Introducing Our Staff, Part 2
Next in our list of meteorologists is our Midwest guy, Matt Gillen. Matt was born in Naperville, IL which is a western suburb of Chicago. He graduated from Northern Illinois in May of 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Meteorology, a minor in Geography, and a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Matt works with GIS at the company to help all the departments, including forensics. Matt is a huge Chicago Bears fan but enjoys watching/playing many sports. I sat down and asked Matt a few questions:
1. What other career would you have wanted to pursue if you had not become a meteorologist?
Well, since I was little, I’ve always been interested in the weather from experiencing strong winter storms and severe weather in the Midwest. However, if it were not for those intriguing storms and the resulting snow days along with many hours spent in the basement from tornado warnings, I think I would have enjoyed the criminal justice field. I’ve always found the work police do to be fascinating, although it is probably not as glamorous as the TV show ‘Cops’ makes it out to be.
2. After a busy day, what is your favorite way to unwind and “forget about the weather” for a while?
Depending on the time of year and current weather, anything from playing basketball or golf in the summer to relaxing on the couch during the winter all help to unwind after a stressful day. Although still weather related, I’ve also found getting outdoors and taking pictures of interesting clouds, severe weather, and lighting help me to unwind as well.
3. How does this job challenge you in ways you did not expect?
While producing storm forecasts in a timely manner is expected to be tough, the amount of interaction with clients and post-storm data collection are likely the two things that challenge me in ways I did not expect. Although this unexpected challenge may sound negative, I feel these two parts of my job are in reality, the most enjoyable.
4. Where in the world would you love to visit?
There are a few places in the world I would love to visit, but if I had to choose one, it would be Alaska. Not only does the landscape and wildlife seem extraordinary, but viewing for the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) would be phenomenal. As a snow-lover and a casual photography hobbyist, I cannot think of a better place to spend a short vacation.
5. What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job is?
The most rewarding part of my job is fairly straight forward – when a winter storm forecast or alert goes well in terms of timing, precipitation type and amounts. As cliché as it sounds, knowing that the client has received the best possible forecast is more than enough for me to continue the hard work and attention to detail that goes into our products.