Why We Do What We Do

September 09, 2017 by Mike Eilts
Topics:   WeatherOps | RadarScope | Hurricane |

When I first meet people from outside the weather world and tell them I work for WDT, a private weather company, I often get the question, what does a weather company do?

With Harvey in the rear-view mirror and Irma soon to make landfall in Florida, I thought I would offer up some of the ways we have created value to our customers in the past few weeks at WDT; helping them through these catastrophic events. We have spent many years developing weather forecasting tools, creating decision aids, and building a forecast team with considerable expertise so that when significant events like Harvey and Irma happen, we can help our customers through the tough decisions they need to make.
74549_cover photo_twitter 2_041017.jpgIn the past three weeks, our WeatherOps team had over 100 teleconference and video sessions with executive and operations teams with some of the largest companies in the world:

  1. We helped one of the biggest cruise lines keep all of their ships safe as they made numerous decisions about how to handle their fleet and attempted to get people back home and load new passengers
  2. We helped many large off-shore oil and gas companies move their $1B floating assets out of harm’s way in the Gulf of Mexico
  3. We helped one of the largest on-shore oil and gas exploration companies make decisions about their operations and evacuations so their employees stayed safe and their operations were shuttered in-time and re-opened as soon as it was safe
  4. We helped a large hamburger chain make decisions both in the Houston area and now in Florida about which stores to close, which to stay open, and how to support their local communities when they can by making food available
  5. We helped large events and concerts make decisions about canceling their events, or not
  6. We helped a large festival, with thousands of people camping at their location, make an evacuation decision
  7. We helped many colleges and professional sports teams make decisions about scheduling of their football and baseball games
  8. We helped most of the large television networks make decisions about broadcasting outdoor sporting events
  9. We helped a company move two $100M assets out of Corpus Christi before Hurricane Harvey made landfall
  10. We helped some utility companies prepare for expected damage and their response to fix the damage afterward
  11. We helped one of the largest health care companies make decisions about evacuating their employees due to Typhoons in India and the Philippines
  12. We helped a large banking firm make decisions about the safety of their headquarters. They didn't have to evacuate and were able to continue serving their clients
  13. We helped a retail gas chain with over 1,400 locations decide on how to hedge their fuel costs, how to get fuel to areas that needed it, and when to close locations to keep their employees safe

And there are many more examples I could provide.

During these large events we know that we are talking not only to executives of companies, but also people that are impacted personally. We went out of our way, as friends, to help many of them make personal decisions about their families and homes (should I stay or should I go?). Often these people are very dedicated to their company, but are torn about getting themselves and family out of harm’s way. It is always great to make personal friendships with passionate people like our customers.

In addition to helping these large companies make decisions, WDT also provide apps, content, and alerts to millions of people through our own apps (Weather Radio and RadarScope), and through many apps that we provide to a number of television stations in the affected areas; allowing consumers to get information from their local television meteorologist and the National Hurricane Center on their iPhone or Android device.

We have sent millions of alerts to customers, served up billions of images, and over 500,000 people use RadarScope to watch these hurricanes as they make landfall.

I know we have saved many lives and I know we have helped our large business customers make extremely tough decisions to keep their people, assets, and operations safe.

These are busy times at WDT. Many of our employees have worked 60+ hour weeks for many weeks now, but we know we are making a difference.

That is why we do what we do!


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Mike Eilts

Mike and four others founded WDT in 2000 in Norman, Oklahoma. The founders of WDT all came from meteorological research organizations in Norman and WDT continues to maintain relationships with these research organizations to extract new technologies from them. Before founding WDT in April 2000, Mike was employed with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) for 18 years, the last seven as Assistant Director. While at NSSL, Mike built and led a Division that grew from 8 to 100 people which was funded by the NWS, DOD, and FAA to develop the core automated weather detection and prediction capabilities for the NEXRAD and Terminal Doppler Weather Radar programs resulting in the successful deployment of both of those networks. Mike has written over 75 papers and is internationally recognized for his knowledge of Doppler radar and its application to severe weather warning, aviation hazard detection and prediction and precipitation estimation.