Day in the Life of Government, Automotive Public Relations

When people ask what I do for a living, I usually tell them automotive or government public relations; but in reality, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what industry I fall under.

Dana Bubonovich
Dana Bubonovich, Argonne National Laboratory

To give more insight, my career at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago falls under the triangle of academia, automotive and government. My career involves two areas of focus: managing logistics and communications for the premier North American collegiate automotive engineering competition, EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, and managing an internship program for the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program.

In my job, I do a little of everything and no two days are the same. With that, I do not have a typical day, but my average work week is comprised of three main responsibilities:

1. Event Logistics

I would say the majority of my workday and workweek is comprised of event logistics. Three to four times a year, my program hosts week-long conferences, which demand year-round event planning. I spend most of my time researching event venues and hotels and talking to caterers and transportation companies. The best part of event logistics is the travel! I spend a great deal of the time on the road attending governmental conferences, auto shows and logistics planning meetings.

2. Social Media and Website Maintenance

One of my favorite aspects of my career is managing many social media accounts and website updates for my program. At any time of the day, I am on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and our blog, managing the traffic of our social media. Recently, I helped develop content and launch my program’s new website, While the website doesn’t always require daily maintenance, I spend time throughout the week updating news, photos, alumni stories and more to entice new visitors.

3. Internship Management

A great thing about my job is that I oversee and manage a nationwide internship program for the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program. Every semester, I oversee 20 to 25 interns across the United States who work on tasks including public relations, event planning, data analysis, market research and website development. This aspect of my career allows me to hone my management and business development skills. I get the chance to develop professional development webinars, create payroll spreadsheets and manage multiple interns at once.

Working in my field has allowed me to continue my work with academia and the education sector while maintaining relationships with government officials and industry professionals.

What experiences have you had in education, government, or automotive public relations? What career-related questions do you have for an internship coordinator?

Dana Bubonovich is the Communications and Logistics Coordinator for EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future at Argonne National Laboratory and is an alumna of Penn State University. She is also a member of PRSA Chicago, PRSA New Professionals, and is the social media chair for PRSA Chicago Young Professionals Network. Find her on Twitter @DanaBubonovich and @YPNChicagoPRSA.

4 thoughts on “Day in the Life of Government, Automotive Public Relations

    • Author gravatar

      What an exciting and diverse job description it sounds very challenging but at the same time fun. It would be great to get to meet all those new folks; is it difficult to meet deadlines?

    • Author gravatar

      Mike — Thanks for the comment! At times, it is very hard to meet deadlines because we have to work with all three areas of focus. I work in a very fast-paced environment (like all of PR) where things aren’t final until they are Final, Final, Print Final. However, things always work out in the end.

    • Author gravatar

      I am still in school do you have any advice for a student who is just starting out in the PR field?

    • Author gravatar

      Mike —

      I have a few suggestions for students still in school looking to branch out into the PR workforce! First, definitely tailor your resume to jobs you are applying to! Having PRSSA on your resume and actually talking it up is a big deal! Have a few solid internships under your belt is key too. On your resume, list quantitative details like “increased media relations by 200%”…HR loves numbers on a resume!

      One thing I like to see when interviewing applicants for our internship program (and full-time positions in PR), is personal branding. Having your own blog, active and strategic social media, and a possible e-portfolio is nice touches, but make sure the branding and messaging are the same.

      Lastly, don’t be discouraged by years of experience in a job description. Yes, you might be applying for an entry-level, but some say you need 1-2 years experience. Apply anyway! Getting your name out there is important. And network, network, network!!!

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