Army Vet Alumnus Trades in Fatigues for Wetsuit

Jonathan Bergeron ’97 was named chief operating officer and dive safety officer at the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, Florida

The Florida Keys’ legendary coral reefs serve as a natural protector of the coastline and home to marine life of all sorts. As the new chief operating officer and dive safety officer at the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, Florida, Jonathan Bergeron ’97 now has the great privilege and responsibility of overseeing the renewal and rehabilitation of coral in these seven iconic reefs. 

Jonathan began his career in the U.S. Army, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant after being an ROTC cadet at Florida Tech. His Army career included work with special operations, airborne forces and conventional forces before retiring in 2015 as a major from his post as emergency manager for Fort Wainwright, Alaska. 

Following his military retirement, Jonathan, his wife Angela Croll Bergeron ’98 and their four daughters toured the country for a year and a half before settling in the Clearwater, Florida, area. There, Jonathan served for three years as the dive safety manager at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to famous dolphins Winter and Hope, before joining the Coral Restoration Foundation in March. 

In his new role, Jonathan looks forward to growing and maintaining coral nurseries, conducting outplanting operations, educating organizations worldwide on how to conduct similar operations and providing programs that educate thousands of guests about the endangered corals in the Keys. 

Jonathan earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida Tech in interdisciplinary science and also holds a master’s degree from Central Michigan University, but he credits Florida Tech for instilling the passion that has driven his post-Army career. 

“I took an elective at Florida Tech on a whim—open water scuba diving—and after a career in the military have become a professional diver. I have been able to combine my love for the ocean, leadership and a passion for diving into a second career. None of these things could have happened if I had not graduated from Florida Tech.” 


Spirit animal: Bald eagle

What would you name your boat if you had one? The Black Pearl

Useless talent: So many—but I will go with dad jokes

Would you rather have the power of invisibility or flight? Flight, of course!

Favorite Florida Tech memory? Water polo at Southgate 

This story was featured in the fall 2020 edition of Florida Tech Magazine. Read the full issue here.

Cover of Florida Tech Magazine's fall ’20 issue featuring Furaha Merritt, an information systems senior and president of the Black Student Union
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