National Renewable Energy Lab

www.nrel.gov
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National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews

Updated February 20, 2015
Updated February 20, 2015
76 Reviews
3.7
76 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

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 Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    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
  2.  

    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
  3.  

    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
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  5.  

    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
  6.  

    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.

  7.  

    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
  8.  

    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
  9.  

    Technician I

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Technician I
    Current Contractor - Technician I

    I have been working at National Renewable Energy Lab as a contractor

    Pros

    Good experience on one-of-a-kind equipment to perform meaningful and rewarding research and development. There is little resistance in obtaining the proper equipment to get the job done. Very good work/life balance not found in mainstream industry.

    Cons

    The cohesiveness of management is somewhat in need of improvement.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10.  

    Post-Bacc Research Participant Program Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Post-Bacc Research Participant Program in Golden, CO
    Current Intern - Post-Bacc Research Participant Program in Golden, CO

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

    Pros

    Very comfortable and lenient atmosphere
    Work-life balance is extremely important here
    Sits on the border between academic research and industry applications
    Good compensation and benefits
    Amazing facilities mean you have any equipment you could ever want for whatever research you want to do, including some government-exclusive and very powerful computer programs or databases

    Cons

    People get lazy when there isn't a huge push for results
    Ridiculously high overhead rate cuts down your research dollars a lot
    Bureaucracy and paperwork requirements can be a major hindrance to getting anything done
    Because of their extreme "safety first" policies, it's more like "safety instead of progress"

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Great research environment

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

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

    Pros

    Very friendly and encouraging people

    Cons

    remote location and difficult terrain

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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