PNNL Careers

S&T Communications Partner, Energy and Environment (Grid)


Job Description

Job ID: 307209
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular

Job Description

The Invitation:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to collaboration and work–life balance. Dynamic, adaptable people come to PNNL to work smarter and work together on high-impact projects and initiatives for the U.S. Department of Energy and many other sponsors. They focus on meaningful work, innovation and outcomes. At PNNL, you’ll find a positive, fast-paced environment and excellent benefits including pension, matching 401(k), tuition reimbursement plans, health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State, an area known for its outdoor recreation, thriving wine industry and affordable cost of living.

The Opportunity:
Help build and implement a strategy that communicates PNNL’s extraordinary work in energy research with a focus on the electric power grid! The S&T Communications group – within PNNL’s Communications Division – is a newly formed team focused on delivering stellar customer service, counsel and communications strategy to leaders across the Lab’s Science and Technology mission areas. We’re currently seeking a highly proactive and strategic S&T Communications Partner with experience in project management to guide and oversee the communications strategy and coordination of deliverables for the Lab’s Energy and Environment Directorate, namely the Lab’s efforts in the electric power grid domain. This is a unique role for a strong communicator who also has extensive experience leading scientific or technical communications strategy, particularly related to electric power grid research initiatives.

As an S&T Communications Partner, you will form and nurture collaborative relationships with senior executives to develop a keen understanding of their audiences and goals. Working with your partners and fellow communications staff, you’ll ensure that each communications project or product is aligned with the Laboratory’s mission, vision and communications strategy; is appropriate for the intended audience; stimulates a preferred action; and meets the partners’ budget, goals and expectations. You will also suggest strategies, objectives and tactics that continually evolve the quality and impact of the Laboratory’s communications efforts.

In addition, you will serve as the Communications Lead for the Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC). As the lead, you will coordinate with DOE, provide consultation, advice and planning support to the GMLC leadership team, and direct tactical communication team activities and outreach across 13 national laboratories to support the goals and objectives of the GMLC.

The Ideal Candidate:
If you are a strong communicator who also has extensive experience leading scientific or technical communications strategy – particularly related to the electric power grid – we want to connect with you! Specifically, we’re looking for candidates who will combine and leverage their knowledge of communications strategy and the electric power grid to develop and implement creative and compelling approaches that will resonate with our audiences. Ideal candidates will also be excellent planners and project managers that can work effectively in a matrixed organization to move ideas from concept to implementation.

Authority and Accountability:
As a Communications Counselor, Strategist and Primary Point-of-Contact:
• Build and maintain outstanding relationships with researchers and leaders within the Lab’s electric power grid initiatives including staff who work in power systems, control systems, high-performance computing, energy storage and cybersecurity.
• Leverage and maintain knowledge of the subject matter and trends in the fields of grid, grid modernization, power systems, control systems and high-performance computing.
• Understand, convey and further the mission of the Lab’s electric power grid initiatives.
• Maintain a keen understanding of the audiences related to the Lab’s electric power grid initiatives including funding sponsors, scientific associations, external collaborators, trade media and other stakeholders with whom we want to amplify our impact.
• Serve as the Communications Division point person for inquiries pertaining to your partners’ portfolio of expertise.
• Create and maintain editorial calendars; anticipate and leverage major communications opportunities and efforts for the Lab’s electric power grid initiatives.
• Prepare and/or lead presentations.

As a Communications Project Manager:
• Work with partners and internal teams to ensure that each communications project or product is aligned with the Laboratory’s mission, vision and communications strategy; is appropriate for the intended audience; stimulates a preferred action; and meets the partners’ goals and expectations.
• Using project management/workflow software, originate projects and collaborate with Communications Division managers to ensure that resources are allocated to complete the project or product. Oversee day-to-day production details related to each project or product as needed, ensuring quality and on-time delivery of all components.
• Organize and review any currently available content at the start of each project or product. Serves as facilitator and scheduler of the project.
• Send drafts, proofs or staging links to partners, receive their changes and feedback, mark up proofs using appropriate notations and pass along feedback to appropriate team members. Clearly convey feedback respectfully, in writing and orally.
• Take the lead in problem solving with partners and fellow communications staff. Look for opportunities to improve and enhance communication and service to partners.
• Accept accountability for final signoff of communications materials, approving quality and fit-for-purpose of each deliverable.
• Lead and participate in team meetings at key points during production.
• As needed, provide high-level tactical support (writing documents and letters, drafting presentations, etc.).

As a Senior Communicator in PNNL’s Communications Division:
• Report regularly to the Associate Lab Director, Science and Technology Communications Manager and Director of Communications on the communications efforts related to the Lab’s electric power grid initiatives.
• Represent the Communications Division at researchers’ team meetings.
• Attend and contribute to Communications staff meetings.
• Recommend new approaches, policies and procedures to effect continual improvement.
• Advocate for strategic communications processes and results-oriented tactics.
• Demonstrate exemplary customer service.

Equal Employment Opportunity

PNNL is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer that is committed to hiring a diverse, talented workforce. EOE Disability/Vet/M/F/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity. Staff at PNNL must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States.

Preferred Qualifications

• Established contacts with major scientific publications, editors, bloggers and influencers covering the electric power grid domain.
• Familiarity or comfort serving as a spokesperson and interacting with media.
• Experience formulating media outreach plans or social media plans.
• Familiarity with project management software.
• Active professional society membership and roles.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
• Understanding of and experience in communicating the electric power grid including power systems, control systems, high-performance computing, energy storage and cybersecurity.
• Ability to understand and support a scientific mission for Department of Energy Office of Science and related funding organizations.
• Ability to comfortably interact with and understand the needs and mission relevance of sponsoring agencies, in particular, the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; ability to integrate their wants, needs and preferences into communications strategy.
• Keen understanding of current challenges, opportunities and trends in the electric power grid domain.
• Proven track record of effective collaboration with and strategic support for senior executives that includes offering counsel and building action-oriented communications strategies.
• Demonstrated success developing and implementing strategic communications plans and principles.
• Strong customer service orientation and comfort and familiarity working with scientists, engineers, programmers and researchers.
• Excellent written, oral, interpersonal and project management skills with the creative talent to refine complex technical scientific content into short, crisp, clear and impactful messages; experience leading, overseeing and/or editing the work of other communicators.
• Ability to develop a communications strategy and coordinate communications – and major events – for and on behalf of multiple national laboratories in support of the DOE’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium.

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 307209
Directorate: Communications and Information Technology
Division: Communications
Group: Science and Technical Communications

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor's degree in communications, marketing, public relations, English, journalism, computing, engineering, or similar plus 7 years of related experience; or advanced degree plus Four (4) years of related experience.