Weather Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

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Local Museum Names First Weather Hall of Fame Inductees

Aug. 30, 2018 — Three long-time leaders in the weather industry will be the first honorees named to the Weather Hall of Fame, officials with the National Weather Museum and Science Center announced today. Their induction will take place during a banquet on Saturday, October 20 in Norman, Oklahoma.

The Weather Hall of Fame honorees are Jim Cantore, meteorologist with The Weather Channel, in the media category; Dr. Elbert W. (Joe) Friday, Jr., retired director of the NOAA National Weather Service, in the public service category; and Thomas J McNellis Jr., senior manager with Lockheed Martin, in the private sector category.

Banquet tickets and sponsorships are available at As part of the Weather Hall of Fame weekend, the National Weather Museum and Science Center is organizing 5K and 10K races on Sunday, Oct. 21 in Norman. More information and race registration to follow.

Weather Hall of Fame Inductee Bios
Jim Cantore is one of the most recognized faces in weather. Known for his live reports from severe weather events, Cantore embodies the passion and knowledge of The Weather Channel that makes him the weather authority viewers turn to when the forecast turns dire. He has covered every major weather event of the past 30 years, including Hurricanes Katrina and Irene and Superstorm Sandy, solidifying his role and the role of The Weather Channel as the leading source for severe weather coverage. Cantore is well known for his animated, tenacious style, both in the field and in the studio.
As Weather’s storm tracker, Cantore reports tirelessly before, during and after weather events, providing live reports and insights for the network. When not in the field, he covers the latest forecast and weather news on “AMHQ” weekdays from 6 – 9 a.m. ET.
He is also is a frequent contributor to NBC programs such as “Nightly News with Lester Holt” and “TODAY,” as well as for NBC affiliates nationwide and multiple MSNBC shows.
A native of White River Junction, Vermont, Cantore graduated with a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Lyndon State College, where he returns each year to work with students in the meteorology program. Weather hired Cantore out of college and he first appeared on air in July 1986. He was inducted into the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center Hall of Fame in February 2013, and in 2013 he was inducted into the Silver Circle of the National Television Academy of Arts & Sciences Southeast Chapter. In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Elbert W. Friday, Jr. is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma. He is a Past President, Fellow, and Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society, and a Charter Member of the National Weather Association. He has served as the Director of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate at the National Academy of Sciences, the Director of NOAA Research, the Director and Deputy Director of the NOAA National Weather Service, and as United States Permanent Representative to the World Meteorological Organization. He completed a 20-year career in the United States Air Force, retiring with rank of Colonel in 1981.
An Oklahoma native, Friday attended the University of Oklahoma, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics in 1961, a Master of Science in Meteorology in 1967, and a Ph.D. in Meteorology in 1969. He served at OU as the Weathernews Chair in Applied Meteorology.
He is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, the Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association’s Federal Executive of the Year for 1993, and the AMS’s Cleveland Abbe Award. His military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Thomas J. McNellis Jr. was appointed Senior Manager of Advanced Programs Strategy for the Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems line of business in November 2015. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, McNellis supports a cross-functional team responsible for identifying and shaping new markets for radar and radio frequency systems, such as DARPA, Office of Naval Research, and MIT-Lincoln Labs. In this role, he is responsible for partnering with the customer community to identify and propose new solutions to solve critical mission needs.
McNellis has worked more than 25 years on advanced RF systems, including radar, electronics warfare and communications and signal processing. In his prior position, he served as Senior Programs Manager responsible for advanced technology development and demonstration for next-generation phased array radar systems.

In 1995 McNellis led a team developing a new “through-the-sensor” technology for the Navy’s premier SPY-1 radar to provide high-fidelity environmental characterization at sea. This lead to his Lockheed team partnering on the National Weather Radar Testbed program with the U.S. Navy, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, the University of Oklahoma, the Federal Aviation Administration and Basic Commerce and Industries to build the $25M phased array National Weather Radar Testbed in Norman. The NWRT was operated by NSSL from 2004 to 2017, advancing the state of the art in tornado detection and warning using adaptive radar scanning, and facilitated research for multi-mission phased array, and assimilation of radar data into forecast models.
A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, McNellis received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He began his career in 1982 as a radar engineer at Texas Instruments, and came to Moorestown in 1988 where he has held a series of engineering and management assignments including Manager of Advanced Systems Engineering, and Engineering Project Manager for advanced radar programs.