National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews

Updated March 17, 2015
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3.7
79 Reviews
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National Renewable Energy Lab Director Dan E. Arvizu
Dan E. Arvizu
46 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. 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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 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

    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.

    No opinion of CEO
  3. 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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Engage your workers and communicate effectively with them.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

  6. 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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    n/a

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 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

    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).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 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

    Pros

    Flexible time and work schedule

    Cons

    things go slow pace over all

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. Potential for progress, sometimes difficult environment to work depending on DOE program manager

    • 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

    Pros

    Good work-life balance, encourages work from home, time off is great. Good place to do great work if focused.

    Cons

    Totally controlled by DOE where program managers are under a lot of stress. This ultimately filters down to the lab.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If necessary stand firm and explain how DOE program managers are not creating a conducive environment for high-risk high-reward research.

  10. Very political

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

    I worked at National Renewable Energy Lab as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great mission, dedicated researchers, decent PTO and work life balance.

    Cons

    Very political. Promotions are popularity contests. Raises are the same. No stability if you're a contractor.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trim the fat from middle management. Listen to the employees. Work on the trust issues there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. Great Mission Flawed Organisation

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

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab

    Pros

    The company is great overall. They want to help gain energy independence for our country.

    Cons

    But as with most governmental organizations there are competing goals and process which can be frustrating and counterproductive.
    t is not a meritocracy, nor are the goals clearly understood. Not on the forefront of technology.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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