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Andrea Woefel is Plant Manager and Chief Engineer at Biogen Cogeneration (Cogen) Plant through Veolia North America, where she oversees the operations of the plant’s power and steam output to the Biogen campus and interface with the Eversource electric grid and Veolia steam network as a microgrid. She attended Mass Maritime Academy and has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering ('00) with a Mechanical Engineering concentration and a master’s degree in Facilities Management ('18).
What brought you to the energy field?
As far as I can remember, I have always been a problem solver. After graduating from Mass Maritime Academy with a B.S. in Marine Engineering with a Mechanical Engineering concentration, I took to the sea as a USCG licensed Engineer, and found a perfect fit amidst the giant engines and the pressure to perform. The transition to shore side was daunting, but when I found Veolia (then Dalkia) I realized I had the opportunity to expand and grow in a field that is nothing if not filled with problems. I enjoy the challenge of meeting the utility demands of our clients in this changing environment and continuing to find ways to adapt and expand upon our sustainability and efficiency. The best part about being an engineer is learning something new every single day.
What has been your proudest moment or greatest achievement in your career in energy, to date?
There are many projects and issues that we have overcome here at the Cogen Plant, but I would have to say my greatest achievement in recent years would be attaining my Massachusetts Stationary First Class Engineer’s license. This is the highest license for boiler operators in the State and I take great pride in the responsibility that accompanies this license.
How did you find out about WEN, and why did you join? What are you hoping to gain from your membership?
I learned about WEN through my colleagues here at Veolia. They sponsored an introductory meeting with the new chapter and I immediately joined. It has been amazing to meet and learn from this diverse group of women. Being rooted in a male-dominated industry, it is refreshing to be able to talk shop with other like-minded women. I have met some amazing people and have learned a great deal from the events and workshops. I really appreciate all that WEN has to offer.
What advice has resonated with you for your career/do you have any advice for others?
I have a few major tenets for my career that have guided me. One is to bring my true, authentic self to everything I do and to have confidence that I am enough exactly the way I am. Another piece of advice I follow is to never be afraid to ask for help - whether that be from a mentor, a colleague, a friend; whomever. Sharing information and welcoming new ideas makes us all better engineers. And to expand on this; most importantly is to listen to what your colleagues and mentors have to say, and receive their direction with an open mind.
The above article can be found on the Boston Chapter "Women's Energy Network" web site. Link below.