UCAR Communications


staff notes monthly

December 2003 - 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, happily-ever-after stories.

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 them together.

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 issue...

The 2003 Outstanding Accomplishments Awards

HIAPER work reaches critical stage

Geo Forum takes shape

UCAR hires GLOBE director

Delphi Questions

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