Director of Vessels - Engineering

Company Info

Name: Washington State Ferries

Contact Email:

Application URL:


Job Details

Location: Seattle, Washington, 98121, United States

Job Type: Full Time

Min Education: BA/BS/Undergraduate

Min Experience: 5 - 7 years

Required Travel: None

Date Posted: 07/21/2014


Washington’s ferry system is the largest in the United States, serving eight counties within Washington and the Province of British Columbia in Canada. Counties served include Pierce, King, Snohomish, Kitsap, Skagit, Island, San Juan, and Jefferson Counties. Ferries existing system has 10 routes and 20 terminals that are served by 28 vessels.

Currently, the Washington State Ferries (WSF) Division is seeking a Director of Vessels to serve as a member of the senior executive team. This position is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the state’s ferry system and oversees the Port Engineers, the Eagle Harbor Maintenance Facility, the fleet operating engineers, and materials management activities to ensure safe, reliable, and efficient vessel operations to support the mission of WSF.  The successful applicant will be responsible for strategic and long range vessel maintenance planning, department policy and the development and upkeep of cost containment initiatives to ensure budgetary targets are met.

This highly visible position will participate on several organizational committees including the WSF Fuel Study Working Group, Safety and Security Management Policy Committee, union negotiation teams for the Marine Engineer Beneficial Association (MEBA) and the Puget Sound Metal Trades.  This person also leads the WSF fuel initiatives program and serves as a member of the Department of Agriculture Technical Advisory Group and Alternative Fuels Working Group.  Additionally, this position will be expected to establish and maintain relationships with union officials; industry, community, and civic leaders; state and federal agency officials; news media representatives; state legislators; U.S. Coast Guard and others.

The ideal candidate for this position thrives in an intense, fast paced, rapidly changing work environment.  Interpersonal relationships building is a key element of the position and the executive ability to work with all levels of the workforce is critical. The candidate should have a solid knowledge of engineering, be interested in leading edge developments and know about extending the life cycle of the current fleet using LCCM principles.  They possess a proven managerial record and a talent at bringing diverse groups together and making proper use of the team assigned to them.  They are very reliable and work with high ethical standards.

This position will perform the following work:

  • Plan, lead, direct, organize and control the work performed by the Vessels department. Assure appropriate and optimum use of the organization's resources and enhance the effectiveness of employees through the organization.
  • Develop, implement, and maintain programs and policies that assure budgetary control and that reduce costs.
  • Form and lead the implementation of organizational policies and strategies for safe, reliable, and efficient customer service delivery for WSF’s 22 million annual passengers and 10 million vehicles.
  • Construct organizational policies and strategies for identification of maintenance, preservation, and improvement needs in order to deliver the WSF vessel capital and maintenance program effectively and efficiently.
  • Develop strategies for responding to media, the legislature, and the Transportation Commission enabling ongoing effective communications.
  • Direct strategies for labor negotiations for various maritime bargaining units.
  • Serve as the executive member of the Safety and Security Policy Committee.
  • Develop and approve policies and plans surrounding personnel actions, corrective / disciplinary actions, affirmative action and employee recognition programs and all staffing resource allocations and consultant work.
  • Direct activities related to material procurement, inventory and warehousing of WSF assets.
  • Maintain the highest standards of personal / professional and ethical conduct and support the State's goals for a diverse workforce.




Employment, Education and Criminal History Verification

Due to the nature of this position a comprehensive background check will be conducted on the final candidate(s) prior to hire.  Applicants will be required to sign a release of authorization prior to conducting the background check. Applicants will be notified prior to any adverse hire action taken as a result of a background check.  Information received from the background check does not automatically make a candidate ineligible for employment. However, candidates that provide false or misleading information in their application and/or authorization may be eliminated from any further consideration. If you have questions regarding this process, please contact the recruiter listed above.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is an equal opportunity employer. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, and disabled and Vietnam era veterans are encouraged to apply. Persons with disabilities needing assistance in the application process, or those needing this job announcement in an alternative format may call the Talent Acquisition Unit, Office of Human Resources, at 360.705.7064 or email 

Job Requirements

From the hiring authority’s perspective, viable and competitive candidates should meet or exceed many of these desirable qualifications:

  • Post-secondary or Graduate degree in related field.
  • USCG Licensed as a Chief Engineer of Motor Vessels.
  • Executive level experience and demonstrated accomplishments as a senior level manager in a marine organization with some similar characteristics as WSF.
  • Background in vessel maintenance, repair, construction, preservation and improvement in a marine organization approaching the size and complexity as WSF is a must have; knowledge shipyard and project management including capital expenditure / purchasing.
  • Proven ability to think creatively and develop strategic goals for the maintenance and preservation planning of the fleet.
  • Knowledge of budgetary controls and cost containment techniques.
  • Principles of short and long term strategic initiatives and project management of complex multidiscipline and politically sensitive projects; ability to manage multiple consultant and in-house management teams in an environment of competing demands and priorities.
  • Excellent communications skills both in the written and verbal form.  The ability to communicate with a diverse group to include: labor union officials, regulatory agencies, industry, community, and civic leaders; state and federal agency officials; news media representatives; state legislators; ability to empower and mentor a diverse staff and have a commitment to use quality management principles.
  • Effective management skill that empowers, leads, supervises and mentors a diverse staff of multidisciplinary teams and demonstrates a commitment to the use of quality principles and strategies; principles of strategic policy development for effective management and supervision with an emphasis on human resource management, mentoring and conflict resolution.
  • Strategize effective policies and plans in a highly unionized environment.
  • Knowledge of rules / regulations of governing bodies including US Coast Guard, Department of Ecology, Labor and Industries, International Maritime Organization, Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and OSHA as they relate to the operation and maintenance of vessels and those duties performed by the engine room crews and Eagle Harbor personnel.
  • Knowledge of Safety Management System (SMS) policies and procedures and the ability to implement them effectively in the course of duties.
  • Experience directing maintenance management activities including resolving bidding protests, contract change orders, claims and dispute settlement and contract awards.
  • Develop policies and plans dealing with personnel actions, corrective / disciplinary actions and affirmative action.
  • Computer based skills with ability to operate Computer Maintenance Management Systems and MS Office applications.

Application Instructions

Salary: $98,208.00 - $125,952.00

How to Apply: Applications for this recruitment will be accepted electronically. Please hit the large apply button at the top of this announcement, you may need to set up an account profile. To be considered for this position, you will need to attach a resume and letter of interest to your electronic application and answer the supplemental questions.  Your letter of interest should describe how your experience, training and education make you a viable and competitive candidate for this position.

Contact us: For inquiries about this position, please contact Brian Quinn at 206-389-8532 or email to


Please reference recruitment number 2014-WMS-023.

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