Alexandra Branton, Weather Observer & Education Specialist
Growing up in Pensacola, FL, Alex was able to experience a variety of exciting weather that sparked her interest in meteorology. From Category 4 hurricanes to a couple of surprising instances of frozen precipitation, and everything in between, Alex became intrigued by the weather. Additionally, Pensacola is home to a high volume of military aviation activity including the Navy’s Blue Angels.
The combination of interesting weather and aviation that Alex was exposed to while growing up inspired her to study Aviation Meteorology at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. While in school, she was a member of the women’s cross-country team and competed in club rock climbing. In the summers between busy academic years, Alex discovered her love for the mountains through her work as a zip line guide and as a via ferrata guide in North Carolina and West Virginia. In her free time, she was able to explore her interests in hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain meteorology. She also completed a thru hike of the 211-mile John Muir Trail.
In the summer of 2021, Alex wanted to gain a deeper understanding of mountain meteorology and was lucky enough to intern at Mount Washington Observatory. She fell in love with the White Mountains and the Obs’ mission and decided to go for a full-time Weather Observer and Education Specialist role after graduating in 2022. She is excited to experience the extreme weather on the mountain and take advantage of the many opportunities for outdoor recreation in her new home.
Jay Broccolo, Director of Weather Operations
Jay was born
and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island. Having grown up along the southern coastline of RI gave Jay
the opportunity to experience all sorts of diverse and extreme weather from hurricanes to
Nor’easters. Jay’s enthusiasm for the outdoors and the natural world only increased
since childhood. His parents insisted that he spend as much time outdoors as possible. He joined the
Boy Scouts and spent a weekend every month, regardless of the weather, learning useful outdoor
skills, camping, and hiking all over New England. He became enamored with the White Mountains, but
specifically Mt. Washington, its geology, and unique extreme weather.
Following graduation of high school and obtaining his Eagle Scout, Jay attended the University of
Rhode Island. In the middle of his second year he took a semester off and lived in Boulder,
Colorado where he had the opportunity to experience mountain weather and hiking the Flatirons.
After returning home he continued and completed his B.S. degree in Geology and Geological
Oceanography at URI. While at URI he also attended a Geology Field Camp operated by University
at Buffalo, geologically mapping various regions Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
With the completion of his Bachelors, Jay went on to work in the oilfield industries as a Mud
logger on drill-ships in the Gulf of Mexico. After a couple years of working offshore and not
feeling fulfilled with his career path, he interned at Mt. Rainier National Park where he was
charged with observing and recording the weather on the mountain while conducting various
research projects. Upon completion of the internship, Jay attended the University of Leeds in
Leeds, England and completed an MRes in Climate and Atmospheric Science where he focused on
factors that influence the development and intensification of extratropical cyclones over the
Northeast United States.
With his intrigue in extreme weather events and his love for Mt. Washington, Jay is more than
excited to be working here at the Mount Washington Observatory, home to the World’s
Worst Weather. In his off time, Jay enjoys the outdoors, board and video games, reading, and
learning to play the piano, just to name a few.
Drew Bush, Executive Director
Dr. Drew Fulton Bush possesses multiple decades of experience as nonprofit leader, researcher, and educator. Drew’s research has examined the human relationship to climate and weather as well as the means to improve public knowledge of these topics and participation in policymaking on them. Before joining Mount Washington Observatory, Drew led communications and development as the Assistant Director at the Old Stone House Museum & Historic Village, educational and public programs as the Director of Programs at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, and an Environment and Climate Change Canada-funded project that utilizes machine learning to examine social media in relation to extreme weather.
Drew earned his Ph.D. from McGill University’s Department of Geography and Bieler School of the Environment, a master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University, and a B.A. from Colby College. His past work includes conducting research at the National Aeronautics and Spaces Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, NY, teaching for Cornell University/University of New Hampshire’s Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, ME, and introducing environmental science to New York University’s Prison Education Program at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in Wallkill, NY.
Outside of his professional work, Drew enjoys most outdoor activities although his particular favorites include sea kayaking, sailing, backpacking, and gardening.
Charlie Buterbaugh, Director of Communications
Charlie joined the observatory in 2020 with a multi-disciplinary background in communications and a passion for supporting climate science. After graduating with a BA in English from Susquehanna University in his home state of Pennsylvania, he pursued graduate studies that led to teaching college writing. Charlie then spent five years engaging audiences as a journalist and news editor, often drawn to writing about natural resource conservation and the interdependence of ecosystems and recreation-based rural economies. In 2007, seeking experience in business communications, he joined the scientific company VWR, where he helped develop their R&D services segment. Working in several brand, communications, and content marketing roles over the course of 11 years, the experience provided rewarding opportunities to lead marketing program planning while collaborating with international teams to engage scientists in university, biotech, and other research settings.
In 2013, intent on their return to rural living, Charlie and his life partner Mindy moved to Maine, a place that had sparked love for adventure earlier in life during ski, canoe, and camping trips to the Northwoods. They eventually found a home near the Village of Fryeburg, where they live with their three kids. In addition to the trials and tribulations of gardening in northern New England, Charlie enjoys cycling, hiking, and skiing through the region’s stunning landscapes. After joining Mount Washington Observatory as the Development Coordinator in 2020, he took on the role of Director of Communications in 2021. He also serves as the editor of our bulletin, Windswept.
Dr. Peter Crane, Curator
Peter oversees the Observatory's Gladys Brooks Memorial Library, which features books, maps, prints,
photos, and other
material relating to the Observatory, Mount Washington, and the White Mountains.
Peter has lived in the White Mountains for more than thirty years, and has worked for the U.S. Forest
Service and Appalachian
Mountain Club in resource management, public information, and educational roles. He began his
Observatory career in
1988 as a weather observer, museum manager, and Summit Shift Leader. After three years of summit duty,
he served for
several years as Director of Programs before transitioning to his current position.
Peter did his undergraduate work at Harvard College, and earned his doctoral degree in Folklore and
Folklife from the
University of Pennsylvania. An avid year-round hiker, he is also a volunteer trail maintainer for the
Club, a member of Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR), and serves on the board of the New
Linda & Hank Dresch, Volunteer Coordinators
Linda is the daughter of Mount Washington Observatory co-founder Robert S. Monahan, and enjoys continuing
legacy as volunteer coordinator with her husband, Hank.
Married for more than 40 years, Linda and Hank have one daughter and two very active grandsons. During
U.S. Coast Guard career they lived in several locations including Alaska and England. Linda’s
diverse career has
spanned positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska, and the Editorial Staff of the Wall
Linda and Hank both also had "retirement jobs" in Portland, Maine, where they continue to volunteer at
They have been very active volunteers wherever they have lived.
Linda and Hank now reside in Jackson, New Hampshire, where they keep very busy with year-round activities
in the great
Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Education
Brian began his observatory career as a winter intern on the summit in early 2012 after attending the
University of New
Hampshire where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation Studies. Following
as a Backcountry Hut Naturalist and Education Assistant for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Brian
returned to the Observatory
as a full-time Observer and Educational Specialist on the summit where he performed daily weather
observations and led
weather station tours, distance learning programs and media interviews.
After nearly three winters on the summit, Brian headed south to work as the Chief Weather Observer at
Blue Hill Observatory
and Science Center just south of Boston while going to graduate school at night. In early 2016, Brian
graduated from Boston
University with a Master’s of Education with a focus in Science Education, and moved back to the
Valley to serve as Mount Washington Observatory’s Director of Education. When Brian’s not
teaching educational programs and summit adventures, you can find him hiking, mountaineering, trail
running, skiing or
staring at the clouds. He currently resides in North Conway along with his partner, Stephanie, and their
Keith Garrett, Director of Technology
Keith brings over 25 years of experience in IT hardware, software and business networks. He has
experience in working
with municipalities, non-profits and individuals.
Prior to his work with the Observatory Keith was the owner of Wolfeboro Computer Solutions in the
Wolfeboro and Lakes
Region area. His services spanned all aspects of IT including deployment and maintenance of a wide range
Alexis George, Weather Observer & Meteorologist
Alexis’ interest in the weather began when she was a kid, when she witnessed the formation of a waterspout in Ocean City, MD. Born and raised in Arlington, VA, she discovered that her favorite season was winter when she witnessed thundersnow from a blizzard that hit her hometown in 2016.
To pursue her passion for the climate and weather, Alexis graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Meteorology in 2022. She spent her spring breaks during college photographing clouds and storm chasing on the beaches of Florida. Alexis learned how to snowboard later on and fell in love with the sport. Obsessed with snow and mountains now, Alexis landed her dream job as a Weather Observer and Meteorologist at Mount Washington Observatory. She is excited to explore and study more about the most extreme weather in the world.
In her downtime, Alexis enjoys hanging out with her dog, hiking, crocheting, rock climbing, and photography.
Arron Hammack, Administrative Assistant
Arron grew up in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in Western North Carolina, where she cultivated a deep love for the outdoors. Having worked in the mental health field for 17 years, she chose to drastically change her career path by shifting into the residential construction industry. Growing up, Arron enjoyed going to work with her father during the summers, learning the construction trade, and it had always stuck with her. From there, she worked her way up from a laborer to the office and project manager at her previous employer. Arron and her family relocated to Lovell, ME in the fall of 2018, where they found their dream home. With her strong background in office and project management, she hopes to apply her skills and knowledge to her role as Administrative Assistance at Mount Washington Observatory. Her hobbies include playing various musical instruments, reading, writing short stories and poetry, kayaking, gardening, and cooking.
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer & Meteorologist
Originally from the Lake Tahoe region of California, Ryan was born into the alpine lifestyle. He came
to the Observatory
as a winter intern in 2005, and started as a Weather Observer in 2006.
Ryan’s interest in weather started as a child, when he would watch the morning weather report
before going skiing.
In high school, he enjoyed giving weather reports to fellow students and ski clubbers, and decided
to pursue a career
in meteorology. He graduated from San Jose State University in 2004 with a B.S. in Meteorology, and
spent the first
three years of his career as a weather observer for San Jose International Airport.
Ryan came to Mount Washington for the unique weather, and to explore and study the worst weather in
the world. When he’s
not watching the weather, he enjoys backpacking, ski boarding, aggressive inline skating, traveling,
video games, and
Andrea Masters, Director of Development
Andrea started working at Mount Washington Observatory in February 2023 after spending over 20 years as the executive director of the Pope Memorial Library in North Conway, NH. One of the highlights of her career at the library, other than daily interactions with patrons, was overseeing the library’s building expansion and renovation in 2019-2020 from its conceptual stage through completion.
Andrea’s background is in healthcare; she has an M.D. and practiced medicine for eight years as a board-certified physician (Internal Medicine) at a teaching hospital in Hanau, Germany. Her scientific research lead to a Ph.D. in clinical pharmacology. Andrea went on a sabbatical in 1999 when she met her now wife on Cape Cod who prompted her to move to the Mount Washington Valley with her and start a new career.
Her hobbies include reading, photography, current affairs, spending time with her two dogs, and lots of outdoor activities: running, biking (MTB & road), triathlons, hiking, skiing (downhill, XC, BC), and much more. In her youth, she played volleyball and was offered to play in the second-highest league in Germany.
Nimbus, Resident Summit Cat
Nimbus joined Mount Washington Observatory staff in April 2021 as our resident summit cat. A sociable gray shorthair adopted from the Conway Area Humane Society, he shares his name with large gray clouds that bring precipitation.
Cats have been members of the observatory family and weather station since our founding in 1932, and Nimbus proudly continues this tradition. He succeeds longtime resident cat Marty, who was beloved by thousands of visitors from around the world.
When he’s not catching mice or stealing a seat in the weather room, he writes the “News from Nimbus” column, translated by observers and published in our magazine, Windswept.
Hayden Pearson, Weather Observer & Research Specialist
Having grown up in southern Maine, Hayden spent much of his youth exploring the outdoors of New England throughout the year. This, combined with a passion for skiing, eventually led him to attend the University of Maine to study earth and climate sciences, focusing on the climatological changes that are occurring within our natural world. Attending field camp for the summer of 2018 in Svalbard — Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean — cemented his interest in the cryosphere. This program allowed students to work with long-term recorded weather data from specific areas across the region to study how changes in temperature trends, snow accumulation, and an increase in rainfall events were affecting the archipelago. Students were then encouraged to predict the implications these changes could have for the safety of the residents living there.
Building on this passion, Hayden moved to Norway in 2019 to pursue a Master’s degree from the University of Tromsø, ultimately leading him to studying changes to Arctic glaciers in both central Spitsbergen and the western coast of Greenland. This move furthered his climatology work, and many days were spent outside in well-below freezing temperatures to study the flow dynamics of glaciers in these regions. In his free time, he pursued his passion while ski touring in the Norwegian Alps, spending time in the mountains, and understanding the importance of accurate weather forecasting for those recreating in the mountainous regions.
The extreme weather and Mount Washington winters are what drew Hayden to working for the Observatory. He's excited to advance the institution’s mission in weather and climate sciences, and when he’s not on top of the mountain, he enjoys skiing, diving, hiking, and working on his Series Land Rover.
Karl Philippoff, Weather Observer – Research and IT
Karl grew up in Montville, NJ and was able to experience a variety of weather that sparked his interest in meteorology. Summer thunderstorms, the winds and rain associated with passing tropical cyclones, and winter nor’easters were some of his favorites. He still remembers waking up the morning after the blizzard of ’96 and being awed by the winter wonderland created by two feet of drifting snow overnight.
Additionally, Karl has always had a passion for the mountains. Their photogenic, craggy peaks and the views from top fostered by childhood family vacations to the Rockies, California, and along the Appalachian Mountains have always been a source of recreation and enjoyment for him.
In college, he sought to further his passion for the weather by studying environmental science with a concentration on meteorology and chemistry at the University of Virginia. After graduating, he pursued his interest in climatology by obtaining a master’s in earth science by studying an ice core record taken from the Himalayas while at the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University. Deciding to shift gears from climatological research, he went back to school to get a degree in meteorology from Rutgers University.
In summer 2022, while completing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, he applied to become winter intern at Mount Washington Observatory, beginning in January 2023. Hearing that they were still looking to fill a full-time weather observer position, he applied and was hired as a Weather Observer and Research Specialist in February.
When he is not enjoying the extreme weather on the summit, Karl enjoys many outdoor activities, including backpacking, hiking, cycling, bodyboarding, traveling, and spending time with his family and two nieces.
Jon Powers, Transportation Coordinator
Jon was born and raised in Newburyport, MA. His family had a small camp in Freedom, NH that they would visit often to ski on winter weekends or relax on Ossipee Lake during the summer. The Powers had deep ties with the King Pine/Purity Springs family and soon became a constant part of their lives year-round. Jon was involved with the ski team on weekends, then ski school, snowmaking, ski patrol, and every other little odd job that comes up at a small mountain. In 1998, the family made their permanent move to the valley and have never left.
At 16, Jon joined the Freedom Fire Department as a call member to serve the community and scratch an itch. Coming from a family of firefighters/EMT’s/police officers and service members, the thought of public service had always just been a curiosity. In his senior year of high school, Jon was offered the chance to attend New Hampshire Fire Academy’s recruit school, an intensive 5-day-a-week/3-month-long training program. This sparked the desire to make firefighting/EMS a full-time career, and the rest fell into place. Jon was hired by the Wolfeboro Fire Department in 2007, where he served for nine years before transferring to Conway Fire Department, where he now serves as a Lieutenant/Paramedic.
Jon started with the Observatory in 2017 after a friend told him about an open snowcat operator position that he thought might be a good fit. After training under the watchful eye and expertise of veteran drivers, he took his first solo trip in April of that season. Jon took over the role of Transportation Coordinator in spring 2022 and now oversees the scheduling and logistics of transportation as well as maintenance on all Observatory vehicles. He resides in Center Conway with his fiancé Keri and their chocolate lab Maverick.
Carrie Slife, Development Assistant
Carrie began her career with Mount Washington Observatory in the summer of 2019 when she joined the summit staff as Museum Attendant. She later returned to live and work on the summit for two seasons as a Park Guide for New Hampshire State Parks. She is thrilled to rejoin the observatory staff full-time as Development Assistant.
Carrie made her first trip to the White Mountains in the early 2000s, when she moved to Boston after graduating from Penn State University with degrees in Advertising and Psychology. Having grown up 30 minutes from where the Appalachian Trail passes through Catoctin, Maryland, she was eager to visit the trail’s storied New Hampshire high peaks. Her first time above tree line made an indelible impression, and she ventured north frequently to hike, ski, and decompress from the frenetic pace of the city. Meanwhile, Carrie’s professional pursuits in Boston led her first to the hospitality industry and later to earn a Master’s degree in Interior Design from Suffolk University, after which she practiced as an Architectural Lighting Designer for nearly a decade.
In the winter of 2019, Carrie pressed pause on her design career to take a seasonal job at Bretton Woods ski resort. In the shadow of Mount Washington, she spent that first season pondering whether it was possible to unify her passion for the White Mountains – with their extreme weather, amazing recreational opportunities, and rich history – and her career. Carrie is happy to report that yes, this is possible, and working for Mount Washington Observatory has been a vital piece of this journey.
Brenda Sullivan, Director of Finance & Administration
With an Animal Science degree from the University of Maine, Brenda started her career as a veterinary
and office manager on the East End of Long Island, NY. After going back to school and completing her
MBA, Brenda spent
a number of years in central Connecticut as Finance Manager for Protein Sciences Corporation, where
included the financial oversight of multi-million dollar government contracts and shareholder
relations. In 2017 Brenda,
her husband, two dogs and two cats moved to Madison, NH. After continuing to work for the same CT
based company for
over a year, she decided it was time to focus her attention on her new community by joining the team
at MWOBS. With
an MBA in Business and years of Finance experience, she now focuses on supporting The Observatory
Francis Tarasiewicz, Weather Observer & Education Specialist
Francis was born in Connecticut, a hotbed for all kinds of extreme weather. Between the beauty of winter storms and nor’easters, and the excitement of summertime thunderstorms, he quickly caught the weather bug at age 4. Growing up, he spent his days watching the Weather Channel and Jim Cantore’s “Storm Stories,” which told tales of extreme weather, further fueling his passion for meteorology.
This fascination followed Francis in high school where he started an online weather forecasting account on Twitter called “The Francast.” During this time, it was not uncommon for teachers to ask him if he thought there might be a snow day! He spent his first paycheck on a weather station and camera to observe and document some of the extreme weather Connecticut has to offer.
For college, Francis headed to the snowy mountains of northern Vermont, where he received a bachelor’s in atmospheric sciences/meteorology at Northern Vermont University (formerly Lyndon State College). While there, he was able to participate in many forecasting opportunities from forecasting for hikers attempting to summit Mt. Everest to the foggy depths of California’s Central Valley. In addition to weather forecasting, Francis became interested climate change education and outreach. This inspired him to join the Climate Consensus, a student-led group focused on communicating climate change science to the public. Francis also served as the president of the NVU AMS & NWA club, where he planned and chaired the 44th annual Northeastern Storm Conference, the largest student-run weather conference in the Northeast. While earning his bachelor’s degree, he focused his research on the impacts of extreme weather on electrical outages in the state of Vermont.
Francis decided to continue studying meteorology at Plymouth State University, where he focused on boundary layer variables and their potential influences on power outage density. His time at Plymouth also afforded him an opportunity to work with MWOBS, where he helped install and maintain snowpack sensors in Pinkham notch. He further dialed in a passion for communicating and teaching meteorology when he served as a teacher’s assistant for three courses.
Once out of school, Francis worked for the New Hampshire Department of Emergency Management, where he used his meteorological knowledge to inform public safety. While there, he helped create disaster scenarios to help towns prepare for extreme weather. He also focused on helping communities in NH mitigate against weather-related disasters, as well as the future impacts of climate change.
When he is not thinking or talking about the weather, Francis can be found enjoying the outdoors, reading, or playing with his synthesizer.
Brandi Webb, Museum Operations & Retail Manager
Brandi grew up in Hopkinton, MA, which is best known as the starting point of the Boston Marathon. In September 2022, Brandi, her boyfriend, their 6 year old daughter, and their cat moved to Berlin, NH after a three-year plan to relocate. She began working as our Museum Operations & Retail Manager in March 2023. Before that, Brandi had only been to Mount Washington summit one time as a tourist in 2020, and she is grateful to be working with the MWOBS team and contributing to her new community. Brandi's background is primarily in retail and customer service, and she is currently working towards an associate's degree in business administration. Her hobbies include embroidery, drawing, shopping, gardening, learning, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.