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Manager, External Affairs (State) (101648)


Monterey, CA

Employer:  American Water


Diversity of backgrounds, ideas, thoughts, and experiences is vital to our culture and the way we do business.  Creating an environment where differences are embraced and where every person feels engaged and included makes us safer, stronger, and more successful.


With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE:AWK) is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company.  The company employs more than 6,500 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and regulated-like drinking water and wastewater  services to an estimated 14 million people in 25 states.  American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help keep their lives flowing.  For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


PLEASE NOTE:  In order for American Water to evaluate decisions about new regulations, reintegration, and safe operating practices, all employees are required to report their vaccination status.

Primary Role

The primary role of this position is to provide senior-level communications counsel to the central California Director of Operations and the state senior management team and to develop, coordinate, implement and manage all communications activities to support providing safe, reliable, water and wastewater service at a fair price. The primary areas of responsibility include community relations, corporate social responsibility, media relations, crisis communications and local government relations activities to inform and meet the needs of customers and stakeholders. This is focused on providing communications and in the following areas:

  • Water service and quality
  • Rates and regulatory activity
  • Infrastructure investment and construction
  • Community relations
  • Water conservation and efficiency

The External Affairs Manager is the critical communications resource maximizing the company's communications effectiveness, flexibility, and responsiveness within the communities we serve. This professional has a comprehensive depth of communications knowledge and experience with demonstrated expertise in implementing integrated, strategic communications programs. The External Affairs Manager is an active and vital component of an integrated communications team operating through a matrix management model that is responsible for functional excellence reaching all audiences with a full array of internal and external communications messages, tactics, and activities. This role is responsible for identifying, developing, nurturing, and sustaining strong and enduring relationships with the media not only during unanticipated events but also to proactively to leverage media coverage. This function ensures that American Water is aligned with key community groups and organizations and well regarded and respected as a  leader in the community and within the water sector. The position leads and directs all communications activities to reflect American Water�s commitment to its customers and the   communities we serve. The position works closely with the central California Director of Operations and the state senior management team and ensures that the company is effectively aligned and positioned to develop and sustain key relationships with community leaders, government, and regulatory authorities, as well as elected and appointed officials.

Key Accountabilities

  • Directly supports the strategic communications needs of central California and the state senior management team.
  • Provides senior-level communications counsel and ensures the effective implementation of external affairs and related communications activities.
  • Assists in strategy development and the proactive development of communications materials/tactics that produce cost, time and resource efficiencies across the business as well as ensures consistent messaging for all audiences.
  • Ensures wise budget management.
  • Works to equip the state management team to develop and sustain key relationships with community leaders, the media, elected/appointed officials, regulators, and their staff members, and to manage and advance important communications objectives to these target constituencies.
  • Employs a keen awareness and knowledge of community resources and contacts; understands the attitudes and concerns of the community.
  • Implements communication strategies, tactics, and activities to ensure ongoing, consistent, and targeted communications to support regulatory filings.
  • Develops, manages, and directs comprehensive strategic communications plans and supporting materials for public communications including media relations, conference participation, community relations/events, local government relations and sponsorship/memberships and executes in a proactive manner.


  • Works closely with the Customer Communications Manager, the Internal Communications Manager, and the Customer Service Center Communications Manager to ensure that materials are anticipated, planned for, and developed on a timely basis to meet the needs of state operations.
  • Provides communications support to business development activities, when needed. 
  • Effectively establishes and maintains relationships with key media outlets and educates the media on issues of interest to American Water.
  • Develops, executes, and measures the effectiveness of media relations strategies in support of the state's capital investment program and the Monterey Water Supply Project.
  • Predicts and anticipates the needs of the news media/reporters and is cognizant of meeting these needs. Plans and manages large press and community events.
  • Develops talking points and corresponding media materials, invitations to the media, media pitching and coaches the State President and the state senior management team on how to convey key messages effectively when dealing with the media (during an interview or when attending an editorial board meeting) or when speaking before community groups, elected or municipal leaders, or other target audiences. 

Key Accountabilities Continued

  • Works collaboratively to develop strategic communications plans and timelines.  
  • Develops plans that anticipate and deliver ahead of needs. communications tactics in support of the company�s Corporate
  • Develops plans and oversees implementation of activities and Responsibilities (CR) initiatives. 
  • Works with state and corporate legal teams to ensure consistent and appropriate language is in all materials. 
  • Works closely, collaboratively, and seamlessly with peer communications professionals supporting the state including Customer Communications Manager, the Internal Communications Manager, the Director of Communications and External Affairs, the Customer Service Center Communications Manager, and the entire Corporate Communications team in corporate to ensure communication integration and maximum effectiveness.
  • Regularly communicates and discusses best practices with peer communications positions.
  • Works in a seamless and integrated manner to ensure the effective strategic alignment and coordination of all communications, both internal and external, within each state and between each state and corporate.
  • Works closely with the state government relations lead to provide communications counsel, support, and all necessary materials. Interfaces with local elected officials and develops and sustains strong working relationships with these targets. 


  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively. 

  • Excellent writing and editing skills.

  • Digital media, including social media, website, and visual arts.


  • Bachelor�s degree in journalism, communications, government relations, English, advertising, or related field preferred, or demonstrated experienced commensurate with the requirements of the position.
  • Seven to ten years of experience in public relations, media relations, media reporting, marketing and community relations in a fast-paced corporate and/or agency environment.

Travel Requirements

  • 20%


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American Water is firmly committed to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and prohibits employment discrimination for employees and applicants based on his or her age, race, color, pregnancy, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, marital status, citizenship, or because they are an individual with a disability, protected veteran or other status protected by federal, state, and local laws.

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