National Renewable Energy Lab

  www.nrel.gov
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National Renewable Energy Lab Reviews

Updated Jul 22, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 56 reviews

86% Approve of the CEO

National Renewable Energy Lab Director Dan E. Arvizu

Dan E. Arvizu

(37 ratings)

72% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

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

  • Very bright colleagues, and access to scientists and cutting edge researchers(in 3 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)

56 Employee Reviews
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    Great Place to Work!

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsNREL is a great place to work. The mission is very satisfying and the people are smart and nice.

    ConsIf I had a con, it would the bureaucracy which could be expected.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHelp eliminate unnecessary internal processes.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Very rewarding if you can find your niche

    Research Analyst (Current Employee) Golden, CO

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

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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Graduate Research Intern

    RPP (Current Employee) Golden, CO

    ProsNREL 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.

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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
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    Non-Researcher

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat benefits, great people, campus environment. NREL values its people and their work-life balance, safety, and being a good neighbor.

    ConsBureaucracy can be annoying. Because of the status as a government contractor there's lots of red tape, requirements, and processes or practices that don't make sense.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Pleasant.

    Intern (Current Employee) Golden, CO

    ProsFriendly people with a green outlook.

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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    NREL

    Computer (Current Employee) Golden, CO

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

    ConsRenewable 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 Senior ManagementKeep up the good work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Engineering Technician III

    Engineering Technician III (Former Employee) Golden, CO

    ProsVery laid back, no stress, a lot of freedom

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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Good pay, great location, mediocre management

    Subcontract Administrator (Former Employee) Golden, CO

    ProsI 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!

    ConsManagement 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 Senior ManagementNREL 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Good place to gain experience

    Intern (Current Employee) Golden, CO

    ProsFlexible 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.

    ConsPay 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 Senior ManagementMake 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Postdoctoral Researcher

    Postdoctoral Researcher (Former Employee) Golden, CO

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

    Conssome government bureaucracy, but not too much.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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