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Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Chief Hydropower Advisor in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 312680

Directorate: Energy and Environment Directorate

Division: Earth System Sciences Division

Group:Operational Systems Engineering

Job Description

The Earth Systems Science Division (ESSD) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory seeks a Chief Hydropower Advisor to lead and conduct research supporting Sustainable Hydropower to join our Operational Systems Engineering (OSE) Group. PNNL is nationally and internationally recognized for unique and innovative sustainable hydropower research, including fish monitoring, tracking, and survival in hydropower projects; turbine design and efficiency evaluation; hydropower operations impact on water quality; impact of future water availability on hydropower investments; energy-water nexus and optimal hydropower operation.

PNNL seeks Chief Hydropower Advisor candidates with working knowledge and demonstrated experience in all aspects of hydropower engineering management and design (both inside and outside the powerhouse); operations and maintenance; instrumentation and sensing; and optimization, including balancing hydraulic, power, biological, and economic demands. Candidates should also be familiar with emerging technologies in hydropower operation, including cyber security challenges related to information technology/operation technology systems. The successful candidate will participate in and lead innovative research, strategy, and vision with a team of scientists and engineers in topics ranging from pumped storage hydro to water resources. The successful candidate will leverage PNNL staff and facilities and external relationships to resolve critical science and technology challenges to the development and operation of sustainable hydropower in the United States. Preference will be given to candidates with experience working with or for hydropower owner/operators, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, and the United States Bureau of Reclamation, or other organizations responsible for the operation of hydropower facilities. Key responsibilities will be to effectively participate in multidisciplinary teams, provide technical direction on research projects, and lead development of new business directions with national impact.

Specifically, successful candidate will:

  • Help develop, execute, and lead PNNL vision to provide innovative and impactful science and technology solutions towards sustainable operation of hydropower projects and influence the direction of PNNL's overall strategies in the areas of sustainable waterpower from conventional hydroelectric modernization to pumped storage hydro and conventional small hydroelectric project development.

  • Have a demonstrated track record of successful proposal development and work with members of technical and management teams to develop proposals for funding.

  • Play a role as part of a team of early-career and senior scientists and engineers across multiple disciplines in the conduct of laboratory and field-based research projects.

  • Actively participate in and organize industry conferences, workshops, and professional societies with strong experience in collaborative problem solving at the regional and national level. Sought out as an invited speaker at national forums.

  • Develop expertise required to lead national and international technical networks with manufacturers, industry, academia, and other research organizations.

  • Serve as a role model for quality, safety, and security and comply with PNNL's policies regarding environmental health, safety, protection of intellectual property.

  • Contribute to other applied engineering projects within the group, division, directorate and laboratory ranging from ecological systems to nuclear and border protection systems.

  • Coordinate complex initiatives or projects that require an in-depth knowledge of the strategic and technical plans, procedures, protocols, system integration, deployed technologies, and potential vulnerabilities within the initiative or related programs. Lead collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in the development of methods, techniques and evaluation criteria for initiatives, projects, programs, and people. Translate strategy into implementable actions at a national level.

  • Be recognized nationally as an expert in at least one domain, and be sought after to assess initiatives to define priorities and performance objectives. Establish PNNL or DOE strategic plans and objectives to address emerging national and international trends impacting national security and future technical directions of PNNL, DOE, and other U.S. Government sponsors. Lead multi-laboratory and interagency teams comprised of senior private and government clients and stakeholders.

  • Make decisions through detailed analyses and seasoned judgment. Effects of decisions set national program direction with impact at a Lab mission level.

  • Establish network across other multiple institutions (e.g., national laboratories, academia, industry, and professional societies). Regularly collaborate and negotiate with senior national and international government officials, representing PNNL and DOE in critical business and national security initiatives. Create and lead teams across multiple organizations. Display a significant record of products (e.g., publications, presentations, etc.) influencing Laboratory, DOE or U.S. Government policy.

  • Provide technical insight to stakeholders on research, development, and acquisition planning. Identifies operational inefficiencies and performance improvement opportunities. Coordinates and oversees the activities of multiple work groups with accountability for strategic direction, capability development, and results.

Accountabilities: Accountable to relevant sector managers, project management office directors, and technical group managers for project development, execution, and closure.

Minimum Qualifications

  • BS 12+ years of experience

  • MS 8+ years of experience

  • PhD 5+ years of experience

Preferred Qualifications

  • Preferred degree in engineering or related field and 20 plus years of relevant project experience.

  • Expertise developing pumped storage hydropower projects at multiple locations.

  • Expertise developing hydropower projects at multiple locations.

  • Knowledge in the innerworkings of hydropower generation units, balance of plant systems, and fish passage systems.

  • Demonstrated participation in multidisciplinary efforts to provide solutions to complex problems where the problems are characterized by lack of precedents, source material, or lack of prior success.

  • Well-established research reputation with professional achievements, including excellent technical writing skills.

  • Demonstrated success at proposal development and project management.

  • Ability to effectively communicate within a team environment and with sponsors and partners.

  • Demonstrated experience securing project funding, working with and leading technical teams, and the ability to manage complex projects.

  • Well connected to and respected by the hydropower community nationally.

  • Professional licensure not required but may be a benefit.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at

If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Other Information

Due to business needs and client space, US Citizenship is required:

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is subject to the Department of Energy Unclassified Foreign Visits & Assignment Program site, information, technologies, and equipment access requirements.

The work involves significant laboratory and complex systems operations. High risk activities may include field work, systems operating at high temperatures and high pressures, and complex hazards. Some travel (for fieldwork, scientific conferences, and client networking) may be necessary depending on evolving project/programmatic needs and candidate interest.

Directorate: Energy & Environment

Job Category: Scientists/Scientific Support

Group: Operational Syst Engineering

Opening Date: 2021-09-09

Closing Date: 2021-09-27