Project Director Food Safety Washington, DC

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Pew Health Group

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The Organization

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life. Based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Pew produces fact-based research and develops practical solutions to challenging issues.

We are an independent nonprofit organization--the sole beneficiary of seven individual charitable funds, with assets of $3.88 billion at the end of June 2009, established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew.

Pew provides an exciting learning environment and the opportunity to work with highly talented individuals. It is a dynamic organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork with mutual respect.   


Pew Health Group

The Pew Health Group aims to improve Americans' health and well being by minimizing the risks associated with consumer products and services; scanning for ripe policy issues where Pew's investment can make a difference; supporting rigorous nonpartisan research that informs balanced policy solutions; and launching strategic and winnable campaigns to achieve policy reforms.  The Pew Health Group's initiatives expose hidden health risks, promote safe practices by industry, and strengthen federal and state laws and regulations.  The Pew Health Group is also home to projects that promote emerging science, including a fellowship program to support biomedical research.   The position offers the opportunity to be part of a growing team within an innovative nonprofit organization. 


Position Overview

The Food Safety Project Director would carry out a number of core functions, including:


The director will develop and implement strategic and operational plans for the food safety project, which includes components, including efforts to achieve:  

  • Authorization of the FDA to order recalls or suspend food facility licenses when necessary to protect the public. 
  • Improved coordination within the Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) agencies working on food safety, including the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state governments.  
  • Implementation of electronic tracking systems to allow officials to rapidly trace contaminated products back to the original source.  
  • Strong and understandable standards for food safety. Modernized standards would help ensure that food producers, government officials and the public can rely upon enforceable guidelines for manufacturing, processing, testing and handling. 
  • New rules to require routine inspections of domestic and overseas food facilities, especially at locations with poor performance or unsatisfactory results.  
  • An increase in the FDA's food safety budget to support more inspections and stronger research, investigation and standard setting.
  •  FDA publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requiring domestic produce growers and packagers to implement HACCP plans.  
  • Development of policy options for improving the oversight of imported foods by the FDA and communicated to policy makers. 
  • Completion of a blueprint of short- and long-term "next steps" for improving the CDC's ability to report food-borne illness outbreaks.


This position currently has an end date of March 31, 2011. The project may be extended pending the success of the effort, board approval and additional funding. 


The Project Director will represent Pew before local, state, tribal and federal policymakers and with nonprofit organizations and universities.  The director will recruit and maintain superb relationships with the project's consultants and advisors.


The director will supervise a staff of approximately four in Washington, DC, and work in partnership with other Pew departments,


This position is based in Washington, DC and will report to the Director of Food and Consumer Product Safety of the Pew Health Group.  


The ideal candidate will have significant and substantive work experience in food policy, food safety, legislation, and public education and advocacy issue campaigns in these areas, as well as strong networks of relationship with the field's key leaders.  Additionally, s/he should have published reports or articles on food safety-related issues, including for example produce safety. The candidate should demonstrate an understanding of the research and advocacy necessary to move policymaking in the food safety and food policy arenas.


Work with Pew staff, national experts, stakeholders, consultants, evaluators and funders to develop and implement the strategy for a national effort to promote food safety.


The Project Director will use his/her expertise and contacts in the food safety sector to advise the campaign on technical issues related to the safety of produce and other foods. 


Develop programmatic objectives, workplans and oversee day-to-day operations for the project's coordinating center and public and policymaker education and outreach efforts, including:


  • Reviewing campaign materials to ensure accuracy
  • Attending weekly campaign meetings and developing and managing assignments originating from those meetings;
  • Accompanying campaign staff on Congressional visits;
  • Developing and assisting with Congressional strategy and targeting
  • The Project Director will respond to inquiries from press, government officials, and others regarding the work of the food safety project and, where appropriate, will use those inquiries to support and promote the goal of the campaign.


  •  Experience in managing a successful advocacy campaign(s).
  • At least 15-20 years of relevant professional experience, including a solid understanding of the federal policy-making process, especially in domestic policy issues. Significant experience working with the federal government (including Congress and federal agencies) or at issue-based national advocacy groups is strongly preferred.
  • Knowledge and experience at a senior level with key tools in advocacy and policy change, including policy analysis, issue campaigns, communications strategies, and grassroots or grasstops organizing.
  • Able to oversee staff in setting short- and long-term planning goals in line with program strategy. A task-oriented style, with focus on achieving clear and ambitious goals. Demonstrated ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Able to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including an ease in briefly summarizing the essence of issues and means to address them. Strong oral, presentation, facilitation, and written communication skills such that complex ideas, thoughts and concepts are clearly articulated for a general audience. Clear, effective writing style.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; able to develop and manage productive relationships with consultants, partners and others who contribute to the development of a project by anticipating possible outcomes. Excellent listening skills. Highly articulate.
  • Media-savvy and politically astute. Able to use effective marketing techniques and media exposure to communicate the impact of current polices on food safety.
  • Exhibit skills of diplomacy. Able to work productively with a wide array of different people and institutions that frequently disagree with and are in competition with one another.
  • Strong understanding of how to manage by influencing others and the ability to read nuances of meaning accurately.
  • Seasoned judgment tested by difficult circumstances, able to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive, clear and firm with colleagues and partners.


It is anticipated that the individual in this position will travel periodically, including to PCT's Philadelphia office as needed.  





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