Hispanic Diversity
Production Operations Manager

Production Operations Manager

companyRocket Lab
locationMiddle River, MD, USA
PublishedPublished: 12/8/2023
Procurement / Operations
Full Time


Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.  

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!


Neutron is a medium lift launch vehicle capable of delivering the mega constellations of tomorrow, high assurance payloads, and human spaceflight. As a highly reusable launch platform, Neutron will deliver a highly cost-effective and reliable launch solution leveraging Rocket Lab’s proven execution history with the Electron program. If you’re interested in joining a high performing team, pushing the boundaries with a clean sheet development of re-usable liquid launch vehicle, this is your opportunity!


The role of the Production Operations Manager is responsible for overseeing production operations at the Space Structures Complex at Middle River, MD. The scope of production operations at this site includes full-scale carbon composite and metallic structures production, assembly, integration and test of the Neutron launch vehicle prior to shipment to the launch site.

Being an early stage and foundational role, this role will need to wear many hats and take a hands-on approach to seeing various projects through from early facility construction and setup, hiring of production staff through to setting up site administration and logistics. On completion of the initial facility setup, the focus for this role shifts towards production excellence in delivering to rate on schedule and budget.

This role will work very closely with other production and test sites, engineering development teams and corporate functions such as P&C, IT and Supply Chain. External to the company, this role will require to maintain relationship with key suppliers and therefore maintenance and growth of internal and external relationships is critical to success


  • Delivery of launch vehicle structures & assemblies, supporting production tooling and equipment and new capabilities as needed
  • Deliver production systems at the site as well as leveraging outsourced capability to deliver to production demand
  • Build and maintain a team of production tech. staff to support build, assembly, integration and test of development and flight hardware to required production rate
  • Develop project plans, budgets and schedules
  • Ensure the successful delivery of key projects spanning multiple departments and disciplines, through direct project management and/or overseeing project leaders within the department
  • Develop and maintain close relationships between various functions within the Neutron Organization as well as company-wide functions. Negotiate on matters of resource and priority
  • Provide regular and timely project status updates to working groups, management meetings and/or in support of board reports as required
  • Develop, maintain and report on schedules, budgets, work breakdown structures for a variety of cross-functional projects
  • Develop and maintain close relationships with development teams to support rapid iteration in early development
  • Acquire technical proficiency on the job, take a hands-on approach in R&D activities at the site and initiative to bridge gaps where technical knowledge is lacking
  • Manage, mentor, and support staff to be motivated, effective, and efficient in their roles
  • Identify and provide opportunities for professional development, including coaching for personal development objectives
  • Ensure recruitment and resourcing needs are met to support the annual operating plan, including an active role in candidate search
  • Ensure direct reports understand their role and responsibilities and receive timely feedback on their performance, both formal and informal
  • Coach staff in issues of performance management for their direct reports, including support of formal HR processes.
  • Ensure health and safety policies and standard operating procedures are followed in the department.
  • Ensure own and others safety at all times


  • 8+ years+ of experience in Engineering and Production leadership supporting high paced technical projects requiring high quality standards
  • High level of expertise in Program Management, including schedule and cost control
  • Experience in building large scale structures in a production environment
  • Bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to drive outcomes
  • Proven capability with building (from the ground up) and running high performing teams
  • Strong work ethic, and ability to leverage Rocket Lab’s existing global team and facilities


  • Master's degree in a technical discipline
  • Extensive experience in aerospace structures development and manufacturing


  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus.   
  • Regularly required to sit, use hands and fingers, operate computer keyboard and controls, and communicate verbally and in writing.  
  • Must be physically able to commute to buildings 
  • Occasional exposure to dust, fumes and moderate levels of noise. 


We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.   

Important information:


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Rocket Lab Employees must be a U.S. citizen, lawful U.S. permanent resident (i.e., current Green Card holder), or lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Department of Commerce, as applicable. Learn more about ITAR here.

Rocket Lab provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment at Rocket Lab, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for the application/interview process for a job in the United States should contact Giulia Biow at g.biow@rocketlabusa.com.This dedicated resource is intended solely to assist job seekers with disabilities whose disability prevents them from being able to apply/interview. Only messages left for this purpose will be considered. A response to your request may take up to two business days.


For security reasons background checks will be undertaken prior to any employment offers being made to an applicant.  These checks will include nationality checks as it is a requirement of this position that you be eligible to access equipment and data regulated by the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations. 

Under these Regulations, you may be ineligible for this role if you do not hold citizenship of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the European Union or a country that is part of NATO, or if you hold ineligible dual citizenship or nationality.  For more information on these Regulations, click here ITAR Regulations.