7th GOES Users’ Conference
October 20-21, 2011
In conjunction with the 36th Annual National Weather Association (NWA) meeting
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7th GOES Users’ Conference Program

Come early for the pre-conference GUC/NWA poster session and reception on Wednesday evening, October 19. The conference officially commences with a joint opening session on Thursday morning, October 20, followed by a parallel session on Thursday afternoon, and a dynamic broadcaster speaker on Thursday evening. Finally, cap off a great meeting by joining your forecaster, broadcaster, and researcher colleagues in three user-focused group discussions on Friday morning!


View the current Agenda

Keynote Speaker

Greg Mandt, Director of the GOES-R Program Office, will provide remarks on the significant improvement in operational capabilities that GOES-R will provide.

Greg Mandt photo As the GOES-R System Program Director, Greg Mandt is responsible for the success of the GOES-R space and ground developments, launch and on-orbit checkout. This $7.6 billion effort is currently in the early development stage with a projected first satellite launch date in 2015.

Previously, Greg served as the Director, Office of Science and Technology and responsible for science and was technology infusion into the National Weather Service–including science and engineering planning, acquisition and refresh of critical technologies, and the scientific developments of the Meteorological Development Laboratory. Previous assignments in the National Weather Service included Director of the Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services from 2000 to 2005 and Chief of the Science Branch, Office of Meteorology, from 1996 to 2000.

Prior to joining the National Weather Service, he was the Program Manager and Lead Engineer for the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite Program at the National Environmental Satellite and Data Information Service from 1992 to 1996.

During his 14 year tenure in the United States Air Force, Mr. Mandt held management and executive level positions including Acquisition Manager of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), Executive Officer for the Space Systems Division, Chief, Spacecraft Engineering Branch, DMSP Program Office, Research Engineer, Flight Dynamics Laboratory, and Flight Test Engineer.

Mr. Mandt holds a Masters of Science degree in Systems Engineering and a Masters of Science degree in Electrical Engineering both from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics from the United States Air Force Academy. He is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College Program Management Course.

A native of southern Wisconsin, Mr. Mandt resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and five children.

Special Guest Speaker

James Spann, Chief Meteorologist for ABC 33/40, Birmingham, Alabama, will speak at the Thursday evening conference dinner. The title of his presentation is "Reconnect With Your Passion Now!"

James Spann photo James is the Chief Meteorologist for ABC 33/40. He can be seen weeknights on the news at 5, 6, and 10 o'clock. He joined ABC 33/40 one month after the station signed on the air in the fall of 1996. In all, James has been a television weather anchor for 32 years. Along the way he has worked for WCFT in Tuscaloosa, WSFA in Montgomery, KDFW in Dallas and two other stations in Birmingham. He also hosts the weekly Internet show "WeatherBrains", which has gained national popularity in recent years.

In 2001, James received an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He was recognized for live coverage of the deadly tornado which hit Tuscaloosa on December 16, 2000. His work during that horrible storm also helped ABC 33/40 earn a prestigious national Edward R. Murrow award for spot news coverage. He has been named "Best Weather Anchor" in Alabama by the Associated Press 11 times. While in Texas in the mid 1980s, James received the prestigious Katie award from the Dallas Press Club for being the "Best Weather Anchor" in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

James was one of the first weather anchors in the nation to earn "Certified Broadcast Meteorologist" status from the American Meteorological Society. He also has been awarded the seal of approval from the National Weather Association and holds a certificate in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. He also did undergraduate work in electrical engineering at the University of Alabama.

James has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Trinity Medical Center for the last 7 years, and is a member of the University of Alabama College of Communication Board of Visitors.

James and his wife Karen have been married for 30 years, and they have two boys: J.P., 27, and Ryan, who is 14. In his spare time, James enjoys amateur radio as his hobby. He earned his first ham radio license at the age of 14, and holds an extra class license.

Friday Morning User Feedback Discussion Groups

View the group discussion details (PDF)

We want everyone with operational perspectives to join us for three group discussions to be held during the Friday morning session. The purpose of the sessions is to encourage discussion and sharing of ideas among users interested in the following topics:

  • Exploiting GOES Data/Products: Share and discuss methods to better exploit current GOES data and products for your applications area.
    • Are there operational products that you do not currently have access to in your system?
    • Are there "best practices/lessons learned" for transition to the GOES-R system?

  • Operational Enhancements by Leveraging the GOES-R Proving Ground:
    • How might satellite resources be more effective in helping provide operational products/services?
    • Do you have any recommendations on better use of satellite resources (including the GOES-R Lightning Mapper) in the Proving Ground exercises?
    • What actions do you recommend to ensure the Proving Ground is more effective in using future satellite data for decision support?

  • Maximizing Operational User Readiness/Decision Support:
    • What training and education is needed for users to maximize GOES-R data and products?
    • What methods (e.g., delivery, user involvement) would be most beneficial to operational forecasters and broadcasters?