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Holly Wortman

Meteorological Technician
Canadian Armed Forces
Holly Wortman | Technicienne en météorologie
Holly Wortman | Technicienne en météorologie
School Subject

Holly Wortman is a Meteorological Technician for the Canadian Armed Forces.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

I now live in: Fredericton, New Brunswick

I completed my training/education at: Basic Military Training in St-Jean, Quebec, all job related training (Tactical Weather specialist course for observing/briefing, and the forecasting course) is done at the Canadian Forces School of Meteorology in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

What I do at work

Early in my career, my job included sending hourly weather reports and giving weather presentations, to command teams. I did this in person and over the phone. Weather presentations are important because leaders need as much information as possible so that they are able to make the best decisions in their planning. I have been promoted to a forecaster and now my job includes monitoring and forecasting the weather for various locations of military operations in Canada and around the world.

Working in Gagetown, I work closely with Environment and Climate Change Canada forecasters. I use tools such as satellite, radar, computer-generated data, and weather observations from other Met Techs to watch the weather and forecast what is coming. We also use weather-observing equipment to help provide weather information anywhere we may be deployed. We also use upper air equipment, sent up with helium balloons, to get weather information in the atmosphere to pass along to people such as the artillery, aircrews, and other forecasters.

There are many opportunities to travel on exercises or operations within Canada and around the world. I have been to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, and I was lucky enough to spend six months at Canadian Forces Station Alert, also in Nunavut. This is the northernmost, permanently inhabited place on earth. There is also the chance to work onboard Navy ships and sail around the world.

Weather isn't always predictable and it doesn't always cooperate. As a result, attention to detail and quick decision-making is an asset, at all levels of this job. A background in science and physics is a plus but not essential for this job. If you are interested, CFS Met will teach you everything you need to know to be successful. A little knowledge in computers can help make the day-to-day run a little smoother as a lot of our job involves working on computers. But we do get to spend some time outdoors, especially while deployed! There is some public speaking in this job with the weather presentations, so being comfortable speaking on the phone and talking in front of a room full of people certainly helps as well. Again, CFS Met trains new Met Techs in this area. I used to be terrified of public speaking, but have become comfortable with it over time.

My career path is

When I was in high school, I didn't have any clue what I wanted to do with my life. I went to university and jumped around between programs. I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Before joining the military, I participated in a Pre-Recruiting Training Program, which the Canadian Forces offers to First Nations people. It was during this program that I discovered the meteorological technician trade. I had no idea that the military had jobs like that! Basic Training was tough, but a good attitude will get you through it!

I am motivated by

I personally have always had a passion for weather, everything from the clouds in the sky on a nice summer day, to big thunderstorms. Being able to work with something I'm so passionate about is very rewarding to me personally. One of my favourite things about my job is watching a big event (such as a thunderstorm, a hurricane, or even a large system bringing piles of snow) develop and move on satellite. The weather is never the same, so each day brings something a little different.

The people I work with also make going to work a positive experience. Working with both the military and Environment and Climate Change Canada, I have met so many people from different walks of life, and have made friends from all over the country that will last a lifetime. Being able to travel to new and interesting places for work is also a highlight in my career, and it is something I will always look forward to doing again as my career progresses.

How I affect peoples’ lives

The weather products and services we provide are essential for the planning and execution of military operations around the world. Providing accurate and timely weather information to the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy, helps them to carry out their missions successfully. The weather information that we provide can help a pilot decide whether to fly that day or it might cause a ship to change its course. We also provide help when it comes to disaster relief, or help areas prepare for a coming storm.

Outside of work I

Outside of work, I am a dedicated gym-goer, and I have a big passion for cosplay. I spend a lot of time outdoors with my dog, play video games and read to relax. And, I never say no to getting together with my friends for a night of bowling or going kayaking on a hot summer day.

My advice to others

My advice to anyone interested in becoming a meteorological technician (or joining any job in the military, for that matter) is to have a positive attitude, work hard, and don't forget to have fun! There are so many opportunities available to Canadian Armed Forces members; take a look at the jobs available, and see if one interests you! Whatever job you choose, you will make a lot of new friends and become part of a second family, and I personally find it very rewarding.

I am Indigenous

Yes - I am an off-reserve Mi'kmaq, my family has ties to Eel River Bar in New Brunswick

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • History
  • Literature and English language arts
  • Math
  • Native Studies / Languages
  • Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Was motivated by success
  • Liked being given specific instructions
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
  • Played video games
  • Was really creative
  • Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
  • Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
  • Engaged in activities such as fishing, berry picking and hunting

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