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Chris O’Neil, APR

Director of Communications
Savannah River National Laboratory


Chris O’Neil is the director of Communications at Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL). He is the senior advisor for external and internal communications, leading his team in the integration, coordination, and synchronization of communications to build understanding and support for SRNL’s mission.

Prior to SRNL, O’Neil held full-time and collateral-duty public affairs positions with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Air Force. As the NTSB’s chief of media relations, O’Neil modernized the division’s standard operating procedures, developed their media relations policy, and incorporated communication planning, measurement and analysis into the board’s approach to communications. Prior to this, he served as the deputy assistant commissioner for the Office of Public Affairs with CBP, where he drafted public affairs policy that facilitated transparency in the release of CBP’s updated Use of Force Policy, Use of Force Incident Teams, and CBP’s Use of Force Review Board. During his tenure, he was twice hand-selected to write the public affairs annexes for the Department of Homeland Security’s plans for maritime and land mass migration. He also contributed to the rewrite of the National Response Team (NRT) Joint Information Center (JIC) manual, focusing on better alignment between the External Affairs Annex 15 and NRT JIC structures and functions. During his time with the U.S. Coast Guard as chief of media relations, he developed and implemented policy and doctrine for all media relations activities. In the midst of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, O’Neil served as the chief of strategic communication for the U.S. Coast Guard National Incident Command staff. Along with his previous experience, O’Neil serves on the executive committee of the National Laboratory Chief Communications Officers Working Group and is a member of the Energy Facility Contractors Communications Working Group.

O’Neil has an Associate of Arts in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix, a Bachelor of Science in communications from Charter Oak State College, and a Master of Science in public relations from Boston University. He earned his Accreditation in Public Relations in 2019.