National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce
Ronla Henry

Location: Silver Spring, MD
Office of Central Processing
Job Title: Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) Program Manager

Educational Background:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Atmospheric Science the from University of North Carolina
  • Master's Degree in Meteorology from the University of Maryland
  • Federal Acquisition Certification-Program/Project Management Level

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

  • I started working with the NWS as a cooperative student. Upon graduating, I accepted a position with Techniques Development Laboratory writing Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) software. I managed projects to develop capabilities within AWIPS. After that, I accepted the position of Deputy Program Manager for Product Improvements within AWIPS. In 2013, I accepted the AWIPS Program Manager position.

What do you do for the NWS?

  • I ensure that AWIPS remains operational for meteorologists and hydrologists across the country. I assist in implementing new capabilities within the system to support NWS operations. I also brief Department of Commerce, NOAA, and NWS leaders on the status of AWIPS.

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 have been so many events that have been interesting, exciting, or impactful. It is difficult to pick the most interesting, exciting, or impactful event!

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

  • I was interested in weather throughout my childhood. In my 9th grade year, I announced to my dad that I wanted to become a meteorologist. In college, I decided that I would pursue a career within the NWS.

What do you like most about working for the NWS?

  • I really like that my work supports the NWS' mission, which is to provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

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

  • Take advantage of any opportunities to visit and discuss career path development with NWS employees. If possible, apply for opportunities to work as a student within the NWS.

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

  • For meteorology: Science and mathematics
  • For the project/program management: Courses that provide an understanding of how to establish and manage project.
  • Organizational skills are important as well.