The Natural Infrastructure Project Manager manages, leads, and helps to develop projects using natural infrastructure to improve conditions for people and nature in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois. They will work with partners and communities to identify and develop on-the-ground projects to demonstrate key principles and leverage new investment, monitor impact, and to understand and advance policy innovations for natural infrastructure best practices. Their work is the focal point for strategies to increase investment in natural infrastructure where it will have the most benefit for vulnerable communities, particularly in the face of climate change. This position will engage in coordination and communications relating to policy, science, and community relations and work with other program staff in developing and maintaining relationships with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, foundations, businesses, and the academic community. This project management position also will be contributing to developing strategies for The Nature Conservancy's (TNC’s) future work in the urban environment. Initial projects will involve stormwater management, although future work may expand to include natural infrastructure for air quality and heat island issues.
The Urban Conservation Program builds on the Conservancy’s science-based, collaborative, results-oriented approach and its record of contributing creative and effective solutions to conservation challenges. We work to improve the quality of life for residents in Chicago and Cook County by augmenting natural areas and deploying natural infrastructure to reduce storm water runoff and other urban environmental challenges, increasing access to nature for all residents, and improving urban biodiversity. All our work is done collaboratively with other agencies and organizations across Chicago and Cook County. Our programs are designed with the goals of achieving environmental equity and reducing climate change impacts.
The Project Manager is expected to perform the following essential functions:
Project Management and Development – Manage day-to-day work of natural stormwater infrastructure projects including feasibility and due diligence studies, contracting, design, permitting construction, and post-construction activities and provide oversight and implementation of other Chicago Program projects. Scope new potential projects and develop and manage other natural infrastructure related contracts.
Partner and Community Engagement – In coordination with Urban Conservation Program colleagues, represent TNC in engagement and collaboration with grassroots community organizations, non-profits, government partners, other stakeholders and act as the day-to-day liaison for partners involved in natural infrastructure work.
Conservation Strategy and Policy – Along with other team members, government relations staff and external partners/stakeholders, contribute to strategy development and innovation for the overall Chicago Program. This could include the development of new policies and/or scientific and technical approaches to deploying natural infrastructure in urban areas.
Team Collaboration – Work closely with the Urban Program colleagues and TNC’s Science, Government Relations, Finance, Development and Marketing teams to integrate their expertise and team members into a seamless, coordinated Chicago team.
Responsibilities and Scope
In coordination with Chicago Conservation Director and key partners, leads and manages stormwater natural infrastructure projects, including the scoping of potential projects and development of project concepts with partners and local communities;
As part of project management responsibilities, tasks will include selection and management of contractors and consultants, permitting, grant and contract management, agency and stakeholder communications, monitoring, and reporting;
Collaborates with the Urban Program staff at Indian Boundary Prairies to assess and research stormwater impacts and potential natural infrastructure projects and improvements associated with TNC-managed sites;
Responsible for management of, and compliance with, budgets and schedules;
Frequently makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience, and context;
Contributes to policy development in support of storm water demonstration projects in coordination with external stakeholders and partners, TNC’s Government Relations team and the Chicago Conservation Director
Assists in donor and government outreach needed to secure resources for the Chicago Program under the direction of TNC development staff and the Chicago Conservation Director;
Manages project grants and contracts in compliance with all TNC standard operating procedures
Occasionally travels domestically and works evening and weekend hours
Bachelor’s degree and 5 years related experience or equivalent combination;
Experience in equitable partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies;
Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including contracts and finances, under deadlines;
Experience generating reports and interpreting data;
Experience working across teams and strong cross-cultural competency communicating and collaborating with a diverse range of stakeholders
Experience influencing, developing and implementing policy and projects;
5-7 years’ experience in conservation practice or in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Landscape Architecture, or equivalent combination of education and experience;
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Ability to manage and prioritize tasks coming from multiple sources and meet deadlines;
Strong organizational skills, accuracy, and attention to detail;
Technical understanding of natural infrastructure, working with public agencies, and project finance;
Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experiences are appreciated;
Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing policy and projects;
Equity-minded with a desire for continued learning about socio-historical context of historic underrepresentation, questioning assumptions, and making evidence-based decisions a regular practice;
Strong knowledge and understanding of City of Chicago and Cook County county political, cultural, business and NGO landscape;
Demonstrated ability to navigate complex political issues and environments
Additional Salary Information: Starting Salary Range is $55,000 to $65,000
Internal Number: 47755
About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 69 countries, all 50 United States, and your backyard. Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Visit www.nature.org to learn more.