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Inspire, Enable, Propel

Chief Operating Officer

Job Location: 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Reports To: 
Chief Executive Officer
Position Summary: 

The Organization
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation's mission is To Advance Space-related Endeavors to Inspire, Enable and Propel Humanity.

The foremost advocate for all sectors of the space industry and an expert in all aspects of space, the Space Foundation is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs that bring space into the classroom and major industry events, including the National Space Symposium, all in support of our mission.

The Space Foundation operates the Space Foundation Discovery Institute, and the Northrop Grumman Science Center, among other specialized, mission-related facilities. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity and provides three indexes that track daily performance of the space industry. Through our Space Certification™ and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, we recognize space-based technologies and innovations that improve life on Earth.

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, we conduct research and analysis and government affairs activities from our Washington, D.C., office, and have field representatives in Texas and Florida.

For more information, please visit

The Position
The Space Foundation has been growing steadily for over 15 years, and is now seeking to make a quantum leap in mission success by dramatically accelerating growth. The board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) are looking for a mission-focused, seasoned, strategic and process-minded Chief Operating Officer (COO) with experience leading an executive management team and developing a performance culture among a group of diverse, talented individuals. The COO must be a leader who is able to help others at the Space Foundation deliver measurable, cost-effective results that make the vision a reality. Importantly, the successful COO will have the skills, sensitivity, and personal confidence to tap into the power that each member of the team brings to this mission. While it is essential that the COO bring efficient and effective systems to increase the productivity of the organization, is it also critical that the team retain the unique, customer-focused, team culture that has resulted in the Space Foundation being named one of the Best Non-Profits in the United States to Work For, and drives Space Foundation mission success.

The COO is responsible for managing all core work processes of the Space Foundation and for implementation and maintenance of the organization's operations procedures and objectives. The primary focus of this position is to provide the internal leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the organization has the proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and team systems in place to effectively grow the organization and to ensure financial strength and operating efficiency.

This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, highly respected organization. We are seeking an individual of outstanding quality with a respected track record. The Space Foundation is prepared to offer an attractive compensation package, including a competitive salary and bonus plan, benefits (medical, dental, vision, life, accident, disability, and long-term care), a 401(k) plan with matching, and a generous PTO accrual and holiday schedule.

Applications may be sent by email to [email protected], or by fax to 719.218.9030.

Applications must be received on or before October 31, 2012.



Reporting to the CEO of the Space Foundation, the COO will lead all internal operations and will have the following responsibilities:

  1. Working in partnership with the CEO, continuously improve the strategic plan and implement new processes and approaches to achieving it.

  2. Collaborating with senior leadership, refine the operational aspects of all Foundation events, including scope, features, logistics and pricing, and provide on-side leadership during said events to ensure optimum performance, quality and customer satisfaction.

  3. Partner with the Chief Financial Officer to manage the creation of the company’s operating plan, and manage the company’s performance to plan and budget.

  4. Lead the performance management process that measures and evaluates progress against goals for the organization.

  5. Provide for all team members a strong day-to-day leadership presence; bridge national and regional operations and support an open-door policy.

  6. Lead, and manage the performance of, the organization’s vice presidents.

  7. Communicate the branded message internally and externally.

  8. Ensure that all programmatic partners renew their contracts.

  9. Cultivate the values of the Space Foundation within the organization.

  10. Collaborate with the Vice President – Human Resources to continuously improve human resources functions, including: training, development, compensation and benefits, employee relations, performance evaluation and recruiting.

  11. Analyze the current technology infrastructure and scope out the next level of information technology and financial systems that support the growth of specific programs and the organization as a whole.

  12. Work with the board of directors, especially the CEO and the Executive Committee, as required.  Present to the board at full board meetings and committee meetings as required, and serve on board committees as required.



As a prerequisite, the successful candidate must believe in the core values of the Space Foundation and be driven by the mission. The candidate should demonstrate a passion for breaking new ground to lead social change. Beyond that, we are seeking a candidate that has proven experience in scaling a multi-site organization and a demonstrated ability to both lead and build the capabilities of a driven, bright, diverse team.

The successful candidate will most likely have had management experience with a for-profit organization. As noted, this is an organization driven by the values of its people, so experience in managing a "values-driven" organization will be highly prized. Additional requirements are:

Results-proven track record of exceeding goals and a bottom-line orientation; evidence of the ability to consistently make good decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience and judgment; high level of business acumen, including successful P&L management and the ability to balance the delivery of programs with the realities of budget; problem solving, project management and creative resourcefulness.

  • Strategic Vision and Agility - ability to think strategically, anticipate future consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the organizational plan.
  • Capacity Building - ability to effectively build organization and team capacity, developing a top-notch workforce and the processes that ensure the organization runs smoothly.
  • Leadership and Organization - exceptional capacity for managing and leading people; a team builder who has experience in scaling up organizations; ability to connect to team members both on an individual level and in large groups; capacity to enforce accountability, develop and empower top-notch leaders from the bottom up, lead from the top down, cultivate entrepreneurship, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of the team so as to put people in positions to succeed.
  • Action Oriented - enjoys working hard and seeks challenges; able to act and react as necessary, even if limited information is available; not afraid to take charge of a situation; can overcome resistance and take unpopular stands when necessary.
  • General Management - thorough understanding of and broad experience with the full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, finance, information systems, facilities, human resources, and marketing.


No telephone inquiries please.

Thank you.

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