Public Lab Research note

Public Lab nonprofit job posting: Open Hardware Community Manager

by Shannon | February 16, 2017 15:43 16 Feb 15:43 | #13934 | #13934


Public Lab nonprofit job posting: Open Hardware Community Manager

Start Date: April 2017
Location: Preference given to applicants in, or willing to relocate to, Somerville (MA), New York (NY), and Portland (OR). Possible consideration to Durham (NC) and New Orleans (LA).
Terms: Full time

The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) is a community -- supported by a 501(c)(3) non-profit -- which develops and applies open source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible Do-It-Yourself techniques, Public Lab creates a collaborative network of practitioners who actively reimagine the human relationship with the environment.

Position Summary

The Public Lab nonprofit is happy to announce a full time job opening for the Open Hardware Community Manager. The application period will be open through March 8, 2017.

The Open Hardware Community Manager leads the Kits Initiative, part of Public Lab's Community Development program. The Kits Initiative's purpose is to scaffold and support community collaborative design through easy-to-get-started kits and access to off-the-shelf tools. This helps people bootstrap their involvement, making the Kits Initiative a critical driver of growth in the Public Lab community.

The Open Hardware Community Manager is responsible for shepherding Public Lab's DIY environmental monitoring kits, which are designed collaboratively by community members, staff and other researchers, from prototype phase to available for sale and loan -- in a public, transparent way. On a given kit, the Open Hardware Community Manager might participate in product discovery, design, assembly, troubleshooting, field testing, and improvement. While this position does not require core competency in electronic circuit design, we expect the Open Hardware Community Manager to be able to rigorously and resourcefully seek input from the diverse Public Lab community to answer questions in order to make decisions on such topics if and when they come up. The Open Hardware Community Manager works closely with other staff to ensure prototype-to-package work flows are documented and identify opportunities for partnerships, community integration, and bringing small runs of new kits, especially those designed by Public Lab community members, to market.

The ideal candidate will be able to:

  • Support Public Lab community members and open hardware developers on small runs and mass production, distribution, and community field testing of their low cost environmental monitoring tools and kits.
  • Shepherd revision timelines and help bring new versions of kits to fruition.
  • Manage Public Lab's Lending Library program, through which environmental monitoring tools (ours and others') will be made available to the public.
  • Identify which kits/tools are strategic to work with from a selling and/or loaning perspective.
  • Oversee Public Lab kits operations.
  • Find and negotiate with manufacturers and suppliers for kit goods/parts.
  • Create written, video and graphical content, including sales material and instructional content, with support from Public Lab Design Working Group.
  • Outreach to blogs, media, journalists, online communities in support of new kits.
  • Support customer service staff in building and maintaining an online Q/A repository for answering technical or logistical queries about the products sold.
  • Support people who are developing and documenting environmental monitoring assays that can be completed with Public Lab kits.
  • Maintain and adhere to the Code of Conduct, nonprofit policies and procedures and core Public Lab values of justice, respect, openness, integrity and exploration.

Skills, Knowledge and Abilities Required

  • Multiple years of experience in DIY fabrication techniques & digital tools used in makerspaces such as laser cutters, CNCs, vinyl cutters, screenprinters, 3d printers, and the community-centered aspects of such spaces.
  • Interest in thinking critically about modes of production and craft traditions
  • Strong background in public science, STEM education, or to a lesser degree, science and technology journalism.
  • Familiarity with open, collaborative models of peer production.
  • Ability to manage workflows that are inclusive of and legible to people with different expertises.
  • Ability to communicate and exchange knowledge in an accessible and engaging way.
  • Interest in working in an open and transparent way with many organizations and partners to build strong and profile-raising alliances.
  • Thinks visually and is practiced in illustrating, communicating, and rallying interest in compelling ideas through imagery and/or diagrams (say, of kits or projects).
  • Fluent in high-bandwidth communication on public online channels such as mailing lists, forums, comments, social media.
  • Desire to be a connector and booster, passionate about avoiding bottlenecks and preventing gatekeeping.

Compensation includes benefits package and is based on experience and qualifications. Please send a cover letter and resume to by March 8th. No phone calls please.

Public Lab is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. We encourage people with different ability sets, people of color, and people of all sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities to apply.

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