SOCORRO, N.M., July 1, 1999 -- Jim Fowler had spent the last 13 years working in the Washington, D.C. area for the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), so when IRIS relocated its Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL) Instrument Center to the New Mexico Tech campus last fall, it seemed natural that Fowler would eventually contemplate relocating his own base of operation to Socorro.
He didn't have to stay thinking about it for too long.
In fact, Fowler has already settled in his new office as PASSCAL Program Manager at the IRIS/PASSCAL Instrument Center and has no regrets about moving back to New Mexico.
"My wife, Cynthia, and I are originally from New Mexico, so it really wasn't as difficult for us to move here as it might have been for someone who's a hardcore 'Easterner,'" Fowler says.
"Since most of my work involved the Instrument Center, it seemed best for all concerns if my office was actually located at the Instrument Center," Fowler points out. "Basically, instead of living in Washington and commuting to New Mexico, I now live in New Mexico and commute to Washington."
Fowler received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and went on to earn both his master of science and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Missouri at Rolla.
"One of our jobs at IRIS/PASSCAL is to design seismic instruments and related software," Fowler notes, "and also to purchase and maintain instrumentation for use by the research community. We also provide specialized training on those same instruments.
"We don't do actual seismic research per se," he continues, "but instead we provide logistical support to the seismic research community. . . . All the support we can provide is available right here at this facility."
Fowler estimates that the IRIS/PASSCAL Instrument Center currently has about $10 million worth of equipment in its inventory, including a pool of over 1,000 seismographs which are routinely employed throughout the world for research by geophysicists and other scientists.
In his leisure time, Fowler says he enjoys bicycling and running, among other activities.
"On our family outings, we used to do quite a bit of sailing in the D.C. area," he relates, adding that he and his wife plan on eventually taking up the sport again on the waters of Elephant Butte Reservoir.
Fowler also is actively involved with helping run his wife's gourmet specialty foods business. Cynthia's company, he says, is based in Albuquerque and manufactures and distributes salsas, hot
sauces, cooking sauces, and other related products.