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R&D Business Unit Leader

Date: Oct 4, 2017

Location: Fontana, CA, US

Company: James Hardie




James Hardie is the #1 brand of siding in America. We invented fiber cement, and over 5.5 million homes later, we continue to set the standard for premium siding and trim.  Of course, to be the best, you have to work with the best.  That’s why we invest in more than just quality products; we also invest in our people.  We take pride in our employees and it’s clear that our employees take pride in working at James Hardie too.


James Hardie Building Products employs over 2,500 (2,200+ in U.S.) people who generate revenue of $1.9 billion a year.  James Hardie Industries is a publicly traded company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ticker: JHX.AX) and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker: JHX).  We have 9 manufacturing plants located across the USA and corporate offices in Chicago, Illinois and Orange County, California.


Position Summary


The Technical Manager for JH Research will manage the day to day progress of next generation technology and product development projects.  The incumbent will lead a team of technologists, engineers, and manufacturing and market/business development professionals through concept development, feasibility study, technology/product development and implementation to implement developed technology and launch of new products. This position will report to the Director of Research and Development and this will have a career path for Technologist who wants to pursue the Director of R&D path since the position offers more exposure to the business as a whole. This position will give more hands on experience working with different functional teams, managing projects and leading teams working on multiple projects while broadening their knowledge of the whole organization. This position will work very closely with product development leaders, business development managers and other technical/functional managers.


Position Responsibilities


The incumbent is accountable for, but not limited to the following responsibilities: 


Develop strategy and direction of technology/product development projects.  (50%)

  • Lead multiple teams of technologists, engineers, manufacturing and market/business development professionals to deliver innovative solutions in existing product lines, new products, process and/or technology.
  • Manage core research team of 5 technology and service groups.
  • Effectively managing the stage gate process to be able to meet all milestones
  • Build and maintain collaborative relationships with internal colleagues and customers and external vendors and service providers; (20%) 
  • Communicating project progress accurately and timely to Technical and Business leaders. 

Supervise/manage direct reports, including technical management team, principle scientists and executive administrator.

  • Provide direction and guidance for leaders within the R&D organization in various committees, work groups, task force teams. 

Maximize operational efficiency.  (10%)

  • Technical service functions (testing lab, workshop, drawing office and building maintenance)

•     Administrative functions (HR, finance, and safety)

•     Functions/project teams (C13 project, Engineering, intellectual property, and special projects)


Position Requirements


This position will require leadership, project management skills, knowledge and experience in building and construction industry, material science and/or engineering, and business acumen. A successful candidate for this position should have the following competencies as a minimum:


  • Leadership and management skills

People skills – ability to motivate and influence others to do what needs to be done, even if they are not direct reports, as well as ability to sustain a team through difficult periods and still deliver results.

  • Planning/organizing skills – ability to understand priorities, determine the critical path, develop contingency plans
  • Communication - ability to listen, to clearly articulate objectives so that they are understood, and to provide both recognition and critical feedback
  • Formal project management training or equivalent experience
  • Team Leader Training and 3+ yrs experience leading a team


  • Technical Skills
    • Capability of quick learning
    • Knowledge and experience in material formulation development
    • Knowledge and experience in process and engineering development
    • Knowledge and experience in chemical, physical and mechanical characterization of materials
    • Basic fiber cement formulation, manufacturing and process knowledge
    • Building material durability and product performance testing knowledge
    • Best installation practices knowledge and field Installation experience


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:



  • Project management experience (PMP certification is a plus but not required)
  • Technical management experience
  • Experience leading cross-functional teams whose members may not be direct reports
  • Ability to effectively communicate with all levels of management and with other aspects of an operating business (e.g. marketing, sales, manufacturing, logistics)
  • Experience with Stage/Gate or Phase/Gate development processes is a plus
  • Knowledge of regulatory standards and code approval processes is a plus




  • Minimum of a B.S. in Engineering (Civil, Mechanical, Chemical or Material Sciences).
  • Master's degree, specifically a MBA, preferred.
  • 7+ years in a product or technology development environment, with five or more years of experience managing successful development projects.





James Hardie is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran status, among other things, or as a qualified individual with a disability. Equal Employment Opportunity is the law.

Nearest Major Market: Fontana
Nearest Secondary Market: Los Angeles

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