Program Manager -- Adaptive Optics Focus

Adaptive Optics Associates, Inc., a wholly-owned Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) subsidary, is currently seeking a Program Manager – Adaptive Optics Focus) in support of its Xinetics Business Area.

AOA Xinetics designs, develops, and manufactures precision, advanced optical products and systems such as deformable mirrors, adaptive optics control systems and silicon carbide optical structures for the U.S. Government, commercial customers, and U.S. defense prime and second-tier contractors. Markets for these technologies include civilian astronomy and defense ISR and Directed Energy. Several potential direct and adjacent application areas exist also. The Company has substantial growth opportunities in support of many U.S. Government and NGAS business initiatives.

The Program Manager – Adaptive Optics will be responsible for the program execution of adaptive optics with regards to cost, schedule and technical issues. He / she will work with a team of AO scientists, engineers, and technicians developing the next generation of AO systems for astronomy, surveillance directed energy and industrial applications, including components such as real-time control, deformable mirrors, wavefront sensors, and overall system design, analysis, and mission operations.

The Program Manager will report directly to the AOA Xinetics Business Area Manager. This position provides a broad, exciting leadership opportunity in a high-growth, strategically important businesses for NGAS. We are looking for a successful thought leader with exceptional people skills, one who is valued by customers and employees alike. Our ideal candidate has developed teams, can influence and motivate them to perform at higher levels, has excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills; must be highly influential in conversation and have a record of collaborative approach with peers/peer organizations. Specifically, the details of the position are the following:

Direct Responsibilities:

  • Directs all phases of programs from inception through completion.
  • Responsible for the cost, schedule and technical performance of company programs or subsystems of major programs.
  • Acts as primary customer contact for program activities, leading program review sessions with customer to discuss cost, schedule, and technical performance.
  • Effectively communicate progress to customers, senior leadership and companywide audiences.
  • Participates in the negotiation of contract and contract changes.
  • Establishes design concepts, criteria and engineering efforts for product research, development, integration and test.
  • Establishes milestones and monitors adherence to master plans and schedules
  • Identifies program problems and obtains solutions, such as allocation of resources or changing contractual specifications.
  • Establishes and manages program risks and opportunities.
  • Coordinates the preparation of proposals, business plans, proposal work statements and specifications, operating budgets and financial terms/conditions of contract.
  • Develops new business or expands the product line with the customer.
  • Directs the work of employees assigned to the program from technical, manufacturing and administrative areas.
  • Will be required to write technical and cost proposals, estimate and track project costs, create project schedules, order and track project materials, and make presentations to customers and company management.
  • Will help conceptualize new products and work with project engineers, Purchasing, Contracts, and Cost Estimating personnel in project execution.
  • Assist in developing strategic plans and roadmaps, identifying required new capabilities, providing feedback on products, industry trends and customer needs, and fostering partnerships and teaming with key players to support successful proposal bids. Support Business Areas in the development of capture plans; win strategies and Price-to-Win approaches.
  • Works closely with AOA Xinetics leadership and compliance functions to ensure full compliance with Division, Corporate, and Government policies.

Working Environment & Physical Demands:

  • Position is located in the AOA Devens, MA facility
  • Travel to customer (military, industry) facilities and offices with limited international travel
  • Travel multiple times per year
  • Ability to sit for extended periods of times and light physical effort required.

Required Qualifications:

  • An advanced engineering or science degree in a technical field such as controls, optics, or structures, or equivalent experience
  • >10 years post-degree experience managing program efforts for complex optical systems
  • Leadership skills to develop, organize and execute significant development activities, including building internal/external teams, assessing risks and opportunities, and executing internal research and development programs to shape business product strategy, in order to respond to and win business with new and existing customers.
  • Clear, concise oral and written communication skills
  • Good working knowledge of desktop/laptop computers, MSOffice tools, VPN, MSProject
  • Superior analytical and problem-solving skills, the ability to gain internal support, operate independently with limited supervision and feedback, and the ability to establish a solid working relationship with technical staff, division managers, and peers in the business areas
  • Impeccable ethics; fosters ethical behavior at all times
  • Maintains a positive and professional working environment
  • Able to support new business activities as required

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with active and adaptive optics
  • Familiarity with wavefront sensing and control systems
  • Clear understanding of the global state of AO capabilities
  • An MBA degree
  • An active Secret clearance

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 75,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Northrop Grumman is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce regardless of age. U.S. Citizenship is required for most positions.


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