Eller Executive MBA ’13
By Liz Warren-Pederson
When he was in high school, Aaron Pickering recalls flipping through a big book of career options. “I circled meteorology,” he said. “It’s something that’s always been a fascination of mine — the idea of looking into the future and predicting what’s going to happen next.”
TV wasn’t his original goal. “I did an internship with the National Weather Service and became really interested in seeing how they used the data to come up with the forecast that ended up on TV.”
During his undergraduate program at San Jose State University, he focused on air pollution and the urban heat island effect. While working on his thesis — which sought to understand the interaction between urban and boundary-layer meteorology — he also interned at the NBC affiliate in San Jose. “From the moment I walked into the TV studio, I knew that I would love to give TV a shot,” he said. “When the newscasts were over for the day, I would ask the crew to leave the camera up so I could practice in front of the green screen.”
After he graduated, he joined KSBW in Salinas, California. “I was hired to work as the weekend meteorologist and learned all about micro-climates and forecasting marine layers and fog,” he said. He also caught the attention of the Fox affiliate in San Francisco and became a fill-in meteorologist.
With the KSBW and some major market experience under his belt, it was time to move into a larger market. “Tucson was the next logical step for me, and it also offered a lot of interesting weather, which you might not necessarily realize,” he said. Pickering pointed to the monsoon pattern. “There’s a lot of data out there, so you need to know which indicators to look for if you’re trying to predict the amount of fog in San Francisco on a given day, or how hot it’s going to get or how bad a storm will be in Tucson.”
Pickering joined KOLD in 2006. In early 2012, KOLD took over the operation of the local Fox affiliate, and he was tapped to become the meteorologist for Fox 11 evening broadcasts.
He entered the Eller Executive MBA program last year. “I’ve been contemplating my MBA for a long time,” he said. “My number one influence is my family. My sister got her MBA and was pushing me to get mine.” Once he’s finished the program later this year, he’ll have a unique skill set. “I understand the science behind the weather, I’m trained to communicate, and now I’ll have the business piece as well,” he said. “It’s definitely an unusual combination.”
And Pickering’s work has not gone unnoticed — after five back-to-back regional Emmy nominations, he took home the recognition for On-Air Talent – Best Weather Anchor in 2011, a feat he repeated in 2012. “I had to run to the Emmy ceremony right after class in Scottsdale,” he said. “I rushed in at the last minute. I wasn’t expecting to win, so when my name was called, it was crazy — a big surprise!”
Interested in recruiting Eller MBA students for internships and career positions? Learn more at the Eller MBA Corporate Recruiter website.