My name is Brad Emel, and I'm the President of MesoDome, LLC. I'm also the product engineer, software engineer, and just about everything else for MesoDome.
I was born and raised in the flat rural corn fields of Central Illinois. Like many other storm enthusiasts, I developed a passion for weather at a young age. As a farm kid, weather was always a topic of conversation. Bad weather could wipe out an entire crop, so severe weather was monitored closely. At 16, I joined the Moultrie county ESDA as a storm spotter. After high school, I attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. In 2001 I joined the Makanda Township Fire Department, and the Carbondale EMA as a storm spotter.
In 2002 I started a new job at Evolution Multimedia in Herrin, Illinois. The new job also introduced me to Scott Sims, also a programmer at Evolution. We both shared the same passion for storm chasing and weather. During 2003 and 2004 we went on several local Illinois storm chases.
In 2005 and 2006 Scott and I took a weeks worth of vacation in the spring to chase tornadoes on the plains. It was our first big storm chasing experience, and we absolutely loved it. I am so thankful that I found a friend like Scott that shares the same passion for storm chasing as I do. It also helps that we like the same type of music, and don't mind spending 18 hours a day in a vehicle together repeatedly.
In 2007 Evolution went under, and I had to make a decision; stay in the country where I grew up, or move to the city to find programming jobs. I decided to stay in Mattoon, and work for our family farm. Our farm is a medium sized operation, with two full time employees.
My experience growing up and working on a farm has taught me how to build things with my hands. I had already mastered building programs with my mind, but the hard physical labor taught me many lessons. The only major drawback is I can't take any planned vacations in the spring. Planting, side dressing, and the various farm tasks always have top priority. This has effectively limited the distance I can travel for springtime storm chasing. Illinois is primarily my stomping grounds, although I've ventured out for a few two day excursions in the plains.
Brad testing an early version of the MesoDome in Iowa on 4-3-11.
My computer skills come naturally to me. I've always been a computer nut, and I've amassed a beautiful collection of electronic items. I'm almost a jack of all trades, as I can program, network, build wireless link systems, surveillance systems, and lots more. It's a computer nerd's dream come true in my office.
Words cannot describe how excited I am about the MesoDome. The entire project has been truly inspirational and motivating for me. The controller software is extremely powerful, with a huge potential for upgrades and improvements.
Be confident in the fact that MesoDome LLC is here to stay. We're going to continue development for years to come. We love tornado videos, and we want to help make your videos better.