Prototyping Lab Manager

Location: San Francisco, CA

Department: PCH Lime Lab

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Manager/Supervisor

About PCH Lime Lab

PCH Lime Lab is the product design and engineering division of PCH. Our passion is making, our expertise is engineering. We take on the most sophisticated design engineering challenges, where no detail is too small and each project is unique. PCH works with the world’s most innovative brands, from startups to Fortune 500 companies, guiding product creation through all phases – from opportunity, concept, design engineering and development, to packaging, manufacturing and the customer experience.


About the role

PCH Lime Lab, located in the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco, is looking for a talented Prototyping Lab Manager to lead and inspire our shop team in our state-of-the-art Prototyping Lab. Our shop team plays a vital role in bringing design and engineering concepts to life. Taking design concepts, they will construct models, prototypes, and test fixtures for verification, testing, or product development. As part of the development process the Prototyping team will consult and collaborate with engineering project teams to work through the development issues and to recommend and implement modifications. This is a fast paced, think on your feet, exciting environment. Are you ready?

As a key manager, this individual will need to personify the expertise and professionalism necessary to gain confidence and build lasting strategic relationships with our project teams and the Director of Mechanical Engineering. You will have the planning and collaboration skills to help provide vision and direction for the lab and across the firm for cultivating and maintaining an inspired culture of creativity, loyalty, performance, and accountability.  You will be responsible for prototyping lab projects, staff and resource coordination, client engagement, staff leadership and development, and overall business model evolution for this facility.   Your depth of expertise in building the “one of a kind” will be used to help plan for the “many of a kind” production process(es) and therefore knowledge of manufacturing processes outside the prototype lab is essential to success in this position. This is a hands-on role—you must know how to run all the machines!


What you need to succeed

The right candidate must have excellent interpersonal communication skills when working with designers, engineers, and other lab team members, while contributing to a creative environment frequently under the pressure of deadlines. The ability to lead a team and work on multiple concurrent jobs, diverse workload, and changing priorities, is critical. An understanding that work hours are mandated by the workload—we do what we need to get the project done and done right. Experience working in the product development consulting world is a plus.


Key Responsibilities

  • Run and maintain the machines—treat them as if they were your own.
  • Teach and grow the lab offering and the people who work there.
  • Ensure that tasks are assigned and accomplished.
  • Help to set and implement short and long range technology strategies in concert with the business’s profitability and growth objectives.  Draw on your 10+ years of engineering and prototype management experience to identify, justify, deploy, and maintain the latest in cutting edge equipment.
  • Effectively coordinate prototyping lab activities, tasks, and resources to meet the needs of PCH Lime Lab project teams to consistently deliver project within budget and timelines.
  • Develop and ensure excellence in the value proposition of the lab, from prototype to execution, to the rest of PCH Lime Lab and our clients.
  • Create a culture committed to on time delivery of projects that meet business requirements.
  • Closely partner with the Director of Mechanical Engineering to ensure great work happens.
  • Facilitate the coordination and communication between the lab and project teams. Be a strong collaborator and have demonstrated the ability to work effectively with Business Development, Project Management, Engineering, Finance, Operations, and our PCH Lime Lab team in China.
  • Organize and manage large complex projects and balance multiple priorities.


Minimum Experience

  • Demonstrated experience in effectively leading, managing, and motivating people
  • A history of participating in the development of products (especially consumer and consumer electronics products) from inception to production
  • 10+ years of prototyping and product development experience—model making, machining, and prototyping business in support of design and development of products.
  • Experience in a wide range of manufacturing strategies, processes and technologies.
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully engaging clients in the strategic planning of their product development initiative relative to providing sound model and prototype strategies for deployment.


Essential Skills Required

  • Work directly from CAD data, drawings, sketches, and verbal instruction to produce prototype components common to consumer products
  • Possess a high degree of knowledge of machinery and equipment common to a CNC machinist/model shop environment. Setting up, operating, and editing NC Code.
  • Experience with Mastercam, Haas controls, and SolidWorks are desired.
  • Experience generating high-speed 3D machining tool paths while working from complex solid models. Experience with multi-axis machining a must.
  • Skilled in operation manual mills, lathes, and a thorough knowledge of inspection tools and processes.
  • Detail knowledge of general fabrication skills, working with metals, plastics, wood and sheet metal forming.
  • A working understanding of 3D rapid prototyping machines, Stratsys OBJET, Fortus FDM, Connex 350 polyjet and uPrinters a plus.
  • Possess a strong engineering background including experience with mechanical engineering or industrial design with component selection and validation.
  • Have created and used cost reduction techniques and root cause analysis tools.
  • Have recruited, trained, developed and retained a talented staff in model making and prototype development.
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