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January-February 2011

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On the Job: Keith Seitter

Executive Director of the American Meterological Society

Keith Seitter is the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society. He began working at the AMS in the early 1990s in what was initially intended as a year's leave from teaching meteorology at University of Lowell, now the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. That year quickly extended to two, and eventually he decided to stay. Although he still misses teaching and his research into the dynamics of supercell storm formation, Seitter said he was drawn by the opportunity to work with AMS members and enjoys the feeling of making a real contribution.

You have been instrumental in keeping the AMS on pace with the digital age of communications. Where do you think new and emerging communications technologies will take us in the future?

I think you see it every day, the new technologies being exploited within the community to get more information out to more people. I think that's just got to continue. The new capabilities of mobile devices are really exciting. New software and hardware are going to make it possible for us to get better information out to folks in ways to really improve safety and help the general population take advantage of weather data much more effectively in real time. There are programs looking at how to use some of the dashboard systems in new cars to alert a driver that there are icy roads ahead, for example. Those are areas where we understand a lot of the pieces of that puzzle and we even understand how that technology could fit together. But creating the infrastructure to allow it in real time, to sense the fact that there is an icy road and deliver that to a motorist in time to react so that you can help prevent accidents, that's just phenomenally exciting stuff.

KIMBRA CUTLIP is a freelance writer and former assistant editor for Weatherwise.

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