NHC Director to Retire

My former NHC colleague, fellow OU Sooner alumnus, and current director Max Mayfield will retire after this season. Max just announced this to the NHC staff today, and news already has spread nationally.

I’ve expressed my regard for this gentleman here before (just run a search for his name), and don’t hesitate to again. Words cannot do justice to how well Max has led TPC during the most intense period of hurricane action ever recorded, at a time when NWS budgets are under ever tighter constraints, bureaucratic pressures from above always loom, and during a period of some major technological changes and personnel turnover. I respected and admired Max from the first day I worked with him (16 January 1990), and that only has grown with time through his tenure as hurricane specialist, to an outstanding directorship of NHC.

He has set a lofty standard for how to run a meteorological office — especially amidst a burden of public, media and bureaucratic scrutiny unmatched elsewhere in NWS and probably in the entire world! His example will be an extraordinarily difficult one to emulate. When folks bring up examples of bad management (and there are many), I often counterbalance them with the excellence of Max and of one of his predecessors (for whom I worked back in the early ’90s), Bob Sheets. It can be done and done well; and they’ve proven it. NHC is extraordinarily fortunate to have had those guys in charge for much of the past quarter century.


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