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Principal Manager, Contracts & Grants in Mountain View, CA at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 10/21/2018

Job Snapshot

Job Description

USRA is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, planetary science, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers.

SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, manages SOFIA's science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA; Columbia, Md.) and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart).

Position Summary:

The Principal Manager will be the senior functional leader responsible for the day-to-day contracting operations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) program located in Moffett Field, CA.  This includes leading: proposal preparations; contract, subcontract, subgrant, and task order negotiations; and all contract-related administration efforts.  The Principal Manager will assist with the development and implementation of organizational initiatives, provide direction to subordinates on how to handle complex contract issues, serve as a spokesperson on complex and major contracts, and act as the primary contracts consultant to senior management as a direct report to the Director of Contracts in Columbia, MD.

The ideal candidate will have experience working with cost-plus type contracts and complex subcontracts, strong knowledge of the FAR and NASA-related procurement regulations, the ability to anticipate and/or recognize contractual/compliance issues and risks in order to provide counsel to the Program Director and notify/work with a functional Business Manager as required, and provide subcontractor oversight.  A key aspect of this position’s role in the integrated program team is to perform timely cradle-to-grave contract administration while also distinguishing potential issues that require visibility and the attention of senior leaders and stakeholders.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Deliver expert guidance and functional leadership to program directors by identifying problems, assessing risk, and delivering contract and subcontract solutions
  • Draft, issue, and negotiate routine and complex contractual instruments including non-disclosure agreements, requests for proposals, and special terms and conditions
  • Oversee contract performance for conformance to original proposal and maintain continual reviews to ensure that all terms and conditions are met and that the contract is in accordance with legal requirements, customer specifications, and government regulations
  • Focus on continual improvement in the speed, quality, and simplicity of contract formation and management processes, without compromising compliance
  • Build a positive working relationship with clients and other functional members of the team
  • Support audit-related activities to include rate submissions, negotiations, and approvals
  • Maintain contractual records and correspondence to meet federal audit requirements
  • Provide leadership within the Contracts function to a junior-level contracts professional
  • Develop material and conduct training to grow institutional and individual knowledge bases
  • Performs all other duties, as assigned

Required Qualifications:

  • Position requires U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident Status
  • Must possess the ability to obtain and maintain a federal security clearance


  • Requires a BA or equivalent from an accredited university.

Required Experience:

  • Minimum of eight (8) years of contracts experience in Department of Defense or Aerospace contracting.
  • Extensive knowledge of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
  • Grants management, in addition to FAR-experience, will rate favorably, though not required
  • Experience using Deltek Costpoint and having advanced Excel skills is preferred
  • Finance or accounting knowledge favored, but not required
  • Membership in the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) and, certifications such as the Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM), is a plus

Working Conditions:

This job operates in a professional environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. Extensive online usage. This is largely a sedentary role.


Willing to travel to office and customer locations and work sites

Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity


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