Breakthrough Energy Ventures Portfolio Company Career Opportunities

Director of Operations - External Manufacturing

Nature’s Fynd

Nature’s Fynd

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Nature’s Fynd is a groundbreaking food tech company born out of NASA-supported research on extremophiles in the geothermal pools of Yellowstone National Park. Our novel fermentation technology produces a sustainable source of complete protein using only a fraction of the resources required by traditional agriculture. As the challenge to feed the world’s expanding population grows, our mission is to create amazing foods and materials that provide sustainable choices and nurture the planet.
We’re looking for passionate, driven, and ambitious people to join our fast-growing team.
We’re looking for a Director of Operations – External Manufacturing who is responsible for all the external manufacturing operations for Nature’s Fynd. This role manages our external contract manufacturing partners and has responsibility for tracking performance and for establishing and standardizing best practices to be used at our network of contract manufacturers to maximize production efficiency, ensure delivery requirements, and minimize cost.
The Director of Operations – External Manufacturing will also have the opportunity to be part of a fast-growing, alternative protein company that will positively impact people around the globe.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Leadership: Has responsibility for managing on-going activities at external manufacturers and serves as the primary point of contact for production activities, as well as engaging and leading internal resources to resolve issues and continuously improve products performance and cost.
  • Ensure contract manufacturers adherence to our specifications and written requirements by monitoring and analyzing supplier processes through audits, performance reviews, and collaboration to deliver improvements. Work with the contract manufacturers quality and production teams to ensure that quality programs and production procedures are mutually understood and executed.
  • Lead introduction of new products and lead establishment & qualification of new external manufacturing partners.
  • Provide leadership to our cross-functional team (quality, regulatory, engineering, and product development) functions to meet corporate goals, including timelines and costs, for product launches.
  • Performance management: Develop and maintain all necessary reporting to monitor performance and drive continuous improvement of our external manufacturing partners.
  • Monitor performance and recommend action plans that ensure production stability, inventory targets, and customer service are achieved.
  • Budgeting and planning: Sets goals and KPI for the suppliers in line with the company objectives.
  • Partner with the Product Development and Supply Chain teams timely to anticipate new capacity needs and collaborate with suppliers to identify opportunities of capital investments.
  • Develop strategies in partnership with the suppliers and Nature’s Fynd Supply Chain team to assure no interruption in the supply of raw material, pack, or consumable and anticipate any potential interruption in service and develop contingency plans.

Qualifications and Competencies:

  • Master’s degree preferred - undergraduate and/or graduate education in Business, Industrial Management, Production Management or related fields required.
  • Background in food science, chemistry, biology, or other experience in analytical characterization of bioproducts is preferred.
  • Minimum of 10+ years of experience production management, preferably in a Consumer Packaging Goods environment. Technical skills in food production technologies are preferred.
  • Experience in leadership of cross-functional teams and fostering teamwork is required.
  • Familiarity with new product introduction, management of change, and root cause investigation is beneficial.
  • Experience in implementing and maintaining lean manufacturing principles and tools is strongly preferred.
  • Flexibility to work alternative hours and/or shifts as needed to support plant operations.

Professional Qualifications:

  • Excellent verbal & written communication skills. Team player, detail-oriented, proactive with a drive to deliver results.
  • Must demonstrate excellent interpersonal and communications skills, and excellent project management skills.
  • Ability to develop good working relationships with employees at all levels of the company.
  • Strong organizational, analytical and strategic planning skills.
  • Must be able to work independently and represent Nature’s Fynd externally.
  • Strong leadership in cultural change management & managing multiple complex priorities and business connections with direct and indirect stakeholders.
  • Organized and detail oriented with strong analytical skills and an ability to collect- organize- analyze and disseminate clear and actionable operations models.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills - Ability to synthesize information from diverse sources and drive actionable working plans.

Position Requirements:

  • Willingness to travel >30% of the year, potentially internationally.
  • Comfortable working in a startup environment, embrace entrepreneurship and have enthusiasm for innovation.
  • Emphasize personal transparency and accountability.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work independently & with a team.
  • Strong sense of time organization and urgency.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, across organizational functions.
  • Exhibit strong sense of professional and personal integrity.
  • Inherent curiosity and creativity in solving problems to understand how things work.
  • Ability to handle and maintain the confidentiality of highly sensitive information.
  • Versatility, flexibility and willingness to work enthusiastically within changing priorities.
  • Self-motivated, highly organized with demonstrated ability to work multiple projects concurrently


  • Participation in Employee Stock Ownership Program
  • 100% paid employee benefits (medical, dental, vision)
  • Generous Parental leave policy
  • Opportunity to join a company with an aggressive growth trajectory that will revolutionize multiple industries
  • Engaging and dynamic work culture full of innovation and collaboration with your fellow Fynders

Commitment To Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, And Belonging:

  • Nature’s Fynd views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values

EEO Statement:

  • We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law