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Spotlight on Commerce: Evan B. Forde, Oceanographer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Guest blog post by Evan B. Forde, Oceanographer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

I am an Oceanographer at the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological LaboratoryCurrently, my work is focused on several areas of scientific research including analyzing satellite sensor data and identifying critical atmospheric conditions related to hurricane formation and intensification. Part of my work responsibility involves assisting our computer system administrator with networked computing risk assessment and threat mitigation. I also create contingency plans and training exercises to ensure the resiliency of our laboratory’s essential computing elements. 

I grew up in Miami, Florida, and attended Miami-Dade County public schools. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Geology (with an oceanography specialty) and a master’s degree in Marine Geology and Geophysics from Columbia University in New York City. I am proud of a 46-year career as a Federal employee, working hard as a career civil servant on behalf of the American people each day. To me, the phrase “good enough for government work” challenges me to do my job even better and more than anyone can reasonably expect.

I would tell youth interested in a government career that Federal employment is rewarding and has many benefits. Employment in the Federal government is protected by laws that uphold workers’ rights and promote fairness. I have never served my country in our military, but I often remind myself that each workday, I am serving my fellow citizens and that always brings a smile to my face.

In my personal time, I strive to foster youth development and improve my community. I have served as a PTA president, scoutmaster, youth basketball coach, Sunday school and youth church teacher, church webmaster, neighborhood Crime Watch chairman, HOA vice president, on the board of directors for a Boys and Girls Club, and in numerous other roles that have strengthened my community and me as a person.

My father was my greatest mentor. When I was troubled or struggling in life, my dad would sometimes remind me of this quote from the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling:

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute

     With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, 

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, 

     And—which is more—you’ll be a man, my son!”

This quote always makes me want to do my very best and give all I’ve got to every challenge.

As I reflect during Black History Month, I am more aware of black Americans’ substantial contributions to our country and mankind. This enhanced awareness not only helps to create a sense of pride in me but inspires me to be an inspiration to others.

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce African Americans during Black History Month.

To learn more about Mr. Forde’s work, visit: