chris o'neil headshot

Chris O’Neil, APR

Director of Communications
Savannah River National Laboratory
Education: Boston University, M.S., Public Relations; Charter Oak State College, B.S., Communications; University of Phoenix, A.A., Criminal Justice


Chris O’Neil, APR, is the Director of Communications at Savannah River National Laboratory. He is SRNL’s senior advisor to leadership for external and internal communications and leads his team in the integration, coordination and synchronization of communications designed to build understanding of and support for SRNL’s mission, work and people.


Chris came to SRNL in October 2021 and has nearly 35 years of government communication experience earned through full-time and collateral-duty public affairs positions with the National Transportation Safety Board, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Air Force. He was twice hand-selected to write the public affairs annexes to Department of Homeland Security Plans for maritime and land mass migration. He contributed to the rewrite of the National Response Team Joint Information Center Manual, focusing on better alignment between the ESF-15 and NRT JIC structures and functions. As the NTSB’s Chief of Media Relations Chris modernized the division’s standard operating procedures, developed media relations policy for the organization, and incorporated communication planning, measurement and analysis in the board’s approach to communications. As the Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Public Affairs at CBP, Chris 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. As the Coast Guard’s Chief of Media Relations, Chris served as a national spokesperson and developed and implemented Coast Guard policy and doctrine for all media relations activities. He served as the Chief of Strategic Communication, National Incident Command Staff, for the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill Response from May to July 2010, and then served as the Gulf Coast Incident Command/Unified Area Command Public Information Officer in New Orleans, from October to November 2010. Chris earned his Accreditation in Public Relations in 2019. Chris served on the National Association of Government Communicators’ board of directors from 2013 to 2022.

Recent Noteworthy

Chris serves on the executive committee of the National Laboratory Chief Communications Officers working group and is a member of the Energy Facility Contractors Group’s (EFCOG) communications working group.