Ken Casey Candidate Statement 2021

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Back to 2021 Nominations and Ballot

Ken Casey, Acting Deputy Director at NOAA Office of Satellite Ground Services (OSGS) Deputy Chief & Data Stewardship Division at NOAA, Candidate for President

Statement of Interest: My name is Ken Casey and I am running for the position of President of ESIP.  I’ve long been involved with ESIP as a voting representative, first for the NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) which I brought into ESIP in 2003, and since 2015 for the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), which was created as the merger of the three previous NOAA National Data Centers.  

Throughout my career, I’ve always loved working with the data and sharing it with others.  When I attended my first ESIP meeting in January of 2003, in Pasadena, my passion for the data was just turning into my career and indeed, my calling.  I walked into that meeting and was immediately hooked.  Dave Jones and others were sharing a moving tribute to Charles Falkenberg, and I cried.  Martha Maiden was imparting her wisdom on the future of NASA research, mixed with her clever commentary, and I laughed.  Everywhere I turned were bright, innovative minds exchanging ideas on how to make data matter in this world.  I found my family, my crew, my community of practice, my coalition of the willing…. call it what you will, I found a home with these amazing people and the incredible organization that brings them together, year in and year out.  

Ken Casey at the 10th ESIP Meeting (2003).

(That’s me on the right, in 2003 at the Tenth ESIP assembly… no beard back then.  That weird thing I am wearing was called “a suit and tie”.  They were pretty commonplace before COVID-19, especially among naive young federal employees who didn’t yet understand the ESIP community.)

In the years since my first meeting, ESIP has become my “go to” place to test new ideas and share my experiences with what has worked and what has not.  I introduced my teams to ESIP and they have embraced the community just as eagerly. Through the experience of exchanging ideas and debating the details with data-savvy people, ESIP has helped turn our passion for sharing data into technically rigorous practices, tools, and approaches.  The experience of ESIP has proven so valuable, I never miss a meeting (except for that one time when Congress and the President literally had to shut down the federal government to keep me away).  And perhaps most amazingly, the ESIP community makes the experience an enjoyable one where all people and their ideas are respected.  The very foundation of ESIP is openness and inclusiveness, where all people and their ideas are not just welcome, but absolutely essential. We have complicated problems to solve in the 21st century, and complicated problems demand the diversity that ESIP brings to the table.

So, what do I hope to bring to the position of ESIP President?  The answer is in the question itself: Hope.  There is no way to sugar-coat it, 2020 was a dark and somber year.  Across the nation and around the world we face a wide range of those complicated problems that demand diverse teams to solve.  The COVID-19 global pandemic rages on, setting new and terrible records every day.  And behind every one of those records is a life lost and a family in mourning.  Wildfires are tearing across the landscape at scales previously unimaginable.  The Earth’s climate is changing faster than ever before in the history of human civilization.  We’ve seen so many hurricanes in 2020 they’ve spun through the English language and are making their way through the Greek alphabet now.   Every one of these challenges demands a better understanding of the Earth’s environment, the kind of understanding that can be achieved through the environmental data that ESIP and its members are passionate about.  As ESIP President, I will work every day to remind every member of ESIP that there is hope for a brighter future, and that our efforts are critical to achieving it.  I’ll highlight our past successes at ESIP, with the hope that it will help carry us through these trying times and into that brighter day.   But I won’t just keep that hope to ourselves.  As President, I will work to bring more and more people into the ESIP tent.  And perhaps most importantly, I will hold up the ESIP example to others, showing how we are stronger together than apart, capable of leveraging our diversity to tackle the world’s toughest environmental challenges.

Bio: See full bio HERE.