Elbert Friday

Back to People Page

Contact Information

TitleProfessor Emeritus
E-mail joefriday@ou.edu

General Information

B.S. (Special Distinction), 1961, Engineering Physics, University of Oklahoma; M.S., 1967, Meteorology, University of Oklahoma; Ph.D., 1969, Meteorology, University of Oklahoma; Distinguished graduate of the Air Force Command and Staff College in 1972 and graduated from the Air War College in 1976.


He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Weathernews, Americas, Inc, the largest private weather services company in the world. He served as the Chair of the Science Advisory Team for the Northrop-Grumman National Polar Orbiting Operational Environment Satellite Program from 2003 to 2009. He recently served as a committee member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Strategic Guidance for NSF's Support of Research in the Atmospheric Sciences. He served on a 2004 Environment Canada science and technology management review panel. He has also served as a Member of the National Sea Grant College Program Review Panel reporting to the US Secretary of Commerce. Dr Friday served as the WeatherNews Chair and Professor of Applied Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma from 2003 to 2006. He was the Director of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC) at the National Academy of Sciences from July 1998 to May, 2002. In June 1997 through June 1998, Dr. Friday was Assistant Administrator for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In this position as Director of NOAA Research, he was responsible for research and development programs that support and enhance both current and future NOAA services. From March 1988 until June 1997, Dr. Friday served as Assistant Administrator for Weather Services and as Director of the US National Weather Service (NWS). As such, he was responsible for every aspect of providing an effective weather, climate, and flood warning system for the Nation. He managed the modernization of the NWS, resulting in significantly improved weather and flood warnings and forecasts. He was the US Permanent Representative to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization from 1988 until 1998. Dr. Friday served as Deputy Director of the NWS from September 1981 until March 1988. In this capacity, he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NWS and was also responsible for the planning for the modernization of the NWS. He developed the public-private partnership policies and procedures to ensure an effective working relationship between the NWS and the private weather industries. Before coming to the NWS, he completed a 20-year career in the United States Air Force retiring in August, 1981. He was selected for the rank of Colonel in 1977 and served 4 years as the Director of Environmental and Life Sciences in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. Other military assignments included Weather Detachment Commander in Saigon, Vietnam, and Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, as well as positions at the Air Force Global Weather Central and Headquarters Air Weather Service. Dr. Friday is a Fellow and Past-President of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). He recently served as the Commissioner of the Weather and Climate Enterprise Commission of the AMS. He is a member of several professional societies including Sigma Xi, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Weather Association. Dr. Friday was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), and the Air Force Commendation Medal (three times). Dr. Friday is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive. In 1992, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Oklahoma, the highest award the University bestows upon its graduates. The Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association selected him as the 1993 Federal Executive of the Year. He received the 1997 Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, its highest award for service to the meteorological community. In 2000, his office received an Outstanding Unit Award from the National Academy of Sciences.

School of Meteorology twitter Facebook flickr rss A&GS NWC University of Oklahoma Terms of Use Privacy Policy Accessibility Sustainability © 2000-2011