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Director of Process Engineering

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 Process Engineering, you will oversee the practice of Process Engineering at First Mode. You will be responsible for development and deployment of process-engineering requirements and guidelines, for training and mentorship of department staff, and for monitoring the work output of Process Engineers from feasibility through decommissioning of First Mode products to ensure guidelines are understood and appropriately followed. You will also support recruiting of Process 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
  • This role may also be asked to assist in workforce planning and personnel management in the following ways:
    • Help identify skill gaps and personnel needs within the Process 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

  • Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree in Chemical, Mechanical, or related engineering discipline
  • 10+ years of process-related experience in all phases of project/product development
  • 7+ years of experience leading technical teams in the practice of Process or Chemical Engineering
  • Leadership experience desired:
    • Experience guiding teams through all phases of a product lifecycle including conceptualization, prototyping, detailed specification, verification/test, production, and operations/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:
    • Strong background in architecting, designing, and optimizing liquid or gaseous transfer or management systems for stationary or mobile applications; experience performing heat and mass transfer, phase behavior, hydraulic, chemical, and other types of process analysis
    • Experience developing system requirements and subsystem specifications; verification and validation of hardware; deployment, operation, monitoring, and troubleshooting of processes and process-control equipment
    • Experience conducting hazard analyses (e.g., PHA, HAZOP, LOPA), establishing safety procedures, and ensuring compliance with safety, emissions, and other applicable regulations

Preferred Qualifications

  • Additional leadership experience and technical background preferred:
    • Experience managing geographically distributed teams and individuals from a wide range of technical backgrounds would be valuable
    • Experience with cryogenic fluids and/or hydrogen gas transfer are strongly desired
    • Experience with heat exchangers and other thermal-management equipment
    • Familiarity with chemical process simulation software (HYSYS / UniSim)
    • Familiarity with GT Suite for thermal and fluid modeling
    • Prior work history in Oil and Gas, with industrial-gas suppliers, or other applied thermal fluid systems would be beneficial
    • Familiarity with codes and standards common to industrial and automotive gas processes
    • General programming language experience such as Python could be useful
    • Experience developing process design bases and control narratives

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.