NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Cheryl Oliver, Gregory Romano
  • As NOAA celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2020, there is renewed interest in expanding Oral Histories as a key component of the agency’s overall Heritage Program. Through Oral Histories, we will capture the theme: Celebrating the People Behind NOAA - 50 Years of   Science, Service and Stewardship.

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Michael Seki

In his role as Director of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Dr. Seki provides the science direction and oversight of research activities that support stewardship of living marine resources in the vast expanse of the Pacific Islands Region. Since joining NOAA Fisheries in 1980, Dr. Seki has conducted extensive fisheries, oceanographic, and ecosystem research on many marine species in the Pacific. He has authored or co-authored more than 40 scientific papers and participated in over 20 domestic and international research surveys.

Molly Graham Honolulu, HI NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Louisa Koch

Ms. Louisa Koch was born in Boston in 1959 and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts.  She attended Middlebury College in Vermont and graduated with a degree in Physics in 1982.  After working as a consultant for Booz Allen and Hamilton and a researcher for the National Academy of Sciences, Louisa went on to earn her master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. She started her career in Washington working for the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress as a staff economist.

Molly Graham , Silver Spring, MD NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Lixion Avila

Dr. Lixion Avila was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1950.  Growing up in the Caribbean, he encountered and became fascinated with tropical storms.  Lixion studied meteorology, earning his bachelor's degree in Cuba in 1973.  He started his career in 1973 as a meteorologist with the Cuban Weather Service, providing hurricane forecast and warning information. Avila immigrated to the United States in 1980 and worked as a consultant to the National Hurricane Center from 1983 to 1987, providing warning information in Spanish for the radio and television press.

Molly Graham Miami, FL NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Gary Shigenaka

Gary Shigenaka is a third-generation Japanese American born and raised in Lake Forest, Illinois.  During World War II, Gary's father, other relatives, and over 100,000 other Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated and incarcerated in internment camps. Following the war, Gary's father and mother moved to Chicago's suburbs, where Gary grew up.  Gary studied oceanography at the University of Washington, graduating in 1976.

Molly Graham Seattle, WA NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
LaToya Myles

LaToya earned her Ph.D. through the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. She conducted research in collaboration with the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory for an interdisciplinary dissertation focusing on atmospheric deposition of pollutants and their impact on ecosystems. Her study had implications for both human and environmental health.

Molly Graham , Knoxville, TN NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
William Stubblefield

Rear Admiral William Stubblefield was born and raised in Medina, Tennessee.  He attended Memphis State University and graduated in 1962 with a major in secondary education and a minor in chemistry.  After graduation, Stubblefield was commissioned in the United States Navy and attended Naval Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island.  He served on a minesweeper and ice breaker at sea, operating all over the globe.

Molly Graham , , Martinsburg, West Virginia NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Elbert W. “Joe” Friday

Dr. Elbert "Joe" Friday, Jr. was born in De Queen, Arkansas, in 1939.  Elbert graduated from high school in Midwest City, Oklahoma, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he studied engineering physics and graduated in 1961.  Upon graduation, Joe received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force and went on to complete his master's and PhD in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.  Friday served for 20 years in the Air Force, including a tour in Vietnam as Weather Detachment Commander.

Molly Graham , , , , , Edmond, OK NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Albert "Skip" Theberge, Jr.

Captain Albert “Skip” Theberge, Jr. was born in 1946 in Coquille, Oregon.  When Skip was three years old, his family moved to Santa Cruz, where he learned to surf and because fascinated with the ocean.  He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a professional degree in geological engineering. Skip also has a master’s degree in management from the Naval Postgraduate School.  In 1969, Theberge was commissioned as an ensign in the ESSA Corps, which soon became NOAA Corps. He retired with the rank of captain in 1995, after nearly 27 years of commissioned service.

Molly Graham , , Gainesville, VA NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Doug Whiteley

Doug Whiteley is the Division Chief of the Research to Operations and Project Planning Division (ROPPD). As Chief of ROPPD, Doug oversees pre-formulation and early formulation for new satellite systems as well as the execution of studies for project alternatives, such as foreign partnerships leveraging data and/or instrument exchanges, small-sats, payload hosting, commercial alternatives, and technology maturation to identify specific potential solutions to NESDIS top-level requirements.

Molly Graham Silver Spring, MD NOAA Heritage Program, National Weather Service NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project
Samuel P. DeBow Jr.

Rear Admiral Samuel P. DeBow Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1953.  He earned his B.S. degree in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University.  When RADM DeBow graduated in 1976, he became a commissioned officer in the NOAA Corps.  Sam earned his M.S. in Hydrographic Sciences from the Naval Postgraduate School, and was also a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  RADM DeBow served almost 30 years as an active-duty officer and is the prior Director of the NOAA Commissioned Corps and the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.

Molly Graham Olney, MD NOAA Heritage Program NOAA 50th Anniversary Oral History Project

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