Weather Trends International was the first “real” job I had out of college. With a fantastic group of really intelligent and driven individuals, I saw the company grow each year for all 4 years. Because the company was a “start-up” each employee wore many hats within the company. I was in charge of finding ways to optimize weekly report generation, produce golf reports, create short term client alerts, and most importantly to create a way to quickly produce client weather to sales analyses.
During my time at Weather Trends (WTI), I took the time needed to create some part of the report from 20 minutes to under 2 minutes. This included the creation of graphics and the gathering of data for the report. Using photoshop tools as well as php programming (both self taught) I could re-size images and create data table quickly and efficiently.
Short Term Alerts
Although WTI is a leader in long range forecasting, clients also needed to know about some short term weather events. Examples of these events are snow storms, hurricanes, large severe weather outbreaks, heat waves, and cold snaps. Each of these events needed to be handled a bit differently and affected each of our clients in unique ways. Using typical short range computer models as well as meeting with other forecasters, I released alerts which included specific products, locations to be hit hardest and delivered daily updates. These reports helped clients save or create millions of dollars in sales.
Many times these alerts required a list of stores affected by the event. In this event, I would use GIS software to overlay a shape file and join the shape to a previously created layer of store locations. GIS was also used to create custom regions for many clients and also to create maps for use on the WT360 website.
Produce Golf Reports
Working with leaders in the golf industry, I developed a definition for golf playable days using hourly weather history and correlating it to the number of rounds played during a time period. This information, combined with WTI’s forecast, made for a great presentation of past, present, and future conditions at the thousands of golf courses worldwide. These reports could be generated automatically in as little as 1 minute and reviewed for accuracy by myself or another meteorologist.
Weather – to – Sales Analysis
My most important duty was the creation of a system to quickly ingest sales data delivered from large clients (Wal-Mart, Target…) and correlate the sales to temperature and precipitation. Thousands of locations needed to be analyzed and then aggregated into any number of custom regions supplied by the client. Custom PDF reports could be generated for each of these locations and delivered to the client or an internal team to create the analysis. The data was used to determine a “start temperature” and “end temperature” which was used by the client to plan inventory and marketing opportunities.
Tools Used/Learned While at WTI
- improved excel skills
- R (limited use)
- PDF creation
- Weather Forecasting Improvement
- ArcMAP GIS