Project Manager – Aerospace Tooling

  • Location: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
  • Type: Direct Hire
  • Job #104
Seeking Project Manager for fast paced Aerospace Tooling environment.

Position: Project Manager – Aerospace Tooling
Location: Suburban Detroit, MI area (On-site position). Relocation support available.
Please Note: This position must meet Export Control compliance requirements, therefore a “US Person” as defined by 22.C.F.R. § is required. This position also requires a candidate to current hold or can obtain a security clearance.

Client and Position Summary:
Our client is a world-renowned, single-source provider of production and automated assembly systems for the aerospace and defense industry. Their work spans both build-to-print and design-build projects. They produce a full suite of both mold and assembly tooling required for the aerospace manufacturing market, including the largest Invar molds ever made— making them the largest tooling group in the industry. They also design and build complete turnkey integrated assembly lines. The nature of their work is non-repetitive, development programs. Most programs span 2-3 years, with larger programs spanning 5-10 years. Current programs are diversified across Defense (aircraft, rockets, etc.), EVTOLS, Spacecraft and Commercial aircraft, across a global customer base.

The MI operation where this person will reside spans 2 facilities, approximately 300k ft2  and 300 employees. The business is fast growing, with ample facility space and capacity planning in place to support the growth. The current PM’s have been with the company for several years, and some including this new hire are more recent employees hired to support their growth and to replace 2 team members who have recently retired. The team is described as tight-knit and supportive of each other. Due to the project-based nature of the work, the environment is fast paced, demanding, and can be stressful for candidates who prefer a more structured steady production type environment. In order to ensure the success of the new hire, during the interview process, candidates who lack direct experience with fast-paced Aerospace Tooling project-based work will be asked to demonstrate similar project work based agility in an environment with similar KPI’s, and asked to clearly convey how they see this expertise successfully transferring into an Aerospace Tooling environment. 

This is an opportunity for a Project Manager interested in leading the “latest and greatest” aerospace development programs, within a small/mid-sized, highly collaborative and growing organization.  The Project Manager will manage a portfolio of capital equipment projects to build the world's aircraft (airplanes, helicopters, rockets) for major aircraft OEM's and their sub-tier suppliers.  Typical projects include design, build and installation of mold tooling for fabricating composite parts, assembly jigs & fixtures, work platforms, automation (such as auto drill / rivet machines), up to and including full assembly line design and build for the aircraft.

Essential Job Functions Include:

Performance, Cost & Schedule Management:
The primary role of the Project Manager (PM) is to manage the interrelated criteria of performance, cost, and schedule throughout the design and build process. This ensures that the project stays within the contractual boundaries. In response to customer requests for schedule improvements or technical changes, the PM must collaborate with internal teams to develop solutions. They are responsible for maintaining an Integrated Master Schedule using MS Project. The PM takes ownership of assigned projects and is accountable for meeting customer and internal commitments related to scheduled, cost, customer requests, and profit. This is achieved through effective collaboration with internal teams to execute project requirements.

Customer Relationships:
Building and maintaining external and internal customer relationships is a fundamental aspect of the PM’s role. The PM is expected to establish trust and confidence with customers through proactive and appropriate communication at various levels, using multiple communication channels, including project status updates and issue presentations. The successful candidate can manage difficult situations with integrity and honesty while representing our client. They contribute to growing market share by leveraging their performance on existing project with the customer.

Risk and Opportunities:
The PM is responsible for tracking and effectively communicating risks and opportunities on projects. They collaborate with internal and external teams to develop strategies for mitigating risks and capitalizing on opportunities to enhance schedule and profitability. The PM conducts variance analysis with support from the Finance team.

Change Control:
Understanding customer requirements and distinguishing between needs and wants is critical. The PM manages changes in scope by working with appropriate team members. This process includes recognizing changes, preparing change requests, submitting them, and capturing the associated cost and schedule impacts in compliance with the contract. The goal is to generate additional profit for our client while meeting customer needs. Key points of control are during the proposal phase, contract acceptance phase, kick-off, and design phase. The PM negotiates with the customer to finalize changes and capture value for our client.

The PM plays a leadership role in a matrix organization, leading project, and shared resource operation teams to achieve program and organizational goals. They facilitate communication, organization, motivation, and inspiration within internal teams to meet project objectives. Individual accountability is ensured through clear actions and expectations. The PM promotes collaboration through well-organized and purposeful meetings and builds and maintains high levels of trust through strong teamwork, empathy, and transparency. Depending on their level within the organization, they may also oversee other PMs or team members.

Position Qualifications/Requirements:

  • Bachelors degree is required. BS Engineering (Industrial, Manufacturing Technology, Industrial), Construction Management, or Business with concentration in Project Management preferred. MBA and/or PMP certification are a plus.
  • 5 years min experience in a Program / Project Management role required
  • Strong verbal & written communication skills.  Excellent presentation skills for simplifying complex issues and status.
  • Ability to read blueprints / CAD models and a basic understanding of GD&T principles.
  • Ability to understand a P&L statement and principles of cash management applied to a project, and strong Excel spreadsheet skills for analysis.
  • Ability to favorably negotiate disputes (financial, contractual, technical) while maintaining positive relationships.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Project and other platforms within Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel).
  • Ability to understand the basics of contracts and establishing compliance matrices.
  • Exceptionally organized and details oriented.
  • Adaptable and capable of thriving in a fast-paced environment with high-impact, dynamic projects.
  • Willing to support travel primarily locally during the business day, although projects may require more out-of-the-area and overnight travel (i.e., customer site visits).
  • This position must meet Export Control compliance requirements, therefore a “US Person” as defined by 22. C.F.R. is required.
  • Department of Defense Secret Security Clearance: Though not required of this role, individuals that have current, previous, or are willing to go through the process to obtain and maintain during the duration of employment are preferred.

Please Note: Our client is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer for Minority/Female/Veteran/Individuals with a Disability. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status.

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