Correspondence from Seattle, WA
My venture in meteorological entrepreneurship was, and still is, guided by innate scientific curiosity and the steadfast belief that weather and climate impact all aspects of life–physical, social, economic, and psychological. Intense thunderstorms within landfalling tropical cyclones inspire awe within the onlooker and droughts can last for weeks or even months. People plan their lives around the weather, avoiding drenching rains or escaping to tropical climes accordingly. Whether we acknowledge or not, persistent clouds overhead and stagnant smoke plumes around can deaden the spirit. Working to build expertise in the atmospheric sciences, to elucidate the interconnectedness of life with weather and climate, has become a vocation. Finding opportunities to translate that know-how into our clients’ business success is one of several occupations accordingly. In a sense, this piece is about renewal.
For small businesses, it’s often the owner’s responsibility to assume the duties of administration, finance, advertising, and accounts receivable–in addition to doing the actual work under contracts that sustain the business. It’s a monumental undertaking and the path less traveled, but it has its benefits. Owning an atmospheric science consulting firm affords the scientific practitioner maximum flexibility and agility; you work the projects you believe to be resonant with your core mission. You accrue contacts in far-out places and in tangent industries. You pivot when external conditions beyond your control, such as the rapid, inexplicable explosion of a viral pandemic set in.
After a year of unexpected twists and unforeseen complications, I took time to take stock of where we’ve been, what the business has accomplished, and what is in store for the future. Throughout 2019 and now 2020, Cross Product has built valuable client relationships, which has opened the door to fantastic collaborations with transportation, utility, technology, and emergency management specialists. One of the most treasured aspects of consulting is the opportunity to engage in training and data science related business objectives with clients and alongside partners. Facilitating a deep discussion about weather and climate adaptation or visualizing ground-breaking insights for the first time are priceless experiences. In spite of the COVID19 pandemic, we have maintained business continuity, but from the comforts of the modern remote office setting.
“Get this guy a green screen and loose-fitting sport coat – he’s a natural! ”
Feedback is important, if not vital, to the strategic direction finding and success of any small business, especially in the physical sciences. Cross Product has received some very favorable reviews as a result of its technical efforts since 2017: embedding in stealth weather-technology R&D programs, contributing to groundbreaking maritime policy-relevant research, and educating the nation’s first response and emergency personnel on the hazards of weather and climate.
In 2019, Cross Product partnered with ClimaCell, a fast-growing leader in the micro-weather technology space, to augment the capacity of its scientists in demonstrating novel remote precipitation sensing methodologies and to help bring this technology to market. In partnership, we developed new relationships with the United States Department of Defense and the program generated more than $100K in capital for the client in a few short months. More recently, Cross Product was contracted to curate training materials for the City of Seattle and we virtually delivered this curriculum to operators, planners, and program managers from multiple business units. According to the client, knowledge of weather and climate variability in Washington state will enable practitioners to manage water resources for reliable energy production, for improving ecological stewardship, and to promote recreational opportunities for local citizens.
For other training partners, we had the pleasure of working with veteran emergency managers in the training space: Dr. Mary Schoenfeldt, Mr. Ted Buehner, and Mr. Dennis McGowan. Cross Product contributed its expertise about the science of natural hazards in multiple sessions to nation-wide virtual audiences. Dr. Schoenfeldt communicated the psychological impacts of hurricane-induced devastation as part of a community resilience delivery. Mr. Buehner shared his deep knowledge of continuity of communications and emergency management operations in the context of climate adaptation. Mr. McGowan shared his experiences of multiple EF-5’s impacting his neighborhood near Moore, OK over the years (imagine getting hit by not one, but two tornadoes of this intensity!) in a session on tornado awareness. At one point during our lively “table-top” exercise surrounding best practices for tornado preparedness, I cued the audience with actual emergency alerts that were originally disseminated by forecasters from the U.S. National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. One of the participants suggested (only half-jokingly) that I quit my day job, don the loose-fitting sport coat, and get in front of the green screen to forecast full-time!
If success can be measured by follow-on inquiries for project availability and referrals, then I believe the company is on a good heading. Moreover, Cross Product should be participating in follow-up research on the efficacy of zero-emissions technologies for the global shipping sector. Stay tuned – more details on this development are ahead!
Onward and Upward!
In the words of my colleague, Mr. Dennis McGowan, “there are only 3000 more days left in 2020!” It has been a long year and it’s true that some businesses may not survive the on-going economic hardships. In the face of possible failure though, we can still try to “attain higher altitude” so to speak; James Clear says, “it’s better to do less than you hoped than nothing at all. No zero days.” One step at a time as we work through challenges of today. We can continue to push toward whatever our business objectives may be and rest assured that every gain counts. Two of the constants in our experience are the unrelenting weather and ever-changing climate that drives it; Cross Product will be here to help your business navigate challenges imposed by atmospheric events, with confidence, for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
Thanks for reading and be sure to leave us your comments below–we’d love to hear from you!