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The Center for Environmental Farming Systems is seeking to fill the position of Director for Operations and Strategy. Under the direction of the Center’s Director, Dr. Nancy Creamer, CEFS is looking for a proactive and energetic Operations and Strategy Director that can lead, manage and strategically enhance special project initiatives, support sponsored program research areas, and facilitate the sustainability and success of the business operations, financial management, and human resource recruitment.

Essential Job Duties

The position will be responsible for interfacing with the appropriate NC State, NC A&T or NC Department of Agriculture offices on behalf of the Center in order to manage all financial accounts including appropriated funding sources, sponsored programs, service centers, internal funding, F&A Recovery, gift accounts, endowments, and other special initiative projects.

This position will also oversee an administrative staff that is responsible for all human resources functions, bookkeeping / account management, operations and maintenance, communications, event management, various IT functions, and inventory management. CEFS fiscal and staff resources are significant with an active grant portfolio of CEFS affiliated faculty and staff across institutions currently at $36.8 million, an endowment in excess of $3 million, dozens of soft and hard money positions across several departments at NC State and NC A&T State Universities, and statewide programming with hundreds of national and state partners and network collaborators.

As a key member of the CEFS leadership team, this position will be required to make independent decisions on implementing new strategic or operational directions (including developing and executing funding strategies when appropriate), implementing changes in administrative operations (for example organizational structure), and operationalizing new strategic directions (for example, building new programmatic areas).

This position will be responsible for independently executing special operational projects that arise requiring research, outreach, implementation, and funding. For example, developing housing opportunities in Goldsboro for apprentices and interns. This could include identifying potential housing for intern and apprentices, and work with NC State and property owners to develop leasing agreements as appropriate; and working with CEFS Board members and others to develop other alternative housing opportunities in Goldsboro, NC, including through the possibility of construction on state property, which could also involve potential targeted fundraising.

The position will provide oversight and implementation of HR functions, fiscal planning and monitoring, grant proposal and budget development (including re-budgets, subawards, etc.) in support of PI’s, and may also serve as a Co-PI on proposals, leading appropriate segments based on expertise. Finally, this position will be responsible for providing supervision and oversight of members of the CEFS administration team, including the CEFS Business Manager, the Communications team, etc.

Other specific job duties include, but are not limited to:

Human Resources

  • Direct and supervise CEFS administrative units and staff regarding all operational activities to support development efforts and Center operations.
  • Implement full-time program hires, recruitment strategies, and handle personnel issues on all levels of investigation and resolution.
  • Process hiring actions, salary distribution changes, recruitment operations, and termination actions, for non bi-weekly positions.
  • Apply a racial equity lens in hiring, recruitment, and all HR functions.

Financial Management

  • Fiscal planning, receiving, monitoring and proposal development including: proposal and budget development support for PI’s; ensuring new grant-funded projects and budgets are set-up properly; assist with developing and processing rebudgets, no cost extensions, sub award set-up, and other post award actions; and overseeing administrative functions and requirements of projects.
  • Monitoring the annual state appropriations, gift income, event sponsorship income, collecting outstanding revenue and also billing partner organizations for annual programmatic support.
  • Perform budget projections and set targets and metrics for growth, expansion, research funding, collaborations.


  • Develop, implement and oversee Center processes for all aspects of operational logistics.
  • Identify and develop funding opportunities to expand and sustain program operations and strategy.
  • Conduct internal assessments and apply quality improvement principles to increase effectiveness for the Center’s internal processes and support programs.
  • Prepare data and materials for Senior Administration, CEFS Board, and other partner organizations and network collaborators. Present this data and materials at meetings. Represent CEFS at high-level meetings (scientific and extension) as required.
  • Work in coordination with other university partners and the UNC System Office to leverage resources and increase effectiveness of inter and intra-university collaboration.
  • Represent CEFS at professional meetings, including making presentations. Fill in for Director in their absence, on matters related to operations and strategy.

Additional Duties: CEFS Board including board management, report preparation, communication, and follow-up; providing strategic direction and consultation support to the Directors and Assistant Directors of CEFS as needed; Perform additional duties as assigned.

Minimum Education/Experience

  • Master’s degree in public administration, finance, business management, business administration, or sustainable food systems or equivalent.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently complete complex tasks accurately and on deadline.
  • Years of related experience in managing projects, as well as fiscal and human resources.

Required Skills

  • Candidate is expected to be proficient in writing, budgeting, proposal development, human resources in the public sector, preferably in higher education.
  • Research Administration experience is preferred in order to be able to support contract and grants pre-award managers, senior administration, faculty and staff in contract and grant proposal submission, contract negotiation, awards management and matters of federal and state regulatory compliance.
  • Pre- and Post- Award Management experience.
  • Oversight of federal, private, endowment, appropriated funding sources.
  • Experience supervising and developing staff members through performance leadership.
  • Position will be a core member of the CEFS team and must be able to work and collaborate with a diverse group and work that spans the entire food system.
  • Incumbent will be expected to be detail oriented, have the ability to prioritize and meet deadlines, and problem solve to develop solutions.
  • Individual will need to, at times, address confidential topics and the incumbent will be expected to advise on matters with discretion.

Preferred Skills

  • 5 years related experience in managing projects, as well as fiscal and human resources.
  • Experience with University business operations, processes and procedures.
  • Having a quick intake of, and/or prior knowledge of, the initiatives and activities of CEFS, as well as the fiscal portfolio will be critical.
  • Ability to successfully be both a member of a team and able to work independently with little oversight, is highly desired.
Apply here.

Work Schedule

Mon – Fri / 8am-5pm (occasional evenings and weekends)

Hiring Range

Commensurate with Experience ($55,000 – $65,000)