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Who We Are

Executive Council

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Roger Pulwarty, Co-Chair

Dr. Roger S. Pulwarty is the Senior Advisor for Climate Research in the NOAA Climate Program. His research and publications focus on climate, impacts assessment, and adaptation in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. Roger is a lead author on a number of national and international climate assessments, including the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Global Assessment of Disasters, the UN IPCC Special Reports on Water Resources and on Extremes. He is a Convening Lead Author on Adaptation Planning and Implementation in the 2014 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Dr. Pulwarty has acted in advisory capacities on climate, natural resources and disaster risk reduction to several national and international agencies, including the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM) the Global Framework on Climate Services, the UNDP, UNEP and the InterAmerican Development and World Banks. He co-chairs the UN World Meteorological Organization Climate Services Information System implementation team and the White House Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainability Task Force on the Water-Energy-Food nexus. Roger has provided testimonies before the U.S. Congress, on climate, adaptation, and natural resources, served on science advisory committees of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and is regularly called on by media outlets, including the New York Times and the BBC. He is the co-recipient of NOAA Administrator and Department of Commerce awards for linking science and decision making, and is the recipient of the 2014 Gold Medal in Applied Sciences and Technology from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Roger is Professor-Adjunct at the University of West Indies, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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Tony Willardson

Tony Willardson was named as Executive Director of the Western States Water Council (WSWC) in July 2009.  The Council, representing 18 states, was created by western governors in June 1965, and members are appointed by their governors. Formerly the Deputy Director, Tony joined the Council in 1979. He holds a B.A. in political science from Brigham Young University, and an M.S. in public administration from the University of Utah.  He is a member of the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration (Pi Alpha Alpha).  He oversees publication of a weekly newsletter, Western States Water, which he edited for many years.  He is the author of numerous articles and reports covering a wide range of water resource issues, including drought, water project financing and cost sharing, ground water management and recharge, water conservation, drought, water use fees, remote sensing of water use and inter-regional water transfers.  He is one of the principal author’s of the Western Governors’ Association’s 2006 Report, Water Needs and Strategies for a Sustainable Future and the subsequent 2008 Next Steps Report, as well as the related WSWC 2010 Progress Report.  He also was a contributing editor to the WGA’s December 2012 report, Water Transfers in the West:  Projects, Trends, and Leading Practices in Voluntary Water Trading. He oversees development of the Council’s Water Data Exchange (WaDE).

Program Office Staff

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Veva Deheza, Executive Director

Veva Deheza is responsible for the implementation of the Public Law that authorized NIDIS in 2006.  She supports agency congressional, legislative, and policy priorities to achieve the NIDIS mission, goals, and objectives. Veva is a NOAA/NIDIS co-lead on the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP), an Administration initiative under the President's Climate Action Plan.  She serves as the NIDIS liaison for the Western Governors’ Association (WGA)/NOAA MOU and the Western States Water Council.  She oversees a staff that coordinates all NIDIS regional drought early warning systems around the country, ensuring that regional successes and lessons learned are connected and linked to each other to create an integrated national drought early warning information system.
Before joining NIDIS, Veva was the Section Chief of the Office of Water Conservation and Drought Planning at the Colorado Water Conservation Board for seven years.  As Section Chief, she oversaw and managed the comprehensive revision of Colorado’s 2010 Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, and authored the Water Adaptation section of Colorado’s first Climate Action Plan in 2007. Before coming to Colorado, Veva worked in Austin, TX as a water resources planner and general manager for a Texas groundwater conservation district. Contact Veva.

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Courtney Black, Regional Drought Coordinator

Courtney Black, P.E., has been a consultant primarily in municipal and watershed water resources planning, stakeholder outreach, water rights litigation, Environmental Impact Statements and wetland restoration projects in Colorado and other areas of the U.S.  She has developed drought planning guidance documents, contributed to state drought planning efforts and designed one of the first “Drought Tournaments” in the U.S. Courtney earned a B.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Lehigh University and a M.S. in environmental engineering from the University of Florida. Contact Courtney. 

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Kathleen Bogan, Communications Specialist

Kathy brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to her work for NIDIS, where she manages all aspects of communications, including website content, the NIDIS newsletter, reports and social media. Her work in newspapers has involved stints at Nation Media in Nairobi, Kenya; the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado; the Casper Star-Tribune in Wyoming; and the High Country News. She has an M.F.A. in printmaking from the University of Montana and B.A. in Art History and American Civilization from Williams College. Contact Kathy.

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Sandy McClellan, Budget Analyst

Sandy is a 10-year Air Force veteran who brings a diverse background of knowledge with her to include, program coordination and financial management. Prior to joining NIDIS Sandy worked for ZeL Technologies, LLC out of Hampton Virginia for 15 years on a variety of tasks. Her most recent position was as the Program Coordinator at NOAA for a government/military contract, where she managed multi-million dollar contracts, coordinated with workforce teams and subcontractors to meet customer needs and deliverables, performing budget allocation, analysis and reporting. She also volunteers in the local community as a child mentor and a single mom’s life coach. Contact Sandy.

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Chad McNutt, Regional Drought Coordinator

Chad has worked with federal, state, tribal, and local governments, as well as individuals, to improve capacity for responding to drought, and to develop regional drought early warning systems around the U.S. Before joining NIDIS he served as a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., and as a policy advisor and Executive Director of NOAA’s Office of the Assistant Secretary.  While in the Assistant Secretary’s Office he worked on climate science policy related to NOAA and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Houston in Biology and Biochemistry and a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University. Contact Chad.

Photo of Elizabeth Ossowski Elizabeth Ossowski, Program Coordinator

Elizabeth is responsible for coordinating the work of the NIDIS Executive Council and Working Groups. Prior to joining NIDIS, she served as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow at adelphi, a Berlin-based international think tank, conducting research on climate risk insurance, environmental conflict and state fragility, and the water-food-energy nexus. Before that, she worked as an Advisor for External and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Commissioner's Office at the Bureau of Reclamation and in the Immediate Office of the Secretary at the Department of the Interior. She served as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Correspondence at the White House during President Obama's first term, and before that, worked in his former Illinois Senate office. She also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso. She holds an M.S. in Public Policy and Management and a B.H.A. in English and Drama from Carnegie Mellon University. Contact Elizabeth. Leadership

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Steve Ansari, Drought Portal Manager

Steve is the US Drought Portal Program Manager at the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Asheville, North Carolina. Steve has a background in a variety of GIS, data management and visualization activities within NOAA, including Radar, Satellite, Severe Weather datasets, as well as the primary author of the NOAA Weather and Climate Toolkit software application.  Prior to joining NIDIS, Steve was the NCEI Project Manager for the operations, software development and hosting of  Contact Steve.