Program Manager, Maritime Domain Awareness



Alameda, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, July 9, 2024

About Us

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, protect, and preserve our world. We provide real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and use proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence. Our fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate without the need for a crewed support vessel.

Saildrone works with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing into the eye of a category 4 hurricane to obtain new data about how storms intensify, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, and counting fish biomass to inform sustainable fishery management, to mapping the ocean floor and reducing illegal fishing and drug trafficking. As a result of our work, we have been included on TIME's List of the 100 Most Influential Companies in 2024, Fast Company’s list of the "World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022," and earned the Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, presented by the Blue Marine Foundation. Saildrone's hurricane mission was included as one of The New York Times' "Top 21 Things that happened (for the first time) in 2021" and Popular Science's "100 Greatest Innovations of 2021," and entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for recording the "highest windspeed recorded by a USV."

We are based in Alameda, CA, with offices in Washington DC and St. Petersburg, FL, and operate our missions worldwide. Saildrone is backed by top-tier investors in the frontier tech and sustainability sectors, including Social Capital, Capricorn, Lux Capital, BOND Capital, and Emerson Collective.

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary team that delivers high impact for humanity and future generations.

The Role

The Program Manager of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is responsible for the execution of mission success and overall customer satisfaction, reporting directly to the Sr PGM-MDA. Saildrone's MDA business unit supports customers requiring intelligence, surveillance, & reconnaissance (ISR), force protection, maritime safety, and ecosystem monitoring. These customers generally expand across government agencies and private enterprise companies. PGM for MDA will work closely with the Ops PM for internal operations to coordinate across all Saildrone business and internal manufacturing and readiness teams. They will translate, integrate, and deconflict priorities from the end customer back to Saildrone to enable efficient and effective mission execution. The right candidate will have had proven success in delivering programs with government operational context and familiarity with government contracting, requirements development, and operations. Travel will be required to support customer engagements domestically and internationally.


  • Overall responsibility to plan and execute contracted mission success, meeting all customer expectations, understanding their needs, vision, and program goals
  • Authorized to manage end-to-end execution of booked missions
  • Work directly with account & business devop managers during new customer inquiries and feasibility studies
  • Performance evaluation will be based on mission success, customer satisfaction, and mission cost metrics
  • Cultivate trust with customers at the operational program ranks
  • Coordinate across Saildrone all planning aspects of mission, involving necessary teams (ASQ, Vehicle Operations, Product, & Manufacturing)
  • Drive schedule attainment and mission costs
  • Identify resource requirements and allocations to support mission needs and/or required analysis capabilities of sensor data
  • Single point representing the mission to the customer, at times may be embedded with customer ops centers.
  • Provide input and feedback into new sales and BD requests for feasibility & lessons learned
  • Drive issue resolution as the voice of customer (VOC), working to ensure mission success
  • Responsible to ensure all end-of-mission (EOM) debriefs are completed & scored with focus on external & internal lessons learned
  • Comfortably work in a fast-paced environment, willing to work extended hours when necessary
  • Performance metrics will be based on customer satisfaction, mission schedule attainment, data quality, and adherence to mission goals and objectives.
  • Provide daily and weekly mission status updates, elevating all emergent or emergency communications through proper comms network

Required Skills and Experience

  • Minimum Bachelor's in Business, Engineering, Management, or Project Management
  • Proven track record of managing complex programs across multiple teams from inceptions through completion, in a government or military environment
  • High energy, focused tenacity, sense of humor, desire to eliminate ambiguity and focus on transparency
  • Intellectually curious, interested in data analysis and results-driven
  • 5+ years of experience as Program Manager or equivalent
  • PMP Certification (not required, but desired)
  • SECRET level USA clearance (not required, but desired)
  • Military background or understanding of methods of communications and processes
  • 40% Travel Required (international and domestic)

Physical Requirements

  • Work is performed on a computer and requires ability to operate a keyboard and other peripheral devices. Ability to travel up to 40% annually (domestic and international).

Location: This position is in Alameda, CA. Our waterfront office offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar used to film 'The Matrix'.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced Parental Leave Programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, life insurance, 401k plan

A reasonable estimate of the current range is $115,000-$155,000 annually.

Catch up on the latest news about us:

The Tiny Craft Mapping Superstorms at Sea – The New York Times
TIME 100 Most Influential Companies 2024: Saildrone
An Underwater Mountain was Newly Discovered off California Coast – San Francisco Chronicle
Hacking the Anthropocene with Survivalist Robots [VIDEO] – Freethink
An Unprecedented View Inside a Hurricane – EOS
Saildrone’s First Aluminum Surveyor Autonomous Vessel Splashes Down for Navy Testing – TechCrunch
USVs Could Deter IUU Fishing – USNI Proceedings
Saildrone Vehicles Track Whales around Offshore Wind Power – Workboat
Mullen, Former Joint Chiefs Chairman, to Lead Board for Unmanned Tech Firm Saildrone – Breaking Defense
The Navy Is Using Robot Ships to Deter Human Smuggling out of Haiti – Defense One
Saildrone's Quiet Voyage: Autonomous Vehicle Aids Great Lakes Fish Stock Study – Up North Live
Saildrone Featured Videos Playlist

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

At Saildrone, we value diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive workplace that welcomes people from all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We believe that a diverse and inclusive team leads to innovation and better problem-solving. We encourage applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, disabilities, and backgrounds.

Individual compensation packages are based on geographic location, scope of the role, relevant experience, and the ability to deal with complexity and problem solve within our organization, among other factors.

All employees are required to provide proof of authorization to work in the U.S. within their first 3 days of work. Please note that the Company does not sponsor employees for work visas or permanent resident cards to work in the U.S. If you need sponsorship for a work visa or green card, you will not be qualified for employment with Saildrone.

Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.