The Irrigation Association is seeking an Advocacy Director to initiate and lead its advocacy initiatives, overseeing all federal, state and PAC activities. The IA promotes efficient irrigation through advocacy and professional development, supporting our member companies who feed the world and provide healthy spaces for people to enjoy.
This position is the lead staff member for the IA’s advocacy strategic initiatives, which consists of public affairs, government relations and standards and codes. In addition to serving as the chief lobbyist of the IA, this position requires strong writing and public speaking skills, an understanding of federal and state legislative and regulatory environments, experience developing advocates, an understanding of standards and codes, acumen in strategy development and implementation, and an ability to work collaboratively in a matrixed organization.
As part of the leadership team for this $4+ million organization, this individual will engage in a broad range of activities, supporting organization-wide initiatives and communicating with stakeholder groups both within and outside of the industry. The Advocacy Director reports to the Chief Executive Officer.
The Irrigation Association is the recognized leader for the agriculture and landscape irrigation industry, promoting efficient irrigation technologies, products and services. We aim for a culture that provides an opportunity for creativity, offers meaning and recognizes your unique contributions to our organization.
Evaluate, monitor and track federal and state legislative and regulatory issues relevant to the industry and aligned to the IA’s issue areas.
Craft the IA’s federal and state legislative and regulatory agenda and develop a plan to achieve positive legislative and regulatory outcomes through participation in issue-based coalitions with like-minded organizations, direct lobbying, grasstops action, and grassroots action.
Represent the IA before federal agencies and Congress. Develop and maintain relationships with elected and appointed officials, including Members of Congress, key federal agency personnel, and their staff.
Research and draft briefings, policies and model legislation on issues that impact the irrigation industry.
Initiate and lead IA state collaborative efforts on advocacy initiatives.
Develop goals for the Irrigation PAC, addressing fundraising totals and integrating strategic approach for cultivating valuable congressional relationships. Craft a clear and compelling message to inspire members to contribute to the Irrigation PAC.
Serve as a spokesperson on behalf of the IA, including development of presentations, building digital and in-person conferences/events, and writing articles for trade journals and magazines.
Drive messaging for the irrigation industry through the IA’s Smart Irrigation Month campaign, social media presence and other public relations opportunities.
Develop and deliver other public affairs campaigns that help tell the irrigation industry’s story.
Standards & Codes
Manage industry’s participation in standards and code development working with ASABE, volunteer leaders and consultants.
Coordinate the drafting of model standards and codes on issues that impact the irrigation industry.
Initiate, establish and maintain partnerships with like-minded organizations that seek to advance the IA’s broader advocacy goals, including legislative and regulatory interests. Work with senior staff to address possible collaboration opportunities. Also identify and work with coalitions as deemed beneficial to the IA.
Serve as a key member of the IA’s Content Strategy team (under establishment), maximizing and leveraging broad and extensive advocacy content on all media channels and platforms.
Communicate information to IA members and other stakeholders about advocacy issues in print and electronic publications, including Irrigation Today and Irrigation & Lighting), and other industry publications and platforms (website, e-newsletters, member communications, etc.) as content strategy and opportunity allow.
Collaborate regularly across staff teams to ensure communications are coordinated and to ensure that all staff teams are informed and engaged with advocacy’s content.
Maintain current, sunset outdated, and develop new content products (such as licensure information, advocacy webinars, etc.) on issues of importance to the industry.
Track and communicate information about state legislative and regulatory issues to IA members and other stakeholders.
Publish legislative information and send Action Alerts to IA members and advocates.
Plan and execute on Washington D.C. fly-in, as well as local advocacy efforts as needed.
Governance & Leadership
Work with CEO on governance issues stemming from policy development and advocacy initiatives.
Manage volunteer committees and contractors/consultants as needed.
Approve semi-annual FEC reports, maintaining compliance with all regulations.
Develop and manage the Advocacy budget.
Participate on leadership team to help the IA continue to develop plans for current sustainability and future growth of the industry, including observing trends that affect the industry and plans for responding or embracing.
Bachelor’s degree and minimum of six years of experience in federal government relations, or equivalent combination of education and related experience. Significant experience in communications and management strongly preferred.
Knowledge of agriculture or green industry a plus.
Capacity to lead advocacy initiatives in a highly matrixed environment, working closely with communications, senior management and volunteers.
Ability to influence federal and state legislative and regulatory outcomes by identifying and analyzing relevant public policy issues and mobilizing IA resources.
Knowledge of legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, including familiarity with the congressional appropriations process.
An understanding of the role and process of development of standards and codes.
Strong coalition-building and partnership skills to build important alliances with associations, industry, and corporate partners.
Knowledge of federal election and lobbying laws, including PAC operations procedures.
Strong leadership skills, including the ability to work effectively, independently and cooperatively with all levels of staff, IA members and constituents, key government officials and the general public and the ability to harmonize and build consensus among competing professional interests.
Excellent written and oral communication skills to represent and promote the irrigation industry by producing publications, making presentations, and attending conferences and meetings.
Excellent internal communications skills to integrate advocacy initiatives into the broader strategic vision and mission and clearly communicate these activities across departments.
Strong interpersonal and customer-service skills to work with IA leadership and committee members, other volunteers, elected and appointed government officials, other association staff, the general public and IA staff.
Understanding of marketing in association management, with particular emphasis on fundraising and grassroots recruitment.
Financial management skills, including the ability to develop and maintain a budget.
Computer applications skills, such as Microsoft Office, Fiscal Note/VoterVoice, FECFile, iMIS, and/or other related software and platforms.
Travel approximately 20% of the time, throughout the U.S.
Travel to the Irrigation Show (one week per year, November or December).
Compensation & Benefits
Salary commensurate with experience
100% company paid individual medical, dental and vision insurance coverage
100% company paid long- and short-term disability and individual life insurance
Flexible spending account, 401(k) plan and tuition reimbursement
Generous paid time off policy
11 company paid holidays
Casual office atmosphere
Remote workplace – with a convenient headquarters location in Fairfax, shuttle to and from the Dunn Loring metro, free parking, coffee lounge and access to building gym
The Irrigation Association is the leading membership organization for irrigation companies and professionals. Together with our members, we are committed to promoting efficient irrigation and to long-term sustainability of water resources for future generations.