National Renewable Energy Lab

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National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews in Golden, CO

Updated August 28, 2014
Updated August 28, 2014
63 Reviews

3.7
63 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
National Renewable Energy Lab Director Dan E. Arvizu
Dan E. Arvizu
41 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Very good place to work, good work life balance, beautiful campus (in 8 reviews)

  • Great atmosphere, great people, great life to work balance (in 4 reviews)


Cons
  • In the beginning it was okay, though after progressive changes in senior management, the IS organization turned into a mess (in 4 reviews)

  • Working under IS at NREL for over 5 years, I've seen the company through many phases (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

46 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Well balanced work place with flexible work hours, experienced management and lots of smart people. Opportunities to get exposure to different subject matter and variety of projects.

    Cons

    Being subject to federal budget uncertainty can be stressful.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    NREL is very cool, and the employment conditions were terrific, even for contracted employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Junior Java Developer  in  Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Junior Java Developer in Golden, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    The compensation for a freshly graduated, contracted Jr. Java Developer was exactly what I was seeking. The campus is large and a curious mix of high-tech and industrial. The staff is friendly, and we'd often have lunch together at local watering holes (and occasionally after work).

    Probably the most interesting perk was the fact that NREL so believes in ergonomic working environments that they bought me a $100 wireless mouse. Sadly, I had to leave it behind, but it was the best damned mouse I've ever used, and nobody batted an eyelash when I requested it. They even have a workspace set up to demonstrate a range of available products.

    Cons

    The commute was a bit tedious, and the contract was short (they offered an extension, but I ended up moving). That's about it.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Very rewarding if you can find your niche

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Analyst  in  Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Very bright colleagues, and access to scientists and cutting edge researchers. Good work-life balance. Very nice campus. Compensation seems to be competitive.

    Cons

    Takes some entrepreneurial energy to find a niche — some people get lost without good management direction; Management is often very busy and not available for mentorship. A decent amount of bureaucracy (as you would expect.)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management seems to be very risk averse, and loses out on interesting business development opportunities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Graduate Research Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - RPP  in  Golden, CO
    Current Employee - RPP in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern for more than a year

    Pros

    NREL is full of hardworking people who are the best at what they do, but still maintains a relaxed atmosphere conducive to balancing a fulfilling full time job and life at home.

    Cons

    As the lab is funded by tax dollars, there is more bureaucracy than for similar academic and industry jobs.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Pleasant.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Intern  in  Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Intern in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Friendly people with a green outlook.

    Cons

    A lot of walking (could be a put in the "pros" section depending on your preference).

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    NREL

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer  in  Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Computer in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Very good place to work, good work life balance, beautiful campus. They are going through a lot of growing pains right now

    Cons

    Renewable energy research is often a political football. The budget can go up or down depending on what party is in power in DC. Lately Sr. Management has done a good job of finding niche research areas for NREL.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Engineering Technician III

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineering Technician III  in  Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Engineering Technician III in Golden, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Very laid back, no stress, a lot of freedom

    Cons

    It is really hard to get things done. No respect for anyone without a PhD. Impossible to move up within company once given a roll.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good pay, great location, mediocre management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Subcontract Administrator  in  Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Subcontract Administrator in Golden, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I worked at NREL for approximately 5-years. Enjoyed the people I worked with and the flexible schedule. The salary and benefits were very good. Although they seemed to take something away, or make employees pay more each year. The location in the foothills just west of Denver is a plus!

    Cons

    Management is probably the worst I have ever encountered. They systems are very inefficient, yet management seems that adding another step to a process is an improvement. Most of the managers/supervisors in my group have been with the company for over a decade. They aren't interested in implementing any "real" process improvements as they believe the system they created does not need to be improved upon. I realize NREL is regulated by the government; however, many of the roadblocks have been created or made worse with internal procedures. Favoritism of employees by management was very common. Some managers I found to be condescending and very unreceptive to employee feedback. If not for management I would have rated the company higher. Also, I rate management a "3" only because I do believe senior management is well qualified and is doing a good job managing NREL. However, the middle management from my group gets no more than "2 Stars"!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    NREL presents a very nice package when interviewing for the position. However, once hired I found the work to be repetitive and not very challenging. My advise for management is to be honest with the prospective employees when making an offer. And more importantly, a lot of talent has been brought in from the outside. Utilize the talent! People that have worked for NREL for 10+ years most likely are not the right resources with the best ideas for process improvements. Employees coming from the outside are a great resource for making changes that can bring efficiencies to the group. But I believe that's what management is afraid of. They would much rather have someone with a "status quo" attitude.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Good place to gain experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Intern  in  Golden, CO
    Current Employee - Intern in Golden, CO

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule; Good people; feel-good research; excellent location (where is better than Golden, CO - 20 minutes from downtown Denver, 20 minutes from the nearest ski resort with a small town feel); very smart people.

    Cons

    Pay is very low for the level of eduation required, by signing on to work in RE it seems one must accept a $20000/yr pay cut minimum; very bureaucratic; approval processes are unclear; gateway to promotions and upper-management is unclear; being managed by the DOE is very odd and puts you at the mercy of politically based decisions made by Congress; most employees come straight from school which creates a weird almost university-like work style; deadlines and cost don't seem to be important to managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make it more clear how promotions are achieved and how to advance within NREL; pay your employees what they deserve; there is an air that its almost impossible to lose ones job and get promoted, which creates a lack of incentives to produce quality work.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Postdoctoral Researcher

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher  in  Golden, CO
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Researcher in Golden, CO

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great team, smart people, very important research to "save the world"

    Cons

    some government bureaucracy, but not too much.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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