Rick McCoy

Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Van Wert, Ohio


Rick has been director for the past 29 years. He is well known for creating and chairing a national task force in the late 90’s to expedite the modernization of the National Weather Service. McCoy has appeared on The Weather Channels “Forecast Earth and Storm Stories” Programs. He has also been featured on National Geographic and the History Channel. McCoy developed the Storm Ready Program in Van Wert County  in January, 2002. On November 10, 2002 a devastating half mile wide, F-4 Tornado ravaged the county and he was credited for saving hundreds of lives through his program. Because of his actions, he was the first person in the United States to receive the National Storm Ready Hero's Award from the US Department of Commerce. He was also awarded the NOAA Weather & All Hazards Radio Mark Trail Award in Washington D.C. Since then, McCoy has spoken at numerous EMA and National Weather Service Conferences around the country about Severe Weather preparedness and the November 10th event. The National Weather Service promotes his Storm Ready Program as a model around the country. McCoy has a meteorological background with Mississippi State University and also worked part-time for the CBS affiliate WANE TV15 in Fort Wayne, Indiana as a weekend weather personality from 1995 thru 2000. He is currently the Storm Ready Chairman of EMA Directors in Ohio. Besides presenting Storm Spotter classes, he also has conducted a number of Tornado Damage Surveys. McCoy’s County of Van Wert ranks number #1 in the State of Ohio in the number of tornadoes to strike a county, with 32 documented in his 29 years as Director.

Dr. Robin Tanamachi

Assistant Professor, Purdue University

Dr. Robin Tanamachi is a research meteorologist specializing in the collection, analysis, and assimilation of mobile Doppler radar data collected in severe storms and tornadoes. She currently works as an assistant professor at Purdue University in northwest Indiana. Previously, she was a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies in Norman, Oklahoma, which is closely linked with the National Severe Storms Laboratory. She has been an avid storm chaser since 2001, and participated in numerous severe weather research campaigns including VORTEX2 (2009-2010) and VORTEX-Southeast (2016-present).

Robin received her B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2001, her M.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma in 2011. She has taught multiple university-level meteorology courses, and also spent a few months of 2005 in Japan as a “typhoon chaser” for a Japanese TV network. More recently, Robin was the subject of a children's book The Tornado Scientist which was just released this year! Robin's full biography can be found at her severe weather research blog here.

Cary Meltzer

Owning Partner, Vice President of Production at SVLMedia LLC

Based in Long Island, New York, Cary is armed with an extensive background in meteorology and has been chasing storms for over 20 years. He is also an FAA licensed pilot and chases severe weather in the Plains and monsoons in Arizona annually. In 2016, he co-founded SVLMedia, a video brokerage firm with a roster of over 130 storm chasers. The company’s focus is to license the chasers’ footage to major networks, generating income for a hobby they love. Many of Cary’s chases have been documented on networks like The Weather Channel, ABC, NBC, and CBS. In 2017, his photography of the total solar eclipse was featured in a Warby Parker ad campaign.

James Auten

Lead Meteorologist, NWS Lincoln, IL

James became interested in weather after experiencing the F5, Lubbock, TX
tornado of May 1970, and seeing some of the damage the next day. His interest in weather continued after living on Guam for 2.5 years and experiencing several Tropical Storms. James pursued a degree in Meteorology at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and received his B.S. in Meteorology/Climatology in December 1985. After graduation, he served 6.5 years in the Air Force from June 1986 to December 1992, including 3 years of forecasting in Germany. After the Air Force, James entered the National Weather Service (NWS) in March 1993 as an Intern at Springfield, IL. He was hired as one of the first 5 forecasters at the new NWS office in Lincoln, IL in 1995 and then promoted to senior forecaster in 1997. James returned to military, part-time, joining the Air National Guard (ANG) in 2002 in Kansas. He was deployed to Bosnia in 2003, forecasting the weather for
the entire Balkans area. In 2004 he transferred to the ANG unit in Springfield, IL and forecasted the weather for Poland, the Florida panhandle, southern Arizona, and parts of South America. In January 2015, James retired from the ANG. James has been with the NWS for 26 years, all in central Illinois, and has experienced many major severe weather and winter weather events. He has over 20 years of warning experience with many different types of severe storms; from classic, HP, and mini supercells, to squall lines, bowechos, and multicell systems. James has
also been on or led numerous damage surveys, including the Roanoke tornado of July 2004, the tornado outbreak of November 2013, and the Taylorville tornado of Dec 2018.

Jennifer Ketchmark

Meteorologist at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio

Jennifer Ketchmark is the morning meteorologist at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, OH. Her career began in Champaign, IL at WCIA-TV where she worked for 5 years. Her next career stop was in Indianapolis, IN at WXIN Fox 59 before moving to Cincinnati. Sometimes she feels like she stumbled into weather after doing a campus tour of WEIU-TV with a long time family friend. It was after being on the green screen and seeing the weather setup that she recognized she wanted to know more, read more, do more! Eastern Illinois University didn't offer a meteorology degree so after getting her undergrad in Communication Studies, Jennifer finished her education through Mississippi State University. She has two children, Stella (8) and Conner (3) and has been married to her husband Mitch for 11 years.

© 2019 by Indiana Storm Chasers Convention. All rights reserved.

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