The thought of being a meteorologist really peaked for me in 1979 when a blizzard blasted my hometown on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with one to two feet of snow and drifts of three to five feet. It was every kid's dream: tons of snow and no school for a week! That was the defining moment to steer me toward a career in weather.
When I was in the eighth grade, a new television station was coming to town. I read in the newspaper that a meteorologist was going to head the weather team. I promply put on my one navy blue blazer, gray slacks and a tie and proceeded to walk to the location where the old drugstore was being remodeled into a television station and asked to see the general manager. I told them I wanted to do the weekend weather. So, at the age of 14, I was sitting in a news director's office explaining what I could do for them. I guess they were amused. The news director had me write a resume. I really wish I had a copy of that resume. I know it had church youth choir on it, co-captain of the 6th grade safety patrol at my school and paperboy for the local daily newspaper!
I guess paperboy would technically be my first job in the media. I'm not sure why, but a job researching the record high and low temperatures was created for me giving me my big break in T V.
This was in the day before computers, which could do in a few minutes what took me weeks to accomplish. That was my first job in a television station. While I wasn't on the air, I did get a great education about weather from meteorologists Greg Fishel, John Bulatewicz and even Mike Seidel of Weather Channel fame plus a look at how television news works.
In college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, I worked part time for television stations in New Bern and Raleigh. Once again, great work experience. My most nervous moment ever was my first time on the air in Raleigh at the NBC station. All my friends from college were watching and I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest! All this great experience, plus good guidance from many great people along the way helped me get to St. Louis in 1991.
Speaking of great people, I've been working with the best, both behind the scenes and on camera since I arrived at NewsChannel 5 all those years ago. I am very fortunate to have a job I love, and a family that supports me, though even the dogs have learned to ignore the alarm clock at 1:30 in the morning.