Employee Spotlight: Carroll Hood

Carroll Hood is a Senior System Architect working both business development and program execution activities for Riverside in the DC area.  He has been working within the environmental data and information management domain for over 30 years.  He studied oceanography and remote sensing in college (but, the world was flat back then, so the equations were much simpler.)

carroll hood profile
Carroll and Amos in Crested Butte.  For the record, Carroll is the one in the hat.

Carroll was born in the Midwest, spent his formative years in the Southeast, and spent the first 20 years of his professional career in the DC area.  He moved to Colorado in 2001, but returned to the DC area this past year when Riverside gave him the opportunity to return to his environmental roots.

Carroll enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, and geocaching. He and his wife now live on Kent Island (across the Bay Bridge from Annapolis) – a world away from the DC/Beltway madness, yet close enough to take advantage of all the culinary and cultural benefits.  Most importantly, he remains a Denver Broncos fan.

  1. What three traits describe you?

I am passionate about my beliefs, but respectful of opposing points of view.

I have the ability to see the “big picture.”

I have a quick wit (many people appreciate my sense of humor; notable exceptions include men, women, and most children.)

  1. What are you most excited or passionate about in your career?

I am most passionate about having the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the understanding and preservation of our environment.

  1. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

I was an official National Weather Service “weather observer” in college.  The University of South Carolina had a weather station that was located right outside my dorm.  Ever evening before dinner, I would go outside and record the daily observations in a log book. Every month, I would send the log sheets to the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC.

  1. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

Idealistically, I would be writing my novel.  I like to eat, so realistically, I would be sitting at a desk, working for a large corporation, 36 layers down the hierarchical ladder.

  1. Who lives in your house (people, pets, etc.)?

My wife, Ginny, and my dog, Luca.  Ginny and I have been married for almost 37 years. Luca is a shepherd/malamute mix, weighs 100 lbs, and thinks he is a lap dog.  We have two children who are out on their own.  Jason lives in Hartford, CT and is a manager for General Mills.  Lauren is a graduate student at the University of Washington studying neurobiology.

  1. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I have found a geocache in all 50 states.

  1. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?

Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Michelangelo, Maureen McCormick (Marsha Brady). If Marsha snubs my invitation, then I would add Hank Aaron to the list.

  1. If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

I presume that the question was intended to be about an historical event in the past, but I would prefer to observe one in the future.  That event is the one that proves unequivocally that we are not the only intelligent beings in the universe.

  1. What trend would you like to see go away forever?

Congressional Gridlock

  1. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

I would choose the ability to manipulate space-time.  Why not dream big?

  1. Tell us about your most unique travel experience.

I was attending a conference in Brighton, England in the 80’s when “the Storm of the Century” hit the coastline.  The windows of my hotel room blew out while I was sitting on the bed.  Yes, it scared the crap out of me.

  1. What’s your #1 item on your bucket list?

I would really love to attend a World Series game.  In 2007, when the Rockies hosted two games at Coors Field, I was at a conference in Ottawa for which I had registered months before. Not only did I miss the opportunity to spend an ungodly amount of money to sit in the Rockpile, I had to suffer the indignity of watching the games on TV in French.

  1. If you could be on any TV game show, what would it be and why?

Jeopardy – I love trivia.  I would go down in flames if the Final Jeopardy category were “Actors and their Roles” or “Literature.”  Conversely, I would clean house if it were “US Geography.”

  1. Tell us your favorite joke.

Heisenberg and Schrödinger are travelling in a car.  A cop pulls them over.  “Do you know how fast you were going?” asks the cop.   “No,” replies Heisenberg, “but, I know exactly where I am!”   “A couple of smart-asses,” replies the cop. “I’m going to search your car.”  After a minute, he comes back to the driver’s side window.  “Do you know there’s a dead cat in the trunk?”  To which Schrödinger replies, “I do now!”

  1. What movie could you watch over and over? Why?

LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring – the screenplay and cinematography were amazing.

  1. Tell me about your best friend.

She is my wife.

  1. Who would play you in a movie about your life? What would be the title of that movie?

Matthew McConaughey, “Still Crazy After All These Years”

  1. Tell us about your best live performance experience.

I got to attend the 2008 Democratic Convention event at Sports Authority Field in Denver.  There were many live performers as well as the acceptance speech from soon-to-be President Obama – a really historical event.

  1. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?

On-site doggie day care

Riverside attends 97th American Meteorological Society (AMS) 2017 Annual Meeting

By Carroll Hood and George Smith

nesdis-star-leadership-briefing

Brian Mischel briefing the NESDIS/STAR leadership.

AMS 2017 in Seattle was a very energetic event with record-setting attendance. Most of the new attendees seemed to be students or young professionals, which added to the overall feeling of excitement at the sessions and in the exhibit hall. This is a robust and comprehensive scientific seminar. At any point in time, one can choose from probably 20-30 technical sessions being conducted in parallel. The depth and breadth of topics is staggering, offering an excellent learning opportunity.

The exhibit area was smaller than in past years, but traffic through the hall was generally brisk and Riverside’s booth was regularly well-attended. We had scheduled presentations of our support and capabilities to a variety of NOAA leadership including Steve Volz, Mark Paese, and Margarita Gregg of NESDIS, and Louis Ucellini and Mary Erickson of NWS. Brian Mischel, Director of D.C. based Federal programs, lined up our Federal customers to come by for these scheduled presentations. For example, we invited Vencore (our prime on the recently won SETS contract) to several presentations with NESDIS leadership. Listening to those discussions, it was obvious that our relationship with NOAA, based on many years of solid performance, was a key factor in the Vencore Team being selected.

ams

Presentation at the Riverside booth. 

NOAA and NASA had big exhibit areas strategically located near the entrance. They were big enough to hold mini-seminars throughout the event. Some others (i.e., Raytheon, Harris, Ball, Lockheed Martin, etc.) had big booths close to the front as well. The Riverside booth was situated on the corner of a main aisle and cross-aisle. The coffee and food tables were just around the corner which helped bring in traffic. It also didn’t hurt that we were situated next to ESRI. They always draw a crowd, especially one that has an interest in geospatial decision support. Riverside was also represented at the Asheville booth as a member of the Collider offering another opportunity to showcase our commitment to NOAA’s mission.

Riverside provided a presentation of our work on the development of our Flood Inundation Map (FIM) product: RiverTrak. This included information on the use of drone-acquired photogrametry data to update digital elevation maps and thereby produce more accurate FIMs for emergency management or water resource decision makers. Riverside is planning a follow-on session for the 2018 AMS meeting in Austin, TX to continue to address adding value to weather and water forecasts, this time through improved communication.

erins-poster-presentation

Riverside employee, Erin, presenting her poster at the AMS 2017 Annual Conference.

Over 20 Riverside personnel attended the AMS meeting, many as part of work they’re doing on SciTech tasks for NESDIS. Riverside employees presented several papers and chaired numerous AMS sessions as part of our overall support to the Society. Many of our staff work on-site and tend to be isolated within their respective projects. They are generally aware of the good work we do at JPSS, OPPA, TPIO, STAR, and NCEI-Stennis, but seldom get a chance to interact with fellow colleagues working other projects. Attending one another’s presentation allowed them additional insight into the variety of work Riverside is currently providing. We held an enjoyable dinner for all Riverside personnel in attendance, allowing them an opportunity to socialize outside the work environment.

The world through the AMS prism is both large and small. Large in the sense of the diversity of people, ideas, and topics that are addressed. Small in the sense that basically the same set of weather geeks (and we proudly count ourselves among the fold) attend year after year. Having staff that has been working with NOAA and NASA for more than 30 years, this conference allows them to see friends and colleagues they might not otherwise run into. We share a common bond knowing that our work helps us better understand and preserve the world that we all share as home.

ams-fun

Riverside employees having fun at the booth.

Riverside to offer drone services

By Ian Hageman, GIS Specialist and FAA certified remote pilot; and Sean McFeely, Product Manager

ian-and-drone

The use of unmanned systems (a.k.a. drone, UAS, UAV) has increased rapidly over the past few years. This growth has increased even more over the past couple of months as the FAA has relaxed requirements and regulations for commercial drone operation in August of 2016.

The use of UAS (unmanned aerial systems) is a cutting edge, low cost, and high efficiently platform for data. Unlike data collection with the typical satellite or manned aircraft, UAS offers on demand, and timely results. These results can often times be same day. Riverside is excited to be at the forefront of this technology and now offers a portfolio of drone services.

Some of these drone services include:

  • High resolution aerial imagery (between 3-10 cm spatial resolution)
  • High resolution elevation models (DEM, DSM, contours, 3D point cloud)
  • Floodplain mapping
  • Flood monitoring (pre/post flood aerial videos and photos)
  • Volumetric calculations (erosion, deposition, quarry/landfill)
  • Infrastructure inspection (Full HD video inspection of bridges, dams, infrastructure)
  • Agricultural mapping (vegetation mapping, crop analysis, NDVI)

One of the most exciting uses of the drone technology is the ability to update existing and outdated datasets. The landscape and topography of the Earth is dynamic, and is constantly changing over time with rivers changing course, erosion, deposition, and construction projects. With drones, the ability to continuously update these surfaces yields more accurate results and rendering of the current landscape. For example, say that you have an elevation model of a river corridor through a community that was created 5 years ago. Say this community got flooded 2 years ago and there have been some river mitigation and construction work since the flood to prevent future flooding. With the use of Riverside’s UAS, Riverside can now go fly the areas that were newly constructed, process the data and incorporate this new elevation surface into the already existing elevation surface. Depending on the size of the area, this can even be done same day with mapping grade accuracy!

Riverside is excited to now offer this cutting edge technology as a service, and Ian Hageman (GIS Specialist and FAA certified remote pilot) is on staff in Fort Collins, CO to assist in all drone and UAS needs and support.

AMS Riverside Schedule 2017

Riverside participation at AMS 2017

Monday, January 23

Poster Session: Erin Jones, Eric Maddy, Kevin Garrett, (Krishna) Vattompadam Krishnakumar

“Converging Remote Sensing and Data Assimilation Techniques: A Data Fusion Approach for Near-Real-Time 4D Analyses”. Erin Jones, RTi, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, College Park MD; and E. Maddy, K. Garrett, S.A. Boukabara, B. Johnson, L. Liu, and K. Kumar

Room: 4E (Washington State Convention Center)

Tuesday, January 24

Presentation: Narges Shahroudi

9:30 – 9:45 AM

“Impact Assessment of Geostationary microwave Sounders on NOAA Global NWP System through Global Observational System Simulation Experiment”. Narges Shahroudi, NOAA, College Park MD; and Y. Zhou, I. Moradi, K. Ide, and S.A. Boukabara

Room: 607 (Washington State Convention Center)

Larry Brazil & George Smith Session Co-Chair

10:30 AM-12:00 PM

“Adding value to weather and water forecasts through APIs and web services – Does increased data availability lead to improvements?”

33rd Conference on Environmental Information Processing Technologies

Room: 608 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Lynn Johnson

11:30 – 11:45 PM

“Distributed Hydrological Modeling for NWS Flash Flood Operations”. Lynn E. Johnson, CIRA/Colorado State, Boulder, CO; and J. Halgren, R. Cifelli, T. Coleman, J. Labadie, and G. H. Park

Room: 608 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: George Smith, Brian Ashe, Larry Brazil, Ward Seguin

11:45 – 12:00 PM

“Integrating Drone Images and Videos to Increase the Value of Observed Data and Model Forecasts for Flooding Events”. George Smith, Riverside Technology, Inc., Fort Collins, CO; and B. Ashe, L. E. Brazil, and W. Seguin

Room: 608 (Washington State Convention Center)

Brian Mischel Session Co-Chair

1:30 – 2:30 PM

“Considerations and Best Practices for the Transition of Research to Operations”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session – with Stephen Mango, NOAA/NESDIS/OPPA

Room: 612 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Mark LaJoie

2:00 – 2:15 PM

“Support to the Satellite Needs Working Group”. Robert Reining, NOAA/NESDIS/TPIO, Silver Spring, MD; and M. LaJoie, V. Ries, J. D. Taylor, and M. Yuen-Murphy

Room: 620 (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Kevin Garrett, Eric Maddy, Erin Jones, (Krishna) Vattompadam Krishnakumar

2:15 – 3:00 PM

“Data Fusion of Environmental Data Based on Converging Remote Sensing and Data Assimilation Techniques”. Kevin Garrett, RTi, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR, College Park, MD; and E. Maddy, S.A. Boukabara, E. Jones, B. Johnson, L. Liu, and K. Kumar

Room: Location TBD

Brian Mischel Session Co-Chair

4:00 – 5:30 PM

“Earth Science Product, Model and Algorithm Improvements for Weather, Water, Climate Transitions of Research to Operations”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session –with Eric Fetzer, NASA/JPL

Room: 612 (Washington State Convention Center)

Poster Session: Narges Shahroudi

“Observational System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) for Assessing Impact of Micro-sized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite (MicroMAS) on NOAA Global NWP System”. Narges Shahroudi, NOAA, College Park, MD; and Y. Zhou, T. Zhu, K. Ide, and S.A. Boukabara

Room: 4E (Washington State Convention Center)

Wednesday, January 25

Presentation: Aaron Pratt

9:45 – 10:00 AM

“Update to NOAA’s Observing System Architecture Assessment Capabilities”. Aaron Pratt, Riverside Technology inc., Silver Spring, MD; and D. Helms, L. Cantrell Jr., R. Reining, and V. Ries

Room: 310 (Washington State Convention Center)

Brian Mischel Session Co-Chair

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

“Advances in Satellite Observations for Earth Science & Observing Technologies: Part I”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session –with Robert Bauer, NASA/ESTO

Room: 3AB (Washington State Convention Center)

Presentation: Andrew Eichmann, (Krishna) Vattompadam Krishnakumar

1:45 – 2:00 PM

“Global forecast Dropout Prediction Tool (GFDPT) Project: Status and Preliminary Results”. Andrew Eichmann, NOAA/NESDIS, College Park, MD; and V.K. Kumar, J.C. Alpert, and S.A. Boukabara

Room: Yakima 2 (Washington State Convention Center)

Poster Session: Biljana Orescanin

“Land Surface Emissivity in the GSI: Evaluation of the First Guess and Control Variable”. Biljana Orescanin, RTi, College Park, MD; and A. Collard, B. Johnson, T. Auligne, and J.C. Derber

Room: 4E (Washington State Convention Center)

Thursday, January 26

Thanh Vo Dinh Session Co-Chair

1:30 – 3:00 PM

“Capabilities Enabling the Transition of Research to Operations: Part III”

7th Conference on the Transition of Research to Operations. Session –with Eric Miller, NOAA/NESDIS/OPPA/TPIO

Room: 401 (Washington State Convention Center)

RTI International acquires Water Resource Engineering division of Riverside Technology.

Riverside Technology, inc. to maintain current Federal scientific support contracts

Riverside Technology, inc. has reached a merger agreement with RTI International, wherein RTI has acquired the Fort Collins based consulting division of Riverside. This division provides water resources management and engineering services to clients worldwide. The non-consultation portion of Riverside will continue to be based in Fort Collins, CO and serve its Federal customers including NOAA, USGS, US Fish and Wildlife, USDA, and others with scientific support services.

RTI is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and has a staff of approximately 4,700 that provides research and technical services to governments and businesses in more than 75 countries. The acquisition will bring the specialized expertise and services of Riverside’s water resource engineers and RTI’s proven research and implementation capabilities together.

“We are excited to join an excellent and reputable organization that shares our mission-driven approach and core values,” said former Riverside CEO and new RTI Division Vice President Larry Brazil, Ph.D. “Together, our enhanced capacity will position us to expand our service offerings in the vital arena of water resources management in support of solving the world’s most challenging water, land and climate problems. This also presents an opportunity for the remaining Riverside team to grow the company in new directions.”

“Riverside will continue providing the support services our customers have come to expect from us as well as maintaining the highest levels of customer service,” said new Riverside CEO Brian Ashe. “We are very excited for the future direction of Riverside and the opportunities in front of us. We have an excellent team in place at Riverside and we will move ahead as a company focused on providing superior services to our Federal customer base.”

Employee Spotlight: Michelle Woodworth

michelle-best
In need of a scrumptious pastry? Michelle Woodworth will make it happen – as long as you’re not wearing a man bun.

Michelle Woodworth came to Riverside in July 2014 as our Administrative Support Coordinator and quickly elevated the organization and synergy in our corporate office in Fort Collins. She is the first point of contact for Riverside visitors and callers, a role she says she loves. She is responsible for the daily administrative operations at headquarters and also provides invaluable support to the Business Development Operations team through bid monitoring, designing and producing marketing materials, and contributing to proposal development. Michelle moved from Miami to Fort Collins in 2008 to study sociology at Colorado State University, where she met her now-husband, Nathan. She is an avid hiker and spends most of her weekends outdoors or taking mountain drives.

  1. What three traits describe you?

Amicable, creative, efficient.

  1. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

I worked part time as a sign waver for a local pawn business a few months during college to make extra money during the summer. It was easy money, and I spent time outside listening to music on my headphones!

  1. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I’d be a pastry chef. I grew up in Miami where there’s an abundance of Cuban bakeries, each filled with a variety of scrumptious sweet and savory pastries. I can vividly remember the smell of butter and caramelized sugar filling my nose, and it takes me to a happy place. I love food, and I’m meticulous in my work so it would be a great fit!

  1. Who lives in your house (people, pets, etc.)?

My husband, Nathan, and our two cats, Tiger Lilly and Strudel.

  1. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I speak Spanish, Portuguese, and a little bit of Italian. I picked up Spanish and Portuguese at a young age, since my father is Cuban and my mother is Portuguese. I would frequently mix up words since the languages share so many similarities (my family jokingly called it Portuñol). I took three years of Italian in high school, and I’m pretty rusty, but I can order from an Italian menu like a boss.

  1. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?

Audrey Hepburn, Desmond Tutu, Carl Sagan, and Julia Child for a discussion on iconic fashion, global social rights, French cuisine, and the cosmos, of course.

  1. What kind of music do you listen to?

My favorite is Latin jazz – Bossa Nova and Afro-Cuban.

  1. You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they?

Buttered croissants, ham croquettes, and asparagus cooked in a white wine/garlic sauce.

  1. If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

I would live for a day during the late Cretaceous period. How else can I fulfill my dream of having a pet T-Rex?

  1. What trend would you like to see go away forever?

Man buns.

  1. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Flight – so I can soar over beautiful landscapes and avoid horrid traffic.

  1. Tell us about your most unique travel experience.

I recently traveled to Portugal with my mother and husband. My mother was born and raised in a rural village in Portugal called Peral, located about 175 miles south of Lisbon. She moved to the United States in the 1960s. We visited her former home and walked through the streets of the village. It was amazing how so little had changed in the area. Some of her childhood friends still live there, and we visited with them. I was amazed by the beauty of the countryside, with rolling hills as far as the eye could see, 100+ year-old olive trees, orange groves, and fields of wildflowers. It was a special experience to share with my family.

  1. What’s on or in your nightstand?

A tall glass of water, a framed wedding photo of me and my husband, and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (a non-fiction book by Michael Pollan about how humans/omnivores are the most unselective eaters, and yet we are faced with a wide variety of food choices, resulting in a dilemma).

  1. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Intentional tardiness. There is no such thing as “fashionably late.”

  1. If you could be on any TV game show, what would it be and why?

Cutthroat Kitchen. First and foremost, I love cooking! I think sabotaging my opponents and working creatively through challenges would be a thrilling and unique experience.

  1. Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

A century egg. That’s a preserved egg (ranging from several weeks to several months) in which the yolk becomes a dark green to grey color, with a creamy consistency and strong ammonia/sulfur flavor. I’m not making this up!

  1. Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?

Unintentionally, Dennis Rodman, at the Delano Beach Club in South Beach, Florida in 2008. His entourage approached my group of friends, and we talked for a few minutes.   

  1. What’s an ability you wish you had?

To be a gifted and proficient piano player. It’s such a beautiful, elegant instrument. Never too late to start, right?

  1. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?

A relaxation/meditation room with calming music, massage chairs, yoga mats, dim lighting, and incense.

Riverside employees present at AGU Fall Meeting

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has met every fall for the last 49 years for attendees to hear about the latest discoveries, trends, and challenges in Earth and space science; present research; and network with colleagues. This year, two Riverside employees will be on hand at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco to present findings from their work on recent projects. Paul Micheletty will present “Assimilation of Ground and Satellite Snow Observation in a Distributed Hydrologic Model to Improve Water Supply Forecasts in the Upper Colorado River Basin” on Wednesday, December 14, and Jon Quebbeman will present “Utilization of Expert Knowledge in a Multi-Objective Hydrologic Model Automatic Calibration Process” on Thursday, December 15. For more information, see https://fallmeeting.agu.org/2016/.