The United States Society on Dams (USSD) has retained Sterling Martin Associates to search for the organization’s next Executive Director (ED). The position is located in Denver, Colorado but an alternate location may be considered.
Established in 1930, and incorporated in 1988 as a 501(c)(3) professional society, USSD is a world-class organization dedicated to the environmentally sustainable science of planning, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining dams, levees and associated civil works. USSD’s members focus on advancing the awareness and understanding of dam and levee systems by building communities of practice through a common mission to advocate, educate, collaborate and cultivate. By focusing on the profession, USSD brings together relevant expertise to study questions about the technical, economic, financial, environmental, and social aspects of dam and levee projects. As the United States member of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), USSD provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences worldwide and is charged with leading the profession of dam and levee engineering in the United States.
USSD members include approximately 1,100 individuals and over70 sustaining and organizational members. The sustaining and organizational members include governmental and military agencies, power companies, large engineering and construction firms, and technology companies. USSD’s member volunteers form the backbone of the organization by leading 18 technical and operating committees. The Committee members publish white papers, organize the annual conference, and conduct technical workshops.
The organization is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors. In 2014, the USSD Board of Directors approved a new 5-year Strategic Plan outlining key initiatives which are actively in progress. Because of the contributions from its membership, USSD is in a strong financial position with a current annual operating budget of nearly $600,000 and total equity of over $500,000. In addition to the annual operating budget, USSD’s strategic investments fund scholarships and other special long-term projects outside the purview of the operating budget. Visit www.ussdams.org for more information.
The Executive Director (ED) serves as the chief executive of USSD in accordance with the Operating Manual and By-laws and its policies and directives. The ED is responsible for the active management of the day-to-day operation of USSD and its interactions with the Central Office of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). The ED reports to the USSD President and Board of Directors and takes a leadership role in the implementation of the Strategic Plan and annual strategic initiatives. Through program and fiscal management and staff leadership, the ED achieves economical, productive, and constructive growth of USSD while assisting the USSD Board in maintaining a leadership role in the dams and levees industry both domestically and internationally. This is an exciting opportunity for candidates who have an interest in history and how the dam industry was built in the United States. The successful candidate will help lead the Society forward as a major re-investment is made in critical water infrastructure to serve current and future generations.
Specific Duties and Responsibilities
Under the general direction of the President and Board of Directors, the Executive Director is:
Responsible to administer the programs and activities of USSD as directed by the Board.
Responsible to implement business processes to efficiently manage and conduct day-to-day operations of USSD; hire, supervise and develop a small but highly engaged support staff; integrate accounting practices with membership management, event registration, and online commerce systems; recruit new members and retain existing members; sustain member engagement at a high level to strengthen committee activities; administer scholarship program; complete website maintenance and upgrades; and other activities as outlined in the USSD Operating Manual or as directed by the President and/or Board of Directors.
Assist the Treasurer and Finance Committee with management and review of expenditures and investment accounts. Serve as Assistant Secretary/Treasurer, and, subject to review by the Secretary/Treasurer, perform all duties of the Secretary/Treasurer as outlined in the Operating Manual. Also, as USSD is the US National Committee of ICOLD, the ED may assist the USSD Board in reviewing the financial status of ICOLD as may be required from time to time.
Support the President to provide leadership in the direction of USSD through identification and implementation of annual strategic initiatives and relationships in accordance with the Strategic Plan.
Organize and participate in Board of Directors Meetings, conference calls and activities. Prepare minutes of Board of Directors’ meetings.
Schedule regular conference calls with the Executive Team to discuss progress on past action items, new action items, areas for improvement, etc. Provide monthly reports on administrative activities, activities of committees, membership satisfaction, effectiveness of policies, strategic plan activities, and other courses of action to the President and Board.
No less than monthly, provide real-time financial information to the Treasurer and Executive Committee to help manage strategic, technical, operational, and financial needs. Provide similar information no less than quarterly to the full Board of Directors as required in the Operating Manual. Support the Board in developing and managing the annual operating budget to achieve the goals and objectives under the USSD Strategic Plan. Develop five-year budget targets for longer range planning.
Support the USSD Vice President who oversees the Technical and Operating Committees as well as coordinate and cooperate with the Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs to assist the Committees in carrying out their ongoing functions and strategic initiatives.
Organize and execute logistics to ensure the success of annual conferences and exhibitions, workshops, and other meetings or conferences co-sponsored with outside organizations as approved by the Board of Directors. This includes recommending event locations, types of workshops and training opportunities, accommodating the needs of exhibitors, as well as identifying and utilizing conference support staff.
Actively participate in the annual conference and exhibition as well as workshops by engaging with members, exhibitors, partners, attendees, and event staff in order to be an integral part of the Society, manage expectations and improve future events.
Coordinate interactions with ICOLD including active participation in ICOLD Congress, Meeting and Symposium as requested by the USSD President.
Represent USSD at meetings of related professional societies and organizations, if so requested by the President and approved by the Board of Directors.
Engage and communicate frequently with the membership through broadcast e-mail announcements, social media and at conferences and workshops. Help prepare publications including the periodic newsletter, annual report, and marketing materials. Assist with developing communications and disseminating to the media;
Requisite Background and Experience | Desirable Qualities and Characteristics
All highly qualified candidates for the Executive Director should possess the following:
Proven successful executive leadership and management experience in diverse and decentralized global nonprofit associations or other relevant executive leadership and management experience.
Strong, but flexible knowledge-based leadership qualities and the ability to operate in a constantly changing environment with a small staff and largely volunteer organization.
Sufficient high-level experience, preferably including professional association experience with a public/private sector based membership.
A proven track record in successfully dealing with complex issues and relationships, including leadership styles that successfully meet diverse situations.
The vision to anticipate the future needs of the organization and the ability to recommend and initiate productive actions to meet those needs, including organizational change.
A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institution, preferably in public administration, business administration, or a related field. (Note: other relevant educational degrees, such as science, engineering, construction or other fields related to the dams industry will also be considered, provided the candidate demonstrates appropriate business administration, management, and leadership competence and experience.)
A commitment to preserving and enhancing USSD’s technical base; further, possessing a high level of comfort with both existing and emerging technology as well as the ability to work with the membership, volunteers and staff to meet the technological needs of USSD’s membership, partners, and customers.
Appreciation for USSD’s unique role as the US National Committee of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) and the interest to enhance USSD’s role.
A commitment to preserve the collegial nature of a volunteer professional society that continues to take pride in operating as a volunteer-staff partnership.
The ability to recruit, retain and empower a small number of capable staff to work productively with the volunteers to meet the goals and objectives of USSD.
Well-developed communication skills and the ability to listen, to act, and to stand behind decisions.
An appreciation for the political and regulatory processes at the international, national, and state levels which have the potential to impact the dam, levee, and hydropower infrastructure/industry.
Capability and proven skills to manage the financial affairs of USSD while understanding the nuances of the organization, and sustain USSD’s viability as well as maintain an understanding of ICOLD finances as may be required.
Computer literacy (including basic website development/maintenance for administrative, technical and communications needs) and business knowledge.
The ability to travel frequently, nationally and internationally, in support of USSD objectives and external alliances.
The ability to setup, conduct, and document web-based conference calls for organizational matters, executive level issues, technical committee issues, and the like.
Additional Salary Information: USSD will provide a competitive compensation package to attract the right candidate. The position is available immediately.
USSD is an equal opportunity employer, committed to diversity in the workplace.
USSD is a world class organization of engineering professionals who are dedicated to advancing the environmentally sustainable science of planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of dams, levees and associated civil engineering projects. USSD member engineers lead the nation, and work with partner organizations worldwide, to resolve the world’s most critical resource problem: acce...ss to clean water. USSD engineers lead in the production of clean, renewable hydroelectric power, dam and levee systems for flood protection, projects providing recreational opportunities through dam reservoirs and water projects enabling water-borne transportation. USSD brings together professionals who share expertise in the technical, economic, financial, environmental and social aspects of dam and levee projects. The findings of these efforts are published in USSD white papers and conference proceedings, as USSD is the premier source for technical information about dams and levee systems t