External Communications Specialist

Job Description

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 Job Title: External Communications Specialist
 Company Name: Harris County Flood Control District
 Employment Type: Full Time (Exempt)
 Location: HOUSTON, TX, United States
 Department: Communications
 Salary: Highly Competitive
 Degree Required: Bachelor's (Any)
 Job ID: not specified
 Date Posted: Mar 3, 2020
 Years Experience: 6
 Note:  Please read the complete description below before applying for this job.
  Complete Description

General Description:

Responsible for developing and implementing external communication strategies and initiatives for the District, in support of its overall mission, and includes management of contract staff related to these functions.

Essential Functions and Duties:

  • Develop and implement community outreach strategies to further the District’s mission and reputation and to promote public/media education and awareness of flooding risks, improvements and projects.
  • Develop and implement strategic efforts for a broad range of external communications, including District-issued new releases, presentations and scripts, writing content for website, media inquiries, social media, etc.
  • Serve as primary contact for media requests, develop and / or update key messages on District activities and projects for public queries and media interviews.
  • Mobilize as an integral part of the District’s communications team during emergency response events, which may include extended periods of onsite mobilization.
  • Assist with updates to standard external communication procedures and public engagement plans for implementation before, during and after flood events.
  • Serve as point of contact for rapid-response and reactive media inquiries, coordinating with internal and external stakeholders and spokespersons.
  • Manage the District’s media efforts and programs, including strategy, content development, promotion, guidelines and other relevant efforts to maximize positive press.
  • Conduct ongoing briefings with Communications Division Director to share feedback, updates, issues, challenges, results, to identify and pursue proactive media opportunities and external communication initiatives.
  • Oversee contract staff on proactive media outreach, including planning, maintaining outreach list and briefings with key reporters.
  • Assist with setting communications protocols on media relations, social media, etc. and provide strategic oversight of all communications efforts related to the District and its work, including media relations, social media, digital platforms, internal communications, public affairs/outreach and others.
  • Responsible for supporting media training of internal staff, as appropriate.
  • Hours may be outside of normal business hours, especially during emergency events.
  • Perform other duties that may be added or changed as the course and scope of the position directs.

Education and Experience:

  • Requires Bachelor degree from an accredited four-year college or university, preferably in communications or public relations.
  • Requires six years of progressively responsible, verifiable professional experience in communications, public relations, public advocacy or similar field.
  • Experience in executing and implementing complex, high-profile projects in a fast-paced environment.
  • Experience serving as an on-the-record spokesperson preferred.
  • Excellent communication skills including writing, presentation, grammar and content development.
  • Ability to manage a crisis event and remain composed to ensure adequate communications strategies and messaging are implemented.
  • Understanding and experience serving in incident command / emergency operations center activations.
  • Strong skills using Microsoft Office applications (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel).
  • Fluent in Associated Press (AP) style. 
  • Working knowledge of government agencies and their governing bodies.
  • Communicate important organizational and project updates to peers and managers clearly and proactively.
  • Communicate through superior written, oral and presentation skills and constructively edit others' work.
  • Work well under pressure and public scrutiny.
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to meet changing and multiple deadlines and prioritize and work on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Make independent judgments that could have significant impact on employees and/or the organization.
  • Manage and lead a team within an office environment.
  • Bi-lingual skills in English/Spanish a plus.

Physical Demands and Environmental Exposure:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions:

  • Frequent standing and walking; prolonged sitting for extended periods of time; frequent driving of a vehicle with automatic controls.
  • Frequent sorting, filing, shelving and handling of documents, books, files, file drawers and related materials and equipment required for clerical operations.
  • Occasional stooping, bending, reaching, lifting and carrying of items up to 15 pounds.  
  • Occasional ascending/descending stairs.
  • Work is generally performed indoors in a normal office environment with acceptable lighting, temperature, air conditions and noise levels.
  • When at field locations, may be exposed to significant levels of heat, cold, moisture, air pollution, wind and dust, wildlife and flying/walking insects, vibration and/or noise in excess of 85 decibels.

General Information:

  • Position Type: Regular Full-Time
  • Employee Status: Exempt
  • Hours: 40 Hours per week - Hours worked may be outside normal business hours.
  • Salary: To be discussed in interview
  • Requires a valid Class “C” Texas Driver’s License.

NOTE: Reasonable accommodations will be made upon request for applicants with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Upon receiving a conditional offer of employment, all applicants are screened for the presence of illegal drugs, alcohol, and the ability to perform physical functions of this position. EOE 3/3/2020.

This position is/may be funded with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds, which are subject to compliance with Section 3.  Section 3 is a provision of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. The purpose of Section 3 is to ensure that employment and other economic opportunities generated by certain HUD financial assistance shall, to the greatest extent feasible, and consistent with existing Federal, State and local laws and regulations, be directed to low- and very low-income persons, particularly those who are recipients of government assistance for housing, and to business concerns which provide economic opportunities to low- and very low-income persons.