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What this modeler is thankful for




For those of you in the United States, I hope you were able to take a break this past weekend and celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family. I was happy I was able to get back home to my side of the family and celebrate with them—although I’m glad to not have to drive on I-95 in Northern Virginia for a while!


While I was very pleased that I did not work at all on Thursday and Friday (can’t say that about Saturday and Sunday though!), I did spend some time during my driving to/from home reflecting on what I’m thankful for in a professional sense. Here’s a quick synopsis of my thoughts—I hope you can come up with your own list of what you’re thankful for!


For my first job


Near the end of my senior year at Florida State I saw a note card on the bulletin board in the meteorology department saying somebody from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) was going to be in town doing interviews. I must confess that at that point I hadn’t given one second’s thought to a career in the environment, but I needed a job so I signed up. It was by far the most unprepared I’ve ever been for an interview—I didn’t even know what the job was that I was interviewing for. But I got an offer, and right after graduation I headed to Montgomery and started learning how to do dispersion modeling. It’s been the most enjoyable thing I’ve done in my career, and I’m grateful I got that first opportunity with ADEM.


For my mentor


About three years into my career I met the man who would turn out to be my mentor. This fellow really taught me how to “think” professionally, not only in terms of attention to detail but also how to break down an issue logically and work it through. He taught me about the power of bounding a solution to understand a problem, and he taught me how to be very careful with not only what I say and write but how I say and write it. To this day nearly my entire approach to how I work stems from what he taught me, and I’m very grateful for that.


For my fellow owners at Blue Sky Modeling


In the Fall of 2020 I was looking to make a change professionally, having come to the conclusion that I’d gone as far as I could with where I was at the time. I’d been working with a particular gentleman for many years on a modeling project, and at the end of one of our conversations that Fall he said some words that would change my life: “Bill, my partners and I are looking to add some capabilities to what our firm offers and we’d like to bring you on as a modeler—are you interested?” I certainly was, and after a few months of working out the logistics Blue Sky Modeling was born in February 2021.


To put it simply, BSM has been one of the best experiences of my life. I get to do the kind of work I want to do (remember I said I like modeling the most?), I get to work how I want to (translated—no red tape!), and I get to work from home (losing the commute has been a game-changer for me personally). So I am profoundly grateful for my partner reaching out to me that day in the Fall of 2020 as well as my other partners who stepped up to make BSM a reality—because I can’t imagine a better gig than what I’ve got.


PS—and mixing family and work, I’ll add I’m thankful for my daughter who “turkey-ized” the BSM logo for me that is at the top of this post. Pretty cool, huh?

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