Chief Operations Officer, Conservation Ranching

Private Estate

Tucson, Arizona

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details Negotiable
Deadline Sep 30, 2024
Required Experience 7+ years

About the Position

The Chief Operations Officer, Conservation Ranching (“COO”) will play a pivotal role in harmonizing the dual responsibilities of this unique position. The primary responsibility is the meticulous management of the private family estate, ensuring that operations reflect the family's values and meet their personal needs. At the same time, the position oversees the conservation ranching efforts. In this capacity, the COO will balance the sustainable and ethical rearing of cattle with an ambitious conservation and rewilding program. 

This position demands not only a deep understanding of estate management and agricultural practices, but also a commitment to environmental stewardship. Your leadership is crucial in integrating these elements into a cohesive, sustainable, and thriving ranch environment, setting a high standard for excellence in both private estate management and conservation-minded ranching.

About the Ranch
Nestled in the rugged beauty of the Arizona desert, the Ranch is located between the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and the Mexican border. It spans 79,000 acres, ranking as the 19th biggest private ranching property in the United States. Breathtaking vistas open onto a landscape that serves as an important corridor for migratory species. The Ranch pursues sustainable operations and conservation land management practices that endeavor to honor and preserve the surrounding ecosystem. 

Key Responsibilities

Corporate and Legal

  • Report directly to the General Manager, collaborating with other employees of the family office as directed.
  • Work closely with the family Foundation to develop and oversee conservation initiatives.
  • Administer local corporate filings and liaise with legal counsel when necessary.

Accounting, Payroll, and Taxes

  • Maintain and report all financials on a monthly basis. Prepare annual budgets, manage cash flow, and administer bank accounts. Ensure the timely payment of all expenses, staff salaries, and federal/state payroll taxes. File annual federal and state tax returns.
  • Insurance
  • Acquire and manage liability, property, health, and workers' compensation insurance.
  • Address any insurance-related issues promptly.

Staff Management

  • Recruit, hire, and supervise ranch, estate, and conservation staff.
  • Administer pay levels, job duties, and resolve staffing issues as they arise.

Building and Equipment Management

  • Oversee maintenance of all ranch and estate buildings, facilities, and landscaping.
  • Manage construction projects and administer new buildings into existing management plans.
  • Acquire and maintain all vehicles and equipment necessary for estate and ranch operations.

Land and Resource Management

  • Manage general real estate matters, including acquisitions, fees, and tax payments.
  • Administer grazing leases and manage relationships with relevant government agencies regarding land management issues.
  •  Ensure cattle grazing management is aligned with conservation strategies.
  • Maintain existing ranching infrastructure, including fencing, corrals, water wells, pipelines and dirt tanks; develop new water sources as needed.

Conservation Program

  • Collaborate with the family and advisers to shape conservation strategies.
  • Oversee approved conservation projects and provide guidance on resource management.
  • Foster local relationships to support conservation efforts.

Livestock Management

  • Oversee the care of all ranch and family horses and cattle.
  • Manage cattle purchasing, health maintenance, grazing, and sales processes.

Desired Skills and Qualifications

Private Ranch Management: Minimum 10 years’ experience overseeing the day-to-day operations of a private estate, including land management, livestock care, staff coordination, and financial management. This involves a deep understanding of agricultural practices, estate maintenance, and the ability to manage a large team effectively.

Conservation Expertise: Knowledge and experience in conservation practices, ecosystem management, and rewilding efforts. This requires a commitment to sustainability, biodiversity, and environmental stewardship. You should be able to oversee the implementation of conservation strategies that balance ecological goals with the practicalities of ranching.

Strategic Planning and Leadership: Strong leadership skills to guide and inspire a diverse team, coupled with the ability to develop and execute strategic plans that align with the ranch's dual objectives of private estate management and conservation.

Financial Acumen and Budget Management: Skill in managing budgets, financial planning, and resource allocation, ensuring the ranch's operations are cost-effective and financially sustainable.

Stakeholder Relations and Communication: Excellent communication skills to effectively liaise with family members, conservation bodies, local communities, and other stakeholders. This includes the ability to negotiate, resolve conflicts, and build strong relationships.

Adaptability and Problem-Solving: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances, solve complex problems, and make informed decisions under pressure.

Technological Proficiency: Familiarity with modern agricultural technologies and conservation tools that can optimize ranch operations and conservation efforts.

Legal and Regulatory Knowledge: Understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks governing land use, livestock management, and environmental conservation.

Compensation, Location, and Terms
This is a full-time position located in Tucson, AZ.  The position reports to the General Manager. 

Salary will be based on experience and qualifications. We offer a competitive compensation package that includes 20 days of vacation, federal holidays, 100% employer paid health insurance, and access to a 401K retirement plan.

Travel to the ranch is required on a semi-weekly basis. 


To Apply
CEA Recruiting has been retained to assist with this search. To be considered for the position, please use the link below to submit a resume, a thoughtful cover letter, and salary expectations. 

We know some strong candidates may not have all the qualifications listed above. If you have skills and experiences that you believe would be an asset to this role, we encourage you to apply. 

We will begin reviewing applications in early July, and on a rolling basis thereafter. Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to apply early in the process. The position will remain posted until filled. All applicants will be informed when the search has closed. You may contact search lead Tamara Evans tamara@ceaconsulting.com with questions, but please use only the website to submit your application materials. 


CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit www.cearecruiting.com. 

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership, General / Stewardship
Tags Sustainable Agriculture