Dr. John Cortinas is a member of the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service, serving as the Director of NOAA’s Office of Weather and Air Quality (OWAQ) and Steward of OAR’s weather portfolio. As the OWAQ Director, John leads a research program office to improve National Weather Service (NWS) products and services for high-impact weather events through NOAA’s U.S. Weather Research Program, the Joint Technology Transfer Initiative, the Subseasonal to Seasonal Program, and the National Earth System Prediction Capability Program.
John has been associated proudly with OAR throughout his entire 27-year career. Prior to joining OWAQ in 2010, he was the Director of OAR’s Cooperative Institute (CI) program, overseeing the administration of a program that supported over 1000 scientists and students at American universities working with NOAA. In this position he oversaw administration, grant management activities, and science policy development for NOAA’s CIs across the United States leading to the development of NOAA’s first Administrative Order governing CIs and its accompanying handbook. From 1992-2003, John was a research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS), working with scientists at OAR’s National Severe Storms Laboratory to improve winter weather products and services at the NWS Storm Prediction Center when it relocated to Norman, OK. In 2000, he became the first CIMMS Assistant Director of NOAA Relations, overseeing NOAA-supported activities at CIMMS.
Throughout his career, John has been a passionate advocate for underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). He is a member of several scientific organizations that work to improve diversity within STEM, such as the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, Latinos@NOAA, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society (AMS), for which he is currently an elected representative of the AMS Council.
John is originally from Omaha, NE, and is the oldest of five children. He received a B.S. in Meteorology from Metropolitan State University in Denver, CO, and a Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology, in Atlanta. John has authored and/or co-authored many scientific articles, including one book chapter, and served on numerous American and international scientific working groups and committees.