Chief Operating Officer

Job Type
Job Rank
Job Institution
Hydrologic Research Center
Job Description

Chief Operating Officer

Hydrologic Research Center (HRC)

San Diego, CA (preferred)

HRC is open to the role being based remotely

Reporting Relationship
Center Director


About The Hydrologic Research Center (HRC)

Since 1993 the Hydrologic Research Center (HRC) has been the nation’s leading source of applied research expertise for the development of sustainable solutions to global water issues. HRC was established as a non-profit corporation to bridge the gap between scientific research in hydrology and real-world applications for the solution of important societal problems that involve water. The Hydrologic Research Center is a publicly-supported non-profit research, technology-transfer and training corporation with a focus in the areas of hydrology and water resources, hydrometeorology, hydroclimatology, and early warning systems. Since its founding, HRC’s research, education initiatives, climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions have influenced the water resource interests of approximately 3 billion people in 67 countries.

HRC’s purpose is to advance the science and engineering of hydrology and allied disciplines through research and development work, and to provide technology transfer and training services that infuse science, engineering and decision theory advances into water resources management and hazard risk decision making. Developing and least developed countries are a special focus.  The Center employs scientists and engineers with background in hydrology, hydraulics, meteorology, climate modeling, dendrochronology, geography/geomorphology, disaster risk reduction, and computer science. HRC projects aim to reduce loss of life and property throughout the world due to natural hazards, and to contribute substantially to the effectiveness and efficiency of water resources use worldwide.

Examples of HRC’s areas of focus are:

(a) Improvement in water resources management and planning through science-based climate, weather and hydrology modeling and prediction; and

(b) Flood and flash flood prediction, early warning and effective response through science application in the fields of hydrology, hydrometeorology, hydroclimatology, and disaster management. 

At a time when vulnerable societies are increasingly impacted by the emerging effects of climate change, increasing populations and water resource issues, HRC’s expertise provides mitigation strategies and capacity building that contribute to saving lives, protect health, and enable economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of local agriculture, water resources, healthy ecosystems, and natural resources.

Position Overview

HRC is seeking an experienced, dynamic, forward-thinking Chief Operating Officer (COO) to develop a sustainable and scalable vision for operational excellence. In this role, the COO will report to the Director, work closely with the Director, General Manager, and senior technical staff, and to oversee all active HRC programs across U.S. Federal government agencies, state agencies, foreign government agencies, and public international organizations.

This individual will serve as a core member of the Executive Team and will be responsible for the development, design, operation, and improvement of the systems that create and deliver the Center’s research and technology transfer products. 

Key Responsibilities

The COO will be expected to enhance the HRC research-to-operations process, enhance efficiency and reliability for projects, improve company revenues, maintain and enhance relationships with clients, and maintain and strengthen HRC’s image and mission.  Over time, the COO would be expected to create their own research and development program that enhances HRC’s current programs within HRC’s mission.  HRC therefore seeks an individual who desires to create and see through real-world applications of research, and who desires to maintain and even enhance excellence in the research and development program at HRC.

The COO will work closely with the Director, General Manager and senior technical staff to fulfill duties that will include support strategic plan development, develop and promote innovative avenues of research-to-operations in multi-disciplinary applications, maintain and support excellence in staff initiatives and work, identify budget and staff resource allocations and needs, coordinate program requirements such as schedules and budgets, ensure good and responsible client service, coordinate staff training as needed, and identify business opportunities aligned with HRC’s mission. 

Key responsibilities include the following:


  • Serve as a key member of the executive team, recruiting, retaining, and mentoring HRC staff.
  • In collaboration with HRC staff, manage, grow, improve, effectively deliver, and enhance the reliability, innovation, timeliness and excellence of programs across the organization.
  • Effectively and continually communicate the vision and mission of HRC to a wide variety of stakeholders.
  • Maintain and further the positive, collaborative, passionate culture of HRC.

Operational Management

  • Oversee management of all operational activities. Ensure coordination and integration of activities as appropriate.
  • Partner with the Director and General Manager on the creation and execution of HRC short and long-term strategies.
  • Contribute, implement and manage the execution of HRC’s strategic plan.
  • Communicate effectively with the Board of Directors and provide, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the board to function properly and to make informed decisions.
  • Consult HRC technical leaders and broader staff on resource allocation needs and how to best meet organizational goals while maintaining a constant consideration of costs and financial impact.
  • Lead operational policies and procedures within territory to improve efficiency, while maintaining excellence, through workflow/process redesign, policy or operating procedure change, and/or revision of roles, responsibilities, and/or systems.

Required Qualifications and Experience

The COO must be a passionate advocate for HRC’s mission, excited to direct the day-to-day operations of HRC. They will be expected to create their own research and development program that enhances HRC’s current programs and aligns with its mission. HRC seeks a credible, proven, innovative, and dedicated leader to provide long-term innovative leadership to the organization.

  • Ten plus years of working experience (post PhD Award) in science or engineering in any one of the fields of hydrology, hydrometeorology, hydroclimatology, and water resources engineering, or closely aligned discipline.
  • Track record of relationship development across key leaders and external stakeholders in the water resources industry and/or disaster management agencies.
  • Exceptional communication skills (both verbal and written) with a proven track record of publications in refereed journals in research and applications of hydrology, hydrometeorology, and water resources engineering
  • Significant experience serving as an effective internal and external spokesperson.
  • Ability to clearly communicate HRC’s passion and dedication to making a difference in the field of hydrology, hydrometeorology, and water resources engineering.
  • Robust track record of receiving funded proposals in the fields relevant to HRC.
  • Experience successfully directing and completing large implementation projects.
  • Clear appreciation of, and interest in, continuing and enhancing applied training and professional development programs for the effective transfer of science and advanced technologies to practice.
  • Track record in working with and leading multidisciplinary teams in research and implementations.
  • Experience and willingness to work cross-functionally with scientists, engineers, technical staff, and managers.
  • Understanding of institutional policy frameworks within which HRC products and services are to be implemented, and interest in enhancing policy and societal impact. 
  • Aspirations for professional growth and advancement aligned with HRC’s mission.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally as part of the role.
  • Previous P&L responsibility a plus but not required.

Key Relationships

  • Center Director
  • General Manager
  • Board of Directors
  • Technical Staff and Officers


A Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree and 10 years of experience post PhD Degree in hydrology, hydrometeorology, or water resources engineering, or other closely aligned discipline is required.


Please send your resume to:

The Hydrologic Research Center is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation.