How I can help

Here I describe the kinds of services I can provide, based on my experience and background.  I don’t attempt to offer expertise in areas where either I don’t feel that my background being sufficient, or where there are any number of individuals capable of providing the service.  Only activities where my background makes me particularly unique are offered.

Consultants often have a poor reputation – for overcharging and under-providing.  I have just started in the status of a “consultant”  and I understand the hesitation of institutions to seek the services of a “consultant”.    To this end, I would like to state my goals in providing consultancy or educational services.  They are:

1) to obtain a positive impact towards sustainable development.

2) to educate staff at all levels in meteorological services so that better decisions can be made on every issue facing these services.

3) to foster applied research to improve weather forecasting and its applications.

I do not seek consultancies that further the aims of private companies or relate to any litigation.  I recognize that these are probably the most profitable aspects of consultancies, but I seek wider impact on society as a whole.  Also, I focus on developing countries, since the need is generally greater there and a positive impact more easily measured.

Specific services I can provide include:
1) short courses on procedures to improve meteorological service operation and impact on society
2) lectures on topics related to meteorological observations and short-range forecasting techniques in tropical regions
3) advice on instrumentation options as they relate to forecasting provided by meteorological services.  I do not represent any specific company or line of equipment and can provide relatively impartial advice on these matters.
4) workshops that show Met Service and university personnel how to carry out applied research on topics related to weather forecasting.

5) Collaboration or assistance in organizing and carrying out meteorological field experiments in tropical locations.

Why “hire” me?

1)  My background

I have close to 25 years experience working with countries in Latin America, starting with Mexico in 1990.  This work has extended to the major universities of the region and most of the Meteorological Services.  I have been a major participant/organizer in 4 major multi-month field experiments and three minor, but still intensive, field activities from 1990-2006. Other activities have taken place in West Africa (2006), Ghana (2008, 2010) and South Africa (2007).  I have taught two 3-week full-time courses to Met Service and University personnel in Bolivia and Panama, and three-month teaching efforts in Mexico City in 1992 and 1996.  During graduate school I was involved in a Summer Monsoon experiment in India, with two months in the field and two other follow-on visits.  I have traveled extensively in Latin America and parts of Africa, both for work-related and personal objectives and so am familiar with the situation “on-the-ground”.

2) My cost

I prefer to be open about my fees or renumeration.   As a WMO-approved consultant I have been paid approximately $8000 USD for 4 weeks work in Mexico in 2013.  This is similar to my NOAA salary before retirement.  This does not mean that I need this renumeration for every activity I am involved with.  If an institution (meteorological service, university etc) is able to provide airfare, lodging and cover daily expenses, and if I find the activity personally interesting and likely to have a major impact in the country concerned, then I might be willing to waive the cost of the training. Conversely, if a well-funded institution desires urgent training at an inconvenient location and inconvenient time, I may charge more than a “normal” fee.

In the grand scheme of things, the cost of consultants is normally a very small part of any meteorological service’s budget.  However, the cost of some consultants can be so high, compared with the salaries of meteorological service staff, that it can cause resentment of the entire consulting process and call into question the decision to even hire consultants.  I have seen this reaction from met service staff (while I was a NOAA employee and thus able to help without charge).  I prefer to term myself an “educator” rather than consultant, though I am in fact now available as a “consultant”.

One advantage to a potential client (a term I also dislike because it tends to imply a strictly business transaction) of contracting my services is that, as I am retired from the US Federal Government, I have retirement and other benefits already covered, and my work, now independent of any institution (free-lance), means I do not need to charge “overhead” or “indirect costs”.  My cost to you is the sum of 1) travel, 2) per diem expenses and 3) a flat daily (or weekly) fee.  No overtime hours, no overhead costs to a university, no hidden costs.  If significant preparation is required before a workshop or lecture series (I always tailor my material to the specific audience to the extent possible) I will state this and charge for this time as well.

3) My languages

While English is my native language, I am fluent in Spanish and have given many months of courses in Spanish over the past 25 years.  I am not fluent as a native speaker of course, but have little difficulty communicating with participants from Argentina to Mexico.  Of course, this is only an advantage where training is desired in Spanish.