External Affairs Manager

  • Irvine Ranch Water District, CA
  • 15600 Sand Canyon Ave, Irvine, California
  • Sep 09, 2023
Full Time Administration and Management
  • Salary: $117,396.00 - $164,904.00 Annually USD

Job Description

General Description

We are excited to announce that we are accepting applications for the position of External Affairs Manager!

The District

Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) is a progressive, values-driven agency with an international reputation for its leading-edge financial management practices, water recycling program, water use efficiency practices, water banking, urban runoff treatment, and energy generation and storage. Established in 1961 as a California Water District under the provisions of the California Water Code, IRWD is an independent special district serving central Orange County. IRWD provides high-quality drinking water, reliable sewage collection and treatment, ground-breaking recycled water programs, and environmentally sound urban runoff treatment to its customers. As an independent, not-for-profit public agency, IRWD is governed by a publicly elected five-member Board of Directors. The Board is responsible for the District's policies and decision-making. Day-to-day operations are supervised by the General Manager. Additional information can be found at the District's website: www.IRWD.com.

The Position
Reporting to the Director of Strategic Communications and Advocacy/Deputy General Counsel and under general direction, the External Affairs Manager is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing the District's community relations program.

IRWD's community relations program is one of the key components of the District's overall public policy engagement and communications strategy. It is a primary element in the District's ongoing policy leadership at the local level.

This position is responsible for building and sustaining relationships between IRWD and community leaders, groups, and stakeholders across the District's service area so that they know IRWD, have direct contact and interaction with IRWD, and recognize IRWD as a community partner, resource, and water/wastewater infrastructure policy and service leader by:

  • Strategically creating a more visible and active IRWD community presence within the District's service area and Orange County;

  • Engaging and building strong relationships with community groups, regional associations, and local community leaders;

  • Initiating outreach to key segments of the Orange County community and IRWD's service area that are less familiar with the District;

  • Coordinating with other IRWD departments on strategic communications so that these communications properly address and reach segments of the community less familiar with the District; and

  • Directing the District's speakers bureau program, IRWD Connect, and IRWD Community Facilities Program.

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal External Affairs Manager is:

A Leader with a strong work ethic and sound judgment.

An Effective Communicator
and accomplished presenter who represents the District in a professional manner in all settings and has the ability to foster positive relationships with individuals and organizations.

A Critical Thinker who is strategic and forward-thinking, with the vision and commitment to seek continuous improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of District operations.

A Collaborator who actively seeks the input of others and candidly expresses their ideas to ensure IRWD's overall success.

Ethical and committed to exercising appropriate professional discretion when handling and disseminating sensitive and/or confidential information.

The Application Process
Interested and qualified individuals are invited to submit a completed application and supplemental questionnaire.

Summary of Duties
Community Presence and Stakeholder Engagement: Develop and maintain a strong community relations and engagement strategy, which cultivates positive relationships for the District with the communities it serves and the stakeholders it works with. Build strong relationships with members of the community, key individuals, and other Orange County organizations (e.g., Rotary Clubs, Exchange Club of Irvine, etc.) across IRWD's service area and the County. Be a principal ambassador for IRWD within the community.

Local and Regional Associations: Increase and maintain IRWD's presence and participation within regional associations, serving as an IRWD staff representative to local and regional associations and groups including, but not limited to, Asian Business Association of Orange County, Black Chamber of Commerce, canyon community groups, COAST, Fire Safe Council, Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce, ISDOC, Lake Forest Chamber of Commerce, League of California Cities / Cal Cities, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Business Council (Infrastructure Committee & backup on Gov't Affairs Committee), South Orange County Economic Coalition, Sustain OC, Tustin Chamber of Commerce, WACO, and the like.

Local Government Outreach: Coordinate and implement, in partnership with the Director of Strategic Communications and Advocacy/Deputy General Counsel, the District's ongoing local government relations outreach and advocacy program. On behalf of the District, act as a local government liaison for the County of Orange, cities, and special districts, building relationships and working together on policy issues and projects of mutual interest. Coordinate meetings of IRWD Board members and management with local elected officials. Develop and sustain strong relationships with County, city, and special district staff. As needed, monitor and report on local governance proceedings (e.g., council meetings, water agencies) of interest to IRWD.

Strategic Communications: Produce presentations and outreach communications as needed specific to the community relations program. Arrange, prepare, and deliver presentations and tours to various industry groups, community, civic groups, and other stakeholders. Coordinate larger strategic communications outreach efforts on behalf of the District, including larger capital projects, District policies, and other initiatives.

Department Activities: Assist with other activities of the Strategic Communications and Advocacy Department, as appropriate. Run the District's Speakers Bureau, IRWD Connect, and Community Facilities Program. Manage IRWD's exhibit and booth presence at various events and manage association memberships and events sponsorships on behalf of the District. Supervise direct reports and assign and monitor tasks. Assist with the preparation of the annual budget and prepare specifications.

Other Responsibilities : Proactively establish and maintain relationships and communications with other departments, water industry groups, and public agencies in efforts to promote and implement the District's priorities. Effectively and regularly communicate with District management and the Board of Directors, including notifying them about community events and other community engagement opportunities. Attend and participate in meetings of the Board of Directors and related committees as required, presenting analyses and recommendations to the Board members as requested. Various strategic, policy projects and coordination.

Attend public and other outside meetings and functions on behalf of the District, including on nights and weekends, both in and outside of Orange County. Participate in community events, tours, and trips at night and on weekends as necessary.

Supervise employees reporting to this position and serve in the Emergency Operations Center during emergencies.

Perform other related as assigned.

Comply with District safety work-related practices, attend relevant safety training, and advocate for the District's Safety-based culture.

  • A combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor's degree in public policy, communication, public administration, political science, journalism, public relations, or a related field required. For degrees obtained outside of the U.S., an official equivalency evaluation is required.

  • Five (5) years of experience in an external affairs/community relations position with demonstrated ability to manage people, relationships, and projects; and
  • Three (3) years of supervisory experience;
  • Water industry experience is desirable.

Knowledge of:
  • Local government policies, operations, and procedures
  • Communications and public relations principles and outreach strategies
  • Copywriting, business writing, and editing principles.
  • Budget preparation and administration - basic knowledge
  • Research techniques and strategies

Additional Information

IRWD Corporate Values

IRWD believes that its values drive the character, culture, and capacity of our organization. IRWD was built on values, and we weave them into the fabric of everything we do. Values are the ingredients in our recipe for both institutional and individual success. They are a code of conduct to promote positive outcomes for others and ourselves. They are more than words on a wall or a website. We live by them every day. We pledge to keep them relevant in an everchanging world.

IRWD's employees enjoy working in a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment where they form strong bonds with fellow employees. To ensure effective communication and promote a collaborative team environment, employees report to work each day in the office or in the field, depending on their positions.


The physical and mental demands described below are representative of those that must be met by employees to successfully perform the essential functions of this class. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Language and Interpersonal Communication Ability
Excellent verbal, written, and public speaking communication skills. Ability to communicate effectively with all levels. Effectively and professionally represent the District with outside professionals and the public. Ability to write, detail-oriented editing, and proofreading ability. Must be organized with the ability to multi-task and make decisions independently.

Mathematical Ability
Ability to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and calculate percentages, decimals, and fractions.

Technology Ability
Proficient in the use of MS Office Suite (Word, Excel). Keyboarding abilities sufficient to perform the job.

Judgment and Situational Reasoning Ability
Ability to use good personal judgment and discretion in performing all job functions. Ability to remain calm in crisis and emergency situations. Ability to use discretion when handling and disseminating sensitive information.

Physical Requirements
Regularly required to sit, bend, stoop, and stand. Regularly required to lift up to 25 lbs. when setting up and taking down displays for special events and to walk one to two miles when conducting tours.

Environmental Adaptability
The noise level is generally equivalent to a typical office environment. Ability to work in an environment that may expose employees to hazardous materials and environment when conducting tours in the plant/field. Occasional visits to construction sites where noise level may be higher than in a typical office environment.

License/Certifications Required

  • Valid Class 'C' California Driver's License

IRWD offers a comprehensive benefits package for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. These benefits include the following: retirement benefits; medical, dental, vision, and life insurance; anda variety of other benefits. Benefits may vary based on employment status. This benefits overview is intended to be a summary, is not intended to be all-inclusive,and may not be applicable to all employees.

Employees hired on or after January 1, 2013:
The District, in compliance with the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2012 (PEPRA), implemented a third tier for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2013. New employees hired on or after January 1, 2013 who have not been in PERS membership or in membership with a reciprocal retirement system within 6 months of hire date will receive benefits under the California Public Employees Retirement System at a 2 percent at age 62 formula. This formula gradually increases to a maximum benefits of 2.5 percent at age 67. Final compensation calculations will be based on the highest three-year average of regular recurring pay. The District pays the employer's share of these costs. The employee share of the pension cost of 7.50% is paid in full by the employees hired under this formula.

Employees hired on or after September 29, 2012 or "Classic" PERS members hired on or after January 1, 2013:
On September 24, 2012, the IRWD Board of Directors approved the addition of a second tier to the CalPERS retirement benefits. New employees hired on or after September 29th through December 31, 2012, and employees hired on or after January 1, 2013 who have been in PERS membership or in membership with a reciprocal retirement system, will receive benefits under the California Public Employees Retirement System at 2 percent at age 60 formula. This formula gradually increases to a maximum benefit of 2.418% at age 63. The District pays the employer share of these costs and the employee share of the pension cost of 7% is paid in full by the employees hired under this formula. Final retirement compensation calculations are based on the highest three-year average of regular, recurring pay.

IRWDdoes not participate or pay into Social Security except for the Medicare portion.

Medical Insurance
IRWD contracts with CalPERS for medical insurance coverage. Employees may elect coverage from a variety of PPO and HMO plans. The employee and District contribution for health insurance varies by plan.Coverage is effective the first day of the month following the date of hire.

Dental Insurance
IRWD contracts with Delta Dental for dental coverage.IRWD pays 100% of the premium for dental coverage for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Coverage is effective the first day of the month following the date of hire.

Vision Insurance
IRWD contracts with the EyeMed for vision coverage. IRWD pays 100% of the premium for vision coverage for eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Coverage is effective the first day of the month following the date of hire.

Life Insurance
Elgible employees are provided with life insurance coverage equal to three or four times their annual salary, depending on their level of compensation. Eligible dependents are also covered for a flat benefit amount. Coverage is effective the first day of the month following the date of hire.

Deferred Compensation
Participation in adeferred compensation plan is available through Great West Retirement Services. Enrollment is voluntary and contributions are employee-paid and subject to IRS limits. The District matches employee contributions up to 3% of base pay after 1 year of employment.

Paid Vacation
Eligible employees begin accruing vacation benefits at the rate of 80 hours per year for the first 5 years of employment and are eligible to use paid vacation time after 6 months of employment. Employees accrue 120 hours per year after 5 years of employment and 160 hours per year after 10 years of employment.

Paid Holidays
The District offers 11 scheduled paid holidaysplus one personal holiday per year.

Sick Leave
Eligible employees accrue 96 hours of sick leave annually.

Flexible Spending Accounts
Eligible employees may elect to participate in the District's Flex Advantage program. This program allows employees to deposit pre-tax dollars into special accounts to be used for a variety of purposes, including paying for qualified miscellaneous health care expenses and dependent care expenses. IRWD contracts with a third party administer to process payments from employee accounts using claim forms or a Flex Spending debit card.

Educational Assistance
The District will share in the pre-approved educational costs of tuition and books for employees who wish to attend college or take certification classes.

Base Pay


Job Address

15600 Sand Canyon Ave, Irvine, California 92618 United States View Map