- January 2004
Love and marriage, NCAR style:
The grass is brown and the leaves are gone, but love at the organization
is in full bloom. There are a number of couples working together here,
ranging from the just dating to the long-time married. While some couples
knew each other before they began working here, others met—and in
one case, even married—here.
Maybe it’s the cooperation between divisions, or the work of a few
sneaky staffers, or the altitude, but something here has produced more
than a few romances and marriages. Here are two once-upon-a-time at NCAR,
James and Tammy
James Pinto and Tammy Weckwerth, both of ATD, met 11 years ago through a mutual
friend, COMET meteorologist Doug Wesley. Doug thought the pair would be
perfect together because they shared similar career interests and a love
of the outdoors. He forecast true love—but was unsure how to bring
Tammy Weckwerth and James Pinto.
As Doug puts it, “I hate the pressure of a blind date. If it doesn’t
work out, I’m the one who’s blamed.” Instead, he arranged
for “an orchestrated meeting.” Doug and James played on a
softball team together. With the team short one player, Doug asked Tammy
if she’d like to play and if she wouldn’t mind riding with
James to a game in Fort Collins.
James was over an hour late to pick up Tammy for the game. Despite the
rough beginning, Tammy agreed to continue seeing her smitten suitor. James’s
goofy sense of humor kept Tammy laughing, and they quickly discovered
they shared many interests, including a love of sports and the outdoors.
“The variety of activities James suggested doing together when we
first met was refreshingly different: playing tennis, going up in the
Flatirons to watch a lunar eclipse, going for a hike, going out to eat
at a Greek restaurant, watching the World Series,” Tammy says. James
proposed during a hike in Denali National Park in Alaska, and the couple
wed in 1999.
Now that they have two children—a three-year-old girl, Denali, and
a seven-month-old boy, Brody—James and Tammy are even more grateful
to work at NCAR. They usually carpool and eat lunch together, enjoying
time together not available to many young working parents. They also help
keep each other abreast of NCAR happenings. “It’s like having
four ears instead of two,” says James.
To be sure, not everything about working together is great. Quite often,
their personal and professional lives overlap and the only way to escape
from work is to take a vacation in which words like NCAR and ATD are forbidden.
The most difficult thing, though, is working together on field projects
while caring for their children. During last summer’s International
H2O Project (IHOP 2002), both James and Tammy were in the field, requiring
them to bring along the entire family, including grandparents to babysit.
However, they love working here and wouldn’t change a thing. After
all, as James points out, “NCAR is the reason I met Tammy.”
Sherrie and Tim
Even though Sherrie and Tim Fredrick both worked for NCAR, their first meetings
in 1992 encompassed two divisions and campuses. Sherrie at the time worked
for ATD in the Foothills Lab, while Tim worked for ACD in the Mesa Lab.
(Sherrie has since moved over to MMM.)
Tim and Sherrie Frederick with their son, Daniel.
Happily, Kathy Fischer, then also with ACD but now with CGD, introduced
them. Kathy and Sherrie knew each other from college, and Kathy worked
with Tim. The three of them became close friends and spent a lot of time
getting together for lunch.
“Really very little of our friendship was influenced by our work
environment,” Tim explains. “It was Kathy to whom we are grateful
for meeting each other.”
Then Kathy became involved with the man who would become her husband,
leaving the twosome to their own devices. As Sherrie and Tim continued
their friendship, they began noticing how much they had in common. As
Sherrie recalls, “I knew that I liked Tim when our mutual friends
told me that we made a good couple.” The friendly dinners and evenings
at the movies continued and, in 1995, they had their first actual date
(a double date with friends). Sherrie began traveling up from Foothills
once a week to have lunch and hike with Tim on the mesa.
While it took them awhile to realize they liked each other, they didn’t
waste time once they figured it out. Just a year after the first date,
Sherrie and Tim held their wedding reception at the Mesa Lab cafeteria.
Velma Ryan and her Food Services staff catered the event, and, naturally,
Kathy was invited to be the matron of honor.
Now the couple has a two-year-old son, Daniel. Since Daniel came into
their lives, NCAR is one of the last places Tim and Sherrie see each other.
They have arranged their schedules so one is always at home with their
son, with Tim starting early in the morning and Sherrie working from the
afternoon into the evening. They briefly see each other at home for lunch
as they exchange duties, and they also try to have family dinners. Even
when they have time together, Tim’s job as a computer engineer requires
him to be on call, which can disrupt family time.
For Sherrie and Tim, the issue isn’t separating work and home life,
but rather uniting their own lives. Despite hectic schedules and the lack
of time together, they like working at the same place. “It’s
nice to have the same holidays off, and we can talk about what’s
going on at work,” says Sherrie. The two are looking forward to
working more regular hours and spending more time together after Daniel
is old enough to start school. •Ellen Leslie
Also in this
2003 Outstanding Accomplishments Awards
work reaches critical stage
Forum takes shape
hires GLOBE director