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The Changing Climate and the Risk and Opportunities for Your Business

Jul 29, 2022

Join Lisë Stewart and Crystal Egger, President & Meteorologist with Monarch Weather Consulting, as we discuss the impact of climate change, new weather prediction technology, and the potential risks and opportunities that our changing world might bring to your business.


Lisë Stewart:Hello, my name is Lisë Stewart and I'm a partner at EisnerAmper and this is Fast Forward, part of our EisnerAmper podcast series that helps business owners to plan for the future. And I'm so fortunate because I get to have wonderful guests on this program and today is no exception. I want to welcome Crystal Egger and she is from Monarch Weather and Climate Intelligence, and we've had some wonderful conversations. And Crystal, I know you do a better job of introducing yourself and your company than I could ever do. So you want to give us a little bit of background?

Crystal Egger:Great. Absolutely. First of all, thanks for having me. As women in business, my partner Kathryn and I, we really admire you. So it is an honor to be on this podcast with you. A brief, let's see, I'll start with the broadcast meteorology side of things first. So I worked in that industry for about 15 years and traveled around the country, climbing to higher markets, really had my eyes on the Weather Channel, which is the mecca for meteorologists.

I had been watching Stephanie Abrams and Jim Cantore and all the greats there at the Weather Channel and really wanted to learn from them and work alongside them. So I had the opportunity to have a career there. And eventually I just decided, I think we all come to this point in our lives where we need a change with our dynamics day to day, perhaps it's not working for the family situation, but I had two young daughters and I was on the other side of the country in Atlanta, Georgia and all of my family is here where I'm located now in Southern California. And I decided to make the leap back here. I took a job at NBC Los Angeles for many years. And ultimately, just burned out on the 2:00 AM wake up calls, which I had done for the majority of my career.

So I came down to San Diego looking to make a complete career change, still in meteorology but not necessarily in the broadcast field. And I was given the opportunity to work for a Fortune 100 technology company as a weather and climate advisor. And I had never thought about weather consulting per se, but it was fascinating. The company had just lost their entire operation in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria and they were looking for some guidance. And I took that job and eventually, Monarch was born as I saw such a need in the business space for what we have to offer as meteorologists.

And now we are a small woman owned business, and we focus on the impact of weather and climate on businesses internationally. We continue to grow our team, which is exciting because not only do we have certified consulting meteorologists, broadcast meteorologists, we also have data scientists on our team who provide the GIS analytics that really help to turn weather into impact, so I think that uniquely suits us to help businesses navigate what they're up against. And we can do high resolution models and products, consulting services, custom dashboards, really dependent on what our client is looking for. And we recently changed our name to Monarch Weather and Climate Intelligence and got away from the consulting side of our name because we're definitely more of a technology, data company and we wanted to portray that in our name.
LS:That makes perfect sense. And what a lovely sort of growth curve for yourself and also for the business. Which is perfect for kind of my next question which is, Monarch, what's the future hold? Climate, the conversations about climate change, I know with our clients and customers, it's such a hot topic. So what do you see as kind of the vision from Monarch going forward?
CE:Well, I definitely see more work in the climate space. It's a fascinating place to be right now. Because we always tell our clients and whoever we're introduced to on the introductory calls, it's important to point out that aside from your political views or how you feel about global warming, our climate is changing and it's been changing for decades. And that climate we knew a century ago, it doesn't exist so we have to make sure that we're adapting to those changes. Seasons are shifting. Average temperatures are shifting. Even with the smallest increase in global temperature, we're adding a lot more moisture to the atmosphere and that's why we're seeing more extreme weather events. And just understanding what that means for your business, especially if you have long term commitments in investment and real estate. Building resilience and knowing what you're up against, I think is critical now more than ever.
LS:Absolutely agree. So we talk about fast forward. We talk about planning for the future. So what are some of the things that you tell business owners or help them to understand in regard to managing that risk, keeping their businesses safe and secure, given the fact that the climate is changing? Can you give us some examples? I'm sure my audience is like, what should I be doing?
CE:I think a great example is some work we're doing right now with an international real estate firm. So the investors are interested, obviously, to see what's happening with risk mitigation. How are we managing this and how are we planning for the future? Especially this client of ours has companies across Southeast Asia, which is exceptionally vulnerable to extreme weather. And what we're being told is that a lot of times these companies know they need the information in their portfolio, but they're not sure exactly what they need so that's where we come in to help out. They do need user friendly, localized projections of how the climate's changing. And the type of modeling work that we can do to get at those specific impacts is really important to their bottom line and how they address insurance needs.

So we are looking at imminent risk, which is short term, one to five years. We're looking at more medium term risks for these companies, especially to physical assets, so five to 10 years. And then even long term, we can project how the climate may impact their operations and facilities. I think one of the most extreme and definitely most common threats has to do with flooding, not only in the U.S. but across the globe. And a lot of companies are coming to us to better understand their flood threats.
LS:Right. We've seen such an explosion of growth in companies seeking understanding of ESG, Environmental, Social, and Governance policies and what they should be doing, how this impacts their business and so on. And we've seen more pressure from boards for companies to have a risk management plan that includes climate risk, many times it is flooding. And we've got clients in the Midwest, in the U.S., where it's wind and tornadoes. And out on the west coast, it's fires and wind and on and on and on. So I know that this is becoming just an incredibly important topic and people feel a little bit lost. So it's lovely to know that there's an organization like yours, a company where they can get information that could fit into their ESG policies and practices.

But that also leads me to kind of where you get your information, Crystal. One of the things that's fascinating is to see how weather technology has changed. It just seems like every year the ability to predict gets better and better. And climate models, weather models, get better and better. What are you seeing? What do you think's going to happen with the technology?
CE:That's a great question. And we have a team of operational meteorologists who gather the data and turn it into impact and create these custom model solutions and I'll refer to them as our data team. So our data team constantly fascinated by the availability of new data at their fingertips. One thing for example has to do with the private satellite industry. More private satellites are going up and they're delivering pertinent data. We've increased our super computers as we call them. There's more ground data available. So we're getting a great handle on forecasting.

If you look at even the national hurricane center and their forecast tracks, there's been dramatic improvement over the last couple of years. So we're able to take a lot of this government data and also private data and put it together into a solution for our clients. And I only see the accuracy improving over time. That's definitely the direction we're going. And a lot of these government agencies, they focus on public safety. And these private companies, such as Monarch, are able to work one on one and provide that custom tailored analysis to businesses. Which you don't see as much in the government space because they have a big job at notifying the public and making sure the public stays safe. But getting into the private sector is really where I think businesses can thrive.
LS:Right. So how are you getting your business? Where's it coming from? How are you growing Monarch? What's that look like?
CE:Wow, it's been an really exciting year. I think that the momentum is just there because of the space we're in with weather and climate. There's been a lot of momentum and leads coming in from Google searches for weather consulting. I think we get a lot of our client leads through the website, also networking through LinkedIn and social media. Luckily I have a team of meteorologists who have a large presence already in the weather community. If anything comes up, they tend to refer companies our way.

For example, my partner, Kathryn Prociv, we started Monarch together. Her and I worked at the weather channel many years ago, and a lot of the calls, the majority of calls that come into the assignment desk at the weather channel, are businesses looking for weather consultants and that's just not what they offer at the weather channel. So now we're starting to get referrals to Monarch from our former colleagues, which is wonderful. And I would say as far as industries, we're seeing most of our work in key sectors, such as insurance. No surprise there. We do a lot of forensic analysis for legal cases, could be looking back at a slip and fall situation or an automobile accident that involved a large company and there's a lot at stake. Really understanding and dissecting the weather event to see what occurred and how that's going to go to trial.

Also asset management, real estate, agriculture. We've done a lot in agriculture recently, not only in the U.S., but globally. A lot of large ag companies are looking to diversify their crops or expand and purchase land elsewhere. So we do climate assessments so they can understand the viability of growing table grapes, for example, in Texas versus Mexico. So agriculture is key, as you can imagine. Weather, they live and breathe the weather. So the ag space and aerospace, we work with a private satellite company to provide tailored global flood analysis so they know where to task their satellites. And there's energy, utilities and power. There's so many industries, even retail, where you could certainly apply weather analytics to help with your bottom line.

So I think there's just a ton of opportunity. I used to joke that we're like the Target or Costco of weather consulting because we have so much to offer. And there's so much we can do with this team and the tailored work we're doing. So trying to focus our efforts is where we're at now, but I think we see that in the demand and the request coming in and we're starting to notice where we're driving most of our business.
LS:Oh, it's so exciting. You're going to have to come back like in a year's time and just tell us all about the growth. Because it's just such an exciting and really it's a booming industry and we really wish you well. So just in our closing minutes here, Crystal, what would you like business owners to know? What's one thought that you want to leave our audience with?
CE:I think the bottom line is that extreme weather events are only going to increase. So I really think that companies should consider building resilience around our changing climate. And we offer free consultations, if there's any interest in just hearing more about what we can do for you specifically, we'd love to do that. And I just think no matter what, we're all going to be better off if we're better prepared.
LS:Exactly. Well, Crystal, thank you so much for joining us today. I hope that this is just a teaser to wet the appetite of the people listening, because it's an important subject and we're going to be hearing a lot more about it. So thank you again. And thanks to all of you for listening to the EisnerAmper Fast Forward podcast series.

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