Propulsion Section Supervisor

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), a national leader in scientific research and development located midway between Baltimore and Washington, DC is seeking a Propulsion Section Supervisor in the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Group (A1C). The Propulsion Section contributes expertise to the research and development of advanced rocket propulsion systems applied in the area of air and missile defense. Within the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Group, you will provide critical contributions to overcome challenges of national importance in a flexible environment that supports and encourages work/life balance.

Job Summary:
Fulfill a key leadership role by managing a staff of approximately 6 engineers in a diverse, collaborative, and highly technical environment. Conduct critical technical work that supports that section's focus and also supports the overall mission, vision, and strategic plan for the A1C Group. Execute leadership responsibilities consistent with AMDS Leadership Cornerstone Areas working to continually improve your section's effectiveness.


1.Mission Effectiveness: Contribute significantly to the evolution of and implementation of an A1C Group vision, strategy, and execution (VSE) plan with the engineering activities of your section staff providing part of a foundation for that VSE. Inspire your section staff to tackle new and challenging propulsion problems and push the analysis/test envelope. Lead your staff in developing proposals for new work with our sponsors to guide the funded engineering work towards fulfilling a compelling vision.

2.Organizational Competencies: Contribute to key technical efforts in the areas of propulsion analysis and testing. Guide and oversee the technical efforts and assist in the technical growth of the section personnel. Effectively manage sponsor-assigned tasks and provide properly documented results within established deadlines. Interact and collaborate with sponsors, contractors, and APL staff as appropriate to establish/maintain relationships and to keep your section making key contributions. Develop and provide insightful and compelling briefings and written documentation of results and recommendations to sponsors and technical peers.

3. Staff Development: Actively engage and partner with section staff to assess their strengths and their limitations. Reinforce their strengths by assigning sponsored tasks that leverage those strengths. Identify areas for their future growth to overcome limitations, mutually establish an individual development plan to address those areas, identify tasking/training opportunities for growth, and provide key mentoring and coaching along the way. Communicate often with section staff regarding organizational vision and purpose. Mutually develop stretch goals with staff to move toward desired outcomes in career growth. Build and maintain a diverse, inclusive, and collaborative workforce that sustains a highly innovative and productive environment.

4.Resources: Assess your section's current/future work and then define/articulate the improved analytical and physical infrastructure necessary to efficiently carry out that work. That infrastructure may include enhancements to facilities, laboratories, computing resources, and pertinent tools. Provide critical input to the group's annual capital planning process and also to the annual Task Planning process with our direct funded sponsors to enable those enhancements to be funded and built.

5.Functional Responsibilities: Provide supervision and staff planning including monitoring technical work for accuracy and quality. Balance task loading amongst your staff and prioritize their tasks when deemed appropriate. Support the group's efforts to recruit and hire additional staff to meet sponsored demands by drafting personnel requisitions, interviewing candidates, and providing input for hiring decisions. Develop a sound working knowledge of the APL Policy Library as it applies to you and your section's staff. Implement Laboratory, Sector, and Branch policies and procedures. Develop reclassification letters, recognition awards, and the associated supportive documentation to formally recognize your staff and to promote their career development.

6.Technical Responsibilities (estimated level of effort):

  1. Apply propulsion modeling techniques to contribute to the conceptual and detailed design and development of rocket-based weapon systems. Use physics-based concept design tools to synthesize booster stack and kill vehicle concepts. Perform concept performance assessments at the weapon level, including trajectory simulation and optimization. Interface with BMDS system analysts for system level performance assessments. Lead detailed propulsion system assessments. (75%)
  2. Participate in developing new Internal Research and Development (IRAD) ideas. Pursue innovative weapon concepts through IRAD as a technical contributor. (15%)
  3. Document efforts and deliver presentations to internal project teams and sponsors. (10%)

NOTE: This job summary and listing of duties is for the purpose of describing the position and its essential functions at time of hire and may change over time.
Required Qualifications: MS in engineering, physics, or equivalent. At least 5 years of experience with the design and analysis of rocket propulsion systems. Familiarity with associated phenomenology, including fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, thermochemistry, heat transfer, and structures. Experience with Matlab programming. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Strong organization and planning skills, with record of accomplishment in a team environment. Demonstrated ability to effectively lead a team of technical staff in solving complex problems. Commitment to building diverse, inclusive, and collaborative teams. Active Secret or ability to obtain an interim Secret clearance prior to starting.

Desired Qualifications: PhD in engineering, physics, or equivalent. At least 10 years of experience with the design and analysis of solid rocket propulsion systems. Strong knowledge of associated phenomenology, including fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, thermochemistry, heat transfer, and structures. Experience with aerospace vehicle design, flight dynamics, and trajectory optimization (3/6 DOF). Experience with numerical optimization and multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) techniques. Knowledge of industrial practices and experience with the full propulsion system life cycle. Experience in engineering failure forensic investigations. Significant experience with Matlab and other programming/scripting languages. Ability to work both independently and as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Demonstrated self-starter with the ability to set direction and work successfully with little supervision. Experience with proposal writing / business development. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Demonstrated ability to mentor and develop staff, and to cultivate strong relationships across organizational boundaries. Proven track record in building a technically strong and diverse workforce and in developing future leaders that reflect that workforce. Current Secret clearance with the ability to obtain Top Secret clearance.

Special Working Conditions: Local, domestic, and international travel may be periodically required. Travel envisioned to account for less than 10% of time.

Security: Applicant selected will be subject to a government security clearance investigation and must meet the requirements for access to classified information. Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship.

Benefits: APL offers a comprehensive benefits package including a liberal vacation plan, a matching retirement program, significant educational assistance, a scholarship tuition program for staff with dependents, and competitive salaries commensurate with skills and experience. For more information about our organization, please visit our web site at

Equal Employment Opportunity: Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer that complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments Acts of 1972, as well as other applicable laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.

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