Technical Lead for Geospatial Solutions, Ecosystem Services Unit (ECO), Arlington

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    11 months ago
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Title: Technical Lead for Geospatial Solutions, Ecosystem Services Unit (ECO)

Team: Environment & Energy Group (E2)

Reports to: Director, Ecosystem Services Unit (ECO)

Location: Arlington, VA or remote


Winrock International is recruiting a Technical Lead for Geospatial Solutions in the Ecosystem Services Unit (ECO) within the Environment & Energy Group (E2). The position will lead the geospatial components of ECO’s global work on climate change mitigation and adaptation, REDD+, ecosystem services valuation, environmental services, and related topics.

Winrock is a non-profit organization that works around the world to increase economic opportunity, sustain natural resources, and protect the environment. Winrock’s E2 Group is comprised of three complimentary units: Ecosystem Services, Clean Energy, and Forestry and Natural Resource Management. The E2 Group collaborates closely with other Winrock groups, including Agriculture, Resilience and Water; Human Rights, Education & Empowerment; and Corporate Affairs, to identify and implement cutting-edge solutions to climate change. A dynamic member of the team, the Technical Lead will contribute to an environment that is collaborative, conducive to growth, respect, equity, and thought leadership.

Ecosystem Services Unit

ECO forms the cornerstone of Winrock’s scientific leadership and has been at the cutting edge of the evaluation of ecosystem services from forests and agriculture for twenty-five years. ECO excels at the translation and application of science to benefit countries, businesses, organizations, and people. Winrock employs state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies to generate and distil information for resource managers, land use planners, communities, and industries for use in low emission and climate resiliency development and spatial planning, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission estimation, and habitat mapping and restoration. Winrock is a leading innovator in applied climate and landscape sciences due to the pragmatic and scientifically robust approach Winrock applies. A key aspect of the ECO Unit is the use and development of geospatial and remote sensing solutions. Winrock’s geospatial team works closly with the rest of E2’s units to develop unique analysis and identify technological solutions to Winrock’s portfolio of projects.

The Technical Lead for Geospatial Solutions will be responsible for leading spatial and non-spatial technical analysis and assisting in project design and management. The position will require domestic and international travel (estimated 15-30% of year) to project sites to lead consultations with clients and key stakeholders from government, civil society and private sector, to conduct field work and technical trainings, and to deliver presentations on scientific topics to technical and non-technical audiences. The position will also assist in business development through technical proposal writing and budgeting.

The candidate must be highly skilled in ArcGIS; mastery of other geospatial standards and platforms is also desired. An important element of the Unit’s portfolio is the generation, evaluation, and analysis of remote-sensing derived spatial products for assessment of dynamics of land use change and impacts of climate change – including but not limited to IDRISI and Google Earth Engine (GEE) software platforms. Additional desired skills include familiarity with ESRI Enterprise software and GEE for development of web-facing interactive spatial tools and communication products that cater to a diverse global audience. The Technical Lead for Geospatial Solutions will be expected to provide advice and guidance on geospatial science-based decision making in natural resource management and the piloting of new technologies and techniques in GIS.

The Technical Lead for Geospatial Solutions supports the Unit Director and will lead project management, provide quality control and evaluation, and augment new business and thought leadership.

ECO’s focus areas include developing:

GHG measurement and monitoring approaches under voluntary and compliance markets; for companies, governments, and NGOs around the world.
Agriculture, Forestry, and other Land Use (AFOLU) and REDD+ measurement and monitoring protocols
Capacity building toolkits and training programs for a wide variety of stakeholders, from local farmers to national and multilateral agencies
Interactive tools for sustainability assessment and measurement and monitoring of GHG emissions and ecosystem services in the land use and forestry sectors
Scientifically robust geospatial and remote sensing solutions
Decision-support tools
Coastal carbon assessments
Approaches to support net-zero commitments

Essential Duties

Project Management and Implementation:

Manage spatial and non-spatial technical analyses with scientific rigor
Assisting in the writing and development of reports and proposals.
Provide management of key projects in portfolio, liaising with donors, mentoring project support staff and producing high quality deliverables/products. Maintain day-to-day client relationships by communicating clearly with and addressing clients’ needs.
Develop critical thinking and innovative approaches, new analyses, new analytical methods and interpretations of international policy relevant to the work of ECO, particularly REDD+.
Develop and implement statistically sound approaches to project design and data analysis for carbon and other eco-assets, including use of field data, new statistical tools, and models.
Recommend and implement new approaches that strengthen Winrock International’s reputation for sound science and expand the visibility of Winrock International as leading developers of measurement and monitoring methods.
Provide training to counterparts/stakeholders in the use of methods and internationally accepted best practices.

New Business Development:

Contribute to the strategic growth and diversification of ECO’s portfolio, deepening impact, scale, and reach.
Support and grow ECO’s new business by surfacing and recommending opportunities, leading proposals and/or serving as contributor, or reviewer.
Utilize professional network to build and maintain relationships with current and prospective donors in the portfolio through regular outreach.

Other Responsibilities

Track new geospatial technologies, tools and methodologies through participation in professional networks, attendance of industry events, and personal skills development.
Augment ECO’s technical visibility with key stakeholders, practitioners, and donors with an eye towards identifying and engaging promising partners for collaboration and innovation through thought leadership activities including, but not limited to, penning op-eds; serving as a technical panelist, and identifying topics and convening technical fora.
Network with external stakeholders and other experts to ensure that project approaches reflect cutting edge technical approaches
Supervise up to three members of staff
Other tasks as assigned

Qualifications and Background:


Master’s Degree in environmental science, GIS/remote sensing, natural resource management, forestry, ecology, climate change, or other related field required; terminal degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) strongly preferred.

Required Experience:

Minimum 6 years’ experience in using GIS and remote sensing for climate change adaptation/mitigation/resilience and GHG accounting for land use required. Additional years of experience are strongly preferred.
Experience in land use change models, GHG accounting, ecosystem services and related fields; excellent leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, interpersonal skills required.
Experience in the development of AFOLU projects and/or programs in the voluntary and/or compliance carbon market.
Overseas experience with technical and/or operational issues related to GIS GHG accounting and land use, or related issues strongly preferred. Experience working in developing countries is required.
Ability to foster and maintain good working relationships with clients and partners, including government ministries and officials at national and local levels, non-profit organizations, the private sector, foundations, multilateral organizations, and the U.S. Government.
Track record developing winning proposals.

Desired qualifications

Demonstrated experience in research and public communication on technical issues, including peer-reviewed publications, blogs, op-eds.
Experience managing technical projects with a diverse team of individuals and consultants.
Fluency in English and excellent communication skills (written and verbal); fluency in a language in addition to English is strongly preferred.
Willingness to travel to developing countries as required by portfolio/new business opportunities.
Experience with open-source geospatial database development such as PostGIS, and GEE
Experience with geospatial web development.
Experience with application of existing scientifically validated models, e.g., hydrologic, biogeochemical or climatic models.
Knowledge of geostatistical and inferential statistical techniques in a natural resource management context.
As a condition of employment at Winrock, all US-based Winrock staff, regardless of location or must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Winrock offers competitive pay and an excellent benefits package.

Winrock is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all people and value diversity and inclusiveness. Winrock recruits, employs, trains, promotes and compensates regardless of race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, family care status, or any other basis protected by law.

At Winrock we have a clear mission: Empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources through unwavering dedication to accountability, equity, innovation, integrity and transformation.

Winrock knows that its success comes from the hard work and steadfast dedication of its diverse workforce. Winrock remains committed to maintaining diversity, inclusion and equity across the entire organization