Meteorologists, Computer Scientists, Designers and More Land at IBM's The Weather Company

A young man with a beard poses for a photo
Computer science alum Mark McGrotty '17 is a full stack software engineer at The Weather Company in Andover, Massachusetts.

By Ed Brennen

Early on a Sunday morning in mid-July, eastern Massachusetts residents were startled by a tornado warning from the National Weather Service. While people took cover in basements for a disaster that thankfully never materialized, employees at IBM’s The Weather Company (TWC) in Andover, Massachusetts, sprang into action, providing critical information to local TV weather teams, as well as online and mobile platforms.

“Any time there’s severe weather events coming in, there’s a buzz in the office and on the Slack channels,” says Jillian Byra ’15, a visual designer at the Andover office. “Everyone is monitoring the dashboard, making sure we’re providing good data.”

Byra is among nearly two dozen UML alumni working at TWC, which is headquartered near Atlanta and also has offices in Andover, Massachusetts, and New York City. Started as The Weather Channel in 1980 and renamed The Weather Co. in 2012, it was acquired by IBM in 2016 for a reported $2 billion. TWC delivers 25 billion forecasts each day to people and businesses around the world.

A man in a suit smiles for a photo
Meteorology alum John Matthews '97 is a senior software developer at The Weather Company in Atlanta.
Here’s what some of our alumni have to say about their work:
  • One of the best things about working at TWC, says meteorology and atmospheric science alumna Erica (Ebrahimzadeh) DeMilia ’06, is that no two days are the same. “The weather patterns are always changing, so you’re always learning,” says DeMilia, who is now “Meteorologist in Charge” for the aviation forecasting team in Andover.
  • John Matthews ’97, senior software developer at TWC’s headquarters outside Atlanta, says his work is at the intersection where “the science of meteorology meets the automation of computers so we can scale forecasts to the masses.” It’s an ideal role for Matthews who majored in meteorology and minored in mathematics. He joined The Weather Channel in 2007 and thrives on major weather events. “When a big snowstorm is spinning up or a hurricane is about to make landfall, there’s a thought in the back of your mind that the world is watching us,” he says. “To be the app or website that people go to and depend on for forecasts, there’s a lot of pride that comes with that.”
  • Jillian Byra ’15, a graphic design alumna, applies her creative skills as a visual designer for IBM’s Environmental Intelligence Suite, an AI-powered software platform that helps businesses proactively manage the economic impact of severe weather. “I have a fancy corporate job but still get to be creative and work on something that’s not super-boring,” she says. 
    A man with a beard smiles for a photo
    Environmental science alum Chris Oak '07, '09 is aviation product manager at The Weather Company in Andover, Massachusetts.
  • As aviation product manager at TWC, Chris Oak ’07, ’09 works with major commercial airlines around the world to mitigate weather risk and help solve operational problems. “I chose the meteorology program at UMass Lowell for its forecasting focus and how the program helps students understand atmospheric dynamics,” says Oak, who joined TWC in 2009 after earning a master’s degree in environmental studies. 
  • A course on air pollution with adjunct faculty member Kyle Sisco ’16, ’22 led to a job at TWC for environmental science grad Katelyn Santo ’23. Sisco, also an environmental science alum, works as senior media customer support analyst at TWC’s Andover office. Sisco told his students he had an opening on his team, which provides technical support for local TV stations’ weather modeling software. “I wasn’t a meteorology major, but I know a lot about computers and I was confident I could help people with them,” says Santo, who started her role as a technical support specialist in June.
  • After discovering an interest in data visualization as a computer science major at UML, Mark McGrotty ’17 landed his “dream job” in 2019 as a full stack software engineer at TWC—right in his hometown of Andover. He works on the company’s Max software, which TV meteorologists use to create the green-screen graphics behind them on broadcasts. “One of my favorite things is working with our in-house meteorologists because I learn so much from them,” he says. “I’m an avid snowboarder, so it’s nice to get curated snow reports from them.”
  • Jennifer (Moisan) Fredette ’02 joined TWC’s meteorological operations department in 2003, which was “an amazing job” for a new meteorology graduate. “I got to quality control radar scans every 15 minutes, draw world weather graphics and be the first to know when the National Hurricane Center upgraded a hurricane,” she says. Now aviation customer support team manager, she assists commercial, business and private clients that use TWC software to monitor and track weather.