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Name and title: Barry Myers, executive vice president and general counsel Age: 60 AccuWeather Inc.: Based in State College, Pa., AccuWeather Inc. dispenses global weather information and is the largest private forecasting operation in existence. Although it started as a small, winter-only business, AccuWeather’s customers now span the gamut from big corporations (“150 of the Fortune 500 companies,” according to Myers) to individual subscribers who pay as little as $30 for annual subscriptions. AccuWeather produces meteorological maps, graphs, forecast models and detailed worldwide forecasts, boasting predictions for 43,000 U.S. locations alone. Drawing many of its 300-plus employees from the town’s renowned department of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, it provides service to every continent, maintains an internationally available Web site and operates a United Kingdom-specific site. Because AccuWeather is privately held, Myers chose not to divulge annual revenues. Weather or not: Myers maintains a stormy relationship with the National Weather Service and the NWS’ parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As chairman of the legislative committee of the Commercial Weather Services Association, and on behalf of AccuWeather, he is active in lobbying for legislation to redefine the scope and limit the role of the NWS. Asserting that it ignores its own policies prohibiting it from competing with the commercial weather forecasting industry, Myers wants the NWS to “stick to what it’s supposed to be doing . . . what government can do, not what the private sector can do.” The NWS, established by the Organic Act of 1890, unfairly cuts into the heart of AccuWeather’s business, asserts Myers, who also feels that the NWS’ “over-reaching” undermines the entire commercial weather field. Twice he has been successful in having the House of Representatives approve laws restricting the NWS, but each time, the proposed legislation failed to garner Senate support. Myers backs the NWS in areas such as creation of infrastructure, funding and development of meteorological forecast models. He also supports its management of satellites and radar systems, but complains that “since the advent of the Internet, they are developing specialized products at taxpayer expense for all sorts of personal, private and industry groups.” He likens the NWS to the Federal Highway Administration: It designs and funds highways, but is not, and should not be, in the car business. RealFeel real deal?: Myers is excited about AccuWeather’s pending patent for RealFeel, a new temperature index that takes into account “all the factors that affect human comfort.” The current indices of wind chill and heat index are inadequate, he believes, as they fail to consider sunlight, humidity, solar gain and other factors. Myers said, “We are in a field where success is measured by being on the forefront of the latest technology and the whole company is oriented toward that.” AccuWeather’s legal team ensures that its intellectual property is properly licensed and protected. It has a proprietary television system and works out licensing agreements with TV stations, cable companies and the networks that use it. The requisite Federal Communications Commission licenses are also under the legal department’s umbrella. Suits and disputes: AccuWeather is akin to its competitor The Weather Channel and the National Weather Service in that all have engaged in legal battles over having provided allegedly “bad” forecasts. One suit, currently pending in Connecticut, was filed by a car accident victim, who claimed that an AccuWeather forecast did not give road crews sufficient time to clear a snow-covered road, thus causing the wreck. Part of the case has already been dismissed, and Myers asserts that suits such as this are few and far between. He is unaware of any that went to verdict and held the forecast-giver liable. Cybersquatters and domain-name disputes are also occasional sources of headaches for the general counsel, although trademark matters are usually handled by outside attorneys. Two recent cases, both resolved favorably for AccuWeather, involved variations of its name: Accuweathe.com, Accweather.com and Accueather.com. In these instances, the National Arbitration Forum ruled that the Accuweather mark was well known and that the respondents lured unsuspecting customers to their own Web sites for improper commercial gain. Legal team: Myers has the help of a pair of assistant general counsel. A fourth attorney, with a background in intellectual property, is also about to come aboard. The assignment of tasks to the in-house group or to outside counsel is “segregated along functional lines,” Myers explained. Contracting and minor collections work are done inside. Litigation and specialty areas like employment law and patent filings are farmed out. Myers’ most-used firms are Harrisburg, Pa.’s Beckley & Madden, and Philadelphia’s Blank Rome, whose home, Washington and New York offices are the ones most frequently called upon. Route to the top: Myers’ association with AccuWeather began on the ground floor, since the business was founded by his older brother, Dr. Joel N. Myers. The younger Myers started there in 1964 while still a Pennsylvania State University undergraduate (he graduated in 1967), and he has been at AccuWeather ever since. He continued to lend his expertise even while attaining a degree from Boston University School of Law (in 1970) and overlapping with a stint on his alma mater’s business law faculty. Of his long-term association with AccuWeather, Myers proudly said, “It’s been amazing to see something start out as an idea that my brother had, and that I contributed to and so many other people joined, and have it now be a household name across the United States and known around the world.” Personal: Myers and his wife, Holly, have five children in their combined family: Carla, 34; Joseph, 29; Rebekah, 27; Erik, 14; and Blair, 11. He is one of the few nonmeteorologist members of the American Meteorological Society and is an avid tennis player. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 is the most severe weather event he can recall and the weather maven noted, “I will say that our forecasts were right on!” Last book and movie: How to Argue and Win Every Time, by Gerry Spence, and Cold Mountain.

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