What We’re Looking for in a Program Manager

As I mentioned yesterday, we are immediately beginning a search for a program manager to take on many of the responsibilities that Mike owned. You can see the job description and apply here. In addition, I want to share my thoughts on the role and important qualities that the program manager needs to have.

The program manager will have the opportunity to shape the AlphaLab program and put his/her own stamp on it. The program manager is intimately involved with all aspects of AlphaLab, including its strategy, operations and company selection. The role provides opportunities to build relationships with the leading individuals and groups in the Pittsburgh startup community and with our extended network outside of Pittsburgh. And most importantly, the program manager will have the opportunity to work closely with the AlphaLab companies and founders during the program.

The specific responsibilities may vary based on the background and expertise of the person filling the role, but here are some key characteristics that needs to be in a candidate:

1) Passion for and belief in the startup and entrepreneurial community. An important responsibility of the job is building and nurturing relationships with many of AlphaLab’s partners in the local community – including the other groups who are helping to build the Pittsburgh ecosystem.

2) Empathy for the entrepreneurs and the challenges involved with building a startup. They are the ones doing the hard work, taking the risk and we always have to keep that top of mind.

3) Strong operational, get-it-done capabilities with a startup mentality. AlphaLab is often in a state of controlled chaos with all of the companies, mentors, visitors, events, and media that are always present. The program manager needs to thrive off this energy and activity while having the skills to make it all happen efficiently and at a high quality level, with an eye toward how we improve through iteration and experimentation.

AlphaLab is at an exciting time; we are breaking new ground with the Cycle 11 companies starting today (you’ll see what I mean when we announce them) and our hardware/robotics accelerator, AlphaLab Gear is launching in October. The AlphaLab program manager role is a great opportunity to play a role in building the Pittsburgh startup ecosystem and we invite you (or someone you know) to apply if you agree.

-Jim (@jimcjen)