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Employee Spotlight: Jack McDermid

October 8, 2018

Jack McDermid is the Riverside Program Manager for NCEI-CCOG at Stennis Space Center. Jack started out as a boat operator and field technician at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (now University of Southern Mississippi) in Ocean Springs MS, working on Corps of Engineers projects stabilizing spoil islands in the MS sound.  He joined the Naval Oceanographic Office in 1976 as a co-op student and became a certified U.S. Navy diver and biologist conducting ecological monitoring surveys of harbors, barrier reefs, shorelines and marshes near Navy installations. He also participated in oceanographic environmental surveys and search operations aboard Navy oceanographic survey vessels, mine sweepers and submarines.  Following his tenure at NAVOCEANO, Jack transferred to the Office of Naval Research as the Arctic Logistics and Instrumentation Program Manager where he planned and directed logistics support for the largest Arctic experiment in U.S. Naval history.  Jack retired from the Naval Research Laboratory where he was the head of the Naval Acoustics Tactical Applications Section developing ocean acoustic models for simulations, adaptive sampling and optimization systems.  Before ending up at Riverside and NCEI, he spent five years as an IT project manager with Computer Science Corporation supporting the Department of Homeland Security.  Jack holds a double major undergraduate degree in biology and anthropology from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Business Administration degree from William Carey University.  Jack is married, has two children, two dogs and a cat and lives in Pass Christian Mississippi.

1. What three traits describe you? Loyal, curious, ancient.

2. What are you most excited or passionate about in your career? Still being able to get up every morning

3. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had? I was a scrub-diver for an aquarium and part-time animated character actor for commercials for the company.

4. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? Build wooden boats

5. Who lives in your house (people, pets, etc.)? My wife, two kids, two dogs and a cat.

6. Tell us something that might surprise us about you. I’m allergic to animal hair

7. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list? My Mother, Father, Sister and Brother

8. What was your favorite subject in school and why? Science, I was too lazy to be any good at math

9. Which of your 5 senses is the strongest? How about weakest? Strongest is touch, I’m very tactile; weakest is smell – I can’t.

10. What kind of music do you listen to? Smooth Jazz if I have a choice, otherwise whatever is on the box.

11. You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they? Fried grouper, wild rice, pecan pie

12. If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see? Woodstock NY; 1969, I must be the only person who missed it.

13. What trend would you like to see go away forever? Rap

14. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? I’d be perfectly happy just to have my vision back to 20/20

15. Tell us about your most unique travel experience. I had to hitch a ride on an empty DC-4 cargo plane returning from Barter Island to Fairbanks Alaska. Going through the mountains the pilot thought it would be fun to chase a herd of caribou so he rolled the plane over for a better view and we flew upside down until the heard scattered. 

16. What’s your #1 item on your bucket list? Fly fishing on the Snake River Idaho.

17. What’s on or in your nightstand? Dust and Off-Grid magazines

18. What’s your biggest pet peeve? The cat claws-up the door casing in the garage at 04:30 every day

19. If you could be on any TV game show, what would it be and why? Jeopardy – I like trivia

20. Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Brussels sprouts

21. Tell us your favorite joke. No, no…

22. What movie could you watch over and over? Why? “The Rocketeer”, I like 1930s Hollywood

23. Tell me about your best friend. Dive buddy from college, piano keys for teeth he lights up a room, never met a stranger

24. Who’s the most famous person you’ve met? Mel Fisher, treasure hunter Key West FL “Today’s the Day!”

25. Who would play you in a movie about your life? What would be the title of that movie? Steve McQueen; “Blood, Sweat and Fears”

26. What’s an ability you wish you had? Concert 12 string Guitarist

27. Tell us about your best live performance experience. Jimmy Buffet; May 2 1982, Papeete Tahiti, a solo gig where only six of us in the venue spoke English

28. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be? Locker room with showers so I could run at lunch.