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Mount Washington Observatory Welcomes New Director of Summit Operations

Cyrena-Marie Briedé Selected to Succeed Thirty-Three Year Observatory Veteran Ken Rancourt

MOUNT WASHINGTON, NH—August 8, 2012—Mount Washington Observatory will soon be effecting a major changing of the guard, as thirty-three year Observatory veteran Ken Rancourt prepares for retirement in September. The longtime director of the organization’s mountaintop operations will be succeeded by meteorologist Cyrena-Marie Briedé of Brighton, Colorado, who began her training with Rancourt this week.

“The Director of Summit Operations position is one of the most crucial—and challenging—positions at the Observatory,” notes Observatory Executive Director Scot Henley. “This person is responsible for the safety of our scientists, the technological infrastructure of our organization, mountain transportation, logistical support, and the effective operation of our weather station, situated in one of the world’s most extreme places.”

Fortunately, the Observatory has found Briedé, an accomplished scientist and researcher who has managed remote sites from the mountains of Colorado to the Alaskan subarctic. Most recently employed at an air quality monitoring and environmental management contractor in Englewood, Colorado, Briedé has installed and maintained meteorological stations in hurricane-force winds and temperatures below -50°F—a good primer for her new career on Mount Washington.

“I am so excited to be a part of this world famous organization, and to call the White Mountains home. Visiting Mount Washington has been on my ‘bucket list’ for years,” said Briedé. “I have big shoes to fill, but my previous experiences have prepared me for this opportunity and I can’t wait to help the Observatory reach its future goals.”

When not in the field, Briedé has co-authored and presented papers for the American Meteorological Society, the World Meteorological Organization, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Her flawless risk management has earned her a NASA Certificate of Appreciation for her efforts toward aviation safety, and she has participated in landmark research projects with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Climatic Data Center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and more.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cyrena to New Hampshire and to Mount Washington Observatory,” says Henley. “She is perfectly suited to tackle this demanding job and I know that this organization’s heart and soul, the summit operation, is in very capable hands.”

Rancourt, who has served in nearly every position on the mountain, including snow cat operator, weather observer, research director, summit manager and more, will be transitioning into a part-time consulting capacity in September.

Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit, member-supported research and educational institution with a mission to advance understanding of Earth’s weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been observing Mount Washington’s incredible extremes, conducting scientific research, educating the public about the science of weather and climate, and amassing one of North America’s longest and most unique climate records. For weather reports, webcams, summit trips, photos and more, visit MountWashington.org.


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