Doug Collins Under Ye Olde Oak Tree

03.31.2021

Doug Collins has been the production manager at the GMAO since its inception. In 1999, Doug moved from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral to Goddard Space Flight Center and joined one of GMAO’s two predecessor organizations, the Data Assimilation Office (DAO). This was at a time when the organization was preparing to routinely provide atmospheric assimilation and forecast data to support multiple instrument teams of the EOS-Terra satellite, which launched in December of that year. Photo of Doug Collins This would be a turning point for the organization as, prior to 1999, products had been generated in near-real-time only when field missions were being supported using GEOS-2, and this activity was typically supported by the science and software developers.. Doug’s task was to build, organize, and oversee a team of operations analysts dedicated to monitoring the fledgling GEOS systems that would be providing data to these missions 24x7 with near real-time latencies.

Doug’s production team is composed of three operations analysts monitoring a plethora of production processes, working from 6am until 10:30pm (at the least). Over the last 22 years, with Doug’s leadership, the group always has formed a cohesive unit, monitoring the processing while communicating frequently with Doug and the on-call software staff using pagers, e-mail, phones, and text messages. Doug and his team have built a large and ever-increasing collection of operational procedures, necessitated by a dramatic increase in the complexity of the systems being monitored. From those initial first-look and late-look 3DVAR GEOS-3 systems in 1999, the team’s workload has expanded to include multiple high-resolution ensemble-based systems, multiple reanalysis streams, the instrument team product, composition forecasts, SMAP level 4, sub-seasonal and seasonal prediction systems. These major scientific systems also comprise various unique ingest and post-processing processes that number greater than 100. In addition, Doug and his production team have provided a heightened level of support during the more than 50 NASA field campaigns supported by the DAO and GMAO over the years.

Doug’s contribution to the GMAO far exceeds his dedication to the GMAO’s long history of routine product generation. Early on, he gamely took on the daunting responsibility of inheriting the recipe for the holiday party eggnog (its history dating back to the era of the first TOVS instruments.) This was a fine example of his natural ability to share smiles and laughs with all, spreading cheer throughout the office. To offset the dubious health effects of the eggnog, he was also a champion of the drawing together a large swath of the GMAO for the twice-yearly Goddard Fun Run, gathering the team under Ye Olde Oak Tree.

Collins and GMAO Fun Runners under the oak tree Doug Collins and fellow GMAO Fun Runners under the oak tree

Congratulations to Doug on his retirement!

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