Behind the scenes at the Nuclear Waste Program

Keeping on track with Andrea Adams

The smile behind cleanup

Everyone at our office knows who Andrea Adams is, and those who don’t quickly become acquainted with the captivating personality of our Cleanup Section secretary. Andrea is a people person, and her personality shines through her interactions with staff members and the public! 

Andrea has been working at Ecology for 17 years, and she has been passionate about her job since the day she started in the Nuclear Waste Program (NWP). Like several of our program’s secretaries, her duties range between document processing, coordinating various calendars, prepping for large meetings and presentations, supporting her team and the program staff, and more.

Woman standing in front of students in a park.

Andrea helping the Communications Unit with the Salmon Summit event.

A challenge that Andrea faces is working with different personalities and adapting to unique styles, but she enjoys getting to know everyone. 

“I like the people I work with, my section is great! Supporting this section is one of the things about my job that I really enjoy, and the interaction with the people is just the cherry on top,” she said.

On top of helping her own section, Andrea takes the time to assist with outreach activities and volunteering within different projects. 

A day in the life

Two women smiling.

Andrea traveling with a friend.

A few of Andrea’s most important tasks are to classify correspondence, get meetings scheduled, and to find times that don’t conflict between people's schedules. 

“Coordination and organization are key,” Andrea said. 

Note taking, document updates, file organization, formatting, editing, and travel training are just some of the numerous tasks she tackles to keep her section’s administration afloat.

Andrea has come a long way since she started out as a receptionist, and gradually learned and grew before being promoted to another role.

“I had coworkers who greatly supported and encouraged me to take the jump and taught me what I needed to know to become a section secretary.” Andrea said.

On any given day, Andrea fulfills her duties and enjoys catching up with colleagues in the hallways and taking short walks to find solace during her breaks. 

“Balance is very important for me.” she said. 

Social butterfly, crafter extraordinaire, and the best aunt you’ll ever meet!

Group of smiling kids of all ages.

Andrea's nieces and nephews gathered for a holiday.

When she is in the office, Andrea loves being helpful and attentive to coworkers and goes out of her way to assist her section and our program’s staff.

“It makes my day to be able to assist my section in anything that is needed.” Andrea said.

One of her biggest passions outside of work is to travel where she has the opportunity to meet new people and experience other cultures. 

“I've been to 22 states and four countries. Thailand is one of my favorite destinations to visit,” she said. 

Andrea is also a woman of many talents, one of those being arts and crafts! 

“If it's crafty, I’ll do it! I love crafts, swag, giveaways, events, organizing activities and parties and everything in between,” she said.

Family is the most important part of her life. 

“Growing up, it was mainly just me and my sister since my mother’s family was in New Mexico and my father's was in the midwest. Then, my sister had five children and our little family of four grew to 25!" Andrea exclaimed.

Andrea is very committed to being an active part of her nieces’ and nephews’ lives. 

“I would do anything for the kids and for my family,” Andrea said. “I thoroughly enjoy attending and supporting my great-nieces and great-nephews in their activities such as football, baseball, competitive cheer, wrestling, and jiu jitsu.”

Growth and the future at Ecology!

While being employed at Ecology, Andrea completed her associate degree with straight A's. Now, she is pursuing her bachelors degree and is enjoying every step along the way! She is able to pursue higher education via a special program that employees can take advantage of as Ecology employees.

Group pf people.

Game time for Andrea's family and friends!

“I am extremely grateful for Ecology’s flexibility and the willingness to work around medical and family issues. The work we perform is important, but we get to have some work-life balance, and that is very important to me,” Andrea said.

Andrea said the support of other staff is the best part of working at Ecology, and she enjoys other perks such as working remotely.  

Her message for the future generations or youth wanting to pursue a career with Ecology is simply that the Nuclear Waste Program is a great place to start a meaningful career and get experience in the real world. 

“If a job doesn’t happen on the first try, don’t give up! Just keep trying!” she concluded.

About our Nuclear Waste Program team

This blog is part of our series highlighting our amazing team overseeing the federal government’s cleanup of the Hanford Site — one of the most contaminated nuclear cleanup sites in the world.

In each blog we spotlight an individual member of our Nuclear Waste Program and the work they do to keep Hanford cleanup on track.