Associate Director, Project Management and Integration

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Archive Date: 
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
SOFIA / Universities Space Research Association
Mountain View
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is a NASA program to understand our Cosmic Origins by studying the formation and evolution of planets, stars and galaxies, planets in our solar system, and extreme cosmic environments. It is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations in the Far-Infrared that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. SOFIA is an 80/20 joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), with USRA the organization selected by NASA to manage the SOFIA Science Mission Operations.

Position Summary: 

The Associate Director of Project Management and Integration will be reporting to the SMO Director and responsible for the USRA/SOFIA program deliverables and performance at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC), in coordination with the SOFIA senior leadership team. S/he works closely with the SMO Director and the rest of leadership team to maintain the appropriate level of coordination and interfaces with USRA, NASA, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the Deutsches SOFIA Institute (DSI). This is a senior management leadership position.

S/he oversees and manages day-to-day activities of SMO including  resource planning, scheduling and execution for the various technical tasks so that work and deliverables are properly integrated and coordinated across the SMO, and with NASA/ARC and AFRC.  Ensures adhering to USRA and NASA policy and procedures for successful implementation of the project.  In collaboration with the SMO leadership team, prepares project execution plan and identifies technical and business resources needs. Maintains cognizance of status of tasks and budgets, manages schedules, tracks progress of deliverables and prepares status reports for delivery to NASA sponsor. Identifies issues and concerns, assesses potential risks  and develops resolutions to meet productivity, quality, and client-satisfaction goals and objectives. Provides technical and analytical advice to the Director and the SMO leadership team.

S/he will be responsible for project oversight tasks such as business administration, IT support, mission safety and assurance, engineering processes, contract compliance and deliverables and operations management. Will manage the staff and activities for the Mission Safety and Assurance function. In coordination with the Director and the SMO leadership team establishes budgets, optimizes the organization operations to maximize the science output through organizational efficiencies and by bringing innovative approaches. 

The incumbent is supported by a USRA Integrated Program Team (IPT) of experts consisting of budget and finance, contracts and grants and human resources. S/he is expected to provide, from time to time, programmatic support to other USRA programs. 

Essential Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Oversight for overall performance of the SOFIA SMO contract – technical, cost, schedule, risk, and discrepancy reporting and compliance with NASA and USRA corporate policies and procedures.
  • Ensures all SOFIA SMO responses are consistent with policies and good practices. 
  • Responsible for the CPARS: oversee self-assessment, response, and proactively keep track of accomplishments throughout the year.
  • Promotes process improvement, and build scalable and repeatable processes that drives organizational efficiency through tools and systems.
  • Provides day-to-day oversight and management support to ensure contract deliverables are on schedule and budget. Sets up and standardizes communication channels and tools. Will manage a variety of tasks, schedules, deliverables and keeps the leadership team informed. Identifies project risks and potential solutions for their mitigation.
  • Serves as an interference, on behalf of SMO Director, with the customer to ensure the SOFIA team has clear direction, clarity and priorities. Ensures new and proposed work is vetted properly in coordination with the Integrated Project Team members. 
  • Provides day-to-day oversight and management for all safety and quality assurance tasks and activities, and responsible staff.
  • Provides day-to-day oversight and management for business and administrative personnel.
  • Provides oversight and management for observatory systems assessment and support, including efforts that cut across the functional areas of the observatory. 
  • Provides day-to-day oversight and management for performance metrics, in coordination with all responsible staff.
  • Meets financial objectives by forecasting requirements; preparing an annual budget; scheduling expenditures; analyzing variances; initiating corrective actions with the aide from IPT
  • Represent SMO Director on matters related to project management with NASA, DLR, and DSI
  • Other job related duties may be assigned based on the SOFIA needs and opportunities and challenges.

Required Qualifications: 


  • M.S. degree in System Engineering, Business Management, Program/Project Management, Information Systems and Technology Management, or a combination of B.S, degree and equivalent 12 years of experience. 

Licenses, Certifications: 

  • Project Management Institute PMP certification or equivalent required; PgMP highly desired


  • At least 10 years’ experience applying program management principles to complex, technical programs, including demonstrated supervisory experience. Experience managing Federal Government contracts highly desired.
  • Experience with multi-disciplined projects including science and engineering, software development, and business systems. 
  • Experience in collecting, analyzing and presenting project cost and schedule data to both project teams and upper management. 
  • Demonstrated experience collecting, analyzing and presenting programmatic cost, schedule, and other performance data to project teams, scientific staff, and senior management. 
  • Prior or current NASA program leadership and experience working with at least one NASA Center, highly desirable.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:  

  • Working knowledge of project scheduling tools and management
  • Understanding of Risk Identification and Mitigation management processes
  • Understanding of all program financial and business processes and metrics
  • Knowledge of NASA missions, policies, and science organizations, preferably at NASA Ames Research Center


  • Behave Ethically: Understand ethical behavior and business practices and ensure own behavior is consistent with these standards and aligns with the values of USRA
  • Build Relationships: Establish and maintain positive working relationships with others, both internally and externally, to achieve the goals of USRA. Excellent customer focus
  • Communicate Effectively: Speak, listen and write in a clear, thorough and timely manner using appropriate and effective communication tools and techniques
  • Foster Teamwork: Work cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problem, and make decisions that enhance fund raising effectiveness
  • Lead: Positively influence others to achieve results that are in the best interest of the organization.
  • Organize: Set priorities, develop a work schedule, monitor progress towards goals, and track details, data, information and activities
  • Plan: Determine strategies to move the organization forward, set goals, create and implement actions plans, and evaluate the process and results
  • Solve Problems: Assess problem situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions, and make recommendations and/or resolve the problem


  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and its applications
  • Project management software 

Working Conditions: 

This job primarily operates in a professional office environment. Some participation on the SOFIA scientific flights is expected, up to 5 times each year. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. This is largely a sedentary role.


Up to 20% travel, including supporting deployments of SOFIA to remote locations including Southern Hemisphere such as New Zealand.

Applicants should apply to the posting at USRA Careers and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita. Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Females / Protected Veterans / Disabled / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, March 1, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, March 1, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis
Talent Acquisition
Universities Space Research Association
Zip/Postal Code: 
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Ben Tanis