Sr. Science Public Relations Specialist (FT, Washington State)

Job Title
Senior Science Public Relations Specialist

Full Time, Washington State

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is searching for a Senior Science Public Relations Specialist to join our Media Relations Team. This role offers the opportunity to strategically plan and tactically implement the promotion of tax-supported science centric to energy & the environment as well as national security and fundamental science. The results help accelerate lab growth; advance and protect its science reputation; and build advocacy and goodwill with targeted audiences by engaging in a communications effort that creates awareness, understanding, positive recognition and support of the Laboratory’s missions, values, activities and accomplishments with Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and other clients, as well as science policy decision makers.

Duties Include:

  • Preparing and distributing news releases, pitches and other media materials that feature newsworthy science and technology advancements and developments at PNNL.
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with appropriate national, regional, local and trade news media representatives and assigned Laboratory divisions.
  • Bring creative ideas, new thinking and new approaches to reputation building.
  • Developing and implementing media plans for projects or programs.
  • Identifying media opportunities that connect the Lab to national and international issues, public concerns or trends.
  • Utilizing “new media” such as the web and blogs, as appropriate.
  • Managing news conferences and media availabilities, and conducting onsite media tours.
  • Counseling senior laboratory management, commercialization and research staff on media issues including the development of messages, strategic approaches and risk mitigation.
  • Identifying and using advanced electronic technology to distribute news and information, respond to media requests, track media placements and match Lab experts with reporters working on stories.
  • Conducting offsite visits to media offices to build or maintain relationships, discuss news story ideas, and offer Laboratory staff as expert resources for future stories.
  • Responding to information requests from the news media, businesses, other government and quasi-government agencies, civic groups, educational organizations and general public.
  • Collaborating with industry and government agencies on joint announcements and strategies that leverage the media outreach muscle of these other organizations; and that strengthen the Lab’s reputation with those entities.
  • Utilizing background in marketing-based media relations strategies; and bring creative ideas, new thinking and new approaches to reputation building.
  • Staff member will also occasionally act for the media relations manager when he/she is away from the office.


  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, journalism or related field and at least seven years experience as a reporter, media relations or communications professional, or an advanced degree plus four years of experience.
  • PR agency or corporate experience, and who understands the difference between promoting tax-supported science and product-based private companies preferred.
  • Leadership skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and be able to turn scientific jargon into language and concepts understood by a mass audience.
  • Must possess strong news judgment, good storytelling skills, be media savvy, have existing relationships with key reporters and editors, and have served as a spokesperson representing an organization in the news media.
  • Must have a proven ability to develop, plan and implement integrated strategies that support growth while balancing sensitivities and risk.
  • Have excellent relationship management and organizational skills and be flexible, able to prioritize, work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • It is expected the candidate will put a premium on relationships and credibility with internal clients and reporters, and understand that relationships with reporters need to be based on mutual respect and sound news judgment.
  • Ability to demonstrate a track record of leading teams and projects in a Communications organization.
  • Broad communications experience developing, implementing and assessing strategies while utilizing a wide variety of tools for positioning, and will have teamed with marketing staff on integrated campaigns.
  • The preferred candidate would have large PR agency or corporate experience and a background that includes supporting a diversity of clients, B2B and marketing expertise as well as media relations experience.
  • Experience working with government clients preferred.

About Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is one of nine U.S. Department of Energy multiprogram national laboratories with approximately 4,200+ employees and a 2006 business volume of $750+ million, headquartered in Richland, WA. At PNNL, we deliver breakthrough science and technology to meet key national needs. We also apply our capabilities to meet selected environmental, energy, health and national security objectives, strengthen the economy, and support the education of future scientists and engineers. PNNL is managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, but we perform work for many DOE offices as well as other government agencies. Battelle has operated PNNL for DOE and its predecessors since 1965. A unique feature of Battelle’s contract with DOE allows our staff to work for private industry. In fiscal year 2005, PNNL received 53 U.S. and 83 foreign patents. Since 1965, PNNL has received a total of 1,383 U.S. and foreign patents.

About Tri-Cities, WA
(We will provide relocation support for right candidate)

The Tri-Cities consists of the 3 communities, Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, and is located 3 hours southeast of Seattle, WA. Embraced by the beauty of a desert landscape and connected by the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers, the Tri-Cities offers a multitude of recreational, cultural and historical activities and is a great place to visit and live. The area is known for its premier golf courses, award-winning wineries, first-class shopping and abundant water recreation. Click on the link above to learn more about the various communities. PNNL is located in Richland, Wash.

Tri-Cities Facts:

Tri-Cities Population: 215,000+
#1 “Knowledge Economy” for scientists and engineers in United States
Jan. 2007 Average Tri-Cities Home Price: $180,000
Average Precipitation: 8 inches
Sunshine Days Per Year: 200 Days
Public Schools: 19
Hospitals (area): 4
Golf Courses: 10

If interested, contact:

Rob Dromgoole
Executive Search Consultant
Battelle Lab Operations
(509) 375-2441

“Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”
— Colin Powell

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