National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Kenneth Kottra

Location: Chanhassen, MN
Chanhassen Weather Forecast Office (WFO)
Job Title: Assistant Electronic Systems Analyst

Educational Background:

  • Studied Electronics at the U.S. Air Force Training School, Keesler Air Force Base
  • Studied Meteorological Equipment Maintenance at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, Keesler Air Force Base

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

  • I joined the Marine Corp. right out of high school and spent my first year attending several electronics training programs. Then I was then stationed and deployed overseas for the next four years. After my time with the Marines, I spent three years installing and maintaining weather sensors on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I install, upgrade, and maintain all of the electronic equipment operated by the WFO.

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

  • I have been a weather electronics technician since I was 19. I like working on weather equipment and I am good at it.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I really like having the opportunity to work on electronics and I like having a stable and secure job.

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

  • Join the military. Most of the technicians I know who work for the NWS and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) acquired their skills for installing and maintaining electronics in the military. Jobs in the military to pursue include weather technician, radar technician, and precision calibration. Find a job that will give you hands-on experience with electronics because that is how you learn.

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

  • Take courses in electronics, robotics, or computer programming.