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Director of Quality

Production and Supply Chain · Seattle, Washington

First Mode is a creative engineering company solving the toughest problems on and off the planet, with the goal of having an outsized impact on the world around us. We build the barely possible.  

From our state-of-the-art manufacturing and production facilities in Seattle and Perth, we design and deliver resilient, reliable solutions for the most demanding and constrained frontiers in existence. In the last year our engineers built a 2MW hydrogen fuel cell and battery powerplant to retrofit a three-story, 300-metric-ton-capacity diesel haul truck; designed the power source and refueling system for the world’s first endurance race vehicle to be powered by liquid hydrogen; and delivered spaceflight hardware headed 370 million kilometers from Earth to asteroid 16 Psyche. 

While each project is unique, we typically meld together robotics, automation, systems engineering, modeling and simulation, and advanced fabrication to create a new future across many industries. If you have exceptional talent and a vision for the future, we want to talk. 

First Mode is seeking a leader to build the Quality Assurance group and processes. This person will build the team to execute the needs of the business, championing the first principal invention of flexible processes with stage appropriate rigor across multiple industries and product types. The group, the processes, and the tooling this person architects will deliver the production of new and novel clean energy equipment into serial production and at a cost and quality level never before seen. This person will leverage standard best practices, as well as formulating and implementing a roadmap for ideating, inventing, and adopting new technology and new quality processes both internal from design into manufacturing and external with supplier and customer interaction and navigation. The group this person builds will course-correct the planet towards a sustainable energy future.   

The Director of Quality will help create error proof near lights out factories in Seattle that will scale to a distributed global network of in-house factories and supplier factories to produce sustainable energy products. 

Position Responsibilities

  • Understanding of first principles behind typical QA standards such as AS9100, AS9145 and IATF 16949 with a creative mindset to define an elastic internal process that right sizes to business needs 
  • Create First Modes policies, procedures and standards that are specifically relevant to the respective program and functional organizations 
  • Drive advanced product quality planning (APQP) throughout the product lifecycle both in-house, at supply chain and at customer locations 
  • Mentor and lead through influence cross functional teams through Design for Excellence (Design for Quality, Design for Test, Design for Service) 
  • Guide the product development lifecycle from early-stage ambiguity into serial production utilizing a solution-based approach including tools such as (but not limited to) DFMEA, PFMEA, DVP&R with appropriate first principal thinking and bias for action 
  • Manage products and teams from Qualification/PPAP to Acceptance test and line side statistical process control and control plans at points closet to source of quality 
  • Experience working with internal teams to develop QMS/ERP systems from the ground up 
  • Responsible for successfully leading and developing a team of high caliber quality professionals including Supplier Quality Assurance managers and In House Quality Associates 
  • Application and mentoring of team though anomaly root cause analysis, using 5 Why, 8 Disciplines, lean/six sigma and other applicable methods  
  • The Director of Quality will have the authority to stop build/stop ship of non-conforming products and will act as an escalation path for all team members as relates to off nominal quality events

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum of 10 years of prior related experience or equivalent 
  • Quality assurance background/experience 
  • 5+ years of experience within operations, supply chain or quality 
  • 3+ years of experience in successfully managing a quality assurance team

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience supervising, coaching and developing staff 
  • Experience in early-stage often ambiguous product and production systems 
  • Experience with quality assurance methods related to assembly of heavy equipment, power electronics, or at startups such EV passenger car or delivery vehicle supplier and manufacturing quality systems 
  • Enthusiasm for building the process while executing the process 
  • Ability to write and speak clearly about technical subject matter 
  • Flexibility and responsiveness in a fast-paced, dynamic, small team environment

Additional Requirements

  • Must be willing to travel within the United States and internationally to represent First Mode to its customers, vendors and partners (up to 30%)


  • This position will be located at First Mode’s headquarters in Seattle, WA and will be required to work in office >60% of working hours


  • To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State. Learn more about the ITAR here. 

Benefits & Perks

  • Competitive compensation and bonus structure
  • 100% employer-paid health insurance (medical, dental, vision)
  • Flexible PTO with 12 week supplementary paid parental leave
  • 401(k) retirement account with a discretionary employer match
  • Commuter benefits (parking and public transportation)
  • A culture that encourages professional growth with learning and development reimbursements
  • Open and collaborative workspaces with free office snacks and lunches
  • Hybrid work model


First Mode is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with First Mode is governed on the basis of merit, competence, and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.