New Opportunity: VP of Hardware Engineering 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

The VP of Hardware Engineering will lead and be responsible for design, development, test, qualification, and production of PacStar’s Engineered Hardware Products. PacStar hardware products enable highly capable networks to be created in the ‘middle of nowhere’. Key characteristics of these products are small size, low power, light weight, rugged environmental operational capabilities, and very robust power systems. Our products are modular in nature enabling our customers to both change configuration and introduce upgraded capabilities by simply adding/removing/exchanging common form factor modules. PacStar customers utilize these products in situations ranging from jumping out of an airplane with one or two modules serving 1-10 users, temporary FOBs and tent deployments supporting 25 – 200 users, and mounted in vehicles (land, air, and sea).

PacStar Hardware products have been tremendously successful in the last five years having won multiple highly competitive programs. From a quantitative standpoint, production shipments having increased ~10 fold over the last three years. The VP of Hardware Engineering will build on this foundation. However, this position must be a key leader in developing the next generation of products incorporating innovations and new technologies that keep PacStar at the forward edge of products for our customers.

This position is a senior leader who must possess a deep technical understanding of our products and in key circumstances 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 developing an engineering organization that develops innovative products with very high quality. As the VP of Hardware Engineering, 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 Hardware Design and for the transition and support of products released to manufacturing. In this position you will mentor, manage, and lead across multiple levels. This will include individually contributing engineers, Managers and Directors.

Lead the Hardware Design Team

  • Work directly with a staff of Mechanical, Electrical, and Systems engineers to develop new PacStar Hardware products. This is full life cycle including concept design and tradeoffs, detailed design, prototype procurement and build, engineering test, development of full documentation package for on-site manufacturing, transition to manufacturing, manufacturing support and field support/resolution of any problems/issues.
  • Coordinate with VP Sales, CTO, and staff on definition of new products and customer needs.
  • Manage existing and develop new HW partnerships with technology vendors.
  • Provide normal development scheduling, budgets, and work load management.
  • This is a hands-on position, where the VP of Hardware Engineering will be expected to contribute directly to the design process. Technical design knowledge is required.
  • Ensure documentation packages (BOM’s, Piece Part Drawings, Assy Drawings, Production Tests and Assembly Plans) are complete.
  • Provide technical support to the factory of existing products in terms of problem identification/resolution, process improvement, and minor product improvements.

Strong Coordination with the Manufacturing Team

  • A key to PacStar’s success has been a very tight integration of the on-site manufacturing facility and engineering. The VP of HW Engineering must maintain this approach and collaborate closely with the Director of Production on a weekly basis including inviting input and recommendations for new product designs for manufacturability and updates or changes to existing products.
  • Actively participate in production problem identification and resolution.
  • Provide technical support to vendor issue resolution (Quality, Schedule, Cost).

Strong Coordination with the Network Engineering Team (Integrated Solutions)

  • The network engineering team develops solution level products that incorporate PacStar HW, PacStar IQ-Core SW, and network engineering expertise. These activities are primarily software integration, configuration, and performance characterization.
  • Form strong working relationship with the leader of Network Engineering regarding product capabilities, scheduling, and prioritization.
  • Provide technical insight and guidance as background and skills allow.


  • Quality is a key characteristic of PacStar. While failures are few, they do occur. The VP of HW Engineering will work closely with the Director of Production on the RMA assessment process and response. At a tactical level this is adherence to repair/replacement time lines. At the strategic level this is analysis of RMA statistics and trends and resulting product improvements.
  • The VP of Hardware Engineering will maintain and introduce the Ordering Guide. This document contains orderable Part Numbers and descriptions and is a key input to Sales. This will include reviewing quotes, answering questions, and resolving problems.
  • The VP of Hardware Engineering must be effective and comfortable in briefing and working with key customers.
  • The VP of Hardware Engineering controls and allocates the PacStar Hardware Products demonstration pool. PacStar is very aggressive in getting sample units into customer hands for test and assessment. This is a key step in our sales strategy.

Desired Qualifications, Skills & Experience

  • 5+ years’ experience in a VP level position with demonstrated track record of success.
  • 15+ years’ experience in a product design organization of a technology company with increasing responsibility.
  • Technical degree is required.
  • This position requires strong technical skills.
  • Strong experience and knowledge of electrical design fundamentals from Schematic to Board Fabrication. Technologies include: High Speed Signal Transmission, Board Level Power System (5W – 50W), Microprocessor Based Systems, PoE, Networking Components, Multi-layer boards (14 layer), Blind and Buried Via, BGA’s, and LGA’s. Our electrical design tool is Altium.
  • Strong experience and knowledge of mechanical design fundamentals for an environmentally rugged environment. Technologies include: Conductive and Convective Heat Transfer, Machined Metal Parts (Moderate Tolerance), Custom Cable design and fabrication, Sheet Metal Parts and Fabrication, Powder Coat, Anodize, Design for Shock and Vibration, Fabrication Drawing Generation, BOM Generation, and Familiarity with Moderate Volume Fabrication Techniques (100’s to low 1000’s of units). OOur mechanical design tool is Solid Works.
  • Strong expertise and experience in a moderate volume, final assembly, manufacturing environment.
  • Knowledge of servers and embedded processor-based systems. These technologies are more as an integrator than a chip-up designer.
  • Knowledge of Networking Hardware, Network Topologies, and Virtualization Strategies.
  • Ability to collaborate with vendors/suppliers to achieve superior component parts that enhance our products and meet PacStar standards.
  • Ability to direct/work with/motivate a highly technical staff, achieving outstanding performance.
  • 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.
  • This position requires balancing multiple priorities, which sometimes change, in a manner which best meets PacStar’s goals and our customer’s 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, outstanding customer service, and teamwork.

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.

Head on over to our Placements/Opportunities page to see what else we’ve been working on!