Writing and Research Specialist, Energy Systems

Organization
Great Plains Institute
Organization Summary

A national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. We combine a unique consensus-building approach, expert knowledge, research and analysis, and local action to find and implement lasting energy solutions. Our work strengthens communities and provides greater economic opportunity through creation of higher paying jobs, expansion of the nation’s industrial base, and greater domestic energy independence while eliminating carbon emissions.

Our strategic areas of focus are: carbon management, communities, energy systems, and transportation and fuels.

Throughout our 20-year history, GPI has built a reputation for bringing together three skills that are rarely found in one organization: 

  • Nationally-recognized energy policy and technology expertise;
  • A nuanced understanding of the commercial, local, and political realities that shape the energy sector;
  • Well-honed facilitation, group process, consensus-building and advocacy techniques.

Together, this skill set produces results in nearly any economic and political environment and offers an important antidote to today’s often fractured public discourse. 

GPI has a fast-paced entrepreneurial culture in which people enjoy both great freedom and great responsibility. People who thrive in this culture take personal responsibility for seeing what needs doing and getting it done. They are self-starters, problem-solvers, and quick to help others. They work hard because they believe in the mission and get to spend most of their time at the intersection of what they love to do and are good at. It’s a working environment in which performance is judged more on results than on time spent in a chair. We aspire to make this the best job anyone has ever had.

Energy Systems Program Area

The Energy Systems (formerly Electricity and Efficiency) program area is focused on decarbonizing the economy by enabling collaboration and problem solving among electric and natural gas utilities and market operators, regulators, environmental advocates, consumer advocates, state and local governments, businesses, and other key stakeholders.

We foster collaboration and problem solving through complex stakeholder engagement processes. These often involve groups of 20-100 stakeholders that meet regularly over several months to develop a shared understanding of energy and climate policy and technology issues, discuss varying perspectives on those issues, and collaborate to identify actions to address those issues.

In particular, this program area has a heavy focus on holistically decarbonizing electric and natural gas utility systems and related topics, including resource planning, rate design, energy efficiency and demand response, performance-based utility regulation, electrification of transportation and buildings, and net-zero emissions gaseous fuels such as renewable natural gas and hydrogen. 

This program area also works to assess and address the impacts of decarbonization policies and technologies, including with respect to equity, environmental justice, and just transition.  

THIS POSITION: 

Writing and Research Specialist

This position will support the Energy Systems program’s stakeholder engagement processes and consulting work through a variety of writing and secondary research tasks, including note-taking, report-writing, blog-writing, developing slide decks, developing and administering surveys, and conducting secondary research on topics of interest to GPI and its stakeholder groups.

For a typical stakeholder engagement process, this position would attend all stakeholder meetings to take meeting notes, develop a written summary after each meeting that can be sent to attendees, and develop a final process summary that describes the overall process and outcomes. Process summaries very in detail and length from around 10 pages for a high-level summary, to upwards of 100 pages for a detailed summary that may include a description of modeling results and several detailed recommendations.

The ideal candidate will have excellent writing, research, and presentation skills, as well as strong interpersonal relationship skills that will support working with a variety of people on challenging issues. In addition, the ideal candidate should have the ability to exercise good judgment in a variety of situations, maintain a realistic balance among multiple priorities, use effective methods for time management and prioritization of tasks, maintain organization and attention to detail, and possess the ability to identify and address urgent and important needs in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. 

Experience with and expertise in report writing, secondary research, and policy and technical topics related to energy system decarbonization is desired. In addition, the ideal candidate will exhibit attention to detail in their daily work.

Hours may be flexible and are typically Monday through Friday during the business day; evenings and weekends may be required at times. 

NOTE: While GPI conducts primary research and analysis on a variety of topics, this position is entirely focused on secondary research. This position is not a good fit for someone who would like to conduct primary research and analysis activities. 

 

REPORTING STRUCTURE

Reports to the Senior Program Manager for Energy Systems. The person in this position will coordinate with other program staff throughout GPI on specific projects as needed, including other programmatic areas and the communications team.

Posting Date
Closing Date
Location in MN
work remotely
Job type
full-time
Salary

Salary range: $50K - $70K, commensurate with experience and location of candidate. Benefits include health plan, 401(k) retirement plan, LTD, STD, life, vision, dental, FSA/HSA, paid time off, paid family leave, and a communication stipend.

Hours

Full time position

Primary Duties

POSITION RESPONSIBILITIES:

1. Writing and Research (90% of time): The Energy Systems program area convenes many stakeholder groups that meet regularly. The primary role of this positions is to support those groups with note-taking, writing, and secondary research tasks, including but not limited to the following:

a. Take notes during stakeholder meetings, making sure to capture key discussion points in an organized fashion. After meetings, clean up notes and send to stakeholders for review.

b. After individual meetings, write meeting summaries capturing the key take-aways from the meeting and send to stakeholders for review.

c. After the conclusion of a stakeholder engagement process (i.e., a series of meetings), write process summary documents outlining the process followed, issues discussed, and areas of consensus and disagreement. In addition, describe modeling and other activities that were conducted to inform stakeholder discussions. Work with GPI staff and stakeholders to revise these summaries over multiple iterations of edits.

d. Develop surveys to solicit stakeholder feedback on both process design and policy issues; consolidate, organize, and summarize survey feedback. Present feedback during stakeholder meetings as needed.

e. Review large documents and sets of information, such as in regulatory dockets and state and federal legislative bills, and organize and summarize that information for GPI staff, clients, and stakeholder groups.

f. Conduct secondary research in response to questions raised by GPI’s stakeholder groups. Develop written and visual materials to convey complex policy topics to stakeholder groups for discussion. Present results of research in stakeholder meetings to inform discussions, while maintaining a neutral perspective on policy issues.

g. Track policy developments on topics and/or in locations of interest to GPI’s work and alert relevant staff to those developments.

h. Write and ghost-write blogs on GPI’s work and projects, including summarizing and highlighting stakeholder engagement processes and relevant updates on matters of interest to GPI’s stakeholders.

i. Collaborate with GPI’s communications team in developing written materials and publications that will be shared publicly.

j. Work with program staff and GPI’s communications team to develop and update content on webpages and websites.

k. Format written materials in adherence to GPI’s style guide.

l. Review written materials for grammar, punctuation, formatting, and other improvements to ensure quality of written work products.

m. Assist with writing fundraising proposals, including to philanthropic foundations, in response to competitive procurement opportunities, and for private sector consulting opportunities.

n. Communicate effectively and positively with internal colleagues, external clients and partners, and with large stakeholder groups in a timely manner and while ensuring information is clear, succinct, and accessible to all parties.

o. Assist with uploading meeting resources and materials and maintaining lists and databases of knowledge resources for multiple different stakeholder groups on GPI’s server, in Excel spreadsheets, and in online databases.

p. Assist with writing stakeholder meeting agendas.

q. Assist with writing communications (typically email) for stakeholder groups.

2. Meeting Coordination and Administrative Assistance (10% of time): In addition to the primary tasks of writing and research, this position may be asked during times when staff are capacity-constrained to assist with meeting coordination and administrative tasks, including the following: 

a. Take notes during project planning meetings, making sure to capture key decisions related to timing and next steps, and disseminate notes immediately to the project planning team to clarify responsibilities for all parties. 

b. Schedule meetings with clients, partners, and stakeholders and sending meeting invitations through Microsoft Outlook.

c. Set up virtual meetings in Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

d. Coordinate with meeting presenters and speakers in a respectful, professional, and timely manner, including coordination of PowerPoint slide decks and speaking times during all-day agendas.

e. Assist with developing, assembling, and disseminating meeting materials, including agendas, nametags and/or name tents, printed resources such as reports, electronic resources such as PowerPoint slide decks, flip charts, markers, and large post-it notes.

f. Assist with meeting execution, including setting up and staffing welcome tables with name tags and meeting materials, testing A/V equipment, and ensuring that food and beverages arrive as scheduled.

g. Respond in a timely and positive manner to requests for assistance from GPI staff, partners, clients, and stakeholders during meetings.

h. Travel to meetings and assist with transporting materials to and from meetings. Currently, most meetings are virtual, but in the future plane travel will be required.

i. Assist with developing project and program budgets.

3. Other Programmatic Assistance: As requested by the Senior Program Managers or Vice President of the Energy Systems program area.

Experience

Required Experience and Skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree or relevant experience
  • 2-4 years of professional experience with writing and secondary research
  • Strong writing, research, presentation, and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and follow directions
  • Time management skills with ability to prioritize a large volume of tasks and deadlines
  • Self-motivation, enthusiasm, and willingness to learn
  • Commitment to the mission and goals of the Great Plains Institute
  • Must be able to lift 20 lbs
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, SharePoint)

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS:

  • Knowledge of and familiarity with energy system decarbonization policies, technologies, and issues.
  • Knowledge of and familiarity with issues related to equity, environmental justice, and just transition.

EQUIPMENT USED:

  • Laptop computer, copier, printer, telephone
  • Personal vehicle (mileage will be reimbursed)

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:

Requires working at a desk (either sitting or standing) for extended periods. Extensive use of computer human interface devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse), as well as usage of telephone/headset. May require lifting of boxes up to 20 pounds on occasion. 

Travel:

GPI’s work often involves travel throughout the US, and applicants to this position, if remote, should expect to travel to Minneapolis a few times each year (costs reimbursed).

How to Apply
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