Chief Operating Officer - Technical.ly

Chief Operating Officer

Azavea |  Philadelphia, PA (temporarily remote due to Covid-19) | Other

Job Description
Perks + Benefits
Company Culture
Technical.ly Coverage
Azavea builds geospatial software and data analytics to address some of the biggest challenges facing our society and planet: climate change, energy, infrastructure, democracy, forests, and water. As a certified B Corporation, our purpose is to create state-of-the-art open source software tools and apply them for civic, social, and environmental impact. Over the past 20 years, we’ve grown from a single consultant to 50+ people that work together to help cities, federal agencies, nonprofits, philanthropies, and commercial organizations increase their impact through technology. Today, we are building software to bring transparency to the apparel supply chain, project wildfire risk, assess COVID vulnerability, measure stormwater runoff, and support urban forests.
We are seeking someone with an operational and managerial background to advance our mission through day-to-day business operations on a 6-12 month time horizon as our Chief Operating Officer (COO ), while the CEO focuses on long-term growth and increasing our global impact. This is a new role that will report to the CEO and work closely with existing executive roles that lead engineering, project management, and business development functions at Azavea. With the support of your executive colleagues, you will provide leadership, coaching, and direction to the Engineering, Finance & Administration, Human Resources, UX Design, and Project Management teams, and ensure alignment with activities that have both a near-term and long-term scope.

Goals of this role

    • Work with the CEO in setting organizational vision and driving operational strategy that aligns with Azavea’s heritage of mission-driven work aimed at innovation and social impact.
    • Oversee company operations by translating our strategy into relevant goals and practices for performance and growth.
    • Evaluate current functions and processes and manage implementation of improvements.
    • Build an inclusive culture that ensures team members grow and diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives are met.
    • Lead, manage, and hold the executive team accountable for achieving agreed- upon quarterly and annual goals.
    • Support recruiting, onboarding, professional development, performance management, and retention of executive leadership.

Daily and monthly responsibilities

    • Oversee and integrate major business functions, including Engineering, UX Design, Finance & Administration, Human Resources, and Project Management.
    • Coach and mentor members of the executive team.
    • Analyze internal operations and identify areas for process improvement.
    • Manage for the current year business plan and P&L results.
    • Monitor key performance metrics (for example, contract backlog, utilization rates, employee engagement, revenue, and net operating profit) and establish corrective measures and new metrics when necessary.
    • Meet with colleagues across organizational levels to support effective communication and the company’s innovation and social impact culture.
    • Prepare, support, and help individual contributors and teams with carrying out organizational change.
    • Identify and resolve issues that cross business units with clarity and pragmatism.
    • Develop near-term business strategies and plans that ensure integration with short-term and long-term goals developed in tandem with the CEO.
    • Guide the organization’s annual strategic planning process, including collaborating to develop objectives, metrics, and timelines, as well as monitoring progress.
    • Ensure communication and alignment of company activities with mission and values.

Skills and qualifications

    • Most recently held a senior role in a technology, software, or technology-enabled services organization of more than 50 people and have experience in one or more senior operational or managerial roles.
    • Experience leading, integrating, and managing multiple operating functions of an organization, such as Engineering, Finance, People Operations, and Project Management.
    • Demonstrate clear understanding of and alignment with organizational mission and values.
    • Proven track record of developing and articulating multiple ways to address a challenge or a decision; employing creative problem solving; and building a team for advice and input.
    • Ability to digest complex ideas, summarize and communicate them in simple, clear terms, and then identify areas for improvement and tactics for advancing the status quo.
    • Maintain an execution mind-set and have a bias toward pragmatic action.
    • Relentlessly resourceful and able to make things happen in the face of significant challenges.
    • Have experience mentoring and coaching other managers or senior leaders.
    • Understand that personal success is an outcome of company success, not the other way around.
    • Have a good understanding of basic financial documents such as P&L, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and a range of forecasts and projections.
    • Are comfortable working through conflict to bring parties together to a solution.
    • Demonstrate a solid grasp of data analysis and performance metrics.

Additional experience that may be valuable

    • Experience with professional services organizations focused on software or data engineering.
    • Experience in organizations that fund growth through grants and cash flow, rather than investor capital.
    • Interest in geography or geospatial technology.
    • Interest and passion for work that is aimed at some of the world’s biggest problems.

Reasons to join us

    • Help build a mission-driven company that is a leader in the use of technology for positive impact.
    • Shape an established organization for the next generation of growth and leadership.
    • Contribute to an open knowledge ecosystem through open source, open data, and open standards.
    • Lead and work with a group of people that are among the kindest, most thoughtful, and most capable people in the software world.
What You Can Expect
During the COVID pandemic, we are all working remotely, but our Philadelphia headquarters is located in a brightly lit office on the 5th floor of a converted factory building in the Callowhill neighborhood, a short walk from Center City, the Reading Terminal Market, and SEPTA subway and regional rail stations. For bicyclists, we have in-house bike parking, showers, and lockers. The office itself is assembled as an open office plan with several smaller rooms for team meetings and concentration time. We have flex-time to deal with personal stuff, and most people work a 40 – 45 hour week on a regular schedule. After the first six months, our staff can also spend up to 10% of their time on an open source, professional development, or R&D project. Recent 10% time projects include experiments with machine learning, new libraries, product development, and data science techniques.
We offer a salary commensurate with skills and experience and a benefits package that includes:
– Fully subsidized health care, dental care, prescription plan, including for spouse/partner and children
– Fully subsidized life and long-term disability insurance, plus voluntary short-term disability insurance
– Medical reimbursement plan to cover what the health insurance does not
– 401(k) retirement plan with company match
– Almost 4 weeks paid vacation plus additional paid sick/personal time off
– Family and medical leave
– Flexible work schedule
– Paid maternity and paternity leave
– Child care subsidy
– Paid time off for voting and volunteering
– Education assistance plan
– Student loan assistance
– Public transit and biking reimbursement plans
– Monthly guest lectures with lunches on the company
– 10% time for research or learning projects
– Profit-sharing bonus plan
– Financial transparency through an open book policy
– Kind, capable and thoughtful colleagues
We welcome qualified candidates from all walks of life and value diversity in our company. We prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, veteran status, military service, disability unrelated to job requirements, marital status, or domestic partner status.
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Health & Wellness Benefits
  • Dental
  • Disability Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Onsite Gym
  • Vision
Other
  • Game Room
  • Remote Work
  • Work from Home
Parental Benefits
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Flexible Work Schedule
  • Generous Parental Leave
  • Mother Rooms
Perks & Discounts
  • Casual Dress
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Special Discounts
Professional Development
  • Online Trainings
  • Tuition Reimbursement
Retirement & Stock Options Benefits
  • 401K
Vacation & Time Off Benefits
  • Generous PTO
  • Paid Holidays
  • Paid Sick Days

How can a prospective hire impress Azavea?

A prospective hire can impress Azavea by contributing to its open source projects like Raster Foundry, OpenTreeMap and GeoTrellis that are available on Github, along with code for many other software solutions. Or reach out to Azavea with a question or comment on one of their technical blog posts.

Why are open source contributions important to Azavea?

Open source tools are key components in all of Azavea’s projects, and employees have made substantial contributions to the ecosystems around open data, geospatial data processing and operations tooling.

What are a few examples of Azavea's open source contributions?

In other cases, Azavea has open sourced entire products:

  • OpenTreeMap: A collaborative platform for crowdsourced tree inventories.
  • Raster Foundry: A platform that aids in combing and analyzing earth imagery at any scale.

How does Azavea invest in Philadelphia’s communities?

Azavea supports the local community, and not only in donations. The company offers the office as a space for local events, meetings and hackathons. Employees receive paid time off to vote and volunteer, and many participate in mentoring young people through programs like Girl Develop It’s Summer of Open Source and Azavea's own Summer of Maps and Software Engineering Open Source Fellowship programs.

How does Azavea promote learning?

From an official tuition reimbursement benefit to a monthly speaker-led Brown Bag Lunch, Azavea encourages employees to learn and try new things. New employees choose 5 books to add to their personal library and are welcome to request more for the company’s library, which is located in a cozy lounge next to the kitchen. The company encourages employees to use 10 percent of their time for learning and research on a project or topic that really interests them. Past research projects have included: user experience design experiments with Google Glass; application of the OpenCV computer vision framework to recognize trees in Google Street View; better PostGIS import tools; Emacs integration with Django; and an exploration of machine learning algorithms for space-time risk forecasting. While not all of these projects result in measurable commercial success, they are an important part of the culture at Azavea and result in many long-term positive consequences. Azavea's open source work began as part of a 10 percent time research project.

What does Azavea's B Corporation status mean?

Certified B Corporations meet rigorous benchmarks for social and environmental accountability and transparency. In addition to giving back through donations and volunteering, contributing to open source projects and communities, and choosing customers with the potential for positive civic, social and environmental impact, being a B Corp is part of every-day operations. Azavea employees recycle, compost, track greenhouse gas emissions for work-related travel, and heavily utilize the company’s public transit and bicycle commuting benefits. Staying aware of environmental impact encourages employees to make responsible choices.

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