Transportation Planner- Program Manager/Senior Program Manager

Great Plains Institute

Location: WFH Flexible, Minneapolis, MN. GPI’s headquarters are based at 2801 21st Avenue South, Suite 220 in Minneapolis, MN.
Reports to: Vice President, Communities
Type of Position: Full time position
Ideal start date: ASAP
Compensation: Salary range: Program Manager $80K-$93K, Senior Program Manager $90K-$104K 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.


The urgent need to equitably decarbonize our energy system and economy is at the core of this position. The Great Plains Institute seeks an ambitious and experienced individual with knowledge of and experience with local and regional governments to manage local vehicle electrification, transportation, and climate action programs that implement the most ambitious and equitable climate goals of communities, institutions, utilities, and states.  

We anticipate that between one-half to two-thirds of this new hire’s time will be spent managing EV Smart projects in Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and on a national scale. EV Smart is a best practice-based certification and technical assistance program designed to provide municipalities with a roadmap to electric vehicle (EV) readiness. The person in this position will provide overall project management, lead a multi-state cohort of technical assistance providers, and provide direct technical assistance to select communities on local government EV ordinances, policies, and programs. 

The remainder of the Transportation Planner’s time will be spent on a range of different projects supporting local governments in transportation and vehicle electrification market transformation to address the climate challenge, meet community goals, and ensure equitable outcomes. Our work is fast-paced, and our hardworking staff is passionate about GPI’s mission and the environment in general. The Communities team is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages candidates from all backgrounds to apply. In general, the responsibilities are as follows:


The successful candidate will manage a wide variety of technical assistance, facilitation, and research projects, and provide support and management for local and regional climate and vehicle electrification, and transportation market transformation efforts, including the following tasks:

1. Manage regional (multi-state) technical assistance programs and projects for local government and state agencies

  1. Manage regional and national initiatives working with local governments in multiple states to achieve equitable electric vehicle readiness deployment outcomes. GPI facilitates the EV Smart program. Tasks may include managing outreach efforts, recruitment, tracking the progress of multiple cities across a wide geography, developing implementation priorities for individual cities, and providing or arranging for technical assistance on planning, zoning, permitting, financing, and program design. 
  2. Develop tools and best practice and technical guidance documents on a range of topics to assist local and regional governments in meeting electric vehicle readiness and transportation goals related to the equitable deployment of electric vehicles including charging gap analyses, parking regulations, model zoning or building ordinances, electrified micro-mobility and shared mobility opportunities, and EV charging in underserved areas and for people living in affordable multi-family housing. GPI researches and develops new best practices and disseminates them to local, state, and industry audiences. 
  3. Oversee and help design research initiatives on technical issues that must be resolved to meet EV deployment and other local government transportation decarbonization goals. GPI conducts both internal research and collaborates with national laboratories and academia to resolve research gaps. 
  4. Provide overall project support, including managing project summary and progress reports, contracts, and participating in project team meetings. 

2. Facilitate stakeholder groups on electric vehicle roadmap planning and the transportation component of climate action planning

  1. Take responsibility for designing, administering, and facilitating stakeholder meetings for transportation elements of local and regional climate projects and programs. GPI administers a number of stakeholder engagement efforts designed to resolve barriers for renewable energy, electric vehicles, and building decarbonization deployment, among other clean energy topics. 
  2. Conduct community and stakeholder engagement for local climate action plans and implementation efforts related to transportation goals. GPI works with both individual communities and cohorts of communities to help create local vectors for meeting the climate crisis. 
  3. Guide local governments in addressing equity issues in vehicle electrification, reduction of vehicle miles traveled, transportation, and climate action. GPI is committed to ensuring an equitable energy transition and recognizing and correcting for historic exclusions in decision-making and program design. 

3. Work in depth with local governments on climate action planning and electric vehicle roadmap planning and implementation efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase clean energy opportunities. 

  1. Working with GPI’s project teams and outside organizations, provide direct assistance to local governments on the development of the transportation elements of local climate plans and policy or program design and implementation of transportation elements. Topics include land use planning and regulation, vehicle electrification, transportation mode shift, vehicle miles traveled reduction, and capital improvements.
  2. Assist with market transformation efforts for new or burgeoning technologies: electric vehicles, shared mobility, mobility hubs, solar plus EV charging, and other technologies. 

Respond to funding opportunities, write proposals, and support communities in pursuing funding opportunities. 

  1. Work with the program teams and fundraising staff on identifying new funding opportunities. GPI encourages an entrepreneurial mindset, consistent with its mission, on developing new projects and initiatives. 
  2. Take the lead on responding to local, state, or federal requests for GPI proposals within the position scope of the work of this position.
  3. Work with government and philanthropic funders to identify new opportunities for decarbonizing our economy.
  4. Work with communities, local governments, and Native nations to obtain state or federal funding, including identifying and designing projects, convening project partners, and assisting in proposal development.

5. Conduct analytic and social research.

  1. Conduct appropriate quantitative or social analyses that support project goals and support informed decision-making. GPI provides technical analysis to support projects, including geospatial analyses, literature searches of technical work, modeling, surveys, regulatory assessments, economic analysis, and social research.
  2. Design and lead research initiatives in conjunction with program team members

6. Communication project results to a wide range of audiences.

  1. Write reports and blogs summarizing findings.
  2. Develop and share strategic social media posts.

7. Collaborate with colleagues on the GPI Communities and Transportation and Fuels teams.

8. Attend staff meetings of both teams and participate in setting annual team goals.


  1. Educationand Experience: Program Manager: Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, transportation or energy planning. At least 5 years of hands-on experience. Senior Program Manager: At least 10 years of hands-on experience working with or for local government or state agencies that work with local governments for a Senior Manager role. Master’s preferred, experience can substitute for Master’s degree. 
  2. Climate, vehicle electrification, or energy project leadership: Demonstrated experience in planning, leading, and managing climate action, vehicle electrification, and/or community resilience projects with an understanding of how transportation systems intersect and interact. 
  3. Expertise on local government processes:Established knowledge of and experience with local or regional government processes; development review, zoning, land use planning, permitting, environmental review, fiscal analysis. Topic areas include land use, natural systems, transportation, public works. 
  4. Equity, Diversity, Inclusion:Demonstrate a commitment to equitable outcomes and increasing diversity and inclusion in project work and organizationally, and direct experience with implementing DEI initiatives.  
  5. Technical experience:Bring technical capability to the job, such as geospatial (GIS) analysis, economic assessment, modeling, knowledge of engineering phases with an emphasis on Phase I Engineering, and/or the 3C planning process (continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative) of transportation.
  6. Communications: Skilled in written and oral communications across a variety of audiences that may hold a variety of ideological positions. Ability to convey complex ideas through brief, simple materials. Experience and credibility when presenting materials to external audiences. 
  7. Collaboration: Effective at working with others both within GPI and partner organizations, agencies, and institutions to reach common goals and objectives. Skilled at establishing and cultivating strong relationships with peers, across different levels of the organization and externally.


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. The position may require the lifting of boxes up to 20 pounds on occasion.


Apply here. Required application materials include a resume and cover letter. Applications will be considered 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.