Executive Roundtable

On April 25-26, 2012, IGES convened the Executive Roundtable on Climate, Private Sector Engagement, and Strategic Forecasting in Asheville, North Carolina. The meeting was a success in bringing together leaders from the public, private and academic sectors to assess the latest thinking and pending issues related to the U.S. Climate Services Enterprise.  

Drawing from recent discussions at the World Climate Research Program’s Open Science Conference, recommendations from the NOAA Climate Partnership Task Force and highlights from the National Climatic Data Center’s (NCDC) Alternative Climate Normals and Impacts to the Energy Industry workshop, the meeting focused on the following questions:

  • What are the principles that define actionable climate information?
  • What steps should NOAA take to facilitate the Climate Services Enterprise?

In addressing these questions, participants engaged with NCDC/NOAA officials and shared candid insights on how to improve collaboration between the three sectors and how to better define actionable information. Key themes as well as observations of the group on pressing challenges and solutions are captured on the Executive Roundtable on Climate, Private Sector Engagement, and Strategic Forecasting final report, including: 

  • Credible data is absolutely essential for both climate service providers and for the users.
  • Improving communication to the general public is of benefit to the entire emerging Enterprise. The approach should seek to emphasize how climate impacts individuals, local communities and businesses, and the value of climate information.
  • NOAA is uniquely positioned and committed to continue acting as a source and steward of these data. 
  • Numerous opportunities exist for improved engagement between the public and private sectors in the provision of climate services — from identifying user needs across various economic sectors to adding value to climate data in support of effective decision-making.
  • The long-term success of the Climate Enterprise will depend on continued, open dialogue between the private, public, and academic sectors.

Click here to download the full report. The agenda as well as speaker presentations are included below. 



2:30           Registration

3:00           Welcome & Introductions

Roundtable Chair Jack Cecil.

Jack Cecil, President, Biltmore Farms (Chair)

3:15           Opening Remarks: Climate Science and

Services (Presentation

Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., Director, NCDC/NOAA       

3:40           Climate Normals Workshop Results

Russell Vose, Ph.D., Chief, Product Development Branch, NCDC/NOAA

Click here to learn more about the Alternative Climate Normals and Impacts to the Energy Industry workshop. 

4:15           Recent Developments in Private Sector Engagement (Presentation

Laura Delgado López, Earth Observations Associate, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)

4:45           Summary

Nancy Colleton, President, IGES

5:00           Adjourn

6:00           Dinner

We thank Biltmore Farms, Inc. and the Economic Development Coalition of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring a reception and dinner for the group at the Market Place restaurant.

From left: Tom Karl, NCDC; Keith Wheeler, ZedX; Anne Miglarese, Miglarese Consulting; Jim Geringer, ESRI; Margaret Davidson, NOAA.



8:00           Registration & Networking

8:30           Opening Remarks and Tasks for the Day 

Jack Cecil, President, Biltmore Farms (Chair)

8:45           Sectoral Engagement (Presentation

Tamara Houston, Sectoral Engagement Coordinator, NCDC/ NOAA

9:00           Defining “Actionable” Climate Information

State Climate Office of North Carolina’s Mark Brooks describes the principles of actionable climate information.

This portion of the agenda focused on identifying principles for “actionable” climate information.  Dr. Busalacchi led the discussion by offering insights and observations from the WCRP Open Science Forum, which identified the need for such information.  This was followed by short presentations from the participants below. 


  • Antonio J. Busalacchi, Ph.D., Director and Professor, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland


  • George Briggs, Director, North Carolina Arboretum
  • Mark Brooks, Assistant Director, State Climate Office of North Carolina
  • Otis Brown, Ph.D., Director, Cooperative Institute for Climate & Satellites—North Carolina (CICS-NC)
  • Jim Geringer, Director of Policy and Public Sector Strategies, ESRI

10:15         Break

10:30         Structuring Business Opportunities and the Climate Enterprise

During this portion of the agenda, participants were invited to provide their views on structuring the climate services enterprise. Dr. Hays and Mr. Wheeler led the discussion and provided initial thoughts. Their remarks were followed by comments from the participants below.


  • Sharon L. Hays, Ph.D, Vice President, Office of Science and Engineering, CSC
  • Keith Wheeler, CEO, ZedX


  • Walter F. Dabberdt, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Vaisala Group (Presentation

    Earth Network’s Bob Marshall discusses private sector opportunities throughout the climate information value chain.

  • Steve Halperin, Ph.D., Lead, Climate Information:  Responding to User Needs (CIRUN), University of Maryland
  • Robert S. Marshall, President and CEO, Earth Networks (Presentation)*
  • Anne H. Miglarese, Miglarese Consulting
  • Len Pietrafesa, Ph.D., Associate Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus, North Carolina State University, and Commissioner, AMS Weather and Climate Enterprise
  • Ben Teague, Senior Vice President of Economic Development, The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce; Executive Director; Economic Development Coalition

*Note: Due to file size restrictions, videos imbedded in this presentation have been removed. 

12:30         Lunch            

1:45           Observations

Margaret Davidson, Director, NOAA Coastal Services Center

2:15           Next Steps

Nancy Colleton, President, IGES

2:45           Final Remarks

Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., Director, NCDC/NOAA

3:00           Adjourn

Jack Cecil, President, Biltmore Farms (Chair)


From left: Mark Brooks, State Climate Office of North Carolina; George Briggs, North Carolina Arboretum; Bob Marshall, Earth Networks; Walter Dabberdt, Vaisala Group; Antonio Busalacchi, University of Maryland; Len Pietrafesa, North Carolina State University and AMS Weather and Climate Enterprise; Sharon Hays, CSC.