Executive Director for the Center for Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship

Vermont Technical College

Job Description

The Executive Director for the Center for Agriculture & Food Entrepreneurship will lead a team of staff to co-create, manage, and evolve the applied educational offerings at VTSU in the area of sustainable agriculture and food system development. The Executive Director will oversee the administrative, operational, development and financial functions of the Center, including developing annual strategic and operational plans as well as strong involvement in student recruitment. The Executive Director will coordinate with the Academic Dean and Faculty on all academic programming and delivery.


• Lead the overall development, maintenance and growth of the Center for Agriculture & Food Entrepreneurship.
• Working with the Dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies, Executive Director of VSCS Workforce, AVP for Workforce, Community and Economic Development, and Agriculture Department Chair to develop a highly coordinated and dynamic team of full-time and adjunct faculty, and staff who can deliver high quality, applied, degree and non-degree educational offerings across a variety of modalities (on- campus and remotely).
• Chair the VTSU Working Lands Committee per the Working Lands Committee Charter.
• Coordinate with the Dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies, Agriculture Department Chair, faculty and staff as appropriate to develop certificate, degree and embedded industry recognized credentials in academic programming.
• Coordinate with the Office of Workforce, Community and Economic Development and faculty to fulfill the academic mission of the Center, including plans for professional continuing education and training, new short courses as regular Center offerings, employer and farmer workshops, and certificates. And other education and training opportunities.
• Work with the President, VP of Business Operations, Dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies, and Agriculture Program Advisory Board, to develop, execute, and update as needed, the business plan for the Center’s development, operations and strategy.
• Make appropriate presentations to the Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) Board of Trustees and others as needed.
• Develop and execute the financial sustainability model for the Center, ensuring continuous positive net financial contribution to the College.
• Develop and administer the Center’s specific operating budget, including implementing controls for the management and disbursement of program funds and manage all appropriate grants with the Grants Compliance Office.
• Prepare and maintain applicable financial and performance reports, internal reporting and any granting, philanthropic organizations and/or other funding or operational partner relationships.
• Achieve revenue and other annual budgetary targets.
• Assist admissions and marketing with student recruitment including outreach, tours, presentations and other appropriate activities.
• Significantly expand student enrollment across all modalities and educational offerings in order to achieve financial sustainability within three-years.
• Collaborate with VTSU staff to maximize additional funding support as needed for capital expenditures, new program development, and cultivate a strong alumni support network.
• Working with marketing staff, direct an ongoing public relation, media relations and marketing program to attract more students, promote the Center and VTSU academic programs.
• Routinely interact and communicate with a variety of agriculture and food systems related businesses, entities (e.g., VT Sustainable Jobs Fund, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, VTSU Ag and Food Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee), and other committees that are working for the benefit and growth of Vermont’s ag and food systems ecosystem.
• Work closely with the Assistant Director of Secondary Education Initiatives to expand middle and high school outreach and develop pathways to the degree programs.
• Initiate, develop and maintain contacts with a broad range of agencies, organizations, food related business leaders to develop partnership supports for farm and food systems business owners.
• Stay abreast of current developments and trends in the field of agriculture and food systems technologies generally.
• With the Agriculture Department Chair, serve on the FARMS 2+2 Committee with the Agency of Agriculture and UVM.
• Coordinate the hiring of all appropriate Center staff in accordance within VTSU hiring standards and procedures.
• Oversee the preparation of requests for proposals, project contracts, and memoranda of understanding with other educational and operational partners.
• Coordinate with the Agriculture Department Chair and faculty to assure compliance with project plans and program delivery.
• Some formal classroom teaching may be possible based on the academic qualifications and discipline of the Executive Director
• Meet with the President, Dean of the School of Business and Professional Studies, AVP of Workforce, Community and Economic Development, and the VSCS Executive Director for Workforce as appropriate.
• Seek additional funding through grants and philanthropy as appropriate.
• Participate, when possible, in regular Vermont Tech and other workgroups or committees related to the Center.
• Participate in all Agriculture Advisory Board meetings.
• Meet with prospective donors to the College and Center, as requested.
• Perform other related duties as assigned.

• Direct supervision received from the Associate VP for Workforce, Community & Economic Development
• Regular coordination with Agriculture Department Chair, Agriculture Advisory Committee and others including but not limited to those on the Center for AG and Food Entrepreneurship Organizational Chart.

• Exercise supervisory authority over appropriate Center staff members, including: annual employee performance evaluations; evaluating and conferring to plan and coordinate activities, review work and resolve problems; develop and carry out professional development opportunities to prepare staff for all aspects of their work within the Center and for providing appropriate assistance and support within the ag and food systems community consistent with the mission and goals of the Center.

Masters degree in agriculture, plant science, ag engineering, food systems, ag development or other appropriate and related discipline with 7-10 years of experience, or a combination of education and experience from which comparable knowledge and skills are acquired.
• Strong familiarity with the developmental needs of the farm and food sector, as well as familiarity with ag and food systems education (areas of knowledge and/or experience may include production, value-added processing, marketing, logistics, entrepreneurship, policy, or other).
• Proven leadership experience and strong knowledge and skills related to business administration, development, and management.
• Proven program and curriculum development experience, strategic planning, and facilitation skills.
• Fundraising and grant writing skills and experience.
• Strong oral and written communications skills, including excellent presentation skills.
• A continuous learner mentality with an ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing.
• Strong prior teaching or teaching assistant work.
• Understanding of business and farm outreach and its educational interface.
• Strong supervisory, budgeting and management experience.
• Experience in business analysis to assess future ag enterprises opportunities for the Center, including assessing technology, start-up and economic assessment of the opportunities
• Strong planning, organizational, and project management skills, with an ability to multi- task.
• Strong proficiency with MS Office, Adobe, and other software, especially Excel and Quickbooks.
• Ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals/groups inside and outside the VT State College system.
• Willingness to travel in-state and occasionally out-of-state, as necessary.
• Valid Drivers’ License and reliable transportation.

Desirable Experience and Proficiencies for this position include:
• Strong work experience in higher education, ag related business, ag development or other complex organizations.
• Consulting, sales, and facilitation experience.
• Understanding of contract negotiations and administration.

VSC Non-Bargaining Unit      Grade 16       FSLA Exempt       Full Time

VTSU values individual differences that can be engaged in the service of learning. Diverse experiences from people of varied backgrounds inform and enrich our community. VTSU strongly encourages applications from historically marginalized and underrepresented populations. VTSU is an equal opportunity employer, in compliance with ADA requirements, and will make reasonable accommodations for the known disability of an otherwise qualified applicant. Please contact Lindsey Melo for assistance with accommodations at lindsey.melo@vtc.vsc.edu

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