The Department of Ecology’s priority during the Covid-19 health crisis is to keep our staff, candidates, and the public safe. We are still hiring and encourage you to apply to open positions. The majority of our staff are currently working from home; we have transitioned to a virtual recruitment process, to include web-based interviews.
Protecting Washington State’s environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We have a culture that is invested in making a difference. If you want to join a team that is highly effective, collaborative, and has leadership that embraces the value of people, then this may be the position for you.
The Department of Ecology carries out state and federally mandated rule-making, policy development, enforcement actions, toxic site cleanup, and other work that is highly reliant on comprehensive communications. Ecology’s portfolio of work demands strategic, clear, accurate and timely communications that describe the work Ecology does, why it matters, and the science behind it.
Our Mission at the Department of Ecology is to protect, preserve, and enhance Washington’s environment, for current and future generations.
Our Communications Program contributes to Ecology’s mission by providing clear, accurate and timely communications that explain the work Ecology does, why it matters, and the science behind it.
The Communications Director is an Exempt Management Service Band 4 (EMS 4) position that reports to Ecology’s Director, and is located at our headquarters building in Lacey, WA.
Our Communication Strategic Priorities are:
- Lead proactive external communications to explain, educate and engage diverse audiences.
- Leverage technology and multiple communications platforms to brand Ecology and tell our stories: Through news media, social media channels, and visual and audio formats.
- Direct the agency’s operation of the public website, including effective content and design, to continually improve customer satisfaction and meet business needs..
- Create, lead and foster innovative partnerships inside and outside the agency.
- Inform and engage employees through timely internal communications.
We celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives and approaches to fulfilling the agency’s mission.
At Ecology, you’ll be a part of a team that is invested in making a difference. We’re engineers, environmental scientists, planners, geologists, communication specialists, administrative professionals, and more, all working toward our common goals. We invest in our employees to foster a diverse, well-trained, and friendly workforce operating with excellence and professionalism.
What will you be doing?
You’ll lead and manage Ecology’s Communications Team which includes first or second level supervision of 11 positions and matrix, dotted-line management of 10 Communication Managers reporting to Executive Leaders in Ecology’s environmental programs; direct, plan, and coordinate media relations, web communications, use of social media, other external communications, and internal communications.
- Researching and leveraging rapidly-evolving changes in communications technology, and ensuring the program stays current with modernization and other industry best practices.
- Demonstrating an ongoing commitment and passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect in external and internal communications.
- Supporting efforts to advance the agency’s environmental justice goals as part of the agency’s strategic plan.
- Leading and mentoring a team of highly motivated communications professionals, fostering strong sense of team through diverse points of view, talents, and capabilities.
- Managing Ecology’s website through an agency governance model; serving as the business owner for the website content management technology.
- Representing Ecology with the Governor’s Office, communications offices of state agencies and the Legislature; and leading multi-agency communication efforts.
- Leading, coordinating and collaborating with Executive Leaders in recruiting Environmental Program Communications Manager positions.
- Directing media relations, public outreach, agency branding and related administrative policies involving communication protocols.
- Developing standards, guidelines, best practices and templates for external communications – including news releases, social media posts, high-profile/high-risk agency communications, and legislative communications.
- Serving as Executive Sponsor of the agency’s 90+ member Outreach and Public Education Network (OPEN) for collaboration and coordination around agency communications and outreach priorities. OPEN relies on volunteer participation by its members to help organize and host annual meetings, share best practices, and learn through tutorials.
Who are we looking for?
We’re looking for an experienced leader who is ready to team with a large group of dedicated professionals. You’ll need to have the ability to:
- Build relationships and collaborate with internal and external partners and stakeholders to cultivate an environment of engagement, belonging, respect, empathy, active listening and trust.
- Think quickly and strategically in an often fast-paced environment.
- Identify and work effectively with specialized media sources for reaching diverse racial and ethnic communities and stakeholder groups.
- Have a working knowledge or a genuine curiosity and desire to learn about the full range of environmental issues that Ecology works on.
- Reduce scientifically complicated concepts into compelling communications to engage the public in our work.
- Exercise strong interpersonal skills and consistently demonstrate compassion, including during time periods of high stress.
A Key Member of Ecology’s Executive Leadership Team
The Communications Director serves on Ecology’s Executive Leadership Team and serves as chief advisor to the Director of Ecology and other Executive Leaders. The position reports to the Ecology director and works closely with the director on strategic approaches to high-profile/high-risk communications. It is critical that this important position maintains the highest standards of personal, professional, and ethical conduct to support the state’s commitment to efficient, effective, and accountable government.
As a key member of our Department’s Executive Leadership Team, the successful candidate will:
- Advise on reputation management and messaging, agency branding, media relations, social media and other external communications, internal communications, the agency website, and stakeholder relations.
- Foster a diverse, equitable, inclusive and respectful workplace.
Why join the team?
This is an opportunity to make an impact! Washingtonians care deeply about our environment, and the Ecology Communications Director ensures that we’re communicating about the issues that matter most to our state residents. You’ll have the opportunity to help solve complex issues, work collaboratively, and build an extensive statewide network. The work is challenging, fun, and exciting. You’ll get to work with a talented and supportive Executive Leadership Team along with a wide range of excellent communications professionals, both internal and external to the agency.
Please note: During Stay Home, Stay Healthy, staff are working a combination of in-office and/or telework based on position and business need.
Ecology is maintaining less than maximum building occupancy, and requiring masks, health screening questions before entry, and social distancing.
This position is open until filled, with an initial screening date of April 15, 2021. In order to be considered for initial screening, please submit an application on or before April 14, 2021. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.
There are multiple ways to qualify for this position. See options below:
Option 1: A Bachelor’s Degree in communications, public relations, journalism, public administration, political science or related field AND five (5) years of professional experience developing and implementing communications, media or public relations strategies, including at least three (3) years as a supervisor/ manager/ team leader for professionals in communications, public relations, public affairs, news media or closely related field. Please note: The supervisor/manager/team leader experience may have been gained at the same time as the professional experience listed above.
Option 2: See chart below for a list of additional options.
Experience must include:
- Demonstrated ability to build relationships and collaborate with internal and external partners and stakeholders to cultivate an environment of engagement, belonging, respect, empathy, active listening and trust.
- Creating a workplace where differences are embraced; fosters strong sense of team through diverse points of view, talents, and capabilities.
- Successfully leading a team through change in a complex environment and tending the human side of change; demonstrated ability to engage staff in seeking and developing creative solutions.
Additional experience and education combinations that meet the requirements for this position:
Possible CombinationsCollege credit hours or degree Years of required experienceCombination 1No college credit hours or degree9 years of experienceCombination 2I have 30-59 semester or 45-89 quarter credits.8 years of experienceCombination 3I have 60-89 semester or 90-134 quarter credits (AA degree).7 years of experienceCombination 4I have 90-119 semester or 135-179 quarter credits.6 years of experienceCombination 5 A Bachelor’s Degree5 years of experience
We highly encourage you to apply even if you do not have some (or all) of the desired experience below.
- Experience working with specialized media sources for reaching diverse racial and ethnic communities and stakeholder groups.
- Experience working with Indian tribes, especially in a government-to-government capacity.
- Experience handling or overseeing crisis communications.
- Experience with science-based education and outreach.
Note: Having some (or all) of this desired experience may make your application more competitive in a highly competitive applicant pool.
Why work for Ecology?
Joining Ecology means becoming a part of a team committed to protecting and restoring Washington State’s environment and addressing climate change.
A career in public service allows you to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing our state, while keeping the health and financial security of you and your family a priority. We combine one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation with a strong commitment to work/life balance.
Ecology employees may be eligible for the following:
Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s), Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Vacation, Sick, and other Leave*, 11 Paid Holidays per year*, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver, Long Term Disability & Life Insurance, Deferred Compensation Programs, Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), Employee Assistance Program, Commute Trip Reduction Incentives (Download PDF reader), Combined Fund Drive, SmartHealth
Student debt and how working for Ecology can help
Employees may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, which forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. See https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service for more details.
*See the Benefits tab in this announcement for more information
Please include the following documents as attachments to your application:
- A cover letter – In your cover letter, please specifically address your recent professional leadership experience.
- A resume outlining your professional experience.
- Three professional references.
- Two original writing samples that reflect your work as a communications professional, such as social media posts, press releases, public statements, blog posts, or web content.
When attaching documents to your application (Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, DD-214, etc.):
- Please be sure to remove private information such as your social security number, date of birth, etc.
- Do not attach documents that are password protected as these documents may not be reviewed and may cause errors within your application when downloaded.
Please to do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable.
Please complete the applicant profile when applying for this position. Or, you may paste the text of your resume within the profile’s resume text field.
Please read the supplemental questions carefully and answer completely. Incomplete responses, including “please see resume,” may disqualify you from further consideration.
It is in the candidate’s best interest to submit all of the documents requested above. Applications without these documents may be declined.
Department of Ecology employees, please make sure to answer the agency-wide questions regarding permanent status as a classified employee within the Washington General Service or Washington Management Service. Do not forget to select Department of Ecology as a response to question 2, and type your personnel ID number for question 3. If you are not sure of your status or do not know your personnel ID number, please contact Human Resources.
If you are reading this announcement in print format, please visit www.careers.wa.gov to access the online recruitment system. Click on “Look for Jobs” and select Dept. of Ecology under the “Department” search list. Click “Apply Search.”
If you need assistance applying for this job, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send an email to this address to follow-up the status of your application. You can view the latest status of your application on your profile’s main page.
If you have specific questions about the position, please email Teri North at: Teri.North@ecy.wa.gov. Please do not contact Teri to inquire about the status of your application.
The act of submitting application materials electronically is considered affirmation that the information is complete and truthful. The state may verify this information and any untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of your application or dismissal if employed.
This recruitment may be used to fill other positions of the same job classification across the agency. Once all the position(s) from the recruitment announcement are filled, the recruitment may only be used to fill additional open positions for the next sixty (60) days.
The Washington State Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 407-6186. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.