Martin Lisius, "The Storm Whisperer," began tracking storms in the mid-1980's. He is a cinematographer, producer, director and founder of Prairie Pictures and StormStock, a stock footage brand specializing in weather. In addition, Martin founded and chairs the Texas Severe Storms Association (TESSA), a national non-profit dedicated to severe weather education and mitigation, and host to the National Storm Conference. Martin produced several television programs relating to severe weather including "Chasing the Wind" (1991) and "The Chasers of Tornado Alley" (1995). He co-produced "StormWatch" for the National Weather Service, which employs it nationwide as their official storm spotter training video. Martin worked as a technical advisor on the 1996 Warner Bros. blockbuster movie "Twister" and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show with the cast and crew. In 1998, he photographed the first-ever violent class tornado on 35 mm motion picture film at Spencer, South Dakota. In 1999, Martin teamed with Chevy Trucks to help create their "Storm Chaser" commercial for S-10 pickups. He recently produced a short film titled "Wakinyan," selected to exhibit at several film festivals. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington. He recently authored "The Ultimate Severe Weather Safety Guide," a book he wrote to mitigate the risks of potentially dangerous weather.
William T. Reid | Senior Tour Director | Climatologist
Tracking storms since 1991, William Reid is arguably the best storm chaser on the planet. He possesses all the right attributes including exceptional forecasting and logistical skills, a dedication to safety, and an uncanny ability to find good storms even on marginal days. Bill is a member of the Texas Severe Storms Association Board of Directors. He acquired a Masters degree in Geography, with emphasis on Climatology, from California State University. He has worked for 16 years as a climatologist for Continental Weather and Earth Sciences, Inc. and has contributed materials used by the National Weather Service for storm surveys and to train storm spotters nationwide for 20 years. He is a member of the legendary "Spencer 4." Be sure to visit Bill's Storm Bruiser website to see incredible storm shots, and to read his insightful storm chase summaries.
Chris Gullikson | Tour Director
Chris began perusing storms in 1996 and was able to document his first tornado in May of 1998. An electrical engineer by trade, he is self taught in the aspects of severe weather forecasting. Chris is a trained storm spotter and contributes to National Weather Service storm surveys. Always armed with a camera, his beautiful storm photography has appeared in books, magazines, art work and training material. Taking a hiatus from his work in 2004, Chris began working with Operation Migration and the endangered Whooping Crane. Each year he helps raise a new flock of young birds and leads them from Wisconsin to Florida with an ultra-light aircraft.
Dr. Bob Conzemius | Tour Director | Wind Meteorologist
Bob earned his Ph.D. from the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma where he chased two seasons with the Doppler on Wheels crew. He has been fascinated with storms since the age of six, and has chased since 1991, intercepting storms from Minnesota to Colorado to Texas. His career in meteorology has included two years as chief meteorologist for KEYC-TV in Mankato, MN, a year of teaching meteorology courses at St. Cloud State University, and a year doing research as a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University. He contributes to public safety as an active storm spotter. Outside of the chase season, he works for WindLogics, Inc., a company specializing in wind energy resource assessment and forecasting.
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Doswell III | Senior Lecturer | Research Meteorologist
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Doswell III is a former research meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), and is considered one of the top tornado scientists in the world. Dr. Doswell earned degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Oklahoma, all in meteorology. He has been a dedicated storm chaser since 1972. He has lectured on severe thunderstorms and weather forecasting at the request of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization. He is an Adjunct Professor with the University of Oklahoma's School of Meteorology and occasionally teaches various courses, including his own course in Advanced Forecasting Techniques, at the graduate level. He wrote the benchmark paper on safe and responsible storm chasing titled "Storm Chasing with Safety, Courtesy and Responsibility." Dr. Doswell currently works as a Senior Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS). Dr. Doswell will lead the Lecture Tour, presenting a comprehensive discussion on storm chasing. He will share his insight on forecasting, logistics, and safety. This special tour is ideal for meteorology students and those who simply want to learn from the best. Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to chase with one of the great veterans of tornado science and the storm chasing discipline. Chuck Doswell's Homepage
Kim George | Guest Relations Manager
Kim is the first person most of our guests encounter. She has been with the team for 4 seasons and has chased with the team and Martin in the Low and High Plains. Kim is an expert at making things run smoothly for guests and staff, from getting our vehicles ready for the season, to booking lodging and handling travel challenges. She is a trained storm spotter and coordinator for the TESSA National Storm Conference, an event dedicated to severe weather safety education.
Rob Petitt | Guide
Rob has been fascinated with weather since his earliest years, reading about ball lightning before he could walk. He grew up in weather-starved Southern California, built his own backyard weather station at the age of eleven, and began chasing storms in Tornado Alley in 1993. In 1997, he obtained his ham radio license to assist with storm chasing. Rob relocated to Washington state in 2001 and became a weather spotter for Skywarn, where he chases locally whenever the skies appear interesting. Hired on with Tempest Tours in 2005, he has seen several tornadoes on the Great Plains, and is always on the prowl for the Holy Grail of tornadoes
Rook Andalus | Guide
Rook has driven for Tempest for over a decade. Over the years he has earned three Special Service awards from the National Weather Service (NWS) for work in microclimate research in the western San Fernando Valley area (of Los Angeles County). Rook was the project manager on the NOAA Global One exhibit at the NWS office in Oxnard, CA, and has worked on and built remote automated weather stations (RAWS) across southern California and the Channel Islands. An avid researcher, Rook has presented original work on microclimates at the Channel Islands Symposium. His other interests include world travel, ancient history, pre-Greek mythology, and cosmology. In 2015 he participated in a ground-breaking documentary on the early universe. A jack of all trades, Rook works as a contractor for the DOD, and he runs his own photography and tutoring businesses. He also gives talks on ancient history and various science topics to high school students in the L.A. area.
Brian Hastings | Guide
Brian has been fascinated with storms from childhood. In middle school, a science teacher told him about researchers traveling the plains to study and observe tornadoes, which was about the coolest thing he'd heard of. He never thought he'd have a chance to do something like this, until tagging along with a storm chasing friend in 2005. He's been chasing every year since, combining a love of photography, travel and learning new things. Brian serves as a pastor in Fond du Lac, WI, where he and his wife have lived since 1999.
Steve Pekich | Guide
Steve has been an avid amateur weather observer from way back. His interest in weather started in his teenage years, despite the rather unexciting climate of his home in coastal Southern California. He is a former president of the California Weather Association and a member of the American Meteorological Society, and is an officially trained spotter for the National Weather Service. Steve began working for Tempest Tours in 2013, and he expertly navigated us safely around the world record 2.6 mile wide El Reno, OK tornado that year.
Justin Pletsch | Guide | Meteorologist
Justin's fascination with weather began when he saw his first tornado when he was six years old. Since then, he wanted to learn about weather. He studied Meteorology at Northern Illinois University and graduated with his bachelor's degree in 2011. In 2009, he began chasing with Tempest Tours as a guest and saw the Goshen County, WY tornado in June 2009. Since then, he witnessed the tornado that struck Mapleton, IA (2011), El Reno, OK (2013), 3 tornadoes near Lodgepole, SD (2015), and numerous photogenic supercells that appear each year. In 2012, he became a driver/guide, and he has not looked back since. Justin is married to his wife, Emily, and they are expecting a baby girl in April 2018. He is an avid Cubs fan who saw his team win the World Series in 2016.
Bill Schuessler | Guide
Bill is a native Southern Californian who spent 31 years in law enforcement and 9 years as a Paid Call Firefighter/EMT. A self taught weather fanatic, Bill has been chasing on the high plains for nearly 10 years. When home during the off season, flying, camping and traveling are his hobbies until the next chase season rolls around.
Bob Smith | Guide
Bob has been chasing and photographing severe weather in northern California and southern Oregon for more than 30 years, and on the Great Plains since 2007. His fascination for thunderstorms started as a child in Arizona where some of his earliest memories were of Monsoon thunderstorms and haboobs. Bob is retired from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and is a trained weather spotter for the National Weather Service with both the Medford, Oregon and Sacramento, California Forecast Offices. He is also a die-hard Oakland A’s and San Jose Sharks fan. Bob has been a Tempest Tours Guide since 2011.
Ron Riemersma | Guide
Ron has been chasing for over 15 years, loves the magical draw of the plains, the challenge of the weather puzzle, and the beauty of the supercell. He works as a local director of Youth for Christ, an outreach to area teens. Ron and his wife Laura have 4 great kids and live in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Gary A. Christmann | Guide
Gary has over 26 years of paid and volunteer experience in several areas within emergency services. Gary has worked in hospital emergency rooms, ambulance, public health, incident response teams, and instructional work. He has a degree in Emergency Management, Homeland Security American Board Certified and Master Anti-Terrorism Specialist -The Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board.
Chris began storm chasing with Tempest Tours in 2013 with his Dad (Steve Pekich, a current guide with Tempest). Chris has always had an interest in severe weather. His first trip with Tempest was in 2013, the year of the El Reno tornado when he became hooked. He currently lives in Los Angeles and works as a teacher and real estate agent.
Jennifer Brooks | Guide
Jen has always been fascinated with weather. She earned a certificate in weather forecasting from Penn State and is an active forecaster who first started working with Tempest in 2016. At 10 years old, she was taking and recording weather measurements with her weather kit. Yup, she was the nerdy kid with the sling hygrometer! Like many weather enthusiasts, she is a trained weather spotter and her weather station reports to national databases. A native New Englander, her earliest significant weather event was the Blizzard of ’78. As a young child, she also saw the aftermath of the F4 tornado that hit West Stockbridge, MA in 1973. In her everyday life, she has earned several degrees (Bachelors and Masters) and worked as a nurse and later nurse practitioner, primarily in the emergency room and urgent care. In her parallel career as a scientist, she has worked in drug development for over 20 years. Also a professional photographer in her spare time, Jen has captured spectacular images of what Mother Nature has to offer.
Jon "Woody" Watson | Guide
Jon is a former deputy sheriff (K-9, SWAT, etc.) for Sonoma County, California, and when not serving as a guide for Tempest Tours (since 2006), he works as a police academy instructor in Santa Rosa and hunting and fishing guide. Since being with Tempest, Jon has photographed several tornadoes, supercells and other dramatic weather elements. He completed a course in meteorology at Santa Rosa JC, and is a licensed HAM radio operator.
Tom Trott | Guide
Tom Trott is a citizen of London, England. Tom is a self-employed builder, husband to Alison and dad of two fabulous children, William and Olivia. Thank you, Alison, for permitting Tom to work for us every spring! Tom has been hooked on supercells and thunderstorms since watching "Twister" 20 years ago, and he loves chasing them down and photographing them.
Danny Gonzales | Guide | Meteorologist
Danny has been fascinated with weather since he was a kid. Back then, he chased cumulus clouds during the late summer months, and would tune into AM radio and listen to static caused by lightning. Later, as a grown up, he acquired a degree in atmospheric sciences from UCLA, one of the finest meteorology programs in the nation.
Matthew Lisius | Social Media Manager
Matt is in charge of coordinating our social media activities. He attends Lamar High School near headquarters in Arlington. Matt is a member of the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. He plays wide receiver and goal keeper for the Lamar football and soccer teams. He likes music, Xbox, skiing, Taco Bell and Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs.