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Tangherlini Says New NOAA Center Represents Government’s Commitment to Sustainable Practices

Remarks by
Dan Tangherlini
U.S. General Services Administration
Opening of the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction
University of Maryland, College Park
October 15, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of everyone who has worked on this project at GSA, it is a pleasure to be here today. We all know how important it is to know the weather when you walk out the door in the morning, but I don’t think that I realized just how important it is to understand the effects of weather until I worked for the DC Department of Transportation.

In that kind of an environment, an accurate forecast is about more than whether or not you need an umbrella. It’s about deciding whether or not 40,000 children can get to school, some of whom rely on those schools not just for learning, but for food as well. It’s about understanding if it’s safe to send hundreds of thousands of commuters out on our roads and public transit systems.

No matter where you work, whether it is in government or in business, good data is the foundation of good decision making. And understanding the weather and the full range of its potential impact is essential information to individuals who manage some of our most important services.

This brand new, almost 270,000 square foot center will enable NOAA to provide exactly that kind of data. By consolidating 3 NOAA offices and bringing more than 800 meteorologists, scientists, data managers and other NOAA employees together in this state of the art facility, they will be able to provide the entire nation with short range and long range weather, climate, and hydrological forecasts.

At GSA, our mission is to provide federal agencies the support they need to fulfill their responsibilities to the American people at the maximum possible value. This facility gives NOAA the resources they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. And with sustainable features such as “green roofs” bio-retention areas, recycled construction materials, highly energy efficient windows and motion based lighting systems, and a storm water cistern to collect water for irrigation, it provides value to both this agency and the taxpayers. We can all be proud of this “green crown jewel” of the M-Square Research and Technology Park. It represents this government’s commitment to sustainable practices by making the most efficient and effective use possible of natural as well as fiscal resources, which is why it is under consideration by the EPA as an “Energy Star” building.

This project would not have been possible without the dedicated work of some men and women here at GSA and I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to recognize their contributions. I want to thank Jim Dunn, the project manager; Calvin Myint, the Director of the Triangle Service Center; Martha Gates; the former Director of the Triangle Service Center, who is now retired, but handled a large amount of the work that went into this project; Mark Stadsklev; the project contracting officer; and everyone else from GSA who worked so hard to make this project a reality.

This is a great day for GSA, NOAA, and the University of Maryland. To Dr. Lubchenco and everyone at NOAA, and to Dr. Loh and everyone at the University of Maryland, congratulations on this new facility. I know you’ll put it to good use.

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