Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Oregon UAS test ranges, Pan-Pacific Test Site

Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Oregon UAS test ranges, Pan-Pacific Test Site


The Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Oregon for the Pan-Pacific Test Site has the strategic responsibility for ensuring that Oregon’s UAS test ranges become and remain nationally competitive. This will involve mapping the development of range service offerings to customer requirements and the FAA’s long-term roadmap for UAS integration into the NAS. The person will achieve this objective by executing the State’s UAS business plan, by functioning as the state’s primary liaison with counterparts in the Pan-Pacific Test Site, with the FAA, and with the Oregon ranges on all matters of common interest for the state, and by ensuring that all State investments further the common goals of the state ranges and the UAS industry within Oregon.

Oregon’s FAA-designated UAS flight test ranges are developed, hosted and run by

1) the City of Pendleton; 2) Eagle Tech Ventures, an arm of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; and 3) Near Space Corporation, a private, for-profit corporation at Tillamook. Each of these entities will have a test range manager responsible for the overall development, function and performance of their test range. The COO will coordinate with the range managers on common functions such as safety, privacy, business development, strategy and budget development and data reporting into the Pan-Pacific test site and FAA.

Duties and tasks of the COO include:

  • Update and execute the State’s UAS business plan to reflect latest market and regulatory developments
  • Proactively drive Oregon range maturation to provide nation-leading customer solutions and service offerings
  • Proactively lead Oregon’s engagement with the FAA directly and through forums such as technical interchange meetings
  • Proactively lead Oregon’s engagement with key federal agencies engaged in NAS integration, such as NASA and the Department of Defense
  • Lead Oregon’s engagement with the Pan-Pacific site
  • Oversee Oregon’s investment flows into the test ranges, and report to the legislature and other public agencies and officials on progress versus goals and milestones
  • Draw on specialist advisors such as aviation attorneys and consultants as needed to develop new business and stakeholder engagement models (legal agreements, etc.).

The COO reports initially into SoarOregon. The COO also sits with counterpart COOs from Alaska and Hawaii in reporting into the Board governing the Pan-Pacific site.

The three main elements of the job initially will be to provide full-time coordination with the Pan-Pacific Test Site, the FAA, and the state ranges to speed up the processes and approvals for getting flights in the air quickly; to ensure the rapid development of all business and technical documents required for flight; and to develop a “one-stop shopping” approach to customers seeking to fly in Oregon.

Over time, supervisory scope could expand to include other tasks serving the State and the 3 test ranges. These could comprise a Business Development Lead, a Research, Development, Test and Evaluation lead, a financial officer, an FAA regulatory specialist and other positions as might be required to execute the State business plan. The COO will be responsible for identifying the needed structure; coordinating with the ranges and the state UAS industry as a whole to achieve consensus on the structure (where the positions should sit, and when they should be created) and to ensure there is no duplication of effort with other organizations; and building out the structure as and when needed.

Preferred Experience/Qualifications:

• 10 – 15 years demonstrated progressive success in an aviation/aerospace environment

• Nationally recognized for demonstrated success in progressively senior leadership positions within an aviation/aerospace environment, including complex teams and programs

• Demonstrated success in FAA Type Certification Programs (Supplemental Type Certificate, Technical Standard Order Certification programs are applicable) of manned, civil aircraft

• Demonstrated positive relationships with FAA Aircraft Certification Office(s), MIDO(s), and FSDO(s)

• Demonstrated performance in budget and project management

• Understanding of best practice in an RDTE environment

• Understanding of public funding sources and processes

• U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident Alien (ITAR and EAR considerations)

Required Education:

• Master of Science (Engineering, Engineering Management, Management) and/or Master of Business Administration; a comparable degree in a related field; or a bachelor’s degree with extensive industry experience.

Preferred Qualifications (demonstrated qualifications or performance in any of the following):

• Experience in both manned and unmanned aviation

• Qualified Flight Test Pilot (SETP and/or military)

• Qualified Flight Test Engineer (SFTE and/or military)

• FAA Designated Engineering Representative

• FAA Designated Airworthiness Representative

• FAA Commercial Pilot or higher flight rating or other experience with direct experience in flight or flight operations

Other skills required:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Leadership skills in a matrix environment
  • Ability to balance strategic thinking with attention to operational detail
  • 25-50% travel is anticipated

Please submit expressions of interest and a resume to Mark Morrisson, Executive Director, SoarOregon