WASHINGTON – Molly Bergren, environmental engineer and tanks and spills program manager, is representing Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington for Engineers Week. She serves Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington in Washington D.C.
Bergren has been with NAVFAC Washington since 2018. As the Tanks and Spills Program Manager, she is responsible for the compliance of all facility fuel tanks at NSA Washington. Keeping the tanks up to date and in compliance not only guarantees safety of those working around them, but keeps missions that rely on generators, heating oil or backup power running without interruption. She is also responsible for the routine monthly inspection of the tanks.
“I am fortunate to have an amazing team accomplishing this task,” Bergren said. “We have been hard at work to improve our processes so that we can provide our customers’ important data on their tanks, prepare them for routine or emergency repairs, and keep their missions running.”
Bergren is a mother of two and married to her husband, Jim, who she credits with the support and encouragement required to pursue her engineering career. Originally from Richmond Va., she spent the past 13 years moving with the military. She served as a logistics officer in the U.S. Air Force from 2008 to 2012 and retired as a captain. Like many, she joined to see the world and gain some life and work experience.
“I also wanted to pay off my school loans and it was a great way to do it. Choosing to serve really paved the way for my transition to my civil service career path and higher education.”
While in the Air Force, Bergren focused on her education in biology, as well as environmental policy and management. As a biologist, she began to enjoy the balance required to protect natural resources while also supporting the military mission. Environmental engineering felt like the next natural step for her to grow her understanding and bring both sides together.
“It opened my eyes to all of the work that goes on between the start of an idea and the implementation of that idea. Most importantly though, I knew choosing to pursue engineering would enable me to become a problem solver who is able to find the best solutions for both sides.”
Bergren graduated from Norwich University and earned a master’s degree in civil engineering, focusing on environmental and water resources. She advocates for people who are interested in changing the world to explore an education in engineering.
“I think young people should consider engineering as a career because it is a great way to apply science. While studying biology, I learned about a lot of theories and concepts. When I transitioned to engineering, the lessons became about how to apply those theories to real world scenarios. An engineering background opens doors to be able to interact with the world smartly and responsibly.”