Executive Director Biological Research Station

Southern Sierra Research Station (SSRS)

Weldon, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $95,000 base salary plus benefits (health, dental, vision, life, retirement fund, PTO)
Required Experience 7+ years

Founded in 2000, the Southern Sierra Research Station (SSRS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered at our research facility in the foothills of California's southern Sierra Nevada, an area unique for its convergence of 5 biological regions and a high diversity of mammals and birds in North America, including over 300 bird species. Our mission is to conduct, promote, facilitate, and disseminate biological research that informs conservation decisions and environmental policy, and contributes towards understanding, sustaining, and conserving natural resources and environmentally challenged species. With a focus on research in the Pacific Southwest through Latin America, in collaboration with government, academic, and conservation organizations, we increase scientific knowledge of species in support of our mission, aid in projects to protect and restore endangered species and their habitats and encourage public support and appreciation for conservation of biological diversity. 


The Executive Director of SSRS is a dynamic individual who will build on the strengths and successful history of SSRS by providing the scientific and organizational vision, discipline, and drive in keeping with the station’s research, development, and outreach goals. The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the SSRS operations, including research initiatives, fundraising efforts, strategic planning, community engagement and partnership building. The candidate will require exceptional collaborative skills to leverage the considerable resources of the SSRS to increase its influence and identify opportunities for program development and diversified funding streams. 


  • Ensures the overall success of SSRS.
  • Provides visionary leadership to advance SSRS’s mission and strategic objectives. Develop SSRS’s long-range strategic and annual work plans with measurable and achievable goals. Design the research vision for the station from its overarching scientific roadmap into 5-yearly executable plans.
  • Leads and supervises a motivated, high-quality staff and team in support of yearly and long-range plans, including coaching and mentoring. Maintain a work climate that attracts, retains, and motivates a strong staff, and talented contractors.
  • Oversees and implements SSRS’s research program and its research projects.  Lead, manage and direct the station’s scientific research efforts, including supervision of the Research Director, and (directly or indirectly) the technical staff.  Coordinate and collaborate with the Research Director to develop long-range and annual research workplans and ensure project scientific integrity and successful outcomes. 
  • Fosters and promotes an increase in SSRS’s research efforts and its impact across state and international lines. Create awareness about the research station and network among peers and potential donors and grantors to increase grants, contracts, and donations. Identify and pursue opportunities to build a broader constituency in support of species conservation and scientific research. Obtain and secure funding for all scientific research/study and research programs through government/private grants, private donors, and/or other means. Minimum expectation is $1 million per year.  
  • Ensures the short and long-term financial sustainability of SSRS. Manage the SSRS budget and financial resources effectively. As mentioned above, lead in securing research grants.  Coordinate with the Board of Directors and develop and implement fundraising strategies to secure financial support from donors, grants, and other funding sources.
  • Represents and expands the network of SSRS’s external relations and partnerships. Represent the lab in professional conferences, workshops, and other networking events to promote our work and foster collaborations. Communicate research findings and conservation recommendations through publications, presentations, and outreach activities to diverse audiences. Supervise and empower Research Director and other SSRS staff to continue to cultivate and build positive external partnerships and opportunities for collaboration.
  • Ensures SSRS meets its legal and human resource obligations promptly and with the highest integrity. Oversee SSRS accounting and ensure SSRS financial accounting is in accordance with federal, state, and non-profit organization 501 (c)(3) requirements.  Lead the planning and management of yearly budgets and allocations, including project specific and overhead.  Develop, update, and ensure implementation of by-laws, personnel policies, and other policies approved by the Board, in conjunction with the Board of Directors. Ensure organizational compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Reports regularly and is accountable, responsive, and timely in responding to the Board of Directors and appropriate committees on the status of internal and external operations and issues and/or any Board of Director requests. 
  • Ensures the research station is properly maintained through building improvements and/or ordering new equipment. 
  • Ensures SSRS has all the proper insurance, including, but not limited to, insurance for the Research Station and all of SSRS’ operations.
  • In coordination with the Research Director, ensures the safety of the research station from fire and other accidents.


  • Demonstrated leadership, effective staff and program management skills, including ability to retain, motivate and attract strong and creative staff; strong strategic organizational and financial skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to create organizational visions, develop strategies, produce and execute detailed implementation plans.
  • Demonstrated ability to secure funding from government/private research grants and from private donors.
  • Ability to work independently, excellent organizational and team building skills, and exceptional written and verbal communication skills, including proven ability to innovate and implement successful communication strategies.
  • Basic understanding of 501 (c)(3) managed organizations, and demonstrated ability to work with the Board of Directors


  • Bachelor’s or Graduate degree in Biology, Environmental science or management, and/or in a scientific research related field or a degree in Business Management, in particular Non-Profit Management.
  • Prior non-profit leadership/management experience and/or research station scientific and organizational management experience.
  • Prior fundraising experience.
  • Prior experience preparing and presenting financial analysis and reports. Proficient in financial tools and accounting practices.
  • Understanding of federal and state research grants and/or contracts, and associated Cost Accounting Standards.
  • Proficiency in data management and associated Information Technology platforms, such as MS Office 365 or similar platforms.
  • Advocacy experience and effective working knowledge of policies to protect endangered species.
  • Proven ability to strategically network and collaborate with other organizations, agency staff and the private sector, as needed, to advance the mission of the SSRS.

LOCATION: Flexible. Headquarters in California’s southern Sierra Nevada - Weldon, California, and virtual extensions growing into New Mexico and Arizona. To be discussed during interview  


TO APPLY: Please send cover letter (please include date of earliest availability) and resume to Ernie Flores (Flores@NP-ExecSupport.org, 661 803-9300). Review of applications will begin on April 30, 2024 and will continue until the position is filled.

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

Category Admin & Leadership , Ecology , Wildlife
Tags Outreach