Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) – Executive Director

The Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) is seeking a creative and entrepreneurial Executive Director to lead a collaborative effort to fulfill the mission and goals of the Integrated Ocean Observing System in Alaska and chart a path for a sustainable future. AOOS ( is one of 11 national ocean observing collaborations (“Regional Associations”) established under the US Integrated Ocean Observing Systems (U.S. IOOS®) and operating with primary support through a cooperative agreement with NOAA’s IOOS Office. The AOOS collaborative organization provides sustained and coordinated measurements, model nowcasts and forecasts, integrated products, and facilitated networks to inform decisions about our regional ocean and coast.

The mission of AOOS is to work collaboratively with partners to identify and fill gaps in ocean and coastal information and provide accurate and reliable data, tools, and services for stakeholder decision making and to serve critical and expanding societal needs, including:

  • Improve predictions of climate change and weather, and their effects on coastal communities and the nation;
  • Improve the safety and efficiency of maritime operations;
  • More effectively mitigate the effects of natural hazards;
  • Support national and homeland security;
  • Reduce public health risks;
  • More effectively protect and restore healthy coastal ecosystems; and
  • Enable the sustained use of ocean and coastal resources.

Position OverviewThe Executive Director is responsible for fulfilling the AOOS mission and providing the leadership, stewardship of funding received, and the management of the organization according to the strategic direction set by the Board of Directors and a 5-year Strategic Operations Plan. The Executive Director reports to the AOOS Board of Directors and its Executive Committee and provides leadership and management to a staff of five professionals located in Anchorage, Alaska. Funding for the position is dependent on individual performance and annual approval of a federal budget for Regional Associations within the U.S. IOOS. The Executive Director will be appointed initially to a two-year term. With satisfactory performance and continued funding of AOOS, the appointment can be renewed for additional three-year terms.The Alaska SeaLife Center (located in Seward, Alaska) serves as the fiscal sponsor of AOOS, although that function may be transferred once AOOS receives its own 501-c3 status and provides its own grant management and human resource functions. Until then, the Director is a contract employee of ASLC. Annual reviews are conducted by the AOOS Executive Committee. Salary will be commensurate with experience. AOOS offers a generous benefits package.


Primary Duties and Responsibilities

Organization Mission and Strategy

  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors to develop a vision and strategic plan that guides the organization.
  • Provide leadership to develop program, organizational, and financial plans with the Board of Directors, Committees, and staff.
  • Identify, assess, and inform the Board of internal and external issues that affect the organization.

Leadership and management

  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, integrity, and transparency.
  • Work with the AOOS Board and Executive Committee to support strategic and financial decisions.
  • Provide organizational leadership to expand operational capacity and capabilities.

Fundraising and development

  • Strategically advance and expand sustainable programmatic funding.
  • Facilitate expansion of member collaboration opportunities.
  • Deploy leadership skills to engage public and private entities as financial partners in AOOS development and operations.

Partnerships and communications

  • Deepen existing partnerships and cultivate new partnerships with state and federaldecision-makers, the scientific community, and maritime stakeholders. o Support efforts to expand funding for partnership programs.

More specific duties and responsibilities are detailed in the Attachment: Specific Duties and Responsibilities.


The successful applicant must have proven leadership and management experience including:

  • An advanced degree in an ocean related discipline or business / institutional administration and at least five years of management experience. An advanced degree can be substituted by at least 10 years of relevant leadership and management experience.
  • A successful track record of leading an outcomes-based program or organization, with specific examples of operationalized strategies that have led to progressive organizational / program development.
  • Demonstrated excellence in program or organization management with the ability to mentor staff, manage, and develop high performance teams and manage a complex multi-million- dollar budget.
  • Marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders, partners, and cultures.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator; and documented interpersonal skills.
  • Familiarity with Alaska and federal, state, local government, and tribal ocean management and policy.
  • The ability to take adaptable and innovative approaches to partnership and funder development.Desired skills, knowledge and abilities
    • Sufficient understanding of ocean observing technologies, infrastructure, systems, and data management.
    • Flexibility to travel and represent AOOS at state, regional, national, and international meetings. 2
  • Experience with, and understanding of, Integrated Ocean Observing Systems and the governance, technical, and operational roles and goals of the Regional Associations.
  • Experience developing creative approaches, tools, and data services for using scientifically motivated ocean-observing measurements in the service of management.
  • Functioning effectively with an elected governing program body.Application ProcessInterested individuals should submit an application package no later than 5 pm ADT September 4, 2020 consisting of:
  • 1) cover letter
    2) two-page (maximum) statement of qualifications
    3) resume or CV and
    4) at least 3 references who can speak to the applicant’s qualifications for this positionSubmit your application package by e-mail to (preferred) or by mail to ASLC Human Resources
    P.O. Box 1329
    Seward, AK 99664Address your cover letter to: ASLC Human ResourcesAOOS is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. AOOS considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or covered veteran status in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

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