Chief Program Officer

American Conservation Experience - Staff

Job Description


American Conservation Experience (ACE) is a dynamic non-profit organization dedicated to providing rewarding environmental service opportunities that harness the idealism and energy of a volunteer labor force to help restore America's public lands. ACE has a national reputation for providing exceptional training and support to enable crews to safely and economically implement technically complex and physically demanding conservation projects for the US Forest Service, BLM, National Park Service, USFWS and numerous state and local land management partners.

Job Title: Chief Program Officer

Location: ACE office location or remote eligible.

Department/Division: Office of the President (Executive)

Status: Regular Full-Time, Salaried (Exempt)

Reports To: CEO/President

Schedule/Hours: Full-time, 40 hours/weeks with additional hours as needed. Typical work hours of 8:30am-5:00pm (Monday - Friday) local time with some adjustment expected to accommodate specific projects and program needs. Some evening and weekend hours may be occasionally required.

Start Date: Open until filled


Position Summary:

The Chief Program Officer (CPO) is responsible for the overarching leadership, development, strategy and fiscal oversight of ACE's Conservation Programs. Under guidance of the CEO/President, the CPO will directly lead and manage a team of talented and savvy national program directors and staff; develop and support the implementation of diverse and meaningful resource management project opportunities, and create and successfully manage operating and project budgets for the Program Department. With the leadership team, the CPO will develop and help drive an overall programmatic vision and strategy for ACE. The CPO is ultimately responsible for ensuring that ACE programs are compliant with financial, safety and legal requirements while continually pursuing innovative strategic sustainable growth and new program design and opportunities. The CPO will look beyond the current year and is able to visualize and implement new program design and foster continuous innovation in programming for the organization.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

Program Development and Management

  • Promotes and engages in partnership development to ensure high satisfaction.
  • Responds to new program initiatives and opportunities.
  • Ensures that program retention goals are met.
  • Prioritizes program opportunities to ensure that ACE is doing the work we want to do.
  • Understands trends in the conservation corps industry and looks to the future for new program models.
  • Develops and implements business processes including vetting of new and existing program and partners.
  • Establishes annual metrics and ensures they are met.
  • Ensures that programs are compliant with federal, state and or local requirements. This includes but is not limited to annual reporting, pricing and documentation.
  • Provide direction or oversight to ensure organizational grants and agreements are both compliant and effectively managed to balance partner and organizational needs
  • Leads an annual program safety audit in coordination with the Sr Director of Risk Management.



  • Oversees the development and management of the Program Operations budget.
  • Supports development of National Directors in the development and management of Division budgets.
  • Works with National Directors to update and course correct throughout the year as revenue and expenses change.
  • Collaborates with the Chief Operating Officer to ensure Program has tools and systems to successfully implement and sustain program initiatives
  • As a part of the Executive Management Team (EMT), promotes new revenue opportunities, develops business plans, and determines return on investment (ROI) for feasibility.


Staff Management:

  • Ensures that ACE various programs operate with one voice, leveraging resources and talent while fostering a culture of excellence.
  • Manages senior program staff who are responsible for implementing programs designed to achieve organizational goals
  • Provide effective staff management, support and mentoring to program leads to ensure smooth operation for each program.
  • Attract, develop, coach, and retain high-performance team members, empowering them to elevate their level of responsibility, span of control, and performance.
  • Foster a team-oriented, supportive, accountable work environment at ACE.
  • Maintain the utmost professionalism and confidentiality in sensitive communications with members and staff.
  • Ensure the implementation of field training programs and safety protocols are followed and consistent across all programs.
  • Work with staff to develop systems to ensure consistent, high-quality project management.
  • Provide leadership in development of inter-team communication and cohesiveness, sustaining culture and supporting staff during organizational growth.
  • Continually review and adjust as necessary Central Program staffing structure to effectively support Program Department and ACE organizational needs



  • Represent ACE at a national level at conferences, meetings and with partners.
  • Provide strategic input to the CEO for new business models and program opportunities.
  • Participate in strategic decision-making processes regarding the direction of ACE's programs or services
  • Ensure effective roll out, implementation, and evaluation of new programs and initiatives.
  • Identify and develop new programs and initiatives within ACE
  • Work collaboratively with the senior leadership team to integrate cross program activities and functions.
  • Collaborate with the senior leadership team to implement special projects aimed at increasing program and organizational capacity.
  • Attend quarterly Board of Director meetings.
  • Serve as a member of ACE Leadership Team.
  • Advance ACE strategic vision through program excellence to ensure that ACE is the program and partner of choice.
  • Enhance, flesh out, and implement organizational vision as established in ACE's Strategic Plan.
  • Adhere to ACE safety policies and procedures.
  • Foster a culture and environment that positions ACE for success and ensures that ACE is the program of choice for partners, members and staff.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Performance Measures

  • Develop and utilize KPIs including but not limited to retention and new business goals. to assure that ACE programs are of the highest quality with strong partner, staff and member satisfaction
  • Oversee program design, implementation, and evaluation to ensure that programs meet their goals and objectives
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of programs to ensure that they are achieving their goals
  • Develop the necessary systems, processes, and tools to better support the facilitation, collection, and sharing of knowledge that is generated by the programs.
  • Annual pricing and cost presentation are developed
  • Analyze internal reports to evaluate program effectiveness using an outcomes-based approach and ensure ACE's ability to anticipate and effectively respond to changing partner needs.
  • Program Agreements and invoicing are current and accurate
  • Programs demonstrate smart growth and operate within budget parameters.
  • Program staff are mentored, supported, and have opportunities for professional development.
  • Programs follow risk management and safety policies, procedures, and protocols.


Required Experience and Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree or extensive experience both administrative and field based required.
  • 10+ years of experience with demonstrated increased responsibility working in the outdoor, youth development or conservation corps industry.
  • Budget development and management
  • Experience working with federal, state and non governmental partners.
  • Proven ability to direct and oversee major projects and departments, having achieved objectives and remained within budget guidelines.
  • Excellent business interpersonal communication and analytical skills.
  • Strong background with risk management and safety policies & procedures.
  • Strong computer skills and high competence in using a variety of software programs including Office.
  • Ability to supervise, lead and mentor employees in in person and remotely
  • Effective team player and collaboration skills.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to prioritize multiple projects and initiatives.
  • Ability to effectively work with a diverse range of people.
  • Ability to think creatively, organize tasks, work independently and as part of a team, and meet deadlines.
  • Willingness and ability to communicate and coordinate internally within ACE and with external stakeholders and partners.
  • Must be flexible and eager to engage the highly mobile and predominantly remote teams that make up ACE.
  • Capable of supervising and supporting direct and indirect reports, both remotely and in-person as needed.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity, understanding and the ability to effectively interact with individuals (internal and external) from diverse cultural, socioeconomic, ability and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Commitment to ACE's mission of public service through youth development and volunteerism.
  • Ability to receive and provide constructive feedback.
  • Ability to prepare and maintain records and reports.
  • Ability to understand and carry out oral and written instructions.
  • A deep and continuing interest in the welfare and professional development of ACE participants.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodations.


Other Requirements:

  • Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Valid driver's license and an insurable driving record.
  • Proficient in English.
  • Ability to pass a federal criminal background check.
  • Willing to abide by ACE Policy and Federal Drug Free workplace policies and laws. ACE reserves the right to drug test at any time.


Physical Demands, Work Environmental and Working Conditions:

  • Physical Demands: Requires frequent sitting, standing, walking, using hands to handle or feel, reaching with hands and arms, talks and hears. Manual dexterity required for use of computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment. Occasionally required to stoop, kneel, climb stairs, and/or crouch (all physical demands are required with or without reasonable accommodations).
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus.
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 10 lbs., occasionally moves up to 25 pounds.
  • Environmental: Mainly indoor, office environment conditions; indoor air quality is good and temperature is controlled.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate noise such as in a business office with equipment and light traffic.
  • Travel: This position requires some regional/domestic travel required to project/partner locations

Compensation: Annualized starting salary of $120,000-$135,000 (assuming 40 hours/week 52 weeks/year), depending on experience.

Benefits: ACE offers competitive medical and ancillary plans (health, mental health, dental, vision and other supplemental benefits). ACE Staff members are also eligible to participate in ACE's retirement plan with a 2% employer contribution.

Holidays, Vacation, and Sick Time: As an ACE staff member, you will be eligible to accrue up to 80 hours of paid vacation time annually during your first two years of continuous employment, then it increases to 120 hours annually. ACE observes 13 paid annual holidays (floating holiday flexibility). ACE provides 10 days (or 80 hours) of paid sick time annually.


Additional Benefits:

Outdoor Perks - As an ACE staff member, you will be eligible to receive pro deals which include deep discounts on outdoor gear providing 30 - 50% off retail prices on 100s of established outdoor gear brands.

Phone Provided or Reimbursement Option: You have the option to select one of the following options: ACE work phone device/number provided or monthly phone reimbursement for personal device/number use.

Travel: Domestic travel to ACE and/or partner locations throughout the states and/or US territories, pending safety related considerations.

To Apply: Please submit a resume and cover letter describing your relevant experience and why you are a good fit for this position. Please submit your application to the online application link. Qualified applicants may be contacted directly to schedule an interview. All application materials must be submitted to be considered for this opportunity.

ACE values an inclusive workforce - if you meet at least 70 percent of the qualifications, we want to hear from you!

American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

Learn more about ACE on our WEBSITE or check out our INSTAGRAM!

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