Program Director

HARC (HOUSTON ADVANCED RESEARCH CENTER) Spring, TX Salary + Incentive Bonus Program

HARC’s mission is to provide independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers and to operate as a research hub finding solutions for a sustainable future. HARC contributes to a sustainable future in which people thrive and nature flourishes. HARC conducts its work in a collaborative, principled and agile manner.


HARC seeks a Program Director to Lead a Climate Risk Program

Department:             Research Operations

Reports to:                President

The Program Director for Climate Risk is responsible for developing this new program area, leading programmatic business development activities, managing research teams, and performing basic or applied research and policy research support in support of HARC’s mission. Work will involve a high degree of expertise, creative insight, and technical skill in assessing climate risk for the natural and built environment. Work may involve the development of new partnerships and collaborations, new methodologies and outreach tools, and will include directing a research program by performing the following duties.


ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include, but are not limited to, the following. 

Major Duties

  • Shape the content of HARC’s mission-driven climate risk research; lead program funding and grantsmanship efforts; meet strategic goals and commitments to funders and partners. 
  • Develop and manage a programmatic team; create and support a high-performance, collaborative and inclusive work environment where staff can realize professional growth and success.
  • Lead a team to plan and model climate risks along with effects of regional climate mitigation and adaptation strategies; connect high-resolution climate data and projections to regional issues, environmental stressors and critical infrastructure (e.g. ports, industry and transportation).
  • Plan, direct and perform research and investigations pertaining to climate risk, resilience and adaptation in natural and built environments with a focus on the intersections with environmental stressors and community well-being. 
  • Successfully develop and secure funding for program initiatives from philanthropic, government, and private sector sources.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with partners organizations.
  • Effectively communicate needs, plans and results to stakeholders, decision makers, media and the public.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Proposal and Business Development

  • Work with leadership to develop HARC’s mission-oriented, research programs.
  • Identify and develop new funding sources and funder relationships; write white papers and proposals for submission to funding sources.

Project Management

  • Plan and execute/manage research and technology development; manage project teams, budgets, and timely completion of project deliverables.
  • Develop collaborations with external partners and serve as a research leader in the Greater Houston region.

Internal Collaboration

  • Initiate and promote teamwork, shared learning and integrated approaches to sustainability; develop multi-disciplinary projects and team in partnership with other HARC supervisors.
  • Supervise the activities of other personnel and serve as an in-house mentor.

External Outreach and Engagement

  • Operate a well-established professional network with the ability to communicate and develop interpersonal relationships in stakeholder communities.
  • Represent HARC to external political and community leaders/staff, media contacts, partners and public audiences at conferences, meetings, and through written materials.
  • Make contributions to discipline through scientific literature and conference presentations; maintain broad knowledge of state-of-the-art principles, theories and practices in scientific discipline.


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 the essential functions.

Education and Experience

Ph.D. in atmospheric/oceanic/climate science, engineering, geography, geosciences or a related field with a minimum of 12 years of experience leading multi-disciplinary research teams and developing funded research initiatives; or an M.S. in above disciplines with a minimum of 16 years’ experience. Experience with a mix of private and public sector, project-based environments including project development, university research, consulting, or professional services is preferred.

Program Management Abilities

The ideal candidate will have a strong creative and entrepreneurial spirit and a proven ability to find new and impactful approaches, navigate obstacles, and influence others' thinking to achieve impact beyond one’s own activities. Must be able to design work flows, procedures, track progress, report progress, and discern results. Must be able to identify and resolve problems in a timely manner. Must be able to successfully identify alternatives and implement change when deemed appropriate. Must be able to assess program team’s strengths/weaknesses/opportunities and take appropriate action. Must be able to influence outside organizations that are working on similar programs, motivate subcontractors and ensure that they meet deadlines and accomplish the appropriate tasks. Also, must be able to influence industry, regulators, policy makers, others. The successful candidate should be considered a respected authority in their field. The ideal candidate will effectively balance team and individual responsibilities; work well in a collaborative environment as well as independently. Maintains confidentiality. Meets commitments on time and within budget. Able to develop strong business relationships.

Data Analysis and Computing Abilities

Experience in data analytics, visualization, statistics, modeling and other advanced computer science techniques is a plus. Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions. Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.

Communication and Writing

Strong communication skills with demonstrated experience developing technical reports, peer-review publications and proposals. Ability to communicate complex technical findings in a succinct and easy-to-understand manner using captivating language meant to engage the public. Must have demonstrable skills in problem solving and critical thinking.

Supervisory Abilities

Collegial, mission-driven team leader with well-developed interpersonal skills and experience managing teams of 5 or more through periods of change. Directly supervises employees based on program needs. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees. Delegates work assignments and gives authority to work independently. Sets expectations and monitors delegated activities. Develops subordinates' skills and encourages professional growth.

Outreach and Engagement Abilities

Strong outreach and proposal development capabilities; speaking and writing to business and donor audiences; demonstrated capability to present ideas to companies and funders. Accomplished public speaker. Ability to read, analyze, interpret and synthesize scientific and technical reports, financial reports, and legal documents. Able to handle media inquiries and engage non-technical audiences. Must have excellent verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Writes clearly and informatively.

Work Environment

Desire to work in a fast-paced, collaborative, creative environment, and ability to move across and work on several projects at once. Some travel may be involved based on project activity but no more than 20% of time. Directors have opportunity for flexible work locations based on project needs. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be computer literate in word processing, spreadsheet, internet and email software as well as project specific software.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 20 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms.

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