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Celebrating Women Leaders at NETL - Maria Vargas

Maria Vargas

Associate Director of Resource Sustainability


Maria Vargas earned her bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma and her master’s degree in environmental engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

Vargas began her career with the DOE in 1987, but previously worked in the industry for several years. In addition to working at NETL, she has held positions at the Richland Operations Office, Rocky Flats Site and Savannah River Operations Office.

As a young engineer working in the Denver, Colorado, area, Vargas heard of some job opportunities at the DOE Hanford Facility in Richland, Washington. She submitted her application and a few weeks later she received a call from HR saying they would like to speak to her about her career. She flew out there and met with the HR representative for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant and she received a job offer by the time they were done eating.

Vargas is very dedicated and has been with NETL since April 1997. She currently serves as the associate director of Resource Sustainability located within the Technology Development Center. The Resource Sustainability department at NETL is comprised of approximately 25 engineers, scientists and an administrative assistant, is responsible for field management of research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM).

In this position, Vargas provides recommendations on projects needed to support overall research programs to top NETL and DOE management officials. She also is tasked with maintaining oversight of professional engineers and scientists as well as project managers that have responsibility for the management of projects.

In general, she says her time at NETL has been very rewarding. In her current position, Vargas really enjoys the team dynamics of the Technology Development Center and seeing the staff’s strong commitment level. She is also thankful that the executive leadership has been very supportive of her. 

Another standout position she had was when she was the deputy director for Office of Systems Analysis and Planning. It was another dynamic and capable group of people that worked hard and enjoyed what they were doing.

According to Vargas, Women’s History Month is a great time to reflect and highlight the achievements of women, both past and present, who have helped build and mold this country.

“It’s a time to be thankful to live in a country that allows women the freedom to be a successful contributor,” Vargas said. “But it’s also time to think about the future and what needs to happen to continue to prepare and inspire the generations that are to come.”

Maria Vargas

Maria Vargas

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