diversity ambassadors for the NWS, representing the LGBTQ+ and Hispanic communities. I serve as a subject matter expert and have given numerous presentations on various topics as it relates to diversity and inclusion.

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

  • There’s no one single event, but I will say my time at the Elko Weather Forecast Office definitely made an impact with me. The main weather concern during the summer months was fire weather. Being exposed to that aspect of weather really opened my eyes to the level of decision support services the National Weather Service can provide for partners. Working at the Elko office is what inspired me to become an Incident Meteorologist.

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

  • I grew up in a military family, and I moved around a lot and got to experience a wide variety of weather types. This led to a general curiosity about weather and enticed me to pursue meteorology. At an early age, I researched what it would take to get a degree and found out that mathematics was at the core of the program. Having an affinity for mathematics, I felt this would be a natural fit for me.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I love helping people. Working for the NWS, I am able to help both the employees of the NWS and the public. The NWS gives me the opportunity to achieve this by being a forecaster and a diversity and inclusion ambassador. I have been able to pursue a more fulfilling career because of the NWS.

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

  • My number one advice to people is to be flexible. Most who apply have a background in science, but I tell people to try and be well rounded. There’s so much more to the NWS than just forecasting. It also requires excellent communication skills and people skills.

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

  • In addition to mathematics and physics, I’d recommend some knowledge or coursework dealing with computer programming, climate, public speaking, writing, or even the social sciences.