Careers > Associate Director of Business Development

Associate Director of Business Development

The Associate Director of Business Development will lead NREC’s expansion into existing and new commercial markets. In this position, you will be responsible for analyzing needs and opportunities and establishing relationships with decision makers in key organizations in each market. We need a person who can rapidly identify and qualify project opportunities within large commercial companies in target markets. You will collaborate with robotics researchers, engineering staff and NREC leadership to define customer needs, present NREC capabilities, generate interests in funding R&D projects to address these needs, and lead the entire business development process until closure.

Do you want to lead expansion into new and existing commercial, industrial and defense markets for Carnegie Mellon University’s premier $30M+ applied R&D robotics organization? The National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) is searching for a dynamic Associate Director of Business Development to lead many of our business development activities as we strive to double our impact over the next decade. This is a high-profile, senior position and as part of the leadership team, you will lead and execute the business development process from initial strategy through closing deals with a direct impact on NREC’s success and growth. We need someone who can think strategically and rapidly identify, qualify and close commercial and DoD project opportunities. In this role, you will collaborate with robotics researchers, engineering staff and NREC leadership to define customer needs, present NREC capabilities, generate interests in funding R&D projects while leading the entire business development process until closure. You will also collaborate with NREC’s leadership to formulate a strategic plan for growth and execute the plan to meet the objectives. This position can grow into a Director of Business Development position.

Manage the deal process as part of the leadership team from initial contact strategy through closing.

  • Profile, qualify and identify potential opportunities for robotics R&D projects within large market sectors and accounts in both industry and government. This includes conducting market research to understand trends, unmet needs and identifying key players. 
  • Contact key players in these markets to promote NREC’s capabilities and generate interest.
  • Qualify each opportunity to ensure that the potential project would be a good fit for NREC and the company has sufficient financial resources and interest in funding a R&D project. This includes understanding the financial benefits and/or savings that a robotic solution would bring and making sure the return on “investment” for the company is sound and can justify the cost of the project.
  • Approach different types of industry players such as manufacturers and end-users to formulate the most favorable approach to funding projects that address the needs of the industry sector.
  • Support contract structuring, negotiation and closing.


Assist in setting the strategic direction of NREC.

  • Collaborate with NREC management and technical leadership to formulate strategic plans for growth and to secure new sources of revenue.
  • Lead and execute the strategic plan in collaboration with NREC management.
  • Document NREC’s business development pipeline and activities.
    • Work with NREC’s Customer Relationship Management system to collect information about potential opportunities and potential sponsors.
    • Provide weekly updates to NREC’s Associate Director on the pipeline of opportunities.
    • Work closely with the Associate Director to
      prepare quarterly reports on opportunities.


Manage NREC’s externally facing communications. 

  • Support NREC’s marketing and branding efforts. 
  • Coordinate and attend trade shows in targeted markets to generate new leads.
  • Host potential clients and other visitors and lead discussion in meetings related to potential opportunities. This includes hosting special groups and visitors from the University from time to time. This requires becoming familiar with previous projects, especially the ones displayed in our high-bay and/or labs. 


Note: This position requires some travel. We anticipate one short trip per month on average with two to four longer trips per year to visit potential sponsors and attend conferences and/or trade shows. 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in business, engineering or science, or related field from an accredited university
  • 15+ years of successful business development experience with an engineering, R&D, or technology services organization
  • Consistent track record of closing multi-million-dollar projects
  • Capability to lead and handle complex business development process to closure
  • Ability to negotiate complex agreements
  • Ability to reach C-level executives and VP-level decision makers within Fortune 500 Companies
  • Understanding of intellectual property terms as well as other fundamental contractual terms
  • Familiarity with government proposal process (RFP, BAA), contracting process and the different agreements (FAR/DFAR contacts, OTA, cooperative agreements)
  • Ability to profile and qualify companies
  • Ability to evaluate opportunities from the basis of the business case and potential return on investment
  • Excellent interpersonal and presentation skills (both verbal and written)
  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Ability to quickly learn market needs and robotics technology
  • Ability to prioritize opportunities based on the balance of customer needs, NREC interests, and technological feasibility
  • Availability to travel both in the U.S. and internationally (5-15% of time)
  • Good knowledge of MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)


Note: This position will occasionally require access to export-controlled material and is therefore restricted to U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents.


We especially want to hear from you if you have experience in a non-profit environment, negotiating agreements within a non-profit organizations, selling R&D services, posses a deep understanding of robotics technology, or a scientific or engineering background. 

Interested in this opportunity?

Job ID: 2021602


Join our talented team at NREC where you will have a direct impact on operations and meaningful projects as you collaborate with experts solving industrial and government challenges and deploying technology to real world operations. 

At NREC, we value diversity, support it, and thrive on it for the benefits of our organization, our employees and our community. Carnegie Mellon University is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran.