RTI’s Food Security and Agriculture division is seeking a Food Security and Agriculture Specialist to join the team. The Food Security and Agriculture Specialist will serve as the project manager for complex USAID and donor-funded agricultural development programs; contribute to RTI’s thought leadership in areas of food security, agriculture, market systems development, and resilience; and serve as a proposal leader or lead technical writer for proposals in response to USAID and donor-funded solicitations. It is anticipated that the individual will generally evenly distribute their time between these initiatives. This position will report to the Director, Food Security and Agriculture and will be full-time, based in RTI’s Washington, D.C. office or RTI’s headquarters in Research Triangle Park, NC.
Roles and Responsibilities
As a project manager, the Food Security and Agriculture Specialist will serve as the central person at the home office responsible for the overall performance of the project and is key to ensuring implementation excellence and managing risk through oversight of project finances, client management, and relationship management as detailed below.
- Implementation Excellence and Quality Control—Ensures the project meets or exceeds client expectations through impactful programming and the production of high-quality deliverables. Provides oversight to and participates in the annual work planning process, oversees monitoring and evaluation and ensures that the project meets client objectives. Provides assistance and oversight to developing technical reports or other deliverables, and works with the Chief of Party to ensure the project’s progress and successes are accurately communicated to the client.
- Risk Management—Works to proactively identify and mitigate current and potential project risks. Risk management will involve routine review of overall project performance and compliance, open and frequent discussions with both the client and the diverse range of RTI staff, creating a culture where feedback is encouraged, and timely escalation of risks to appropriate RTI staff.
- Financial Management—Works closely with the Project Coordinator/Associate to ensure the project stays within budget. In collaboration with the Project Coordinator/Associate and COP, ensures the project is meeting any cost-share/leveraging requirements through proper planning, tracking, and documentation. Helps the project to meet negotiated fee targets and minimize fee erosion by ensuring project expenditures are in compliance with RTI and client policies.
- Client and Relationship Management—Works alongside the COP to ensure optimal client satisfaction. Develops a strong rapport with the client through frequent updates about the project, proactively managing risks, and responding to timely requests for information. Works with the COP and other senior management within RTI to resolve client issues. Serves as the project’s primary point of contact for US-based partners and develops a strong working relationship with key individuals within partner organizations.
- Thought leadership—Takes leadership role in contributing to the scientific stature of RTI and the Food Security and Agriculture division. Stays current on international development trends, tools, and approaches related to agriculture, food security, resilience, market systems strengthening, and value chain development. Shares knowledge both internally and externally through publications, blogs, presentations, conferences, workshops, and other platforms. Mentors early career staff in technical areas.
- Technical Oversight—Provides technical expertise and manages technical staff implementing agricultural market systems projects. Advises on the design of local, facilitative partnerships with market actors, using grants and innovation funds. Provides leadership to project learning agenda. Works with project team members to organize trade missions, competitiveness events, value chain working groups, and broader stakeholder forums. Participates in project learning events and the dissemination of lessons learned.
- Market Positioning—Explores opportunities to expand RTI’s current markets and positions the Food Security and Agriculture division to enter new and adjacent technical areas or geographies. Contributes to the division’s business development strategy. Conducts research and/or scouting missions in preparation for proposal opportunities that align with the division’s business development priorities.
- Proposal Development— Serves as proposal leader or lead technical writer on agricultural market systems opportunities. Contributes to the development of strategic approaches and methodologies related to market systems strengthening, agriculture, and food security. Participates in technical proposal reviews and provides constructive feedback to help writers improve technical drafts.
Required Qualifications, Experience & Skills:
- Master’s degree in a relevant subject and 9 years of experience (Bachelor’s degree and 12 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience).
- Demonstrated experience in managing large/multi-million-dollar international development projects and knowledge of industry best practices regarding project implementation, including project start-up and close-out, client management, work planning, budget management, and compliance required.
- Prior experience managing USAID contracts or cooperative agreements required.
- Knowledge of project operations that span finance, HR, procurement, subcontracts/grants, etc. and ability to appropriately link them to technical planning and implementation required.
- Knowledge of agricultural market systems development, with experience leading agribusiness, food security, or private sector/enterprise development efforts.
- Attention to detail and accuracy.
- Must be able to manage a multitude of tasks simultaneously and prioritize as necessary.
- Must be able to work effectively under deadlines, both independently and as a team member.
- Advanced knowledge and skill with MS Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel.
- Must be able to travel up to 20% of the time.
- Must be eligible to work in the United States.
Preferred Experience & Skills:
- Experience overseeing sub-grants or innovation funds preferred.
- Ability to connect technical implementation to operations so that project performance is seamless.
- Excellent verbal communication skills with an ability to communicate complex information to multiple audiences working in the international development.
- Excellent writing skills, including proposal writing skills, and ability to present information in an articulate and concise manner.
- Ability to cultivate strong relationships and collaborate inclusively with a wide variety of individuals in a matrixed environment to accomplish project goals.
- Ability to proactively identify and manage a diversity of project risks (client, technical, reputational, legal, security, financial, and compliance).