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Associate (California)

The Urban Systems team works on a variety of economic research studies and evaluations related to housing, real estate analytics, urban planning, economic development, transportation economics and/or fiscal analysis in order to provide independent analysis and recommendations to public, private, and non-profit clients. This Associate role, based in California, would support the Urban Systems team with technical analysis and project management responsibilities, and would focus on assisting with California projects and clients.


Current project examples include:

  • Conduct analyses to create an affordable housing funding program for the Westside Cities Council of Governments (WCCOG).
  • An analysis of how cities in the San Luis Obispo region can promote affordable housing development through smarter design standards.
  • A study of how urban sprawl contributes to the decay of urban centers.

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Associates serve as important members of the project team, as they may structure their own analysis, delegate work to Research Analysts and Senior Research Analysts, own a work stream in a larger project, and report to a Project Director and / or a Project Manager. They create sections of client presentations and report documents and may create entire presentations and reports for smaller projects with limited direction. They are responsible for tracking scope and budget. They often interact with the client on a day-to-day basis. Associates may coordinate with others on business development activities including proposal pursuits. Associates may work on or manage multiple projects and proposal efforts simultaneously, balancing time and resources across projects.


  • Has primary responsibility for delivering smaller projects, under the direction of a Project Director, including oversight of scope and budget
  • Leads analysis and producing deliverables (or sections of deliverables) for a work stream in a larger project, under the guidance of a Project Director or Project Manager
  • Facilitates team delivery of project work, including team communications, delegation of tasks, and management of project budget and scope.
  • Proactively reports concerns and progress to the Project Manager and / or Project Director
  • Conducts research, in accordance with standard methods and research best practices
  • Ensures appropriate use of sources of information to collect, record, analyze, and evaluate facts, and documentation of sources and assumptions
  • Synthesizes and characterizes findings and analysis as appropriate to project needs; raises any concerns about how a research process addresses issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or any other concerns or issues with research alignment with ECOnorthwest’s mission and statement of research integrity
  • May communicate directly with clients and present findings to clients and stakeholders, as appropriate
  • Assists practice leads and Project Directors with business development efforts

 Technical competencies

  • Create graphic or narrative reports on land use data, including land area maps overlaid with geographic variables, such as population density, and demographic data
  • Apply economic and real estate methods, theory, and practice to client deliverables. Experience with real estate finance or pro forma models a plus.
  • Utilize relevant qualitative, quantitative, and/ or statistical methods and the ability to synthesize the key results for client deliverables.
  • Understand land use policies and zoning regulations, and how they impact future development.
  • Review land use plans and existing public documents
  • Ability to lead small projects or a work stream in a larger project through either (1) consistent ability to independently produce specialized technical analysis (such as statistical analysis or spatial analysis; and / or (2) the application of specialized content expertise (such as knowledge of planning or natural resources policy context)
  • Knowledge of and ability to apply the key analytic and research frameworks used at ECOnorthwest (datasets and their application; analysis using database, spreadsheet, and / or statistical software; economic and planning theories and principles; other quantitative and qualitative research methods). Understanding of when to apply these principles and tools given project and client needs. Understanding of the implications of data limitations, including how they may over- or under-represent some populations
  • Ability to incorporate existing knowledge into project work and to learn and adapt new principles

  Project and team management skills

  • In collaboration with a Project Director or Project Manager, anticipates project and team needs and proactively addresses sensitive issues with emphasis on collegiality, sound judgement, and initiative
  • Consistent demonstration of ability to meet deadlines and produce quality written deliverables and / or analysis; manages competing priorities effectively
  • Seeks appropriate direction from project leadership on project execution
  • Ability to work collaboratively and respectfully in team environment
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse internal and external stakeholders
  • Ability to develop a professional network and attend networking events
  • Understanding and ability to apply project management skills, such as developing scopes, monitoring budgets, delegating work, and managing teams
  • Ability to provide and receive constructive feedback

  Personal aptitudes/interpersonal skills

  • Proactively contributes to a collegial and inclusive work environment
  • Intellectual curiosity and the desire to seek out new ideas and new solutions
  • Enables effective and inclusive teamwork across diverse team participants
  • Ability to self-assess and course correct
  • Open-minded approach, adaptable and flexible when needed
  • Motivated to produce high quality, relevant work
  • Takes responsibility for own work
  • Reliable, timely, and efficient management of time and workload


  • Degree in urban planning, real estate, public policy, economics, political science, or a related field (Masters generally preferred)
  • Minimum of three years of relevant professional experience in consulting or related context (Masters may substitute for one year of experience)
  • Knowledge of California-specific government plans or policies affecting land use, zoning, public utilities, community facilities, housing, or transportation.
  • Strong skills in written and oral presentation
  • Experience working in California or on California projects
  • Experience with real estate analysis, including pro formas, a plus

  Pay range:

  • $64,348 – $85,965, depending on years of experience.
  • This position is eligible for full company benefits, including medical/dental/vision/life/ disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, 401(k), and paid holidays. The position is also eligible for quarterly production bonuses and year-end profit sharing.

  Physical Requirements:

  • Ability to work for long periods at a computer.


  • Los Angeles, CA


  • Generally full-time, Mon-Fri 8-5.
  • ECOnorthwest offers a hybrid work schedule. To ensure opportunities for collaboration and teamwork, with the exception of remote workers, employees are expected to prioritize in-office work Tuesday through Thursday.

ECOnorthwest is committed to the work of improving its diversity and inclusiveness as a workplace. Our best work draws on teams within and beyond ECOnorthwest who have diverse backgrounds and experiences that reflect the multifaceted communities we work in. Thus, we encourage applicants who would expand the diversity of lived experiences within our team and who share our values and commitments to advancing equity through research and data justice.

ECOnorthwest is not a sponsoring organization.

ECOnorthwest is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

ECOnorthwest requires employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Click below to view the full job description and apply. This position is open until filled; we will review applications on a rolling basis.

Please prepare a cover letter and resume in PDF format. Please address in the cover letter the ways in which you meet the requirements for the position, and how your lived and professional experiences can help ECOnorthwest deliver high quality products to our clients.