This position is responsible for building and subsequently managing the Washington Autonomous Vehicle Cluster (“WAV-C”) program at the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance (“KEDA”). Under the direction of the Program Manager, WAV-C will launch and grow to be a thriving, best-in-class innovation cluster in the nascent industry of autonomous and unmanned water vehicles.

In this role, you will:

  • Seed a center of gravity for the autonomous and unmanned water vehicle industry and its future growth here in Kitsap.
  • Expand the effort beyond Kitsap’s borders to generate value for the region, Washington and the Pacific Northwest.
  • Bring together scores of corporate, entrepreneurial, academic, governmental and financial cluster members to overcome challenges and create shared resources rapidly.
  • Manage WAV-C in line with guidance from its funder, the Washington Department of Commerce’s Innovation Cluster Accelerator Program (“ICAP”), maintaining compliance with that grant contract.

Salary and Benefits: Cash compensation of around $100,000 (structured as salary of approximately $95,000 with a $5,400 health insurance stipend). Four weeks of vacation annually, plus all federal holidays.

Schedule: This is a full time position, with a flexible work environment and work schedule based on the needs of the position.

The ideal candidate for this position will collaborate broadly, take personal ownership of this initiative and emerge as a leader in innovation. This position reports to the Executive Director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance.


Key Requirements:

  • Demonstrated success in a related role, including but not limited to entrepreneurship or innovation programming, and/or experience working in the autonomous or unmanned water vehicle, defense or maritime industries.
  • Ability to engage with a wide range of stakeholders

Other desired attributes:

  • Leadership experience
  • Connectivity to decision makers, key stakeholders and/or buyers in the autonomous or unmanned water vehicle industry is strongly preferred
  • Familiarity with grants a plus, particularly involving governmental funders and/or federal acquisition processes (DOD, DON, DOE, DHS)


1. Cluster Management. Responsible for all cluster operations, growth, programming and execution of WAV-C. Rely on the WAV-C proposal to function as a playbook for the two years the program will operate at KEDA, adjusting as needed, and personally executing many of the strategic initiatives and tasks. Identify key performance metrics through collaboration with KEDA and ICAP. Regularly update the operational roadmap through collaboration with all staff at WAV-C and KEDA, identifying key performance indicators for the cluster and achieving them. Plan for a post-KEDA future as an independent organization, growing WAV-C resources through collaboration with KEDA, keeping all stakeholders engaged on progress along the way. Constantly represent WAV-C as its leader.

2. WAV-C Advisory Board Engagement. Recruit members of the WAV-C Advisory Board, facilitate monthly meetings, and take guidance from them regarding the cluster’s operations and strategy. Leverage the WAV-C Advisory Board to grow the cluster and accelerate relevant connectivity.

3. Manage Innovation Infrastructure and WAV-C Programming. Research the feasibility for creating shared innovation infrastructure related to the autonomous and unmanned water vehicle industry in Kitsap, and if possible, work with cluster members to launch such shared infrastructure. Evaluate opportunities for entrepreneurial and/or innovation programming in line with WAV-C interests and launch. Evaluate the potential for market development initiatives and joint research programs, launching if appropriate. For all such programs, personally staff them if necessary or work with the Business Development and Growth Lead to provide such capacity.

4. Contract Performance, Financial Compliance, and ICAP Engagement. Manage the WAV-C contract between KEDA and the Washington Department of Commerce, ensuring adherence to all requirements at the state and federal levels. Work with KEDA’s accounting contractor to maintain financial operations in compliance with guidance from both ICAP and KEDA. Build strong relationships with the ICAP program, the staff and with other innovation clusters in the program.

5. Supervisory Duties. Supervise the Business Development and Growth Lead in their regular work and efforts to grow cluster membership, the core key metric while WAV-C is incubated at KEDA.

6. Administrative and Other Duties. Other duties as assigned. Address administrative and office duties as needed. Engage with the rest of KEDA regularly, for communications, entrepreneurship and innovation, business development, government contracting and other necessary purposes. Engage in the ongoing core value conversation at KEDA and demonstrate those values in daily work. Despite different programs and interests, KEDA is one team: Support all team members as needed in order to accomplish overall organizational goals.


Application Instructions and Timeline: KEDA will begin reviewing applications beginning April 15 for this role and aims to have this position hired within weeks of that date. We encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible. Candidates can apply by submitting a resume and cover letter, including the names and contact details of three professional references with their materials. They will also need to answer the two required questions listed in the online application.

Equal Opportunity Employer: The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance is an equal opportunity employer that celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.