Nick Weig was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa but grew up in Strawberry Point in northeast Iowa. Nick’s fascination in weather actually started from a fear of storms. “I was afraid of the thunder, it always kept me awake which of course annoyed my parents when I would crawl into bed with them.”
Nick attended Starmont High School, then Kirkwood Community College and Mississippi State. While attending Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids, Nick was hired at KGAN-TV in August, 1999. “It was a real honor for me to work with Dave Towne, a meteorologist I grew up watching. He really helped me learn some of the intricacies about Iowa weather.”
Nick also worked as the Producer of KCRG-TV 9 News at 5 in Cedar Rapids. In 2006, Nick produced a newscast following the Iowa City tornado which won a regional emmy award for best newscast. Nick was also part of KCRG-TV 9′s continuous coverage of numerous severe weather events including the Parkersburg tornado and the Flood of 2008. Nick and the rest of the KCRG staff was awarded a regional Edward R. Murrow award for their coverage during the historic flood.
Ben McMillan started storm chasing during his high school years growing up in Pella, Iowa and it has stuck with him ever since. Focusing on a career in public service, Ben worked for two police departments including the City of Ames Police, and the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety.
After 7 years of law enforcement experience, Ben switched to the healthcare field and has worked for a major Des Moines hospital since 2008. Ben also received training as an EMT, is a registered volunteer in disaster response with the American Red Cross, and a licensed ham radio operator.
Ben’s storm chasing activities have included being an eye-witness to the destructive night tornado that hit Iowa City on April 26, 2006, and the EF5 that moved through Parkersburg on May 25, 2008.
Ben was credited as being one of the initial spotters that tracked the Parkersburg storm when it first formed a tornado. “It was a day I will never forget, and never want to see again.
We did the best we could to warn others and help them survive,” he said.
During the Spring of 2011 severe weather season Ben worked as a driver and medic for the TWISTEX tornado research team. The team was featured on Season 5 of the hit series “Storm Chasers” on the Discovery Channel.
Ben has a Bachelors degree in Sociology and Journalism from Iowa State University, and training in Emergency Management from Upper Iowa University. He currently lives in Des Moines, Iowa.
Zach Sharpe was born in Des Moines, Iowa but grew up in Norwalk, which is where he graduated high school from in 2011. He then went on to Iowa State University to study meteorology and plans on focusing in the area of broadcast meteorology. His passion for weather started in his middle school years, but then he really wanted to study meteorology after an EF-2 tornado passed within yards of his house in 2007.
In his free time, Zach likes to stay involved with his community. He is a member of the Central Iowa National Weather Association, the National American Meteorological Society and the Iowa State University American Meteorological Society. Zach also participates in Cy’s Eyes on the Skies, a weekly weather TV show on ISUtv.
Barry Hansen is a Winthrop native and 2001 graduate of Starmont High School. Barry left Iowa for four years to serve in the United States Air Force. He currently is a member of the Iowa Air National Guard. Barry has served two tours of duty in Iraq, the last of which wrapped up in the Fall of 2009. Barry graduated from Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge in 2003 with a degree in Radio Broadcasting.
Barry and his wife Gayle now live in Cedar Rapids, but both are still involved with the Iowa Air National Guard. Barry also works at Lithia Motors in Cedar Rapids.
Barry was behind the camera to capture the powerful EF-5 Tornado as it hit New Hartford on May 25, 2008.
During his off hours, Barry enjoys spending time at home and with his two dogs, Ollie and Bandit. He is also an avid hockey and baseball fan, always looking to take in a Roughriders and Kernels game when the weather cooperates.
Brian Travers has lived many places and has experienced all types of weather. From growing up along coastal Virginia, dealing with West Texas heat and storms and living in Iowa and Chicago and the wild weather that they have…Brian has seen about everything and enjoyed all that Mother Nature throws at us as well.
Brian received his Bachelor’s degree in Meteorology in 2001 from Saint Louis University and then spent eight years in the broadcast meteorology world. Brian worked in Texas, Cedar Rapids, Virginia and Tennessee at various news stations.
For nearly the past two years, Brian has been transitioning into the aviation aspect of meteorology and currently works for a FAA contract company in Des Moines. With his grandfather being a meteorologist for the Army in WWII, Brian beleives that weather is in his blood and can’t imagine doing anything but a career in meteorology. With his odd work schedule, Brian hopes to be able to chase all types of weather throughout Iowa and the surrounding states.