National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews

Updated April 23, 2015
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3.8
82 Reviews
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National Renewable Energy Lab Director Dan E. Arvizu
Dan E. Arvizu
47 Ratings

Pros
  • Very good work/life balance not found in mainstream industry (in 11 reviews)

  • Flexible work schedule, very positive corporate culture (in 6 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)

  • No opportunities, no raises, no bonuses, no direction and no leadership (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Senior Analyst

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very family friendly and flexible. Work with awesome intelligent people. Working on a great mission to improve the energy system and reduce pollution. Generally cutting-edge research.

    Cons

    Some level of government bureaucracy. No small perks (Free food, etc.) because it's a government entity. several masters due to the matrix organization

  2. Excellent summer experience

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

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Intelligent and passionate colleagues
    State of the art facility and well-funded
    Compensation is good

    Cons

    Can be a bit bureaucratic and process-heavy, but is very manageable

  3. Great mission, great people, no security.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Communications
    Former Employee - Communications

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than a year)

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Beautiful campus. Great people who believe in the mission of the lab.

    Cons

    For certain positions, job is dependent on funding, and if the funding isn't there, you know you are very disposable. Spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder.

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  5. Great experience developing software alongside engineers.

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Interns at NREL are expected to work at the same level as the employees, which makes for great professional experience. The people are genuinely excited about their research.

    Cons

    Our software project was understaffed, and I never really had the opportunity to work with many other software engineers. Coding a giant project by yourself is good experience, but also does not have the team support to really make it is as good as it could be. It really stems from tight finances and, as a result, the hiring of many interns that only stay for a short amount of time.

    Advice to Management

    Be careful relying on interns for important positions, because you have to assume that they could leave at any time for other internships or for a full time position.

  6. Science funding is poor

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Pay and benefits are good. If you happen to be in certain fields, work can be interesting

    Cons

    Science is sacrificed for shortfalls in lab funding. Management (while bad at all labs) seems particularly dysfunctional for a small lab. Management does not interact with DOE program managers in an effective manner to push forward materials research.

  7. Helpful (1)

    Bureaucratic dead-end for high performers

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab

    Pros

    Some of the top minds in the world work here

    Cons

    Too much dead weight in the organization

    Advice to Management

    Improve the post-doctoral research program. Don't treat post-docs like temporary labor.

  8. Provided challenges as well as frustrations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The mission is easy to stand behind and I enjoyed supporting it. The work-life balance and flexibility is a huge plus. Provided there was budget, I was able to take external training in areas that I wanted to see personal growth.

    Cons

    Budget concerns, often slow-paced, old processes are hard to change, managers are overworked and don't get to spend time mentoring employees.

    Advice to Management

    Engage your workers and communicate effectively with them.

  9. Great experience in a culture that embraces "walking the talk" with regard to sustainability

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Pay is very fair and includes a housing stipend, great connections with top researchers in renewables, and CO is a great state to spend time in

    Cons

    Federal labs can present obstacles i.e. over-the-top safety measures and lots of paperwork. Lab shutdown due to several isolated electrical issues and put all research on standstill for about a week.

    Advice to Management

    n/a

  10. Great Postdoc Experience

    • 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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great pay, ~65k for chemistry postdoc. Great benefits, medical, dental, vision, life insurance. Retirement with some employer matching after 1 year. Even paid paternity leave. Pretty good work/life balance, I guess it depends who you work for, but overall pretty laid back culture. Lots of very smart people to work with.

    Cons

    As a postdoc, there is just very little opportunity to stay on full time after your contract (3 year limit).

  11. Decent

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Flexible time and work schedule

    Cons

    things go slow pace over all

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