Mission Statement

Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit, member-supported institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create Earth’s weather and climate. It serves this mission by maintaining a weather station on the summit of Mount Washington, performing weather and climate research, conducting innovative science education programs, and interpreting the heritage of the Mount Washington region.

Mount Washington Observatory Staff

Wendy Almeida, Membership and Events Coordinator

For over 20+ years, Wendy has relied on Mount Washington Observatory’s forecasts to plan her family’s outdoor adventures. Whether on a day hike or a multi-day camping trip, her family always trusted the Observatory’s forecasts would keep them safe and informed in the White Mountains. The appreciation for this resource led Wendy to volunteer on the summit, giving back to the organization that’s been a key part of her family’s outdoor adventures. It was an opportunity to help the summit crew and challenge herself to learn new recipes with random ingredients on hand to feed the crew and many summit visitors (#IYKYK) while supporting an organization she treasures.

After earning her graduate degree, Wendy managed a busy student life office at a small liberal arts college in California’s Bay Area. Organizing large-scale events, working with many volunteers, and teaching in the social sciences department allowed her to hone her communication and event-planning skills. After moving to Maine, she worked for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, writing and developing niche communities online. This eventually led to a leadership role as an editor in the Features department. She also wrote a monthly column about enjoying the outdoors with kids for more than 10 years.

In recent years, Wendy has worked as a freelancer with various brands across diverse industries. Her expertise is helping organizations, big and small, develop and manage multi-channel marketing projects and events. As a data-driven project manager, Wendy is excited to leverage her skills to foster connections with the Observatory’s community, champion its mission, and collaborate with this fantastic team and its many supporters.

Wendy is eager to meet the larger community to learn how folks connect with the Observatory and ways we can help it thrive collectively. Reach out to her directly at walmeida@mountwashington.org.

Jackie Bellefontaine, School Programs Coordinator

While growing up in Boston, MA, Jackie spent her summers visiting the New Hampshire Lakes Region and White Mountains. When she was young, Jackie discovered a love for Earth Sciences through constantly pointing out features in the New Hampshire landscape and asking her father “why does it look like that?”. Jackie later went on to pursue a B.S. in Earth Sciences at the University of Maine. During her undergraduate career, Jackie joined the Juneau Icefield Research Project (JIRP) as a student and spent the summer ski-traversing the Juneau Icefield from Juneau, AK to Altin, BC. This expeditionary style program, focusing on studies relating to glaciology, solidified Jackie’s passion for cold, dynamic places.

In early 2021, Jackie joined the Mount Washington Observatory as a winter intern. In her few short weeks as an intern, Jackie was fortunate to experience some pretty extreme and exciting weather. Thus, when a weather observer position opened during her internship, she jumped at the opportunity. Jackie then spent the next year and a half thoroughly enjoying her position on the summit as a Weather Observer & Education Specialist.

Jackie took a brief break from the summit to pursue a position with the Lake Winnipesaukee Association where she managed their educational outreach and development efforts. Jackie is ecstatic to once again join the Mount Washington Observatory team and contribute to its mission in her new role as the School Programs Coordinator. She’s looking forward to developing educational programming and engaging with educators, students, and adult learners in our community and beyond.

Alexandra Branton, Weather Observer & Education Specialist

Growing up in Pensacola, FL, Alex was able to experience a variety of exciting weather that sparked her interest in meteorology. From Category 4 hurricanes to a couple of surprising instances of frozen precipitation, and everything in between, Alex became intrigued by the weather. Additionally, Pensacola is home to a high volume of military aviation activity including the Navy’s Blue Angels.

The combination of interesting weather and aviation that Alex was exposed to while growing up inspired her to study Aviation Meteorology at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. While in school, she was a member of the women’s cross-country team and competed in club rock climbing. In the summers between busy academic years, Alex discovered her love for the mountains through her work as a zip line guide and as a via ferrata guide in North Carolina and West Virginia. In her free time, she was able to explore her interests in hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain meteorology. She also completed a thru hike of the 211-mile John Muir Trail.

In the summer of 2021, Alex wanted to gain a deeper understanding of mountain meteorology and was lucky enough to intern at Mount Washington Observatory. She fell in love with the White Mountains and the Obs’ mission and decided to go for a full-time Weather Observer and Education Specialist role after graduating in 2022. She is excited to experience the extreme weather on the mountain and take advantage of the many opportunities for outdoor recreation in her new home.

Jay Broccolo, Director Of Weather Operations

Jay was born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island. Having grown up along the southern coastline of RI gave Jay the opportunity to experience all sorts of diverse and extreme weather from hurricanes to Nor’easters. Jay’s enthusiasm for the outdoors and the natural world only increased since childhood. His parents insisted that he spend as much time outdoors as possible. He joined the Boy Scouts and spent a weekend every month, regardless of the weather, learning useful outdoor skills, camping, and hiking all over New England. He became enamored with the White Mountains, but specifically Mt. Washington, its geology, and unique extreme weather.

Following graduation of high school and obtaining his Eagle Scout, Jay attended the University of Rhode Island. In the middle of his second year he took a semester off and lived in Boulder, Colorado where he had the opportunity to experience mountain weather and hiking the Flatirons. After returning home he continued and completed his B.S. degree in Geology and Geological Oceanography at URI. While at URI he also attended a Geology Field Camp operated by University at Buffalo, geologically mapping various regions Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

With the completion of his Bachelors, Jay went on to work in the oilfield industries as a Mud logger on drill-ships in the Gulf of Mexico. After a couple years of working offshore and not feeling fulfilled with his career path, he interned at Mt. Rainier National Park where he was charged with observing and recording the weather on the mountain while conducting various research projects. Upon completion of the internship, Jay attended the University of Leeds in Leeds, England and completed an MRes in Climate and Atmospheric Science where he focused on factors that influence the development and intensification of extratropical cyclones over the Northeast United States.

With his intrigue in extreme weather events and his love for Mt. Washington, Jay is more than excited to be working here at the Mount Washington Observatory, home to the World’s Worst Weather. In his off time, Jay enjoys the outdoors, board and video games, reading, and learning to play the piano, just to name a few.

Drew BushDrew Bush, Ph.D., Executive Director

Dr. Drew Fulton Bush possesses multiple decades of experience as nonprofit leader, researcher and educator. Drew’s research has examined the human relationship to climate and weather as well as the means to improve public knowledge of these topics and participation in policymaking on them. Before joining the Mount Washington Observatory, Drew led communications and development as the Assistant Director at the Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village, educational and public programs as the Director of Programs at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium and an Environment and Climate Change Canada funded project that utilizes machine learning to examine social media in relation to extreme weather.

Drew earned his Ph.D. from McGill University’s Department of Geography and Bieler School of the Environment, a master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University and a B.A. from Colby College. His past work includes conducting research at the National Aeronautics and Spaces Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, NY, teaching for Cornell University/University of New Hampshire’s Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, ME and introducing environmental science to New York University’s Prison Education Program at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, NY.

Outside of his professional work, Drew enjoys most outdoor activities although his particular favorites include sea kayaking, sailing, backpacking and gardening.

Charlie Buterbaugh, Director of External Affairs

Charlie provides leadership and strategic oversight for the Observatory’s fundraising, external relations, and communications strategy. He joined the organization in 2020 with a multi-disciplinary background in communications and a passion for supporting public understanding of climate science. After graduating with a BA in English from Susquehanna University in his home state of Pennsylvania, he pursued graduate studies that led to literary research and teaching college writing. Charlie then spent five years engaging audiences as a journalist and news editor, often drawn to writing about natural resource conservation, the interdependence of ecosystems, and recreation-based rural economies.

In 2007, seeking experience in business communications, he joined the scientific company VWR, where he helped develop their R&D services segment. Working in several brand strategy, communications, and marketing roles over a period of 11 years, the experience provided rewarding opportunities to collaborate with international teams to engage scientists in university, biotech, and other research settings.

In 2013, intent on a return to rural living, Charlie and his life partner Mindy moved to Maine, a place that had sparked love for adventure earlier in life during ski, canoe, and camping trips to the Northwoods. They eventually found a home near the Village of Fryeburg, where they live with their three kids. In addition to the trials and tribulations of gardening in northern New England, Charlie enjoys cycling, hiking, and skiing through the region’s stunning landscapes.

Amy Cotter, School Programs Educator

Growing up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Amy developed a love for the outdoors and the environment around her. She was raised checking the Higher Summits Forecast in preparation for hikes, sparking her interest in Mount Washington’s extreme weather at a young age.

Amy’s love for the outdoors brought her out west to study Environmental Science at Colorado College. There, she had the opportunity to research at the high-elevation Storm Peak Laboratory in Steamboat Springs, CO, which confirmed her desire to work at a mountaintop observatory.

While she loved exploring the mountains of Colorado, no range quite interested her like the White Mountains and the science behind their weather, which is why she moved back to Mount Washington Valley following her college graduation and worked as an Observatory Fall Summit Intern in 2023. Upon completing her internship, she was eager to continue with the Observatory and pursued the School Programs Educator position. She is thrilled to now work with K-12 students in various school districts and to pursue her passion for environmental education!

In her free time, you can find her hiking, skiing, trail-running, finding the best river spots, or camping.

Peter Crane, Ph.D., Curator

Peter oversees the Observatory’s Gladys Brooks Memorial Library, which features books, maps, prints, photos, and other material relating to the Observatory, Mount Washington, and the White Mountains.

Peter has lived in the White Mountains for more than thirty years, and has worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Appalachian Mountain Club in resource management, public information, and educational roles. He began his Observatory career in 1988 as a weather observer, museum manager, and Summit Shift Leader. After three years of summit duty, he served for several years as Director of Programs before transitioning to his current position.

Peter did his undergraduate work at Harvard College, and earned his doctoral degree in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. An avid year-round hiker, he is also a volunteer trail maintainer for the Appalachian Mountain Club, a member of Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), and serves on the board of the New Hampshire Outdoor Council.

Ellen Estabrook, Communications Manager

Ellen joined the Observatory team in September 2023 with a background in brand strategy and a passion for stewardship. Originally from southeastern Connecticut, summer camping and hiking trips in the White Mountains with family and friends were formative in her appreciation of all the Granite State has to offer, which was furthered by her undergraduate years at Keene State College. There, she studied Psychology and worked at the Center for Writing before continuing to Southern Connecticut State University for graduate work in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

While working towards a master’s degree, she was employed in retail and it is here that she became involved with social media marketing and retail tourism. Her experiences lead her to a brand management position in the outdoor industry, where she was able to learn about and foster partnerships with renowned nonprofit organizations like the Appalachian Mountain Club, Adirondack Mountain Club, and Mount Washington Observatory.

Ellen has a deep gratitude for the outdoors and its benefits to the human spirit and is passionate about preserving our beloved spaces and connecting others to this valuable resource. Her interests in sustainability, conservation, and the environmental impacts of climate contribute to her passion for continual learning and desire to support the important research and operations of the Observatory.

Linda & Hank Dresch, Volunteer Coordinators

Linda is the daughter of Mount Washington Observatory co-founder Robert S. Monahan, and enjoys continuing her father’s legacy as volunteer coordinator with her husband, Hank.

Married for more than 40 years, Linda and Hank have one daughter and two very active grandsons. During Hank’s 30-year U.S. Coast Guard career they lived in several locations including Alaska and England. Linda’s diverse career has spanned positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska, and the Editorial Staff of the Wall Street Journal. Linda and Hank both also had “retirement jobs” in Portland, Maine, where they continue to volunteer at Merrill Auditorium. They have been very active volunteers wherever they have lived.

Linda and Hank now reside in Jackson, New Hampshire, where they keep very busy with year-round activities in the great outdoors.

Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Education

Brian began his observatory career as a winter intern on the summit in early 2012 after attending the University of New Hampshire where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation Studies. Following intervening seasons as a Backcountry Hut Naturalist and Education Assistant for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Brian returned to the Observatory as a full-time Observer and Educational Specialist on the summit where he performed daily weather observations and led weather station tours, distance learning programs and media interviews.

After nearly three winters on the summit, Brian headed south to work as the Chief Weather Observer at Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center just south of Boston while going to graduate school at night. In early 2016, Brian graduated from Boston University with a Master’s of Education with a focus in Science Education, and moved back to the Mount Washington Valley to serve as Mount Washington Observatory’s Director of Education. When Brian’s not administering and teaching educational programs and summit adventures, you can find him hiking, mountaineering, trail running, skiing or staring at the clouds. He currently resides in North Conway along with his partner, Stephanie, and their sons Cameron and Finlay.

Keith Garrett, Director of Technology

Keith brings over 25 years of experience in IT hardware, software and business networks. He has experience in working with municipalities, non-profits and individuals.

Prior to his work with the Observatory Keith was the owner of Wolfeboro Computer Solutions in the Wolfeboro and Lakes Region area. His services spanned all aspects of IT including deployment and maintenance of a wide range of systems.

Alexis George, Weather Observer & Meteorologist

Alexis’ interest in the weather began when she was a kid, when she witnessed the formation of a waterspout in Ocean City, MD. Born and raised in Arlington, VA, she discovered that her favorite season was winter when she witnessed thundersnow from a blizzard that hit her hometown in 2016.

To pursue her passion for the climate and weather, Alexis graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Meteorology in 2022. She spent her spring breaks during college photographing clouds and storm chasing on the beaches of Florida. Alexis learned how to snowboard later on and fell in love with the sport. Obsessed with snow and mountains now, Alexis landed her dream job as a Weather Observer and Meteorologist at Mount Washington Observatory. She is excited to explore and study more about the most extreme weather in the world.

In her downtime, Alexis enjoys hanging out with her dog, hiking, crocheting, rock climbing, and photography.

Amelia Gross, AmeriCorps School Programs Educator

Since she was a kid in Tarrytown, New York, Amelia has enjoyed spending time outdoors and exploring new places. Amelia’s love for the environment, and desire to protect natural spaces, led her to pursue a B.S. in Environmental Health and a B.A. in Political Science at the University of Rochester.  

 Following her graduation last May, Amelia spent six months as an Environmental Education Fellow in Rocky Mountain National Park, where her passion for teaching children was solidified. She is excited to continue working in environmental education, with a new focus on weather and climate at the Mount Washington Observatory. Amelia is passionate about the connection between science literacy and environmental justice, and she is excited to help students of all ages and backgrounds access meaningful science and environmental education.  

Outside of work, Amelia is excited to explore the White Mountains through hiking and running, and she hopes to not only take students to the summit but climb it herself! 

Arron Hammack, Administrative Assistant

Arron grew up in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in Western North Carolina, where she cultivated a deep love for the outdoors. Having worked in the mental health field for 17 years, she chose to drastically change her career path by shifting into the residential construction industry. Growing up, Arron enjoyed going to work with her father during the summers, learning the construction trade, and it had always stuck with her. From there, she worked her way up from a laborer to the office and project manager at her previous employer. Arron and her family relocated to Lovell, ME in the fall of 2018, where they found their dream home. With her strong background in office and project management, she hopes to apply her skills and knowledge to her role as Administrative Assistance at Mount Washington Observatory. Her hobbies include playing various musical instruments, reading, writing short stories and poetry, kayaking, gardening, and cooking.

Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer & Meteorologist

Originally from the Lake Tahoe region of California, Ryan was born into the alpine lifestyle. He came to the Observatory as a winter intern in 2005, and started as a Weather Observer in 2006.

Ryan’s interest in weather started as a child, when he would watch the morning weather report before going skiing. In high school, he enjoyed giving weather reports to fellow students and ski clubbers, and decided to pursue a career in meteorology. He graduated from San Jose State University in 2004 with a B.S. in Meteorology, and spent the first three years of his career as a weather observer for San Jose International Airport.

Ryan came to Mount Washington for the unique weather, and to explore and study the worst weather in the world. When he’s not watching the weather, he enjoys backpacking, ski boarding, aggressive inline skating, traveling, video games, and movies.

Nimbus, Resident Summit Cat

Nimbus joined Mount Washington Observatory staff in April 2021 as our resident summit cat. A sociable gray shorthair adopted from the Conway Area Humane Society, he shares his name with large gray clouds that bring precipitation.

Cats have been members of the observatory family and weather station since our founding in 1932, and Nimbus proudly continues this tradition. He succeeds longtime resident cat Marty, who was beloved by thousands of visitors from around the world.

When he’s not catching mice or stealing a seat in the weather room, he writes the “News from Nimbus” column, translated by observers and published in our magazine, Windswept.

Charlie was born and raised outside of Boston in Concord, MA, where he developed a strong passion and appreciation for all things weather. Specifically, his favorite types of weather were winter storms, Nor’easters, and summer thunderstorms. Growing up, he spent most of his summers either exploring the White Mountains or relaxing along the seacoast of New Hampshire, and he quickly began to love everything the New Hampshire climate had to offer.

Shortly after starting high school, Charlie was lucky enough to join one of the country’s only pre-college chapters of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), where he began creating forecasts for his local community and broadcasting them on the local TV station. After that, he quickly became the project lead for his Weather Club’s balloon launch program, which resulted in him constructing and launching three different weather balloons and presenting them at two different AMS annual conferences.

Charlie’s passion for the weather and love of New Hampshire led him to attend Plymouth State University. While there, he had the opportunity to continue broadcasting the weather for his local community and doing meteorological research. Participating in a National Science Foundation research study in his first year as an undergraduate gave him the opportunity to become an IT intern at the Mount Washington Observatory in the Summer of 2019. During the internship, he spent most of his time off the summit shadowing the director of IT, writing weekly blog posts, and developing a portable weather station for use at the summit.

After graduating from Plymouth State in 2022 with a B.S. in Meteorology, Charlie returned to Plymouth State to obtain a Master’s Degree the following year. His research focused on creating a climatology of recent extreme precipitation events along the coast of Maine.

Soon after finishing his M.S. in Applied Meteorology in 2023, the opportunity to become a Weather Observer at the Mount Washington Observatory presented itself, and Charlie immediately applied. Working at the summit has always been one of his dream jobs, so he is tremendously excited to get to be able to work and live at the home of the world’s worst weather.

In his off time, Charlie loves to use his camera, watch sports and movies, ski, hike, camp, swim, fish, golf, play ultimate frisbee, and almost anything else that involves being outdoors.

Karl Philippoff, Weather Observer & Research/IT Specialist

Karl grew up in Montville, NJ and was able to experience a variety of weather that sparked his interest in meteorology. Summer thunderstorms, the winds and rain associated with passing tropical cyclones, and winter nor’easters were some of his favorites. He still remembers waking up the morning after the blizzard of ’96 and being awed by the winter wonderland created by two feet of drifting snow overnight.

Additionally, Karl has always had a passion for the mountains. Their photogenic, craggy peaks and the views from top fostered by childhood family vacations to the Rockies, California, and along the Appalachian Mountains have always been a source of recreation and enjoyment for him.

In college, he sought to further his passion for the weather by studying environmental science with a concentration on meteorology and chemistry at the University of Virginia. After graduating, he pursued his interest in climatology by obtaining a master’s in earth science by studying an ice core record taken from the Himalayas while at the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University. Deciding to shift gears from climatological research, he went back to school to get a degree in meteorology from Rutgers University.

In summer 2022, while completing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, he applied to become winter intern at Mount Washington Observatory, beginning in January 2023. Hearing that they were still looking to fill a full-time weather observer position, he applied and was hired as a Weather Observer and Research Specialist in February.

When he is not enjoying the extreme weather on the summit, Karl enjoys many outdoor activities, including backpacking, hiking, cycling, bodyboarding, traveling, and spending time with his family and two nieces.

Jon Powers, Transportation Coordinator

Jon was born and raised in Newburyport, MA. His family had a small camp in Freedom, NH that they would visit often to ski on winter weekends or relax on Ossipee Lake during the summer. The Powers had deep ties with the King Pine/Purity Springs family and soon became a constant part of their lives year-round. Jon was involved with the ski team on weekends, then ski school, snowmaking, ski patrol, and every other little odd job that comes up at a small mountain. In 1998, the family made their permanent move to the valley and have never left.

At 16, Jon joined the Freedom Fire Department as a call member to serve the community and scratch an itch. Coming from a family of firefighters/EMT’s/police officers and service members, the thought of public service had always just been a curiosity. In his senior year of high school, Jon was offered the chance to attend New Hampshire Fire Academy’s recruit school, an intensive 5-day-a-week/3-month-long training program. This sparked the desire to make firefighting/EMS a full-time career, and the rest fell into place. Jon was hired by the Wolfeboro Fire Department in 2007, where he served for nine years before transferring to Conway Fire Department, where he now serves as a Lieutenant/Paramedic.

Jon started with the Observatory in 2017 after a friend told him about an open snowcat operator position that he thought might be a good fit. After training under the watchful eye and expertise of veteran drivers, he took his first solo trip in April of that season. Jon took over the role of Transportation Coordinator in spring 2022 and now oversees the scheduling and logistics of transportation as well as maintenance on all Observatory vehicles. He resides in Center Conway with his fiancé Keri and their chocolate lab Maverick.

Brenda Sullivan, Director of Finance & Administration

With an Animal Science degree from the University of Maine, Brenda started her career as a veterinary hospital technician and office manager on the East End of Long Island, NY. After going back to school and completing her MBA, Brenda spent a number of years in central Connecticut as Finance Manager for Protein Sciences Corporation, where her responsibilities included the financial oversight of multi-million dollar government contracts and shareholder relations. In 2017 Brenda, her husband, two dogs and two cats moved to Madison, NH. After continuing to work for the same CT based company for over a year, she decided it was time to focus her attention on her new community by joining the team at MWOBS. With an MBA in Business and years of Finance experience, she now focuses on supporting The Observatory where needed.

Francis Tarasiewicz, Weather Observer & Education Specialist

Francis was born in Connecticut, a hotbed for all kinds of extreme weather. Between the beauty of winter storms and nor’easters, and the excitement of summertime thunderstorms, he quickly caught the weather bug at age 4. Growing up, he spent his days watching the Weather Channel and Jim Cantore’s “Storm Stories,” which told tales of extreme weather, further fueling his passion for meteorology.

This fascination followed Francis in high school where he started an online weather forecasting account on Twitter called “The Francast.” During this time, it was not uncommon for teachers to ask him if he thought there might be a snow day! He spent his first paycheck on a weather station and camera to observe and document some of the extreme weather Connecticut has to offer.

For college, Francis headed to the snowy mountains of northern Vermont, where he received a bachelor’s in atmospheric sciences/meteorology at Northern Vermont University (formerly Lyndon State College). While there, he was able to participate in many forecasting opportunities from forecasting for hikers attempting to summit Mt. Everest to the foggy depths of California’s Central Valley. In addition to weather forecasting, Francis became interested climate change education and outreach. This inspired him to join the Climate Consensus, a student-led group focused on communicating climate change science to the public. Francis also served as the president of the NVU AMS & NWA club, where he planned and chaired the 44th annual Northeastern Storm Conference, the largest student-run weather conference in the Northeast. While earning his bachelor’s degree, he focused his research on the impacts of extreme weather on electrical outages in the state of Vermont.

Francis decided to continue studying meteorology at Plymouth State University, where he focused on boundary layer variables and their potential influences on power outage density. His time at Plymouth also afforded him an opportunity to work with MWOBS, where he helped install and maintain snowpack sensors in Pinkham notch. He further dialed in a passion for communicating and teaching meteorology when he served as a teacher’s assistant for three courses.

Once out of school, Francis worked for the New Hampshire Department of Emergency Management, where he used his meteorological knowledge to inform public safety. While there, he helped create disaster scenarios to help towns prepare for extreme weather. He also focused on helping communities in NH mitigate against weather-related disasters, as well as the future impacts of climate change.

When he is not thinking or talking about the weather, Francis can be found enjoying the outdoors, reading, or playing with his synthesizer.

Brandi Webb, Museum Operations & Retail Manager

Brandi grew up in Hopkinton, MA, which is best known as the starting point of the Boston Marathon. In September 2022, Brandi, her boyfriend, their 6 year old daughter, and their cat moved to Berlin, NH after a three-year plan to relocate. She began working as our Museum Operations & Retail Manager in March 2023. Before that, Brandi had only been to Mount Washington summit one time as a tourist in 2020, and she is grateful to be working with the MWOBS team and contributing to her new community. Brandi’s background is primarily in retail and customer service, and she is currently working towards an associate’s degree in business administration. Her hobbies include embroidery, drawing, shopping, gardening, learning, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.

Trustees

Officers

Erica Broman, Ed.D., Chair

Erica began her professional career as a producer and on-air talent at two television stations in New England. From there she transitioned into a three decade long successful career in marketing and fundraising. Working at public universities in Massachusetts she was able to raise the philanthropic profile at both, dramatically increasing the endowments and fundraising activity, establishing new scholarships, and overseeing multiple capital campaigns. She received her BA from Miami University, her MBA from the University of Massachusetts and her doctorate from Northeastern University. She is the trustee designate for the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ, a founding board member of the Healing Racism Institute in MA and involved in volunteer activities in the Lake Sunapee region where she resides with her husband Chris and two dogs, Otter and Pluto.

Lourdes B. Avilés, Ph.D., Vice Chair

Lourdes Avilés is the Associate Provost at Plymouth State, where she has been a Meteorology professor since 2004. Until recently, she also served as department chair for Meteorology, Climate Studies, and Physics, and was the director of the Computational, Applied, Mathematical, and Physical Sciences (CAMPS) Academic Unit. She has a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (where she was chosen as the 2023-24 distinguished alum), and B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.

Beth Newhouse, Treasurer

Beth is a retired Managing Director from Cambridge Associates LLC, where she was the Director of the Quantitative Research Group for over 12 years, responsible for creating the firm’s models, analytical tools and related materials used in the investment advisory practice.For the preceding eight years, Beth was an investment consultant for Cambridge Associates, working with college endowments, private foundations and health-care institutions.Before joining Cambridge Associates, she was the Director of Sponsor Services for BARRA Inc., where she was responsible for all aspects of the firm’s business unit consulting to pension fund, endowment, and foundation clients. Beth received an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a BA from Calvin College.

Beth is an avid hiker and became acquainted with the Observatory on her first ascent of Mount Washington after moving to New England in the early 1990s. She has been active in a number of civic and professional organizations for many years, including the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Jeanie Oliver, Secretary

Jeannie Oliver is the Senior Director of ROC-NH, a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. ROC-NH helps residents in manufactured home parks to purchase and manage their parks as resident owned communities, preserving affordable housing and creating stronger, more vibrant communities. Previously, Jeannie was a Professor of Law and Staff Attorney at the Energy Clinic at the Vermont Law and Graduate School. In this role, Jeannie worked with students to provide law, policy, and advocacy services to clients pursuing clean energy and climate justice solutions. Jeannie has also worked for the Vermont Department of Public Service focusing on energy policy, utility project siting, and utility rate cases, and in private practice advising clients on a range of corporate and commercial matters. Originally from New Zealand, Jeannie has a law degree from the University of Auckland and an LLM in Environmental Law and an LLM in American Legal Studies from the Vermont Law School. Jeannie is an outdoor enthusiast, and enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and backpacking in her spare time.

Robert C. Kirsch, Immediate Past Chair

Rob Kirsch is the Immediate Past President of the Observatory. Rob worked as a weather observer between 1978 and the fall of 1981. He was elected to the Observatory board of trustees in 1985. Rob is a retired partner from the international law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, where he chaired the firm’s environmental practice. Between 1983 and 2018 Rob focused his legal work on environmental and human rights issues.

Rob’s environmental work concentrated on strategic advice, enforcement defense and litigation across a broad spectrum of federal and state statutes and regulatory programs. His clients included leading businesses in the energy, defense, life sciences-pharma, waste management, consumer products, and real estate development industries, among others.

Between 2004 and 2015, Rob led a WilmerHale pro bono team representing six men interned at the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay — receiving a favorable decision before the US Supreme Court, a favorable decision in the first Guantanamo habeas corpus trial, and the only ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in favor of a Guantanamo prisoner out of the more than 20 such decisions. All of Rob’s clients were released to return to their families.

To demarcate his retirement from full-time legal practice at WilmerHale, in May 2018, Rob climbed Mount Rainier with his two sons.

Rob also serves as the Chair of the board of the Environmental Law institute, Vice Chair of the Mount Washington Commission, Vice Chair of The Nature Conservancy New Hampshire Board of Trustees, and is a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers.

Trustees

Teresa S. Bowers, Ph.D.

Terri Bowers is an environmental scientist and advising principal at Gradient, an environmental and risk sciences consulting firm in Boston, MA, where she spent 30 years helping clients develop risk-based environmental strategies to address their regulatory and litigation needs. She served for eight years as president of the company before largely retiring in 2021. Terri served on the Science Advisory Committee for Mount Washington Observatory for several years in the late 2000s.

Terri has a B.S. in mathematics and geology from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Terri divides her time between homes in Arlington, MA and Meredith, NH.

Michelle Cruz

Michelle moved to northern New Hampshire from New York City in 2002 as a North Country AmeriCorps member supporting the Mount Washington Observatory’s educational outreach efforts. After her year of service, she resumed life in New York City and continued to stay involved in the nonprofit sector. Shortly thereafter, she returned to the North Country as an outreach educator for the Obs. Her dedication and passion for her work led her to becoming Director of Education. During this time she was involved in building distance education and the renovation of the summit museum now known as Extreme Mount Washington. Today, Michelle joins the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce supporting community and member engagement providing resources for businesses to strategically market the Mt. Washington Valley as the premier New England vacation destination.

Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, Ph.D.

An applied climatologist by training, Dr. Dupigny-Giroux’s research interests intersect a number of interdisciplinary fields including hydroclimatic natural hazards and climate literacy, geospatial climate and land-surface processes, all within the context of our changing climate. Dr. Dupigny-Giroux has served as the Vermont State Climatologist since 1997, and is the immediate Past President of the American Association of State Climatologists. In 2020, she was appointed by the Vermont House of Representatives to the Vermont Climate Council as the member with expertise in climate change science. She continues to work with Vermont State Agencies and municipalities in their planning for and adapting to climate change. She is an expert in floods, droughts and severe weather and the ways in which these affect Vermont’s landscape and people. She has worked extensively with K-12 teachers and students, bringing the use of satellites, climatology and climate change to all levels of the pre-university curriculum. She is the lead editor of Historical climate variability and impacts in North America, the first monograph to deal with the use of documentary and other ancillary records for analyzing climate variability and change in the North American context.

John F. Gorman

Growing up in the Berkshires, with the Appalachian Trail literally traversing his back yard, John seemed destined to be a hiker. As a member of the AMC, his love of four season backpacking led him to the White Mountains and the Presidential Range. In 1979 and 1980 he worked on the summit of Mount Washington as a union carpenter during the construction of the Sherman Adams Building. So began his association with the Obs.

During the 1980s, John assisted Obs staff in an attempt to mitigate the water leaking into the summit building. A member of the Observatory’s Facilities Committee since 2012, he recently spearheaded the renovations of the Obs summit bunk rooms. He is a former board member of the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and of the Friends of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center.

John attended Northeastern University where he studied civil engineering and political science, disciplines that led to a career that included both politics and construction. As a Boston based political operative he has worked on campaigns all over the country, including stints as an advance man for the Clinton White House, the Kennedys, John Kerry and the DNC. Since 1978 his construction industry career has evolved from carpenter to contractor to project manager to permitting consultant. His company, Permit Strategies, specializes in resolving building permit and zoning issues in the City of Boston.

John and his wife Katie live in Boston. His four grown sons and his grandchildren are all avid hikers and big fans of the Observatory.

Drew Landry

Drew Landry is currently a tax principal with John G. Burk and Company, CPA’s, P.C. where his primary duties include tax compliance and representation for closely-held businesses and estates.  In addition, he renders forensic accounting services for a wide variety of clients.  He has assisted state and federal authorities in the prosecution of complex financial crimes.  Previously, Mr. Landry was employed as a Revenue Agent with the Internal Revenue Service from 1974 to 1984.  His duties included lengthy assignments in the Examination Division, the Criminal Investigation Division, the Regional Training Division and the Office of District Counsel.  Mr. Landry has testified as an expert witness in United States District Courts, United States Tax Court, Cheshire County Superior Court, Hillsborough County Superior Court, Sullivan County Superior Court, Cheshire County Probate Court, Hillsborough County Probate Court and Windham County (Vermont) Superior Court.

Haley LaPoint

After forecasting some of the most extreme weather in the United States, Hayley LaPoint is excited to be home in New England with WMUR Channel 9. Hayley grew up in Topsfield, Massachusetts, and went to college in the Green Mountains of Vermont at Lyndon State College. While attending Lyndon State College, Hayley earned a Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology and an Associate’s degree in TV News. Previously, Hayley worked at WPTZ-TV in Plattsburgh, New York/Burlington, Vermont for three years. Hayley began her career in Fargo, ND, at KVLY-TV & KXJB-TV. Hayley lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, three daughters, and a beloved dog named “Doppler”.

Gary MacDonald

Gary retired after a 40-year career in education serving as teacher, administer and consultant, retiring as a Superintendent of Schools.  He graduated from Marietta College and has advanced degrees from the University of Maine. Gary, and his wife Karen, moved to the Mount Washington Valley over 50 years ago, planning on staying for a few years to ski and hike but never left. Their children, Alison and Trevor, enjoy bringing their children back to this unique and special place.

Gary has been very involved with Mount Washington Observatory, including recently serving as Chair of the Observatory Trustees and currently chairing the Educational Committee.  Along with hiking, Gary enjoys tennis, kayaking, spending time on Cape Cod, as well as sailing on the Maine coast. Having lived in the shadow of Mount Washington for all these years and with an interest in weather and forecasting, he has always marveled at the work, as well as the history of the Observatory.

Mike Matty

Mike received his B.A. and M.A. from the Pennsylvania State University in Economics. He went on to manage various mutual funds, pension funds, and write investment research. He is currently President of St. Germain Investments in Springfield, MA. The investment management firm has nearly $1.5 billion in managed assets.

In his spare time, Mike does a considerable amount of outdoor activity, often times in the wintertime in the White Mountains. He has successfully completed the “7 Summits” (highest peak on each continent), summitting Mt. Everest in 2011.

Mike lives in South Hadley, MA with his wife Patty.

Peter Middleton

Peter graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1981 and has worked in commercial construction ever since. He is currently the president of Martini Northern General Contractors and Construction Managers in Portsmouth, NH.

During summer breaks from college, Peter worked on various construction projects in the Mount Washington Valley area, including the construction of the Sherman Adams Building at Mount Washington State Park in 1979 and 1980.

An avid skier, Peter spent more than twenty years supporting youth ski racing as a coach and board member of the Attitash Alpine Education Foundation. He lives in Newfields, NH with his wife, Meg. He has two grown children, Abby and Ben.

In addition to sitting on the Observatory’s Facilities Committee, Peter also formerly served on the board of Plan NH as treasurer and as president of Friends of UNH Skiing.

Ken Rancourt

Ken is a native of Connecticut but spent most of his early years ‘summering’ in Conway, being shuttled between relatives in the area. He received his BS in Meteorology from Iowa State University and went on for a MS at the Meteorology Department at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where many of his ancestors came from. After a brief stint in the construction industry he started at the Observatory in 1979 where he spent his more than 30 year career. Starting at the Observatory as an Observer/Tractor Operator he eventually managed many research and testing programs on the summit and finished his tenure as Director of Summit Operations.He was fortunate to represent the Observatory at a number of World Meteorological Organization meetings in Geneva, Switzerland; Trappes, France; and Casablanca, Morocco. He believes in giving back to the community by volunteering. Ken was an early board member of Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, and currently sits on the boards of the White Mountain Interpretive Association as Treasurer, and the Conway Historical Society as President. He is also active on the Observatory’s Science Committee and has mentored a number of Summer Interns. He also serves internationally as the United States Secretary of the Eastern Snow Conference. Ken lives in an off-the-grid home In Conway with his wife Jane.

Karen Umberger

Karen Umberger retired as a Colonel from the US Air Force after having served 28 years. Her assignments took her throughout the United States as well as overseas in Germany, Korea and Panama. She served for 6 months in the United Arab Emirates during Desert Storm. Upon retiring she and her husband settled in Kearsarge where she has been active in the local community serving on the Conway Budget Committee and as a Conway Selectman. She served 10 years as a State Representative from Carroll County District 2. During her time in office, she was an active member of the Mt Washington Commission.

Life Trustees

Brian K. Fowler

Brian has a degree in geology and is a retired consulting engineering geologist. He is currently involved in research on the late-glacial geology of northern New England and southeastern Quebec and has published more than twenty professional papers, including the only scientific treatise on the collapse of the Old Man of The Mountain. He and Betsy are active mountaineers and members of the American Alpine Club, and Brian is a co-founder of the Mountain Rescue Service.

Brian was introduced to the Observatory during seven summers working for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) Hut System, especially the two he spent as “croo” and then hutmaster at Lakes of The Clouds. He joined as a member in 1964, a trustee in 1972, and served as board president from 1981 to 1996. He has made significant financial contributions to summit improvement projects, and his leadership and tireless efforts helped provide the foundation upon which the Observatory is thriving today.

Christopher R. Hawkins

A graduate of the University of New Hampshire-Thompson School and Johnson State College, Chris began his career with the New Hampshire DOT Materials and Research Bureau. Work took him to Mt. Washington inspecting soils for the Sherman Adams Building construction and other summit construction. A detour to managing the AMC Construction crew found him directing the Tip Top House renovation in the 1980’s.

Chris’ association with the Observatory started in 1971 as a hut boy at Lakes of the Clouds, when he became an Obs member. Later he joined the Facilities committee, and subsequently appointed a Trustee. Chris has also served on the Coos County Conservation District for 25 years.

Now retired, Chris splits his time between Randolph, NH, Barnet, VT and piloting his VW bus to places unknown.

Kenneth A. Jones

Ken is a retired managing partner of Wilson/Reilly Associates, a technical sales firm in Nashua, NH, following a long career in industrial management. He earned an engineering degree from Penn State and an MBA from Syracuse University.

Active in many outdoor activities, Ken has always been keenly interested in weather. His introduction to the Observatory in the early 1980s kindled a love of Mount Washington and its unique climate. He has been a member of the Mount Washington Observatory Science Committee since 1995, and is a past president of the Board of Trustees. He serves on other non-profit boards as well.

He lives in Amherst, NH, with his wife, Suzanne. They have two grown children, as well as several grandchildren, who visit them often at Lake Winnisquam.

Gail Langer

Now retired, Gail spent 13 years with the DuPont Pharmaceuticals Company rising to the Worldwide Director of Business Development. Earlier, she held successive positions as General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, Total Quality Manager for Manufacturing, Manager of Worldwide Chemical Manufacturing, Senior Professional Sales Representative and Research Chemist in the Biomedical Products Department. She spent 7 years with Pfizer beginning as a Synthetic Organic Chemist and subsequently as a Process Development Supervisor. She has a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Merrimack College and an M.S. degree in Organic Chemistry from Southern Connecticut University.

For many years Gail sponsored the education of a young man in Uganda and for the past 13 years has sponsored the education of a young woman in Ladakh, India who recently graduated from The Siddhartha High School. In addition, Gail has worked with the science department of this school and has traveled there four times in recent years to lend support.

Always a lover of the outdoors, Gail’s interests include sea kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, bicycling, hiking and travelling. She has hiked in Peru, Alaska, Western Canada, Nepal, Bhutan, Chile, Argentina and Switzerland but especially loves hiking in the White Mountains.

Gail has served on the MWO board since 2005 and has been on the Education Committee and is currently on the Science Committee. She resides in Brunswick, Maine.

Jack Middleton

Jack worked at the Observatory from 1952 to 1953, and has been a trustee since 1957. He serves on the Governance Committee and Summit Options Task Force and held the position of secretary for more than five decades in the past.

Jack received his A.B. from Lafayette College in 1950 and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1956. He is president of the law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, and has been active in numerous civic, professional, and bar association activities for many years.

Jack lives in Freedom, NH and has three grown children.

Gail Paine

A retired Program Coordinator for the University of New Hampshire College for Lifelong Learning (now Granite State College), Gail worked in the North Country of New Hampshire from 1980 to 2004. She is a University of Michigan graduate with a B.S. in nursing.

Gail served on the Memorial Hospital board of trustees (past president) from 1974 to 1996, the YMCA Camp Nellie Huckins board from 1984 to 1995, the New Hampshire Distance Learning Commission from 1994 to 2003, the New Hampshire State Board of Education from 1995 to 2005, and was a member and chairman of the New Hampshire Juvenile Parole Board from 1995 to 2006. She is also a former board member of the Bartlett School Board, the New Hampshire Farm Museum, the Northern NH Charitable Foundation, and the Mt. Washington Valley School to Career Partnership.

Gail presently serves as a board member on the Goldberg Foundation, Tillotson Foundation, Walker Foundation, New Hampshire Electric Cooperative Foundation, and the Visiting Nurses of Northern Carroll County. She has served on the Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council since 1991, is secretary of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, and is also a member of the Mountain Top Music Advisory Committee. Gail represents New Hampshire on the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Board in Arlington, VA and serves on both the Administrative Committee and as chairman of the CEO Evaluation Committee for that organization. Gail is active in the Town of Bartlett, New Hampshire, where she resides, serving as chairman of The Lower Bartlett Water Commission ZBA and chairman of the Supervisors of the Bartlett Voter Checklist.

Gail is a Credentialed Cooperative Director and is taking courses towards the Credentialed Leadership Director degree for the National Rural Electric Association directors. Her hobbies include fly fishing, ornithology, golf, hiking, skiing, and traveling.

Leslie Schomaker

Leslie graduated from Wellesley College in 1966 and received her M.B.A. from the University of New Hampshire in 1983. In the early days of PCs, she started a consulting business in Maine that helped computerize the accounting functions of for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organizations. This often involved custom programming to get the client’s data into a format that could be imported into accounting software. She has also been self-employed as a publisher of hiking cards, owner of restaurants in Kennebunkport, ME, and owner of a company that resold natural gas to a West Virginia utility. She has extensive experience in computing, programming, and accounting.

Leslie enjoys being outside in the Mount Washington Valley, and stays very active skiing, hiking, gardening, biking, and playing pickleball. She lives in Jackson, NH with her husband, Warren. She served as treasurer of the Mount Washington Observatory for many years.

Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., Ph.D.

Bryant has held a variety of leadership positions at distinguished museums and institutions since the early 1970s. He served as the director of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware from 1984 to 2006, and is a Professor Emeritus of History and Art History. He has also written books on New Hampshire architecture including The Grand Resort Hotels of the White Mountains and Summer Cottages in the White Mountains.

A visitor to the White Mountains since the late 1940s, Bryant was introduced to the Observatory in the mid-1970s by Brad Washburn. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1976, and helped enhance the Observatory’s educational programs and former summit museum. He was elected a life trustee in 2003.

Bryant and his wife, Carolyn, live in Concord, NH and have a second home on Squam Lake in Sandwich, NH.

Mark Van Baalen, Ph.D.

Mark earned an A.B. in astronomy in 1966 and a Ph.D. in geology in 1995, both from Harvard. He is now a lecturer on Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard.

Mark has been an Observatory member since 1966, and a trustee since 1984. He was a member of the Executive Committee for fifteen years and has also served on the Long Range Planning Committee and chaired the Nominating Committee, Personnel Committee and Science Advisory Committee. Mark was the program chair for the successful 75th Anniversary Symposium for Air and Climate in 2007, and has been a regular EduTrip leader since the inception of that program.

Mark and his wife, Louisa, reside in Harvard, MA and have one grown daughter. Mark is a member of the American Alpine Club and a life member of the Harvard Mountaineering Club. He is also a sailor and a commercial pilot.