Director of Manufacturing

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Manufacturing /
Here at Kitty Hawk in Palo Alto, we are leading the race to market with our all-electric  Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  Project Heaviside is Kitty Hawk’s latest high-performance electric VTOL vehicle. It is designed to be fast, small, and exceedingly quiet, taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic. 

We are looking for a Director of Manufacturing to lead the Production, Supply Chain, Manufacturing Engineering, and Quality functions to support the development and all aspects of managing the operations for Heaviside. You will apply principles of lean manufacturing to produce vehicles in the most efficient and reliable way in aerospace manufacturing. You will work closely with our engineering team and flight test team to introduce new features in a fast-paced R&D environment.

Within 3 months you will:

    • Learn the vehicle and the current state of design completeness across a multitude of subsystems
    • Lead the production and vehicle integration schedule
    • Drive accurate execution of ERP and MES systems for work order management, quality, PLM, purchasing, and inventory control

Within 6 months you will:

    • Manage supply chain for vehicle
    • Lead the execution of quality control plans and enforce those internally and at suppliers
    • Take part in design improvements to optimize for cost, quality, and manufacturability
    • Plan and manage growth for vehicle production

Within 12 months you will:

    • Manage supply chain and vehicle production through the development cycle and production ramp
    • Fully drive Quality Management System execution for Manufacturing
    • Define manufacturing strategic roadmap

Production Responsibilities:

    • Responsible for building and managing a world-class production and vehicle integration organization, ensuring all production activities are performed on time, safely, and in a professional manner respecting our quality standards
    • Collaborate with engineers to continuously improve processes and products
    • Ensure incredibly high standards of workmanship within the production and vehicle integration team, calling attention and resolution, according to the engineering standard, to any quality issues that are identified
    • Actively participate in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring a team
    • Ensure proper MES utilization while performing vehicle integration activities

Supply Chain Responsibilities:

    • Source, purchase and plan all production material requirements to build a Heaviside
    • Drive the supplier development roadmap to on board certification capable suppliers (i.e. AS9100 supplier base)
    • Identify cost saving opportunities in the Bill of Materials, and work with vendor partners to reduce material costs
    • Inventory Control: Organize and maintain warehouse and inventory areas for efficient material storage, handling, and accuracy
    • Develop processes and procedures for purchasing, inventory management, material scheduling, inbound, and outbound logistics

Quality Responsibilities:

    • Execute Quality Management Systems under the AS9100 standard
    • Implement and utilize procedures to ensure that products and processes comply with engineering requirements, company guidelines, and government regulations
    • Support the definition of quality control plan for the entire Heaviside production process, including PFMEA
    • Support the definition of product and material traceability and genealogy requirements to comply with AS9100 standards
    • Be a liaison and support the Flight Test team to identify the top defects causing vehicle damage or excessive repair time
    • Support the Root-Cause, Corrective-Action process, ensuring that corrective action is implemented to prevent defects that occur in the plant and/or supplier(s) from happening again
    • Manage and improve the performance of our supply base through processes such as quality requirements flow down, supplier quality management system approvals, and coordination of verification activities of purchased products ((SCAR) / non conformance report (NCR) process)
    • Plan and assign supplier audits and assessments, initiating corrective action, and establishing supplier improvements

Manufacturing Engineering Responsibilities:

    • Drive new product introduction by efficiently incorporating design changes into manufacturing plans and procedures
    • Lead production industrialization
    • Improve manufacturing processes by studying product requirements; researching, designing, modifying, and testing manufacturing methods and equipment


    • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or the equivalent in experience and evidence of exceptional ability
    • Excellent analytical and judgment skills
    • Strategic Sourcing, opportunity analysis, and strong negotiation with highly effective communication skills is a must
    • Ability to work independently in a fast paced environment, prioritize appropriately, and handle multiple tasks and projects simultaneously with various cross functional teams
    • Experience in Manufacturing Quality environment and experience with AS9100 implementation and utilization
    • FAA Production Certification experience
    • Experience with ERP and MES systems, including implementation and effective utilization


    • Demonstrated success leading a team to achieve a difficult goal, especially in a production or manufacturing environment
    • A first principles approach to problem solving; comfortable creating new solutions to problems as opposed to applying tried methods
    • Ability to effectively communicate both written and verbal, between Engineering, Flight Test, and Suppliers
    • Familiarity with a wide variety of technologies: PCB assembly, wire harness manufacturing, composites / carbon fiber manufacturing, bonding, avionics assembly, CNC machining, and fiber optic routing
We welcome you to apply even if you don’t match every requirement posted for this role.  No one candidate will be a 100% perfect match to our description, so if you are passionate about working on the next evolution in aviation and have similar experience to what we are looking for, we encourage you to apply.  Diverse backgrounds and experiences promote innovation and our goal is to build a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.

All of our team whose roles allow them to work remotely are doing so, and will continue to do so until we’re able to be back in the office. For teams that are not able to work remotely we’re making every accommodation possible to provide a safe working environment, and ensuring we meet all state and county guidelines. 

Our headquarters is in Palo Alto and we offer a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance (company pays 100% of employee premium), unlimited PTO days, 10 company holidays, a 401(k) plan with 50% company matching (no vesting period), flight lesson subsidy, education assistance, and company-sponsored social events. For those working onsite, Kitty Hawk also offers commuter assistance, and free drinks and snacks.

Kitty Hawk provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Kitty Hawk abides by applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

Kitty Hawk is an E-Verify employer.