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Senior Technology Officer
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a globally recognized leader in technology, data management, and large-scale citizen science supporting birds and biodiversity conservation. We curate more than a petabyte of digital assets, one billion bird sightings, and leverage innovative big data analysis tools and machine learning to produce web applications and services to empower a global community of bird and nature enthusiasts, researchers, conservationists, and educators. We seek a Senior Technology Officer to lead us through our next phase of growth as we navigate intriguing technical challenges to provide seamless, data-driven services, learning platforms, and science communications supporting biodiversity and conservation communities in all corners of the globe.
The Senior Technology Officer is a forward-thinking and entrepreneurial individual with significant leadership experience in the tech industry focused on web applications, who is motivated to integrate science, technology, and people to make a difference for conserving birds and inspiring the public to embrace and protect healthy ecosystems. We seek a visionary technology leader who is excited about developing a roadmap for technical infrastructure that advances the organization's strategic objectives. This position is accountable for cybersecurity, web architecture, data infrastructure, and business administration related to technical systems, ensuring that our constituent and scientific data are secure and accessible to a global community. This role requires in-depth, hands-on experience managing complex web applications hosted on premises and in the cloud. Data infrastructure knowledge is required to manage disparate datasets that need to be archived, integrated, and accessible to the public. Business administration experience is required to navigate vendor contracts, manage budgets and relations with the university, and ensure compliance with university policies.
Our ideal candidate understands the global significance of biodiversity and is committed to advancing the mission of the organization to conserve birds and biodiversity through science and public engagement. This candidate is eager to work at an organization that is a global leader in biodiversity information management. They will have a minimum of five years of experience in technology leadership including as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or similar role. Experience with nonprofit organizations and higher education is a plus, but we also welcome those thinking about making a move out of the tech industry and toward mission-driven work focused on birds, biodiversity, and public engagement.
Key Areas of Responsibility
Design and lead the implementation of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's strategy for cloud-based web application infrastructure, and data technologies.
Identify and select technologies enabling the Cornell Lab of Ornithology platform to scale globally, while meeting budget targets, decreasing technical debt, and integrating datasets across the organization.
Ensure that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's data are secure by working with our engineering and operations teams and with Cornell University to ensure implementation of industry best practices for data governance.
Advise and advocate on behalf of the Lab in technology-related business negotiations involving third party vendors and Cornell University.
Take overall responsibility for technology budget forecasting. Participate in seeking external funding for technical infrastructure by providing technical advice, review, and content for grant proposals and contracts.
Provide leadership and management skills to foster the organization's advancement, with a focus on guiding technical staff and project teams that will need to collaborate closely and scale quickly in the coming years.
Serve on the organization's senior management team, reporting to the executive director.
A minimum of five years' experience as a CTO, or similar role, ideally including experience with nonprofit organizations or higher education.
Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or related field and engineering experience.
Experience managing complex budgets, personnel, and day-to-day operations typical in business administration.
Professional record of accomplishment that reflects significant strategic partnerships and contribution to the business, including demonstrated leadership in large, complex, global projects.
Proven experience implementing industry-wide best practices for web application infrastructure, cloud computing, big data management, and data security.
Experience managing vendor relationships, contracts, and specifying requirements for purchasing enterprise-level services, hardware, and software.
About the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, based in Ithaca, New York, is a globally focused science, technology, and communication institute, constituting a semi-autonomous nonprofit organization within Cornell University. The annual operating budget is $40 million, composed of funds from a membership base of 150,000 supporters, grants, contracts, program-generated revenue, and endowment. The organization is approaching 400 staff members and includes 50 technical staff. Twenty percent of the operating budget is invested in technical systems, largely supporting a team of talented software engineers who are building applications that engage a global community in collecting and analyzing scientifically valuable data that is used to advance science, conservation, and education in alignment with the mission of the organization. The organization is at an exciting inflection point, experiencing substantial year-over-year growth and rapid global expansion.
Values & Culture
Birds inspire us with their colors, songs, migrations, and relationships with the world's natural systems. Through rigorous science we practice our passion to understand natural systems and human influences on them. We are committed to putting science into action for restoring bird populations and healthy ecosystems. We recognize that we cannot succeed alone--it takes a global community. We commit to making our work as visible and accessible as possible. Our attitude of open access to data is grounded in belief that through sharing high-quality data, tools, analyses, and interpretations, great progress will rise out of somebody else's brilliant applications, and from an informed public. We hold ourselves to the highest level of integrity. Our entrepreneurial spirit allows us to explore ideas and to innovate without fearing failure. We acknowledge that today's challenges to the natural world are enormous -- this only underscores the urgency of establishing bold visions and working to achieve successes at global scales.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's vision is to use the power of birds and other charismatic organisms to generate long-term impacts on understanding and conserving earth's biological diversity -- through innovative science and training, data
University Job Title:
Info Tech Asst Dir II
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