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Systems Engineering Manager

Systems Engineering · Seattle, Washington

First Mode is a carbon reduction company developing creative, clean energy solutions for heavy industry’s toughest problems.

We hope you’ll join us in building a brighter future for people and planet.

Our Systems Engineering Manager provides a support structure to enable First Mode's engineering staff to do their best work.  They advocate for members of the engineering staff, representing their interests to balance against the needs of the product or program where they work. You may be an experienced people manager, or an engineer who has gravitated towards enabling your teammates.  Either way, you’ve spent some time working as an engineer, but want to make supporting and advocating for people the focus of your next role. 

The focus of this role is very much on the people and organization, not a product or technical work. Your measure of success will be in the success of the people on your team, and the growth of the organization to meet First Mode’s engineering needs. You need to have enough technical experience to understand and talk about what people are working on, but deep expertise is not required…though it would a bonus, of course!

Part of your focus will be on people management – support, career development planning, and soft-skills mentoring of the people in your group. It will also mean helping to mentor and grow our engineers who are growing into leadership and people-care positions, many for the first time. Another major component will be planning and driving the growth of our engineering teams – workforce planning, planning career and skills development to internally grow the skills we’ll need in the future and working with our recruiting team to identify and hire the great engineers we need meet our expected demands.

Position Responsibilities

  • Serve as a resource for Engineering staff members in your group, providing a consistent relationship as they transition through different project roles.   
  • Help advance your group members' careers by representing and advocating for them in work assignments and performance reviews 
  • Provide coaching and mentorship to group members in navigating challenges, developing soft skills, and becoming effective in the First Mode environment.  
  • Work with the Director of Systems Engineering in matching engineers to project work, meeting business needs while your team opportunities to be challenged and grow. 
  • Help grow the Systems Engineering team to meet future needs through workforce planning, interviewing, and hiring. 
  • Mentor emerging leaders and fresh people managers to help them develop their skills and capacity to effectively provide support to others.

Basic Qualifications

  • 4+ years of experience as a systems engineer
  • A demonstrated history of communicating and managing in an engineering environment, whether you had the title of “Manager” or not
  • Experience in a people management role, OR demonstrated aptitude and passion for supporting people 
  • An empathic bent, and knack for helping people talk through their problems 
  • An interest in helping others develop their interpersonal communication and conflict management skills
  • Significant experience in interviewing and hiring engineers

Preferred Qualifications

  • Leadership experience and/or people management experience  
  • Extensive experience in recruiting and interviewing process  
  • Experience defining best practices, establishing processes and tool selection within an engineering environment  
  • Experience in technical mentorship and assisting early career engineers through complex problems 
  • Experience working in a matrixed organization 
  • Experience with workforce planning for 100+ person organizations


  • 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

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.