National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Melinda Bailey

Location: Fort Worth, TX
Southern Region Headquarters (SRH): Meteorological Services Branch
Job Title: Southern Region Communications and Dissemination Program Manager

Educational Background:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M University

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

  • While being good at math and science seems like the logical reason for someone to be interested in meteorology, I leaned toward the field because I recognized that weather affects people's daily routines and also impacts their planning for weekends and events. I wanted to be a part of that and help people.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I am in middle management at the Southern Regional Headquarters Office. Specifically, I help implement services, provide guidance, and implement new policies so forecasters can better do their jobs of forecasting for the public and emergency managers.
  • My specialties include dissemination systems (the different avenues we get weather information to you), public and marine forecasts, new products and services, and also backup services.

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

  • I was so moved by the deep impacts of the 2004 earthquake and resulting devastating tsunami in Indonesia that I realized we still need to be better prepared in areas of the United States. Therefore, I led an effort (with a great team of colleagues!) to implement a Tsunami Warning System for the southern and eastern United States.

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

  • I was an intern with the NWS during my summers while going to Texas A&M for my degree. I was very impressed and in awe of how impactful the everyday decisions of the forecasters were to the general public, media, partners, and emergency managers. So much so, that I yearned to be a part of the great NWS team. The NWS also has a great career ladder that is tough to pass up.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • The weather affects everyone's life every day. Also, I work in a customer service position and I love helping others. Since the NWS is the epitome of helping others because we issue warnings for safety and daily forecasts for decisions, I can honestly say I love coming to work every single day to help others.

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

  • Do your research on the different meteorology programs.
  • The NWS has NUMEROUS locations in the U.S. to work out of and also has a great career path that you can stay with your entire life!

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

  • Take many math and science courses. Further, social science is becoming a more integral part of decisions and that type of training would help as well.