Innovative Weather Forecasts for Big Names in Town
A local company, predominately run by college students, plays a major role in making forecasts for some pretty big names in town. Innovative Weather, on the campus of UW-Milwaukee, works with Summerfest, the Milwaukee Brewers and We Energies just to name a few . The non-profit just reached a milestone as well. Ten years of predicting localized weather. Innovative is ultimately a data provider for its 16 clients. But in the end, it's considered much more by those who receive the service.
I spent some time at Innovative and was immediately impressed with the set up of the operation. For all intents and purposes, this is a 24-hour operation, and forecasters are essentially always on call. When the weather turns severe, the pressure is obviously turned up. But Director of Operations Mike Westendorf makes it a point to make sure everyone follows protocol and the best product possible is delivered to its partners. Two dozen workers make up this weather entity. Roughly ten of them are students. Some of the graduates remain until they can find permanent jobs outside of the academic arena.
Students are not given class credit for working at Innovative. But they say the experience is invaluable, perhaps even more so than a course credit.