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Humans of NCEI: William Angel

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Courtesy of NOAA NCEI

Here at NCEI, we aren’t just data—we are people. In our Humans of NCEI series, meet the awesome minds that manage one of the largest archives of atmospheric, coastal, geophysical, and oceanic research in the world. Get to know William Angel, a Management and Program Analyst in the Support Services Division who supports NCEI’s teams. 

Courtesy of William Angel

What is your specific area of expertise?

When I came into NCDC (National Climatic Data Center), part of an NCEI predecessor, with a B.S. in Meteorology, I was able to apply that specific knowledge to the various tasks at hand, such as the quality assurance/control processes to some of the archived datasets. Over my career, I've moved to various divisions and sections of the center, gained a wider business and organizational perspective, enhanced and learned new skills, and increased my institutional knowledge. I would consider myself well versed in all aspects of NCEI.

What was your first job? How did it prepare you for your current position?

My first job right out of high school was as a stock person at Rose's Department Store then I moved to the 'Sight and Sound' department. Being a stock person or department rep, I dealt with the public firsthand and had to provide the best customer service experience possible. We had name tags that had 'Ask me about VIC' - and VIC stood for Very Important Customer!  That is a direct tie-in to what the Support Services Division provides to the rest of NCEI.

How did you end up at NCEI?

During my first semester at the University of North Carolina Asheville,  my dad encouraged me to seek out a cooperative-education experience through NCDC. I filled out an extensive paper application, went to an interview, and afterward was brought on as a student trainee. I continued to work half-time at NCDC, carrying a full-time school schedule along with other outside activities until graduation. After graduation, my position was converted to a full-time federal position and I have been here ever since. 

What does a usual workday look like for you?

Emails, meetings, and deadlines! Being in the Support Services Division, I provide support for Governance as an Executive Secretary for the NCEI Program Integration Council and serve on the Data Stewardship Council. I'm also the Team Lead on Standard Operating Procedures, and a support member for the Standards and Evaluation Branch's Engineering Process Group (working on process improvement and Configuration Management). There are plenty of days I will touch on all those duties.

What question are you asked most often when someone finds out what you do? How do you respond?

'What's the weather forecast?' - I then have to clarify that the National Weather Service provides the forecast and NCEI is after the fact. I then point out when the local weather appears on the TV and you see the information about the days 'normal' values, that comes from NCEI. And how the utility companies also use this data to help set rates/usage estimates. Then I tell them the forecast!  Sometimes, the conversation will turn to what the winter/summer season is going to be like. Many people are worried about snow during wintertime. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?

I'm one of those lucky few who knew what I wanted to be at a very young age. I was in the fourth grade and it was curiosity about the weather that sparked my love. I always thought I would be on TV,  and as you get older circumstances change but not my love for weather. Even through junior high and high school, my schoolmates thought I was crazy and teased me a bit.

Who are you outside of your career? 

Pre-COVID-19 pandemic, if you saw me in the office, I would be wearing a shirt and tie with dress slacks. When I got home, I’d throw on the grungy clothes, and work the horses or do barn chores. There is always something to do at the barn. I affectionately blame my wife for getting me into horses. It's a whole new world. Evenings are spent with my special-needs daughter, watching TV shows, being a video gamer, and participating in fantasy football. 

Do you have any pets? 

Two dogs, two cats, four horses, and I see a variety of wildlife around the barn, such as deer, groundhogs, cranes, a few bears, and other vermin.

What’s your favorite food or beverage?

I eat and try anything at least once. There isn't much food I don't like. As for beverages, I love sweet tea!