Careers: Joe Produce

Director of Research & Development

Location: Salinas, California


Are you passionate about plant breeding and developing seed varieties in both open-field and CEA? Are you a hands-on leader that thrives in a collaborative environment where you can make a difference?

Join this predominant seed producer and breeder in the central coast of California as they continue to grow and develop varieties that dominate the leafy greens market and a few other categories. This successful seed company is focused on row crops and CEA and is looking for a Director of Research and Development to join their mighty team.

The Director of Research and Development role is made up of three components: leadership, research and development and customer engagement. You will manage a team of individuals primarily in California. These professionals bring their own expertise to the table and are passionate about the work that they do and the care that they provide to their plants. This department lead will work closely with all cross functional teams as well as the leadership of the company to plan and create their market plan. This individual is responsible for ensuring that research projects are carried out and communicated effectively, meeting deadlines and milestones.

This is a tremendous growth opportunity for the right individual. Working closely with all stakeholders, including the leadership team, the R&D team, production, fulfillment and of course customers. This is a hands-on collaborative group who works together in a very positive environment. There are no silos.

To be clear, this is a commercial seed breeder and supplier. This role is incredibly rewarding and dynamic for a talented pro who can balance R&D, customer (sales and service) interaction, production, leadership, and travel. This role is not for the person who wants to focus solely on R&D or publish papers.


•Managing every decision from strategic planning to tactical activities related to seed breeding, trials and the customer experience
•Acts as key scientific liaison/interface with regulatory bodies, quality assurance groups and customers
•Working with team members and departments effectively
•Proposal review and approval for research funding
•Establish and manage relationships with universities, research labs, and other organizations that conduct research in areas related to the organization’s interests
•Development of budgets for research and development departments
•Manage R&D department budget and plans to drive cost efficiencies
•Work closely with sales and marketing to develop new product and innovation strategies
•Promote a positive company image while supporting research, product development and marketing efforts
•Establish and maintain positive relationships with breeding team members
•Maintains expertise of company’s systems and procedures

Research & Development
•Evaluate the progress of seed breeding research projects to ensure that they are meeting deadlines and milestones
•Team mentorship in systems design and development
•Ensures that the R&D team maintains compliance with all regulatory guidelines
•Responsible for compiling data about research topics that are popular among consumers
•Manage the creation of new varieties that meet customers’ needs
•Coordination of breeding and research activities
•Manages inventory supply and demand for product development efforts
•Develop a stock seed maintenance program that ensures both genetic and physiological quality for commercial production
•Consistent communication with breeding teams to ensure proper records are maintained and inventory is updated
•Evaluation of R&D trials and nurseries

Customer Engagement
•Consultant to customers, understanding their needs and objectives
•Work hand-in-hand with sales and customers to develop, evaluate and produce deliverables

•10-15 years’ experience in the seed (vegetable) breeding industry with at least 5 years of successfulleadership experience
•Master’s degree in plant breeding and/or physiology
•As the head of the department, this individual must be a people leader, provide direction and execute theobjective of the company
•Excellent verbal, written and face-to-face communication and relationship skills
•Very hands on leadership expertise working closely with teams and thriving in a boots on the groundenvironment
•Must be able to have empathy, this role involves leading cross functional teams who are very passionateabout the work that they do
•Bilingual (Spanish) would be ideal but not required


For more information contact:
Pam Russell
Executive Search Consultant
Phone (941)-263-5200 x 315