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Director of Electrical Engineering

Electrical 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.

As Director of Electrical Engineering, you will oversee the practice of Electrical Engineering at First Mode. You will be responsible for development and deployment of EE principles and processes, for training and mentorship of EE staff, and for monitoring the work output of EE product-development teams to ensure guidelines are understood and appropriately followed. You will also support recruiting of Electrical Engineers and may be asked to assist in personnel management.

Position Responsibilities

  • Reports to the Head of Technical Growth and is a member of the Engineering Leadership Team
  • Build and maintain your discipline's best practices through the development of company processes, tools, templates, reference designs, standards, etc.
    • Manage the development of principles and practices within the discipline, coordinating with key product and program Stakeholders and other discipline leads to review and implement
  • Monitor the adoption and impact of discipline guidelines to verify they have been interpreted correctly, are effective in reducing risk, and do not overly burden development efforts
    • Communicate regularly with practitioners and product and program leadership about executed and planned work, providing timely feedback on concerns and specific recommendations
    • Participate as a discipline expert in Design and Peer Reviews, advising management when you think excessive or unnecessary risks are being taken
  • Ensure good practice within your discipline through training and mentorship
    • Oversee technical onboarding of new hires in your discipline and make yourself available to answer questions and offer guidance to practitioners
  • Serve as a technical resource for the company
    • Support Project Leads in the scoping of work and generation of Project Plans; contribute to broader discussions of product and program lifecycles, review processes, and risk posture
    • Provide subject-matter expertise wherever needed
  • Although not its primary responsibility, this role may be asked to assist in workforce planning and personnel management in the following ways:
    • Help identify skill gaps and personnel needs within the Electrical Engineering department, and participate in interviewing and hiring of (typically senior) staff; provide feedback on the capability and performance of existing members of the department
    • When necessary, act as an Engineering Manager within the department, meeting with members regularly to ensure they have the support they need and are given assignments that set them up for success and allow them to develop in their careers

Basic Qualifications

  • 10+ years of experience in all phases of EE project/product development lifecycle
  • 7+ years of experience leading technical teams in the practice of Electrical Engineering
  • Strong background in circuit theory and two or more EE disciplines (e.g., signal processing, control systems, high-voltage substations, power systems modeling, earthing design, energy storage, microelectronics, RF and communications)
  • Leadership experience desired:
    • Experience guiding teams through all phases of a product lifecycle including preliminary and detailed design, prototyping, verification/test, production, and operation/support
    • Experience mentoring junior to mid-level engineers and growing technical leaders
    • Experience reviewing the technical work of colleagues in a formal approval role (e.g., as a Review Board member or recognized Subject Matter Expert)
    • Experience developing company-wide / cross-program guidelines, best practices, or standards and overseeing their adoption and use
  • Technical proficiency desired:
    • Schematic capture and PCB layout software (e.g., Altium Designer)
    • Common electrical engineering design and simulation software (e.g., LTSpice, PSpice)
    • Characterization, verification, and troubleshooting of electronics in a laboratory environment

Preferred Qualifications

  • Technical background in any of the following areas would be beneficial:
    • Experience working with hydrogen fuel cells, batteries, or hybrid power systems
    • Experience in mining, oil and gas, automotive, heavy equipment, or other process-control applications
  • Additional experience preferred:
    • Other design tools relevant to skillset (e.g., MATLAB, HFSS, ADS)
    • Programming languages including C, scripting languages such as Python or Tcl, and system shell languages such as Bash
    • Software configuration management tools/methods (e.g., Git, Subversion) or EE part library management
    • Soldering iron, hot air gun, and rework techniques
    • Design for test and manufacturing (DFT/DFM)

Desired Characteristics

  • Excellent upward and downward communication, self-management, planning and organization, and attention to detail; able to write and speak clearly about technical subject matter, providing actionable recommendations and constructive feedback
  • An understanding of how to effectively balance technical risk against the need for agility; able to work well within a high-growth, collaborative team environment and adapt quickly to change
  • Able to consider a diverse range of Stakeholder perspectives, drive initiatives, and achieve consensus; focus on clear definition of requirements before selecting a solution
  • Able to motivate and engage team members; a strong desire to facilitate the success of a team through a balance of technical direction and empowerment


  • 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.