Rockford Born and Raised
I was born and raised in Rockford. Being outside has always been important to my family, and some of my earliest memories are floating down the Kishwaukee River (a tradition we continue today). My grandparents were active in my life. With both my grandpas having served in WWII, they instilled in me the value of service.
The Value of Hard Work
Growing up, I was terrified of storms. But my local weatherman, “TV Eric,” explained what was happening, and helped me feel safe during them. From a young age I knew that I wanted to be “TV Eric,'' and at age 27 that dream came true when I became the Chief Meteorologist at WREX in Rockford.
Paying it forward, I started Project Tornado, an initiative that brings meteorologists into schools to help kids feel safer during severe weather, educating 50,000 students. After 11 years working in Rockford, I moved to Moline and spent seven years delivering weather to the Quad Cities.
Serving My Community
I came out while attending Northern Illinois University and received tremendous support from my friends and family. After graduating college, I moved south to Texas for my first television job. I remember my dad telling me that things would be “different” for me in Texas, and that it shouldn’t be that way. Unfortunately, he was right, and I experienced discrimination in that first job. I was called into my bosses’ office with a copy of my contract sitting on the desk and the “moral clause” highlighted. I was told that I couldn’t be gay and work there.
My experiences in Rockford and the Quad Cities were quite different — I was able to be out on TV! And in the Quad Cities, I took a more active role in our LGBTQ community — serving on the boards of Clock, Inc and The Project of the Quad Cities, initiatives that aim to connect vulnerable individuals to health services. This is part of serving your community that I learned from my grandpas.
Today I live in Moline with my partner Shawn and our two dogs Oliver and Petey. We enjoy bike riding, kayaking, and exploring good food in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas.
Why I'm Running
For two decades, I was your weatherman. I spent 22 years keeping you safe by telling the truth, informing, and educating our communities daily. Because of telling you how the weather impacted your jobs, schools, weekends, and yes, sometimes your lives, I earned your trust through thousands of broadcasts bringing you the daily weather and important updates about “once in a century” storms.
To me, being a meteorologist has always been about protecting our neighbors and our communities, values I learned from my family at an early age.