MIAMI, Fl. (WNCN) — For the last 15 years, Dr. Michael Brennan has worked at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. He started out as a Senior Hurricane Specialist, then became the Branch Chief of the Hurricane Specialist Unit.

However, this past Monday, he took over as Director of the National Hurricane Center.

“It’s a huge honor, it’s very humbling,” Dr. Brennan said. “I have the privilege of working with such great people here and we have such a great mission.”

But the North Carolina State University graduate didn’t plan on getting into tropical weather.

“My background was not in tropical meteorology,” he said. “In graduate school, I was more focused on mid-latitude weather. But something appealed to me.”

That appeal? The drive to help people in the path of tropical systems.

Like many meteorologists, Dr. Brennan experienced a weather event as a child that shaped his fascination for weather. For him, it was record flooding on the Roanoke River in his home state of Virginia in 1985 that caused his grandmother to lose her home.

And, while studying at NC State, he experienced the impacts from hurricanes Bertha, Fran and Floyd.

“Seeing that happen drives your desire to want to help people, to help people know what’s coming and know how to be prepared and be safe,” Dr. Brennan said. “I think that’s the story of a lot of people in the business, that’s why we get into it. It’s a great calling.”

That calling is what drives many at the National Hurricane Center to improve forecasts and make sure all hazards are communicated.

It’s stressful, but so valuable, he said.

“It’s very focused, high-impact events that we work on,” Dr. Brennan said. “You’re making a forecast, you’re following a storm through its entire lifespan and you’re driving the national level messaging for a hugely impactful event. That’s very appealing and it feels like a place where you can really make a difference.”

You can read the official announcement here, and look for Dr. Brennan to explain more about tropical weather and the risks associated with it during hurricane preparedness week beginning April 30th.