Director of Government Relations for Non-Defense Programs

01 Sep, 2023


Director of Government Relations for Non-Defense Programs

Washington, DC

About Us

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, protect, and preserve our world. We provide real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and use proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence. Our fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate without the need for a crewed support vessel. Saildrone works with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing into the eye of a category 4 hurricane to obtain new data about how storms intensify, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, and counting fish biomass to inform sustainable fishery management, to mapping the ocean floor and reducing illegal fishing and drug trafficking. As a result of our work, Saildrone has been included on Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, earned an Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, won Best Tech For Good from the Timmy Awards, and was recognized by Andreessen Horowitz’s American Dynamism 50 list of the Top 50 Companies Kickstarting American Renewal. Our first-annual Atlantic hurricane mission with NOAA was included as one of The New York Times’ 21 Things That Happened for the First Time in 2021 and Popular Science’s 100 Greatest Innovations of 2021.

We are based in Alameda, CA, with offices in Washington DC and St. Petersburg, FL, and operate our missions worldwide. Saildrone is backed by top-tier investors in the frontier tech and sustainability sectors, including Social Capital, Capricorn, Lux Capital, BOND Capital, and Emerson Collective.

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.


The Role

Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Government Relations, the Director for Non-Defense Programs is a government relations professional and advisor on legislative and public policy matters related to Saildrone’s civilian customer base. Externally, the Director’s chief objective is to help create a favorable legislative and regulatory environment within which Saildrone can maximize sales to government and commercial customers in the non-defense arena. In doing so, the Director for Non-Defense Programs is responsible for assisting with the development and implementation of Saildrone’s legislative and executive branch advocacy strategies and working in close alignment with the public sector and commercial sales teams. This position resides within the Government Relations team at Saildrone but is expected to work cross-functionally with the Sales and Account Management teams to ensure full awareness of any legislative, funding, or regulatory issues communicated by existing or potential customers.



  • Assist with the development and execution of a strategic government relations approach that facilitates business with non-defense customers such as the Department of Commerce (NOAA), NASA, Department of the Interior (USGS, BOEM), and the Department of Energy through strong relationships and persuasive advocacy with legislators, regulators and other government leaders.
  • Advocate for U.S. federal and state authorizations, appropriations, regulations and policies favorable to Saildrone’s non-defense government and commercial business units and functions.
  • Monitor and provide counsel on legislative and regulatory issues to determine business impact; develop strategic and tactical plans to manage the issues externally and internally; help Saildrone anticipate and project legislative and budgetary trends; monitor public sector procurement developments to identify risks and opportunities.
  • Facilitate the connection of sales team members to key government officials responsible for procurement and purchasing decisions, including senior leaders and contract officers.
  • Cultivate trusting and enduring relationships with federal, state, local, and foreign government officials and their staffs.
  • Advocate on Saildrone’s behalf to advance legislative and executive branch priorities.
  • Engage with and leverage relevant Washington-based trade associations and consultants to achieve legislative, regulatory, and policy objectives.
  • Prepare materials for senior executive team members including remarks, briefing memos, presentations, and other materials related to government relations and business development activities.
  • Coordinate Hill meetings, submit supporting materials, and track the progress of submissions.
  • Represent Saildrone at political events, external meetings, and conferences as needed.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Required Experience

  • Must have a bachelor’s degree.
  • 3-5 years of House or Senate experience as committee professional staff or personal office staff.
  • 3-5 years of experience within one or more of the non-defense federal entities listed above, and/or a government relations firm lobbying these issues.
  • Substantive expertise in a non-defense policy area germane to Saildrone’s business, such as ocean science, offshore wind, or fisheries.
  • Hands-on experience with the federal appropriations process is strongly preferred.
  • Must be willing and able to brief congressional staff and executive branch officials in person and over video.
  • 10% domestic travel required.

Skills and Abilities

  • Strong team player, comfortable working collaboratively and transparently with corporate leadership and business units.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to quickly analyze and synthesize complex information into focused informational memoranda and advocacy materials.
  • Business and commercial acumen to understand Saildrone’s business and the potential impact of legislative and regulatory action.
  • Ability to work in a fast paced environment, managing multiple priorities effectively.
  • Ability to deal with unexpected or last-minute requests, while executing more regular tasks and projects.
  • Demonstrable integrity and discretion with sensitive and confidential information.
  • Must be in good professional standing.

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to work at a desk and computer. Ability to travel domestically.

Location: Location: This position is based in Washington, D.C., and is not remote. Saildrone’s DC office is conveniently located at Metro Center in downtown Washington, D.C., between the White House and Capitol Hill. Only candidates with proper permits to work in the United States and a willingness to report to the office full-time and in-person will be considered.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.
  • Enhanced Parental Leave Programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, life insurance, 401k plan
A reasonable estimate of the current range is $149,400-$198,000 annually.

Catch up on the latest news about us:

The Tiny Craft Mapping Superstorms at Sea – The New York Times

Saildrone Takes the Wraps Off its Voyager Autonomous Research Vehicle – TechCrunch

An Underwater Mountain was Newly Discovered off California Coast – San Francisco Chronicle

The Quest for CO2: You Can’t Capture What You Can’t Find – Inside Unmanned Systems

Hacking the Anthropocene with Survivalist Robots [VIDEO] – Freethink

Here’s What Hurricane Fiona’s Surf Looked Like, from Atop a 50-foot Wave – The Washington Post

An Unprecedented View Inside a Hurricane – EOS

Meet the sailing robots trying to solve climate change – The Hill

They Sailed Into a Hurricane, Now These Unmanned Saildrones are Seeking Data on Our Carbon Uptake – CNN

Saildrone Featured Videos Playlist


We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Individual compensation packages are based on geographic location, scope of the role, relevant experience, and the ability to deal with complexity and problem solve within our organization, among other factors

Individuals who require employer sponsorship to remain employed in the United States now or in the future will not be considered for hire for certain positions.

Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.





Job posted: 2023-09-01