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September 2006

Random Profile: Kyle Holden

Kyle Holden
Kyle Holden. (Photo courtesy Kyle Holden.)

Every other month, Staff Notes Monthly spotlights a stochastically chosen staff member. This month we profile Kyle Holden, a radar technician in the Earth Observing Laboratory.

Keeping radars up and running: Kyle has worked in EOL's Remote Sensing Facility for about three and a half years. A radar technician, he works closely with about a half dozen colleagues to develop, operate, and maintain NCAR's most prominent radars, including ELDORA (Electra Doppler Radar), S-Pol, Ka-band, and SABL (Scanning Aerosol Backscatter Lidar).

One of his favorite things about the job is the variety it offers. "We get a bit of everything—the field, the office, and playing with the toys," Kyle says. Although he's based at Foothills Lab, a typical day's work might take him to Jeffco or Marshall Field Site.

"Everything is constantly challenging, so you have to be constantly learning," he says.

Flying through Katrina: Fortunately, Kyle likes to travel, since being a radar technician means attending field campaigns around the country and world. In addition to slews of domestic trips, he's traveled to Mazatlán, Mexico, for NAME (North American Monsoon Experiment), to the Caribbean for RICO (Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean), and to the Australian outback to help launch weather balloons.

His most memorable field campaign experience was during RAINEX (Hurricane Rainband and Intensity Change Experiment), when he flew through Hurricane Katrina while it was a Category 5 storm. "It was a little scary but pretty neat," he says. "The plane feels strange. You can feel it drift when you're turning. But I've actually been on other projects when the turbulence has been worse."

Kyle looks forward to one of his group's next big projects: building a W-band radar that will ride aboard HIAPER, NCAR's newest research aircraft. "The W-band radar is high-frequency and more sensitive than other radars, and it will have smaller parts and weigh less so that it can fit on HIAPER," he explains. "It's more cutting-edge."

A new addition to life in Boulder: Kyle grew up in the heartland—Danville, Illinois. After finishing a bachelor's degree in electronics at Southern Illinois University, he moved to Boulder. "The mountains brought me out here—snowboarding, biking, camping, the typical Boulder lifestyle," he says.

After working a variety of jobs, he saw an ad in the paper one day for his job at NCAR and applied. "It was kind of luck more than anything," he says.

Kyle lives in north Boulder with his wife, Jessica, and their "new addition," 5-month-old daughter Tatum. "It's an adventure," Kyle says about his role as Dad. "We have a little backpack for taking her hiking, and we were just talking about her first camping trip."

by Nicole Gordon

In this issue...

Drifters at work

Competition News: Interview with Rick Anthes

Commuter of the Year: Jaime Shuey

2006 Up-the-Hill Races

UCAR named one of the best companies to work for in Colorado

Random Profile: Kyle Holden

Delphi Questions: Flag display at CG, EAC sponsorship

Just One Look


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