Volunteer Ron Nierenberg is quite versatile and handy to have around the Enginehouse. Not just because of his customer service talent in the gift shop or because of his skill as our Volunteer Coordinator. Who do we call when the weather looks threatening, and we need to consider a closure? You guessed it! Our resident meteorologist, Ron Nierenberg.

Ron has been a meteorologist for 50 years. First employed in Anchorage, Alaska in 1977, he was an offshore forecaster. He began working in wind energy as an employee of PG&E in San Francisco from 1978 – 1980. Until now, this was his only full-time job. Ron is now the Principal Meteorologist, specializing in wind resource assessment, for Cordello Power, based in Toronto, Canada. From 1980 until 2023, he was an independent consulting meteorologist focused on wind energy.

Ron is married to Dani and has three children. His daughter, Konika, lives in Dallas, Texas. She has two children, 9-year-old Nalini and Zahava, who is 5. Ron’s two sons, Ryan and Joshua, both live in the Portland area.

Ron and Dani live next door to Todd Landwehr, ORHF’s treasurer. Todd didn’t have to work too hard to get Ron interested in volunteering here. He brought Ron to the Brooklyn Roundhouse about 16 years ago and then signed him up to work in the tent for Holiday Express. Ron’s involvement at ORHC has evolved over the years. As a gift shop operator, he is proud to say he “always balances at the end of the day.” Ron enjoys our volunteers and guests, and he loves being around the locomotives. He enjoys seeing the kids’ excited reactions to the trains, both toy and real.

Transferring from Boston University to San Francisco State in 1969, Ron has lived on the West Coast for much of his life. He moved to San Francisco to study North Indian classical music on the sarod (25-stringed instrument). This was to have been a three-month program, but Ron wound up staying out west, moving to Camas, Washington, in 2002. He continues his study of North Indian classical music.

Ron has a separate building on his property for toy trains that includes a model of the ORHC Enginehouse. He recently added a Shay and continues to update whenever new equipment is added or Enginehouse improvements are made. His dad is responsible for his early interest in trains. He used to toss Ron in the air and catch him (as many dads do), but there was a mishap when Ron was 2 or 3 years old. The next morning, there was a Lionel Hudson train set in his bedroom, and that’s how his love of model trains began.

Ron would like to make a cross country trip through the Canadian Rockies via a steam locomotive-powered train. Another dream is to visit and ride on a Garrett steam locomotive in South Africa. These are articulated locomotives built in Britain and designed for rough track. Garretts are similar to Shays but are very large and have multiple wheels.

Ron has been fortunate to travel extensively in Latin America, Europe, India and China as a meteorologist. Some of his favorite locales are Costa Rica, Switzerland and Italy. Sunshine and Hawaii beckon to Ron and Dani every year. They have visited for three weeks in January for the past 10 years and intend to extend the trip to all of January and February in 2025. Their ultimate goal is to own property on the big island of Hawaii.

Ron’s favorite style of music is Indian classical, and favorite movie genre is sci-fi. Asian food and cheesecake are two of his favorites, but it should come as no surprise to many that he will likely eat anything that is not nailed down!