Holly Bamford, Ph.D.

Deputy Assistant Administrator

National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration




Dr. Holly A. Bamford is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Deputy Assistant Administrator for the National Ocean Service (NOS).  Dr. Bamford oversees and manages the ocean and coastal sciences and services for NOS, and continuously seeks improvements in workforce management for over 1,200 Federal employees within the organization.

Before being selected as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for NOS, Dr. Bamford became the agency’s first Director for the NOAA Marine Debris Program.  As Director, Dr. Bamford formally established the Program within the agency which has provided millions of dollars in national and regional grants in support of other marine debris programs and research projects.  Under her leadership, the program grew to national and international recognition, and in 2008 the program was awarded a NOAA Administrators Award for successfully implementing an effective and successful program that supports NOAA’s mission.

Before coming to NOAA, Dr. Bamford studied in the field of organic chemistry, quantifying the physical and chemical processes that control the transport and fate of organic contaminants.  During her doctorate training, Dr. Bamford spent much of her time in the field and on research vessels gathering data.  She also was a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology developing analytical methods to detect trace organic contaminants in water and air particles.  Dr. Bamford has a number of peer reviewed publications that have been widely referenced in the field of environmental chemistry and water quality, including papers in Environmental Science & Technology, Atmospheric Environment, and Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.

Dr. Bamford has also served on a number of science and advisory committees, including Chairperson on the Federal Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee, the U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, the Potomac Advisory Council, a member of the U.S. delegation at the 6th session of the Law of the Sea, and at the 2007 Ocean Policy Forum in South Korea.  Dr. Bamford has presented at a number of national and international meetings, academic institutions, as well as addressed the public through national media outlets including CNN, ABC New World News with Charles Gibson, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Good Morning America, Rolling Stone Magazine, People Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal.

Throughout her academic and federal service, Dr. Bamford has received a number of prestigious awards for the demonstration of exceptional management, leadership, and partnership skills including a NOAA Bronze Medal, two NOAA Administrator’s Awards, two Coastal America Presidential Partnership Awards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gulf Guardian Award, was recognized by the Washington Post in February 2010 under the Federal Player Profile, and was nominated in 2009 for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal.