Principal Automation Engineer

Technical Operations San Diego, CA


About Pacira

Pacira BioSciences, Inc. is a leading provider of non-opioid pain management and regenerative health solutions dedicated to improving outcomes for health care practitioners and their patients.

Each of our 3 marketed products, both in pharmaceutical and medical device, represent cutting edge technologies for pain management.

We have 700+ employees and have averaged double digit growth year over year for the past 5 years, with $500M in revenue. We are small enough for you to make your mark, and big enough for you to learn and grow!

We have facilities in New Jersey, California and Florida. Our San Diego, CA campus is a world class manufacturing and R&D facility. We are rapidly growing and have opportunities across all of our sites and functional areas.

Why work with us?

Rarely do you have an opportunity to do work that really matters. What drives us is our mission. What makes us successful are our people.  At Pacira, you are part of an inclusive culture that fosters collaboration, growth, and innovative thinking - a place where you can make an impact and help change the standard of care in non-opioid pain management. Be part of our movement, let’s pursue excellence together.


The purpose of this position is to support all aspects of the automation department. The Principle Automation Engineer will oversee the planning and execution of automation and controls projects from concept to final closeout in support of site objectives. This position assumes responsibility as the technical owner of various automation and manufacturing systems and applies available resources to manage them. The Principal Automation Engineer demonstrates strong skills in developing, troubleshooting, and maintaining PLCs and HMI systems in a regulated pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. This position also requires experience managing change controls and design documentation in a GMP environment. 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Manage or provide leadership to all phases of automation engineering projects from concept, design, and initial specifications through completion and turnover.
  • Provide financial input for automation projects and budgeting to the department head.
  • Support capital projects as the automation engineering SME as needed for Automation Standards (review and approvals).
  • Provide guidance to other automation engineers and contractors.
  • Deliver initiatives that provide for the overall goals of the company and Engineering Department with regard to automation equipment design, standardization, and compliance.
  • Engineer and manage automation and control system/equipment improvement, optimization, expansion, and upgrade projects to meet site objectives.
  • Provide technical assistance to site operating groups through investigations, automation and control system assessments, and design support.
  • Assist in the preparation, approval, and execution of the Validation Qualification protocols related to automation and control systems.
  • Help to troubleshoot and diagnose automation and control system complex problems, working closely with Instrumentation technicians and maintenance personnel.
  • Develop and update User Requirement Specifications, Functional Specifications, Design Specifications, and Operation and Maintenance Manuals for new and existing automation and control systems.
  • Work closely with IT groups as a cross-functional team member to meet automation project objectives.
  • Apply cGMP principles within the workplace. Incorporate cGMP and regulatory compliance into all assigned project scopes, design, and construction activities.


Supervisory Responsibilities

May have supervisory responsibility.


The Principal Automation Engineer works closely with all functional areas and with the commercial team.

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Electrical/Controls, or Mechanical Engineering Degree (BSCE, BSIT, BSEE, or BSME) from an accredited college or university.
  • Minimum 10 years of hands-on experience with process controls equipment including PLCs, HMIs, SCADA systems, SQL relational database systems, and Networking including design and debugging skills.
  • Minimum 8 years of experience in the pharmaceutical environment including regulatory requirements associated with 21 CFR Part 11 and supporting the validation of control system equipment.
  • Extensive cross-functional team experience, including technical and non-technical work.
  • Recognized as a technical expert by peers and other personnel within the business unit.
  • Successful track record of managing wide-ranging activities within the business unit. Demonstrates independent project management skills to successfully deliver automation projects to completion.



To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Proven ability to lead and manage cross-functional teams and projects.
  • Possesses a high level of technical expertise on a specific process control system and its connections to facility equipment, production equipment, instrumentation, manufacturing systems, loop controllers, HVAC controls, and related electrical/electronic equipment and devices.
  • This position requires a high degree of analytical skills to provide automated solutions to improve processes and integrate new equipment to meet company and project objectives.
  • Familiar with AutoCAD, Allen Bradley PLC programming software, WonderWare software, and various types of PLC and PC-based software: DOS and Windows-based.
  • Ability to organize and present technical and project management overviews without assistance.
  • Technically independent and maintains state-of-the-art technical abilities. Display initiative and commitment. Able to make independent contributions to the development of new methodologies or new technologies for automation control systems. These activities are done under limited supervision.  

Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit, talk, move between spaces, reach with hands and arms and stoop.  Close vision and the need to focus on a computer screen, use of hands, fingers, and wrist to type on a keyboard and manipulate a mouse.  Will need to lift and move items weighing up to 40 pounds.  

Work Environment

The work setting is consistent with a typical pharmaceutical manufacturing environment with production areas, offices, and cubicles. 


  • Medical, Prescription, Dental, Vision Coverage
  • Flexible Spending Account & Health Savings Account with Company match
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Disability Coverage
  • Life insurance
  • Critical Illness and Accident Insurance
  • Legal and Identity Theft Protection
  • Pet Insurance
  • Fertility and Maternity Assistance
  • 401(k) with company match
  • Flexible Time Off (FTO) and 11 paid holidays
  • Paid Parental Leave


The base pay range for this role in California is $112,000 per year to $154,000 per year. 

The range is what we reasonably expect to pay for this role. The range considers a wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions, including but not limited to: geographic markets, business or organizational needs, skill sets, experience, training, licensure, and certifications.

EEO Statement: Pacira is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against applicants because of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), veteran status, disability or genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state, or local law. At Pacira we are committed to intentionally cultivating a culture of inclusion where all feel welcomed and valued for their background, perspectives, and experiences. We hold one another accountable to promote trust and transparency in support of our communities and collective purpose.
Agency Disclaimer: Pacira Biosciences, Inc. (Hereafter, Pacira) does not accept unsolicited resumes from recruiters or employment agencies in response to the Pacira Careers page or a Pacira social media post. Pacira will not consider or agree to payment of any referral compensation or recruiter fee relating to unsolicited resumes. Pacira explicitly reserves the right to hire said candidate(s) without any financial obligation to the recruiter or agency. Any unsolicited resumes, including those submitted to hiring managers, are deemed to be the property of Pacira.