Director of Federal Relations

31 Aug, 2022


Director of Federal Relations

Colorado School of Mines (Mines)
Golden, CO

Position Title
Director of Federal Relations
The Opportunity
Colorado School of Mines (Mines) invites applications for a new opportunity as the Director of Federal Relations (DFR) to lead efforts to advance awareness of the university as a world-leading research institution—and to support positive, productive relationships with the U.S. government and its agencies. As a member of the Office of Research and Technology Transfer (RTT) and working directly with the Vice President, staff and external representatives, the Director of Federal Relations will coordinate closely with the Office of Marketing and Communications at Mines. This role will drive and amplify efforts aimed at making Mines a top of mind and first-choice partner with public and private sector organizations, federal labs and funding agencies, policymakers and stakeholders.

This position will provide an essential bridge between Mines expertise and research capabilities, with key external stakeholders, representing Mines in high profile relationships and communications opportunities, particularly in Washington D.C. This role will involve building key relationships on behalf of the University, in close coordination with Mines federal communications partners, Mines leadership, and with state and local governments. The selected candidate will refine and execute a strategic federal stakeholder communications plan with the Office of Research and Technology Transfer and University leadership that grows awareness, understanding and demand for Mines expertise and research capabilities. They will also lead the development and management of related communications including digital channels, such as through email newsletters, RTT’s social media and website, and more.

The Director of Federal Relations will represent the Mines research portfolio, authoring and editing content for publications and media to expand Mines connections with our target audiences. The DFR will connect University leadership and faculty experts to federal sector policymakers, including funding agencies, congressional committees, the executive branch, and other leaders. This role will additionally organize and convene thought-leadership events, developing programs to advance national conversations. This position will be based at Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, and will regularly require travel to Washington, D.C. and other locations.

The DFR must possess the experience and skills enabling them to communicate effectively and successfully with Congress and the Executive Agencies on the Mines agenda. They will also possess the leadership, creative, and strategic skills necessary to help the VPRTT and University leadership shape a successful policy and advocacy agenda, and to effectively interact with dynamic professional teams and external representatives. The selected candidate will be expected to:

• Lead federal relations efforts to shape and advance Mines federal policy strategies.
• Build strong relationships with policymakers, create effective partnerships, and develop meaningful support for Mines priorities.
• Communicate effectively on behalf of the University and its research portfolio, including written content and through digital channels.
• Oversee management and communications on federal policy issues of interest to Mines and its faculty.
• Connect senior university leaders, faculty, staff, and students with policymakers, including coordinating Washington and campus visits.
• Partner with Mines portfolios and departments, including the Mines Foundation, to organize briefings and other special university events in Golden, CO, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.
• Serve as a resource and thought partner for Mines research, faculty and student programs.
• Represent Mines with professional and industry associations, and participate in science, innovation, and education advocacy coalitions.
• Serve as a member of the Mines public and government affairs leadership team together with Mines state and local government relations, and external engagement leads.
• Manage contract relationships with lobbying firms and other vendors.


Additional Responsibilities

• Serve as public representative for Colorado School of Mines university and research enterprise.
• Represent RTT and President’s offices in interactions with campus partners.
• Routinely explain and justify research activities to a broad audience of constituents, including students.
• Routinely report on efforts, outcomes and impacts to campus clients including (and beginning with) the Office of Research and Technology Transfer, the President’s Office, Academic Affairs and individual departments.
• Perform other duties as assigned

Minimum Qualifications
Education and Experience:

• Bachelor’s degree
• Minimum of 5 years in federal service, congressional staff, federal relations or related fields, with experience that includes federal legislative and agency processes at a senior level preferably in science and innovation policy, strategy, and politics.
• Demonstrated leadership experience; ability to lead by influence, expertise, and advocacy among key internal and external stakeholders.
• Ability to establish strong relations with government officials and other partners by exhibiting excellent strategic advocacy skills.
• Outstanding project management and issues management skills and experience.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Team player.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Enthusiasm for working within a university community, especially with students and faculty.
• Ability to effectively and regularly make risk/reward assessments and to communicate the resulting recommendations to university leadership to help them make decisions that are informed by external context and community sentiment.
• Ability to independently determine which tools, technologies and practices are required to help Mines reliably and powerfully reach internal and external audiences.
• Skill at providing talking points and recommending response activities to individual faculty, RTT and Mines leaders.
• Ability to advise on programmatic, personnel and vendor decisions related to communications, government relations and policy that are reasoned, documented and in-line with university needs and expected outcomes.

Job Demands

• Job will require regular travel, with the need to attend various events

Preferred Qualifications

• Masters, Ph.D., or professional degree preferred.
• Confident public speaking and media experience.
• 4 years leadership experience on Capitol Hill or in the Executive Branch.
• Demonstrated experience interfacing directly with members of trade and mainstream media at the local, regional and national level, including in high-stakes situations.
About Mines & Golden, CO
Colorado School of Mines is consistently ranked among the top engineering universities in the United States. Mines has always been inspired by the changing needs of society and industry, and consistently drives the creation of new technologies to address those needs. Mines is a top-tier research university, and recognized as an R1 highly research-active institution by the Carnegie Classification. Mines is a national and global leader in key fields of research and scholarship, and a preferred partner to industry, governments, and academia around the world. Since its founding in 1874 to address the technology and talent requirements of the economy, Mines has maintained an enduring mission for foundational and use-inspired research, technology transfer and innovation. Today, Mines is characterized by:

an inclusive culture of excellence in research and innovation – interdisciplinary and collaborative, creating positive societal impact.

As the number one ranked university worldwide for minerals and mining engineering, Mines is widely known for our geological, critical materials, supply chain and earth resource-related work. However, the reality today is far greater. Our motto, “Earth, Energy, Environment,” does not at all constrain the type of research we do; rather, it highlights the types of problems – highly complex, often under-determined, and dynamic – that we like to solve. Mines is home to a broadly-based, STEM-focused research and academic culture, and hosts one of the nation’s first quantum engineering programs. The university is a pioneer institution in space resources, advanced manufacturing, robotics and automation, materials science, computer science, quantitative biology and humanitarian engineering, delivering highly sought-after graduates. Mines is ranked the number two public university in the U.S. for return on investment for low income students.

The collective talent of our faculty and students, combined with a culture of use-inspired and transdisciplinary research, are at the core of Mines’ success and enable a host of strong alliances with industry, other universities, and government institutions around the world. Mines enjoys close proximity and productive working relationships with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy

Laboratory in Golden, CO as well as partnerships with the highest concentration of federal laboratories outside the Washington D.C. area. The Payne Institute for Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines provides research insights and thought leadership furthering the mission and impacts of the university. In particular, a history of entrepreneurial faculty and students focused on transitioning new technologies to industry ensures that we keep our eyes on our mission: research for the benefit of society.

Mines is located in the heart of Golden, Colorado, a western suburb of Denver. The campus location offers a picturesque small-town ambiance in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with close proximity to all that the Denver metropolitan area has to offer with an abundance of cultural events, museums, theaters and sporting venues. A high-altitude sunny climate and outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities make the area an ideal place to live, work and play. We seek individuals who value a diverse and inclusive community – offering different perspectives, experiences, and cultures that enrich the educational and work experience. Learn more about the Office of Research and Technology Transfer at

Equal Opportunity
Colorado School of Mines is committed to equal opportunity for all persons. Mines does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), ancestry, creed, marital status, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status or current military service. Further, Mines does not retaliate against community members for filing complaints regarding or implicating any of these protected statuses.

Mines’ commitment to nondiscrimination, affirmative action, equal opportunity and equal access is reflected in the administration of its policies, procedures, programs and activities and in its efforts to achieve a diverse student body and workforce.

Through its policies, procedures and resources, Mines complies with federal law, Colorado state law, administrative regulations, executive orders and other legal requirements to prevent discrimination (including harassment or retaliation) within the Mines campus community and to address potential allegations of inequity or concerns for safety.

Pay Range
$142,900 – $165,500

Mines takes into consideration a combination of candidate’s education, training and experience as well as the position’s scope and complexity, the discretion and latitude required in the role, work location, and external market and internal value when determining a salary level for potential new employees.

Total Rewards
Mines is proud to provide exceptional benefits that include pay, health & wellness and work/life balance offerings. Our portfolio of benefits includes medical, dental, vision, disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, life insurance, and retirement savings plans. Additionally, Mines employees are eligible for tuition benefits (for employees and dependents), generous paid holidays and leaves and discount programs. For more information, visit Mines benefits.
How to Apply
Review of applications will be ongoing until filled. Applicants will be asked to complete an online application (personal information, demographic information, veterans status) and upload a resume/CV and cover letter (required). References will not be requested or contacted until later in the selection process.

Contact Kathleen Feighny, Recruiter, at with any questions.
Background Investigation Required
COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement
This position will require documented proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or exemption because of a medical or religious exclusion. New employees will be required to provide attestation to their status with proof of vaccination upon hire. Religious and medical exemptions and reasonable accommodation shall be addressed as required by law pursuant to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s vaccination guidance.

Job posted: 2022-08-31