Bio: My educational background is based in business, however I have been a fixture in the weather industry for over 20 years, the past 8 of which have been applied directly to building global brands within the private sector. I am an alumnus of the Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business where academic focus fell within Marketing and International Business.
Favorite Storm Chasing Photos
Favorite Chase Video
How did you realize your love for weather?
Interest in weather was sparked in 1984 when a tornado hit near my hometown. It was the Mannford, OK tornado that damaged about half the city. It was then that I started looking up information about storms at the local library.
When did you decide you wanted to storm chase?
I got heavily into spotting because my dad did it and I would tag along with him at a young age. I tested for my amateur radio license and immediately began volunteering as net control at NWS Tulsa (WA5LVT/WX5TUL). Talking to spotters on the radio was informative but talking to storm chasers was “cool”.
How long have you been actively chasing?
Do you chase for a reason?
Not really. My drive is the desire to acquire many “once in a lifetime” shots.
Do you prefer to chase alone or with a group?
I prefer to chase alone or with my long-time chase partner Hans Schroeder. He’s the only person I trust to drive in a supercell environment.
Have you ever considered going on a storm chase tour?
Yes. I wouldn’t mind driving for a tour or even being a guest in order to truly relax and not consistently concern myself with forecasting on the fly.
How do you feel about the current state of storm chasing?
Storm chasing right now is fragmented to the point that it’s possible there will not be a recovery. Camaraderie is missing and the social aspect of chasing has mostly died. Some blame TV shows and movies, others blame social media. It is time to come together and be a community again.
Which era of chasing would you prefer to exist? Old-school or new-school?
Old school. Paper maps, a Primestar satellite dish, batteries and inverters to power said satellite dish, The Weather Channel back when it was worth watching, fewer people on the road, harder to nail a target, more rewarding when I did so. I miss old school.
How far are you willing to travel for a good set up?
400 miles one way.
What are your favorite areas to chase? Least favorite?
Favorite would be the Palmer Divide and anywhere on the caprock. Least favorite is ANY metro area.
What is you favorite type of set up to chase? Least favorite?
My favorite would be anything with a secondary target so I can avoid traffic. Least favorite is cold core. I suck at cold core.
What is your most memorable chase? Least memorable?
Most memorable: Daykin/Hallam May 22, 2004 Least memorable: I forgot.
Have you ever feared for your life?
Yes, from hydroplaning.
Are you afraid to make dangerous maneuvers while chasing? (I.E – core punching/hook slicing/living in the bears cage)
I got my fill of that at a younger age when I was more ballsy and indestructible and drove less expensive cars.
Do you have any superstitions?
I always wear flipflops while driving or riding to a chase target and as soon as the first blip shows up on radar I change into socks and tennis shoes. It’s kinda a thing.
Would you sacrifice a salaried job with full benefits, but only 2 weeks out of the year to chase for a paycheck to paycheck life with unlimited chasing?
Not a chance. Chasing is, and has always been, a hobby to me. Of course it probably helps that I come and go from my work pretty much as I please.
Are you currently doing anything job related to the weather?
I am Vice President of Digital Marketing for Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.
Have you ever been to ChaserCon?
Used to go every year but have skipped the past few due to a family vacation that occurs around that same time.
Are you more likely to hang out with other chasers while waiting for initiation, or sit alone on a country road watching the sky?
I’ll always seek out another chaser to get to know while out. This goes back to the camaraderie thing I was talking about above.
What is your favorite storm chase and why?
Deer Trail, Colorado Steve Miller TX and I were on chasecation and that in itself is a good time. Add in an extremely photogenic tornado that no one else was even remotely close to and you have a stellar day while many others who were on that same cell probably didn’t. I like those days.
What date burns in you (think bust) and why?
Campo, TX I pick Campo because I looked at models that morning with full intention of chasing and then decided, based on one run, that I’d rather go to the lake. So there I was on my boat watching Mike Phelps’ live feed on ChaserTV of the most brilliant tornado.
Do you always know why you made the wrong or right decisions to chase a particular day?
Yes, and most of the wrong decisions are due to the fact that I had something I would rather do so I made myself look at the downside of the event.
How did you learn what you know about forecasting and meteorology?
Lots of reading here on Stormtrack, Tim Vasquez books, peers, and some very good friends in the meteorology field.
Do you consider the day a success even if you don’t witness a tornado?
Absolutely. Any extreme weather is good weather to me.
Do you feel short changed if you see a tornado from a greater distance to you than you prefer?
No, a tornado is a tornado and I have reasonably good zoom lenses.
How do you feel about the post “Storm Chaser” generation?
Same way I felt about the post “Twister” generation. Once all peckerheads lose interest and move on, what’s left will be the next generation of really good chasers. We just have to tolerate the peckerheads for a while, that’s all.
Do you feel like the scientific community should get the same respect as emergency vehicles around storms?
No. Helping people in immediate need is more important than science.
How you do you feel about the media in regards to the weather and chasing?
I live in the OKC market and that means weather is king. There is no better place to be informed about the weather but that comes along with a lot of hype and garbage information. Media also spearheads the whole climate change debate. I’m sick of hearing about it. The Earth is 4.54 billion years old and we’ve only kept weather records in the U.S. for 130 years and only have a good global dataset for 35 years. Stop telling me about global warming. I digress…
Who are the most influential people to you out in the field?
Shane Adams because he knows his stuff and does what he can with what he has. He has chosen a lifestyle that is centered around his passion. I respect that a lot. JR Hehnly because the dude just knows where to go. It’s scary. Hans Schroeder because he is just a helluva guy and great friend.
Would you considering getting your children into storm chasing?
If you didn’t know anything about storm chasing, how would you react if your child said they wanted to be a chaser?
I’d encourage them but strongly caution them regarding the weather conditions while under a supercell. Drive safe and watch out for non-experienced adverse weather drivers. And obviously, don’t get too close…
What do you fear most about a storm?
What type of storm do you prefer to chase? (Ugly HP/sculpted LP/classic/squall line)
I like an ugly HP in the sense that I get to use my imagination regarding what might be inside the beast. But sculpted LP is my preference, hands down.
Do you stop your progress toward a storm for a great photography opportunity?
Progress toward a target area, yes. Progress toward a storm that’s underway, not a chance.
How do you feel about law enforcement immediately around a tornadic supercell?
They have every right to be there that I have. The key though is that I have the right to be there.
Should storm chasers feel more entitled to be around storms than law enforcement or locals?
Nah, it’s a free country.
Do you have a job that supports storm chasing?
Yes, very lucky.
Do you have a family that supports storm chasing?
Yes, very lucky.
How long do you plan on chasing?
Until they take my drivers license away.