Vice President of Energy Systems

Remote (Minneapolis, MN, USA)
28 days ago
Full time role


A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Great Plains Institute is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. We work ...

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Job Description

Program/Role: Vice President of Energy Systems

Location: WFH Flexible, Minneapolis, MN. GPI’s headquarters are based at 2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 220 in Minneapolis, MN.

Reports to: Executive Vice President (EVP reports to the CEO)

Type of Position: Full time position

Ideal start date: July 17, 2023 

Compensation: Salary range: $164K-$189K, commensurate with experience. Benefits include a health plan, 401(k) retirement plan, LTD, STD, life, vision, dental, FSA/HSA, paid time off, professional development allowance, and a communication stipend.



A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Great Plains Institute (GPI) is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. Increased demand for GPI’s unique blend of energy expertise and consensus-derived solutions has driven organizational and programmatic growth. With headquarters in Minnesota, GPI’s operations are national in scope while retaining a core competency in the Midcontinent region. GPI is powered by more than 50 professionals and is supported by some of the nation’s most respected philanthropies. 


The following values inform the way we work both inside and outside of GPI. It is important to us to be trusted, inclusive, equitable, and transformative:


Trusted. We base our approach and actions on trust, mutual respect, and accountability. 

Inclusive. We achieve impact through inclusive and deliberate collaboration with a diversity of interests.

Equitable. We strive for equity in our approach and outcomes.

Transformative. We are a bold and passionate catalyst for change.



GPI seeks an experienced, collaborative, highly networked professional to lead our Energy Systems program. This program’s goal is to enable a net-zero carbon emissions energy system that can support the country’s energy needs, including the additional load brought on by the electrification of other energy uses. We are also working to decarbonize the end uses of natural gas and hydrogen. We take a systems-level approach to achieve our goals, working at multiple scales and with a diverse range of key actors.


Notably, this program fosters collaboration and problem solving through complex stakeholder engagement processes. These often involve groups of 20-100 stakeholders that meet regularly over several months to develop a shared understanding of energy and climate policy and technology issues, discuss varying perspectives on those issues, and collaborate to identify actions to address those issues. The program also provides direct assistance and advising services to state government agencies, utility regulatory commissions, and electric and gas utilities.


This position is one of five vice presidents at GPI, each of whom develop and execute effective strategies for their own program areas while collaborating on cross-team and enterprise-wide initiatives. The VP for Energy Systems will lead overall strategy development and implementation around four distinct current areas of work: 1) utility business model and regulatory innovation (electric and thermal), 2) transmission and wholesale markets, 3) multi-state initiatives, and 4) individual state engagement where it is strategic to do so. Inherent in this role is continually scanning the horizon for new opportunities to increase GPI’s impact. The successful candidate will be a proven leader who can demonstrate a holistic understanding of how the energy system is becoming more integrated and interdependent, the kinds of policy and regulatory interventions needed to decarbonize the economy, and a demonstrated ability to build high-leverage partnerships internally and externally.


Our work is fast-paced, and our hardworking staff is passionate about GPI’s mission. GPI is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages candidates from all backgrounds to apply. 



Leadership and Strategy

  1. Lead strategy development and execution for the Energy Systems Team and continually seek to identify and seize synergies for impact across GPI programs.
  2. Serve as an organizational leader on GPI’s Management Team, working with fellow VPs, the EVP, CEO, and CFO to maintain enterprise-wide clarity, alignment, and consistent advancement of GPI’s vision, mission, values, strategic priorities, and policies.
  3. Lead and coordinate the Energy Systems team’s contribution to GPI’s annual and multi-year strategy review and development, including an annual work plan for the team consistent with GPI’s overall strategic plan.
  4. Represent GPI and the Energy Systems teams’ programmatic work in both public and private settings.
  5. Lead on a discrete portfolio of high-impact program work while supporting and advising on the team’s full program portfolio. In other words, this role requires the VP to help on projects and fully lead initiatives where needed (see Programmatic Work section below). The role requires someone who will “do the work” in addition to overseeing the team’s work as a whole.
  6. Support effective, well-integrated enterprise-wide functions by working closely with Finance & Administration, Comms, Development, and Research staff to advance GPI’s mission and strategy, and programmatic goals.
  7. Provide information to the Board and help carry out board-directed initiatives as requested by the CEO and board chair.

Management and Staff Development

  1. Provide leadership for the Energy Systems team while supporting team member development and cross-team collaboration.
  2. Help implement internal policies and practices that lead to accountability and excellence at both the team and enterprise level.
  3. Lead fundraising efforts for the team and support fundraising for GPI broadly, in close coordination with the EVP, Development team and the CEO.
  4. Cultivate a strong working relationship with the other VPs and with the EVP to help shape program strategy, find synergies across the Teams, and identify adjustments in strategic direction as needed, etc.
  5. Anticipate and prevent departmental and organizational challenges when possible, and constructively address them when they arise.
  6. Oversee development of Impact Measures for the team and contribute to impact measurement for the enterprise as a whole (including quantitative and qualitative measures) as part of organization-wide program evaluation.
  7. Lead by example and help steward a strong organizational culture that is rated highly by GPI colleagues. This includes promoting a culture of high performance, respectful candor, and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to excellence. 
  8. Provide mentorship to team members and foster their professional development.
  9. Anticipate and oversee the Energy Systems team’s staffing—including succession planning—while helping to implement GPI’s adopted Equity Policy Statement and work plan. 
  10. Monitor staff workloads and resource needs to ensure that the team has the resources it needs, staff resources are efficiently utilized, project needs are met and problems in staffing are addressed in a timely manner. Recommend to the EVP staff reassignments or other changes as warranted.

Programmatic Work

  1. Maintain and expand a network of organizations and individuals who can participate in, support, or otherwise inform the work of the Energy Systems program. 
  2. Provide expert advisory support and strategic problem-solving guidance to project partners and clients, which may include utilities, regulatory commissions, and state agencies and officials.
  3. Serve as a lead facilitator or co-facilitator for engagement meetings of various sizes and purposes, from large public meetings to smaller groups seeking consensus or negotiating.
  4. Develop, review, and provide feedback to programmatic written documents including meeting summaries and policy recommendations.


  • Commitment to the mission and goals of the Great Plains Institute.
  • Proven track record: Proven experience in an executive role. Evidence of exceeding goals and the ability to consistently make good decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment; the ability to balance the ambitions of GPI’s work with the realities of a budget and individual workloads; and problem solving, project management and creative resourcefulness.
  • Strategic vision and agility: The ability to think strategically, maintain internal and external situational awareness of the environment in which GPI is operating, anticipate future needs, trends, and consequences, and incorporate them into the team’s and GPI’s strategy and organizational planning and execution.
  • Empathetic servant leadership: Exceptional capacity for managing and leading people and problem solving to elicit the best in them; a team-builder who has experience in helping teams achieve impact; ability to connect with colleagues both on an individual level and in large groups; capacity to enforce accountability, develop and empower high-performing leaders, cultivate entrepreneurship, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of the team to put people in a position to succeed.
  • Action Orientation: Has a bias toward action, well-informed by consultation and good communication; ability to act and react as necessary, even if limited information is available; not afraid to confront conflict when it arises, and able to stand behind decisions (even unpopular ones) as long as relevant others have had the opportunity to offer input and get their questions answered.
  • General Management: Understanding of, and broad experience in, managing complex professional teams, including strategic planning, budgeting, program development, communications, fundraising, research, impact measurement, and staff development and succession planning.
  • Communication Skills, including High Emotional Intelligence: Excellent verbal, written, analytical, problem-solving and public speaking skills; Ability to effectively present information to staff colleagues, funders (and potential funders), board members and public groups; ability to effectively communicate with a wide variety of individuals both internally and externally with a high degree of diplomacy and emotional intelligence; Ability to represent GPI in a professional manner; and able to keep privileged information confidential.
  • Relevant Educational Background & Experience: Undergraduate degree and a deep understanding of the clean energy and climate field as it relates to the electricity and thermal sectors required (advanced degree in relevant field or comparable experience preferred).
  • Previous Experience: 10+ years of experience in energy and management with a holistic understanding of how the energy system is becoming more integrated and interdependent, the kinds of policy and regulatory interventions needed to decarbonize the economy, and a demonstrated ability to build high-leverage partnerships internally and externally. The ideal candidate would know something about GPI, the way GPI works, and the role GPI plays in the clean energy and climate space. 
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, SharePoint)
  • Other Job Functions: Performs other duties as are obvious or assigned. The above position description describes the general content, identifies the essential job functions, and sets forth the requirements for the performance of the position. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of job functions or requirements. The employee may be required to perform other job-related duties as requested. Position responsibilities are subject to change over time to accommodate changing organizational needs.


This position involves use of a desktop computer and/or laptop, copier, fax machine, calculator, printer, and telephone.



This position requires working at a desk (either sitting or standing) for extended periods and extensive use of devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse), as well as usage of telephone/headset. 



Apply here. Required application materials include a resume and one-page cover letter. We will consider applications on a rolling basis. 



GPI has a fast-paced entrepreneurial culture in which people enjoy both great freedom and great responsibility. People who thrive in this culture take personal responsibility for seeing what needs doing and getting it done. They are initiative-takers, problem-solvers, and quick to help others. They work hard because they believe in the mission and get to spend most of their time at the intersection of what they love to do and are good at. It’s a working environment in which performance is judged more on results than on time spent in a chair. We aspire to make this the best job anyone has ever had.


The Great Plains Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes a wide diversity of applicants.

A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the Great Plains Institute is transforming the energy system to benefit the economy and environment. We work ...

View Company Profile

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