Profiles of speakers at the Plenary Sessions

Bob Riddaway, EMS President
Chair Opening Session and Awards Session

Bob Riddaway retired from the Met Office in the UK in 2005, though he continued working part-time at ECMWF for another 10 years. After gaining a BSc in Physics and a PhD in Meteorology from Edinburgh University he joined the Met Office to do research. He soon found that training and operational meteorology were more to his liking, so his career included being Head of Training and Joint Head of Forecasting. Whilst at the Met Office he became involved in the education and training activities of the WMO, and this still continues.

For nearly 50 years Bob Riddaway has been involved in the activities of the Royal Meteorological Society. These included running various educational activities, helping to establish professional meteorological qualifications, and being the founding editor of Meteorological Applications. For 8 years he was the General Secretary and is currently a member of the Accreditation Board. He was a member of the EMS Council and also Vice President between 2008 and 2015.

Haleh Kootval, Consulting specialist in meteorology and service delivery at the World Bank
Plenary Keynote

Haleh Koovtal joined the World Bank as a consulting specialist in meteorology and service delivery in April 2017. Prior to that Haleh worked in WMO as the Chief of the Public Weather Services (PWS) Programme, which she set up and developed since 1994.

In her current capacity at the Bank, Haleh is responsible to provide guidance and assistance in the development of the hydromet modernization programmes and projects of the Bank. While in WMO, she was responsible for guiding WMO Members on the improvement and functioning of their national PWS Programmes, for delivering fit-for-purpose weather and related services to users. Haleh is a physics graduate of the Imperial College of London University, and completed her post graduate studies in geophysics, before turning to studying meteorology. Prior to joining WMO, Haleh served as the Head of the Brunei Meteorological Service and the Permanent Representative of Brunei with WMO, and served on the WMO Executive Council. A main focus of her work at recent times has been promoting impact-based forecast and warning services.