Ben Burkel Meteorologist

About Ben Burkel

Ben Burkel has had an exciting journey in his career before finding the ideal job that is the perfect mix of his two passions in life: weather and aviation.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Purdue University, Ben served as a weather officer at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.  There, he directed 25 forecasters in providing continuous weather support to over 100 federal government installations.

Upon fulfilling his commitment to the Air Force, he returned to the private sector and was employed in Chicago as a wind analyst for Acciona Energy.  In this position, he forecasted both winds and energy output for the development of wind farms throughout the United States.  After working in the renewable energy industry, Ben then chose a career as a broadcast meteorologist.

He started his 5-year stretch in television at KTVZ in Bend, Oregon where he worked as the weekday evening meteorologist for three years.  While in Central Oregon, he provided accurate forecasts for the High Desert which is known for its rapidly changing weather conditions. Ben then joined the WKOW team in Madison, Wisconsin as the Wake Up Wisconsin Weekend meteorologist.  In just over two years of being in the broadcast industry, Ben earned the prestigious Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) seal from the American Meteorological Society (AMS), a professional recognition of the quality of his weather broadcasts. In 2013 and 2014, Ben’s forecasts were rated MOST ACCURATE in southern Wisconsin by WeatheRate, an independent weather forecast verification company.

After more than seven years of being away from an aviation-related field, it was the backseat ride under the open canopy of a BT-13 old World War II trainer airplane where his transition back into aviation occurred. That unique opportunity set the wheels in motion to eventually earn his FAA dispatch license and become a commercial airline flight dispatcher.