New Opportunity: VP of Engineering Services at PacStar

About the Company

PacStar is a leading provider of integrated solutions for advanced tactical communication systems worldwide. Innovation, creativity and quality is built into our DNA and we offer a rewarding environment in which our employees can thrive.

Founded in 2000, PacStar provides advanced, Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS)-based tactical communications small form factor hardware, software, and integrated solutions that address critical U.S. DoD needs for mobility, ease of use, and security. The company’s patented IQ-Core® Software and hardware technology and integration/installation services provide secure, command, control and communications systems – particularly in remote or infrastructure starved areas. In addition, PacStar’s unified and tactical network communications systems are ideally suited for commercial sector organizations with mission-critical, complex communications requirements.

Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, PacStar with its 90+ and growing employee base performs the product and software development, and assembly of finished products.  In 2018, Endeavour Capital, made a significant investment into PacStar based on its experienced and committed management team, its strategic position in its industry, and the positive trends that will drive accelerated growth.

About the Position

Reporting to the CEO, PacStar’s VP of Engineering Services will lead and be responsible for organizing and managing key customer services across a range of high visibility, critically important technical touch points for optimal success:

  • Pre-sales technical demonstrations, customer systems planning and creation of technical proposals.
  • Post-sales systems implementation, training, support and 24/7 problem resolution.
  • Management of customer RMAs.
  • Coordination and scheduling of customer deliverables including manufacturing scheduling.
  • Establishment and development of onsite service and support engineering capabilities.

This position is a senior leader who must possess a deep technical understanding of our products and be capable of representing the company and explaining our products’ capabilities to executive leadership in key programs. This individual must truly understand, embrace and deliver on our company’s core values of quality products, outstanding customer service and teamwork. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of building organizations and driving revenue & profitability. As the VP of Engineering Services, you will work closely with other department heads, especially the VP of Sales.

Essential Functions

This role is responsible for the oversight and management of key areas within the newly created Engineering Services Department. In addition, you will manage, mentor, and lead department employees across multiple levels including Managers and Directors.

Partnership – Key Customer Accounts
PacStar’s VP of Sales relies heavily on the company’s VP of Product Development to be the executive level representative with our key customers and target customers explaining the technical aspects of our solutions, engaging in discussions with our customers on their vision for their communications systems and devising solutions that are tailored to their operations. Our goal is to move these functions to our VP of Engineering Services, who will partner with the VP of Sales on these key accounts. Accordingly, our VP of Engineering Services must be able to do the following:

  • Master in detail our hardware and software products and be able to articulate their value at an appropriate level of technical detail.
  • Understand in detail our customers’ communications and network operating environments and can engage customers in probing their needs and desires in meeting their requirements at both the operating and technical level.
  • In conjunction with others within the company’s organization, lead development of proposals to address the target customers’ operating and technical requirements.
  • Once developed clearly explain those the company’s solutions and receive feedback that can result in successful expansion of our PacStar business.
  • Based on customer engagement, articulate back to hardware, software and network engineering and CTO’s office new product requirements and product/market opportunities.

Management of Pre- and Post-Sales Customer Support
PacStar’s Engineering Services organization has the responsibility for pre and post sales customer support including training and implementation and 24/7 troubleshooting. The Director of Professional Services, who is highly technical, manages a group of approximately 5+ experienced sales engineers who are located across the country to fulfill all these pre and post sales functions (except manufacturing scheduling and onsite service). As PacStar continues its growth, we expect that the VP of Engineering Services will take the lead in developing an organizational structure that is more specialized.

No matter the actual structure, the VP of Engineering Services will be responsible for the engineering organization’s effective delivery of the following:

Pre-Sales Support:
  • At the request of PacStar’s account managers, conduct demonstrations at customer’s facilities effectively explaining the technical aspects of our products and how they address the customers’ requirements.
  • Create accurate costed bills of materials from which sales can prepare customer quotes.
  • Responsible for completeness and accuracy of final BOMs submitted to production.
  • Train and update sales reps on the technical aspects of our products.
Post-Sales Implementation:
  • Coordinate, schedule and deliver installation services.
  • Coordinate, schedule and deliver customer training.
  • In conjunction with others, develop effective customer training materials.
  • Effectively track related installation and training costs and ensure that they are timely invoiced.
Post-Sales Support:
  • Maintain a customer responsive 24/7 technical hotline support.
  • Document and follow-up on all customer issues.
  • Issue RMA authorizations and advanced replacements, as appropriate.
  • Evaluate trouble call trends and bring to the attention of appropriate leadership any regularly occurring problems that should be addressed proactively.
  • Create and maintain troubleshooting technical documentation and service bulletins that can be used as a resource for customer support.
  • Issue customer support contracts.
  • Ensure that service contracts and related assets are properly recorded in Salesforce.
  • Monitor renewals on customer support contracts and alert Sales of upcoming renewal dates.
Management of Customer RMAs:
  • For each customer RMA issued, track progress from time of issue through time of return delivery.
  • Obtain authorizations for repair or advanced replacement parts needed and ensure timely delivery to manufacturing for processing.
  • Be proactive with other departments on behalf of the customer.
Scheduling of Customer Deliverables:

PacStar has a separate Purchasing department that is responsible for placing all inventory purchases of component parts. The company is also in the process of hiring a production planner. This planner will report to the Director of Production but will also work closely with and directly support the VP of Engineering Services in his/her responsibility for inventory and schedule planning for customer deliverables as follows:

  • Maintain strong ties to pre-sales customer delivery expectations to assist in forecasting production and inventory requirements as the basis for inventory purchase commitments. This requires close knowledge of the exact quantities and models of equipment the various customers are expected to order. With input from the VP of Sales, the VP of Engineering Services will be the leader in driving this planning.
  • Participate in executive level planning for inventory purchases based on confidence-based sales forecast and knowledge of customer requirements.
  • For all PSP sales orders, coordinate customer delivery requirements.
  • Issue monthly factory production plan based on customer requirements and maintain accurate knowledge of material inventory and capacity of production, proactively ensuring on-time delivery.
  • Coordinate and revise the factory production plan based on changing customer priorities.
  • Track all customer orders and requirements against agreed upon (contractual?) deadlines.
  • Responsible for strong coordination with the Director of Production and the production planner to ensure meeting customer order delivery promise dates.
Onsite Service and Support:

PacStar has a few limited duration contracts by which it provides subject matter experts and consulting services on a time and materials basis. However, our customers have expressed a growing interest in engaging PacStar to provide direct onsite professional engineering services on a contract basis for extended periods of time to assist with implementation of systems and to provide expert consulting and resolution of issues as they arise. Accordingly, the VP of Engineering Services will be responsible for:

  • Development and delivery of assignment specific training which ensures onsite Engineers can fulfill most of the customers’ technical advisory and implementation support needs.
  • Supervising and coordinating all onsite Engineers, providing time and expense billing for each job as required by the contract on a timely basis.
  • Developing custom (and template) service offering language to be included in PacStar’s proposal efforts, where services are required.
  • Development and updates to service offerings business – including:
    • Plans (including KPIs, Metrics), processes, pricing, and marketing materials.
    • Training the sales team how to sell service offerings.

Desired Qualifications, Skills & Experience

  • 10+ years’ experience in a customer service/technical services organization in a technology-based product company.
  • 5+ years’ experience in a director or VP level position.
  • 5+ years’ experience as direct customer interface in delivery of complex technology-based products.
  • Technical degree and/or networking certifications is strongly preferred.

This position requires strong technical skills

  • Direct experience with networking equipment and systems is required.
  • Ability to direct/work with a high technical staff.
  • Broad technical skill set to intelligently interact on an array of topics that will be part of various PacStar solutions. Deep expertise in one area is not required but a competent working knowledge in all areas is desired; Networking topologies and performance, Power, Virtualization, Mechanical Design for a rugged environment, Software Development, and compliance standards (MIL-STD-810G, FCC, etc.)

Demonstrated customer interface skills, including:

  • Ability to communicate (verbal and written) technical concepts and capabilities to both technical and non-technical audiences in a manner which emphasizes the Value of PacStar Solutions.
  • Lead/Guide technical discussions with customers in definition of a solution which meets the real need of the customer. This is usually a highly interactive process.
  • Customer interaction strategies which enable the identification and resolution of problems in a productive manner.

Deep operational skill set

  • Demonstrated capability to interact with a production organization. As both inventory procurements and production scheduling fall under this role, a deep appreciation/experience of material lead times, inventory, manufacturing processes, quality methods, configuration management, ERP systems, and how these elements impact delivery timeline and quality is paramount.
  • Demonstrated experience in implementing processes/controls to ensure solution level Bills of Material generated by the technical service organization are complete and accurate.
  • This position requires balancing multiple priorities, which sometimes change, in a manner which best meets the customer needs, while maintaining consistent task direction to the organizations staff so they can be effective in execution.

Executive Leadership

  • Established track record of leadership of a technical organization.
  • Leadership style must be the embodiment of PacStar’s core values of quality products, customer service, and teamwork.
Must be able to maintain or obtain a secret level clearance after initial employment.

Ready to Apply?

180one is a retained search firm and has been engaged by PacStar to manage this search. If interested in learning more about the opportunity, please contact Lisa Heffernan at 180one.

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