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Director of Laboratory Operations

Living Carbon
San Francisco, California, US
Closing date
Jan 25, 2022

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Living Carbon is a pre-launch public benefit corporation with a mission to responsibly rebalance the planet's carbon cycle using the inherent power of plants. We believe that gigaton scale CO2 drawdown will only happen if solutions are both beneficial to the environment and profitable to landowners. We've developed a proof of concept photosynthesis-enhanced seedling and are working on scaling our production lab and commercializing our technology. We're backed by some of the most prominent investors in Silicon Valley including Felicis Ventures, YCombinator, and Chris Sacca of LowerCarbon Capital.

If you believe that climate change is the defining global emergency of the century and want to join an ambitious project that's working on a biological solution, we'd love to hear from you.

Your role:

?We're looking for a Director of Laboratory Operations who is excited to be part of a mission-driven early stage company. This is a senior role that will be a part of the leadership of the company, and we are looking for candidates who have successfully scaled and managed teams before. You will be responsible for managing overall laboratory operations at our Bay Area location, supporting our expansion across multiple new R&D areas, as well as scaling the productization and deployment of millions of plants. You will be supporting our scientists by developing vendor relationships and mitigating supply chain disruptions to allow scientists to move quickly. You will have the opportunity to manage and scale the operations and logistics of a fast-growing biotech startup. We are looking for leadership skills such as good judgment, sound analysis and decision making, and the ability to effectively communicate with a cross-functional team. You will also have the opportunity to contribute to the company's strategic goals and think creatively about how to move quickly and solve problems.

Your responsibilities:
  • Manage relocation of our Bay Area lab operations from San Francisco to Hayward, and manage site operations while ensuring workflow efficiency at the Hayward location
  • Partner with vendors to maintain a continuous supply of laboratory consumables and R&D needs
  • Maintain inventories and manage ordering of chemical reagents/ supplies required for essential lab functions. Identify alternative products in the event of supply chain issues or other inventory management obstacles (such as difficulty disposing of an item in our facility)
  • Supervise a small team for media prep, common solution prep, dish washing, and other lab operations tasks.
  • Routinely formulate and prepare stock and media solutions for use across lab functions including plant tissue culture
  • Host and manage lab clean outs on a regular basis
  • Identify, build and implement mitigation strategies for key supply chain risks
  • Support forecasting and capacity planning to ensure uninterrupted supplies
  • Track incoming and outgoing shipments to ensure timely delivery
  • Develop lab operations handbooks with protocols for various SOPs
  • Facilitate research by working closely with scientists to provide support for tissue culture, plant transformation, and molecular biology experiments
  • Demonstrate willingness to "do what it takes" to build the team - including directly supporting tissue culture and transformation pipelines through individual contributor work
  • Perform vital functions to improve overall lab efficiency
  • Optimize and follow protocols and SOPs in a thorough, independent, and technical manner
  • Develop standard operating procedures to ensure that lab equipment and instrumentation are in good repair and kept current with respect to cleaning, preventive maintenance, calibration, and inspection, coordinating with lab users, and external service providers
  • Screen and implement laboratory software (Laboratory management system, inventory tracking)
  • Build vendor relationships and negotiate pricing agreements
  • Get buy in from our science team and the company to adopt and give feedback on new ideas and policies
  • Empower the R&D team to be able to troubleshoot problems and execute on solutions to minor speed bumps
  • Ensure that safety takes priority and develop procedures and processes to ensure that our laboratories are maintained, safe and an enjoyable environment. This includes creating documentation, enforcing correct hazardous waste materials protocols, overseeing the safety of purchases, conducting routine safety material checks and maintenance, building and maintaining an MSDS database for chemicals in the facility, and ensuring that the site is prepared for inspections.

Requirements and qualifications:
  • You have 10+ years of experience working either in biotech, at a fast-growing startup or in an operational/facilities/lab manager capacity (we would be extra excited to talk to candidates who have experience in plant biotech facilities and operations)
  • You have managed and scaled teams before, with 5+ years of experience in leadership or supervisory positions
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Excellent execution to help scale lab operations and facilities
  • Excellent time management and project management abilities
  • Experience managing contractor relationships and projects
  • Experience supervising direct reports in lab operations
  • Would be described as "willing to do what it takes to get the job done"
  • You are empathetic to the problems others face, a good listener, and a team player
  • You thrive on crossing to-dos of your list and are a master executor
  • You are easily able to think creatively and critically and take the shortest path to executing on a project or to solve a given issue
  • You value quick follow up and are the type of person who does not feel overwhelmed with multiple projects happening at the same time
  • Ability to cognitively switch between different types of projects with low stress
  • Autonomous self-organizer who can balance and organize your schedule and day to maximize productivity
  • You can solve problems independently and know when to ask people for help
  • You value efficiency and the need for things to run smoothly and efficiently at an ambitious startup like Living Carbon.
  • Adaptability in day-to-day tasks/ ability to bounce between different project and ideas
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