Head of Engineering

Engineering Herndon, Virginia


Job Description

Title: Head of Engineering


At Liquid Robotics, we make the most experienced ocean surface robot on the planet! Our Wave Glider platform services a wide range of missions, whether it’s acting in partnership with environmental institutes to monitor oil spills or supporting a nation’s sovereignty by listening for submarines deep within the ocean, these rugged uncrewed surface vessels have been deployed in high sea states in the North Sea, hurricanes, or tropical storms, for more than 10 years.

Liquid Robotics is seeking a proven technical leader to fulfill the role of Head of Engineering to lead the management and execution of Liquid Robotics’ integrated technology roadmap. The integrated technology roadmap includes a mix of projects categorized by: internal research and development, product sustainment and customer funded development projects. Experience and established relationships with key uncrewed or remote technologies, solutions, and/or customer organizations is critical for this role.

The Head of Engineering will report directly to the CEO, and will also take direction from the Chief Engineer of Maritime Undersea (Boeing parent organization). This role will be located in our Herndon, VA headquarters, though strong remote candidates may also be considered. Direct reports to the Head of Engineering include the Heads of Electrical & Systems, Mechanical and Software Engineering.

Essential Responsibilities

Job duties will include both the day-to-day management of a geographically-dispersed, cross-functional Engineering team (Electrical, Mechanical, Software & Systems Engineers) and establishment, maintenance, and evolution of policies, procedures and facilities that enable successful and efficient execution of Engineering projects/programs. The Head of Engineering will be the primary focal point to ensure that day-to-day Engineering activities are aligned with strategic, programmatic, and customer objectives, and will coordinate with the Heads of Business Development, Program Management, and CEO to align execution with strategy.

  1. Champion the entire product engineering lifecycle: specifications, design, development, testing and sustaining.
  2. Deliver against short- and long-term milestones with reliability and consistency and establish balance between the challenging relationship of quality and schedule.
  3. Participate in technical decision making and take a hands-on approach to understanding technical and architectural issues when necessary.
  4. Maintain a product/solution roadmap and development schedule that can be shared with customers and partners alike.
  5. Continue to recruit top tier engineering talent, grow the team and organizational structure while keeping it aligned with overall company objectives.
  6. Adjudicate near and long-term engineering objectives and priorities by balancing available resources (personnel, schedule & budget) with achieving technology roadmap objectives
  7. Take the processes that are working well and build them to the next level of evolution. Identify the processes that are not working well and establish new ones to improve effectiveness of the team/company.
  8. Establish a strong engineering culture, excellent technology, high quality implementations and foster effective communications in and among the organization. Achieve quick and constructive resolutions of conflict and set standards for quality, testing and documentation.
  9. As a senior member of the leadership team, exercise executive discretion and authority across the company, providing positive leadership that reaches beyond Engineering and provide input to the company’s evolving business planning activities.

Key Performance Indicator’s

Success in this role will be measured by:

  1. Quality of products/solutions
  2. Timely and consistent on-budget program/project releases
  3. Overall evolution and quality of Liquid Robotics’ technical team

Key Attributes:

A successful candidate will embody the following functional and technical competencies:

Business Acumen

Knowledgeable of how the business and organization operates; knowledgeable of policies, practices, trends, and information affecting the business and organization; understands the competition and the marketplace. Understands how to accomplish tasks through formal channels and informal network; understands the cultures of organizations. Applies this information in a way that contributes to the organizations strategic plan and bottom line.


Using a variety of media, clearly conveys information and ideas to individuals or groups in a manner that engages the audience and helps them understand and retain the message.

Customer Focus

Makes customers and their needs a primary focus of one's actions.


Discovers new opportunities and solutions for problems by looking beyond current practices and using innovative thinking. Tries different and novel ways to deal with work problems and opportunities.


Provide products and services that meet the highest technical and quality standards, regulatory requirements, and company policies and processes and embrace first-time quality as a way of life – not accepting, creating or passing any defects and speaking up.

Safety Awareness

Identifying and correcting conditions and behaviors that affect employee, public, and customer safety; upholding safety standards; demonstrating proactive safety culture leadership.

Analytical Skills

Skill and ability to: collect, organize, synthesize, and analyze data; summarize findings; develop conclusions and recommendations from appropriate data sources.

Budgeting & Estimating

Apply knowledge of budgeting tools (e.g., cost benefit analysis, estimates-at-completion [EAC], management estimate-at-completion [MEAC]) and estimating techniques (e.g., improvement curve theory, parametric estimates, standard hour estimates, zero-base estimates).

Compliance Regulations

Knowledge of company, state, federal and/or International compliance regulations (e.g. import/export, intellectual properties, International Standards Organization [ISO]).

Design Concepts & Techniques

Advanced knowledge of design concepts and techniques (e.g., concurrent engineering, Design for Manufacture/Assembly [DFM/A]).

Electrical Parts/Materials/Processes

Knowledge of Parts, Materials and Processes related to Electrical, Electronic, Electro-mechanical, Electro-optical commodities. Knowledge of analytical processes, construction, integration and performance evaluation. Knowledge of Parts, Materials and Processes management and control, producibility, application limitations, packaging and handling, radiation effects, reliability, failure modes, failure analysis and techniques, instrumentation, assembly and repair methods, obsolescence, drawings and fabrication, screening and qualification, derating.

Engineering Knowledge/Comprehension

Knowledge of various engineering disciplines such as electrical, mechanical, and systems. The ability to communicate with technical personnel from multiple skill areas and functions to evaluate technical information and issues impacting design, production, and support of products, services, or other deliverables.

Influencing Others

The ability to state what is needed to persuade and convince others without causing defensiveness and to inspire others to act. Ability to build relationships to gain support and commitment from others, promote ideas with enthusiasm, conviction, and assertiveness. Ability to provide compelling rationale for arguments and use appropriate levels of persistence to meet objectives.

Risk Management

Knowledge of risk management principles and tools (e.g., frequency and effect matrix) and the ability to apply them in various situations to determine necessary and cost-effective fire protection.

Systems Thinking

Ability to understand the big picture and the inter-relationships of all positions and activities in the system, including the impact of changes in one area on another area. This includes the ability to see and understand the inter-relationships between components of systems and plans, anticipate future events, and apply the principles of systems thinking to accelerate performance.

Minimum Qualifications:

  1. 12 years in uncrewed or remote technology and solution development (including hands-on engineering roles), 4+ years in engineering management. Must have built/led teams of 30+. Experience with uncrewed maritime vehicles/systems a plus.
  2. 5+ years of Hardware/Software, Systems, Low Power, Hardened Electronics, or other relevant domain experience with a consistent, successful track record of releasing systems into the marketplace with rapid release deadlines.
  3. Experience with US Department of Defense (DoD) development or acquisition programs is a plus.
  4. Experience with maritime sensor integrations, solution development, and mission/CONOPs development/planning. Experience with acoustic, EO/IR and/or RF systems is a plus.
  5. Well demonstrated and validated leadership abilities. Technically credible with a proven ability to grasp new concepts and disciplines quickly.
  6. Demonstrated ability to design to cost, scheduling, planning and a strong orientation toward reliable and quality deliverables; knows the scope of testing required to harden a commercial grade product for customer shipment.
  7. A track record for building and managing strong engineering teams characterized by high productivity, excellent morale and low turnover in complex, rapidly evolving environments.
  8. Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or Science required, MS or PHD preferred.
  9. Excellent written and oral communication skills, including technical proposals and presentations.
  10. Teamwork attitude, a cooperative style and the ability to provide leadership and mentoring.
  11. Must be able to secure and hold a US security clearance.
  12. United States Person or Permanent Residency status Required.

Liquid Robotics designs and manufactures Wave Gliders®, the world’s first wave and solar powered autonomous ocean robots. With partners, they address challenges facing defense, Oil & Gas, commercial and science customers by making ocean data collections and communications easier safer and in real-time. Liquid Robotics was acquired by Boeing in December of 2016 and operates as an independent non-integrated subsidiary.

For more info, please visit http://www.liquid-robotics.com

Liquid Robotics is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). Qualified applicants are considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.