In December 2018, Joseph A. Pica became Deputy Director at the National Centers for Environmental Information, which provides access to one of the most significant archives on Earth, with comprehensive oceanic, atmospheric, and geophysical data from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun and from million-year-old ice core records to near real-time satellite images.
From 2015 to 2018, Pica successfully served as the first Director of the National Weather Service (NWS) Office of Observations and was responsible for the portfolio of space, atmosphere, water, and climate observational data owned or leveraged by the NWS to support forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property, and for the enhancement of the national economy. He planned and executed a $250 million annual budget, oversaw a portfolio of approximately 800 personnel, and maximized the leveraging of external observations (valued at several billion dollars) through participation in intra-agency, interagency, and international coordinating bodies.
Prior to 2015, Pica served as a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) commissioned officer for over 23 years, including responsibility as Commanding Officer of two ships: NOAA's flagship and only global class vessel (Ronald H. Brown) and the fleet's most technologically advanced ship for deep sea exploration (Okeanos Explorer). Between multiple sea assignments, he brought his operational, technical, and leadership skills to a variety of shore assignments, including Executive Director to the NOAA Deputy Under Secretary for Operations.
He has completed the Leadership for a Democratic Society program at the Federal Executive Institute as well as the Senior Executive Fellows program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He earned a master's degree in Civil Engineering from Portland State University and a bachelor's degree in General Engineering from the University of Illinois.
Pica resides in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife and two children.