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SouthWings is Hiring!

The Chesapeake Program Manager will have significant involvement in program design in the region and will coordinate the achievement of those goals.
October 9, 2018

Chesapeake Program Manager

Since 1996, SouthWings has provided a network of volunteer pilots to advocate for the restoration and protection of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Southeast through flight. Conservation groups working to halt destructive resource extraction and use practices, to identify and eliminate pollution sources and events, or to permanently protect ecologically valuable lands use SouthWings flights to become better informed about natural assets while collecting valuable data, including photo and video documentation, for their campaigns. Our flights also inform business leaders, key legislators, landowners, community members, and media representatives who can then influence desired private, legislative, and agency action.

SouthWings staff convene annually at our headquarters in Asheville, NC to refine our strategic vision for the organization. The Advocacy Statement we adopted in early 2017 encapsulates our guiding principles and acknowledges that ultimately all of our work addresses the myriad of interlocking causes and effects of climate change and by exposing its consequences, we hope to mold a better future:

SouthWings flies to uncover and mitigate environmental challenges related to climate change and watershed protection. We welcome a broad range of stakeholders to see firsthand the scope and scale of issues such as sea level rise, water pollution, community vulnerability, deforestation, and mountaintop removal coal mining. Our flights shape perspectives on the actions needed to stop and reverse these problems. We fly to hold polluters accountable and to promote environmental policy and planning, scientific research, public awareness and action, and ecosystem protection.

Along with SouthWings’ involvement in other environmental issues, the Advocacy Statement represents SouthWings’ on-going efforts to increase the efficiency and efficacy of our flights by targeting areas where the aerial perspective can have the most significant impact and where current conservation opportunities are maximized.

SouthWings has a solid organizational structure. It has a strong network of relationships with regional conservation and flight partners. It has an enthusiastic and committed Board of Directors, a talented, experienced, passionate staff, and solid finances. SouthWings currently has five full-time staff and more than fifty volunteer pilots. The organizational culture can be described as professional yet down-to-earth, dedicated to the mission, and committed to setting and achieving high standards.

The Region
SouthEast Conservation 1064SouthWings operates throughout 12 southeastern states and the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Its central offices are located in Asheville, NC, with program staff based in satellite offices on the Gulf Coast and in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Chesapeake Bay program territory encompasses the Chesapeake Bay watershed from Harrisburg, PA south; this includes most of Virginia and Maryland, as well as portions of West Virginia and Delaware. Over the past four years, SouthWings has established a solid base of volunteer pilots and donors in the region. In addition we have built our knowledge base through meeting with partners and conducting preliminary flights to hone in on what issues are best suited to our capacities. The bulk of SouthWings’ current partnerships in the region address sea level rise due to climate change, water quality issues, pollution related to agricultural practices, and land conservation opportunities on the coast and in the river basins feeding the Bay. 

The Position

SouthWings’ Chesapeake Program Manager has the confidence, knowledge, training, and experience to execute the Chesapeake component of this solid, well-positioned, and respected regional organization’s mission. The Program Manager will need to work effectively with a wide range of people: staff, partners, and pilots as well as political, business, and community leaders throughout the region.

The Chesapeake Program Manager will be based in the southern portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and will require travel (up to 30-50% of the time) throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Multi-day trips to the main office in Asheville, NC will be required as well (typically 2-3 times per year), as well as attendance at the annual volunteer pilot fly-in event (hosted in various locations throughout the Southeast). For training, the new Chesapeake Program Manager will be based in the Asheville, NC office for 1-2 weeks.

Location is flexible, but ideal options include the Norfolk, VA area; Williamsburg, VA; Fredericksburg, VA; Charlottesville, VA; Richmond, VA; Washington, DC / Baltimore, MD area; or Annapolis, MD. When not traveling the region, the Program Manager will have the option of working from home or securing a shared office space, if preferred.

Program Leadership

The Chesapeake Program Manager will have significant involvement in program design in the region based on organizational goals, and will coordinate the achievement of those goals, including the following:

►Growth of SouthWings’ leadership role in regional environmental campaigns;

►Maintain and grow its network of relationships and collaborative efforts; and

►Increase initiated flights within campaign themes.

 Communications and Community Relations

►In the Chesapeake region: contribute to the development and implementation of marketing/PR plan including: media relations, constituent outreach, web strategies, aviation publication visibility, etc.; and

►Serve as the primary program spokesperson for the organization in the Chesapeake region.

 Fund Development

►Support efforts to create and implement annual fund development plan for Chesapeake region;

►Assist in securing funding for SouthWings’ work in Chesapeake region through grant-writing;

►Support plans to identify and secure the necessary resources, financial and otherwise, to accomplish SouthWings’ organizational mission.

Volunteer Recruitment

►Support volunteer pilot recruitment and retention efforts to meet the growing demand for SouthWings flights.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Implement, coordinate, and monitor program work;
  • Develop relationships and networks that support SouthWings’ proactive flight work;
  • Travel to meetings, conferences, and strategic gatherings throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed;
  • Research environmental issues of concern in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to identify ways in which SouthWings can support partner campaigns;
  • Track and report partner successes enabled by SouthWings flights;
  • Write grant applications and reports for Chesapeake funders;
  • Provide program recommendations and status reports to the Executive Director;
  • Provide content for social media outreach and website, and;
  • Provide support to pilot recruitment process.


  • Minimum 3 years of program management and/or outreach experience in the Chesapeake conservation community;
  • Strong consensus-building skills;
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience working with diverse populations and multiple constituencies;
  • Creative problem-solver, flexible and capable of adapting to changing priorities;
  • Strategic thinker, capable of moving an organization to new levels;
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently;
  • Familiarity with new technological trends and applications; and
  • Bachelor’s Degree strongly preferred.

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • Proven ability to work autonomously and with a remote team from a home office setting;
  • A demonstrated commitment to organizational excellence;
  • Experience working with volunteers;
  • Sensitivity and passion for the environment; and
  • An interest in aviation and travel.

Commensurate with experience
Health insurance and retirement benefits

Application Process

To apply, please send a letter of interest, resume, and salary requirements via email only to:

SouthWings Search Committee

Please, no phone calls.

 SouthWings is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to recruiting from a broadly diverse pool of qualified candidates for the position.

Position open until filled.

Download full job description by clicking here.

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