Chief Executive Officer

Req Number: JPJBYZ
Location: N/A - Remote
Posted: 6/18/2024
Category: Government/Not-For-Profit : Not-For-Profit
Job Type: Permanent

The Organization

Sustainable water management is one of the most challenging issues of our time. Adequate freshwater supplies are critical for the health of communities and wildlife, and nothing is more important to agriculture’s ability to grow food. Roughly 1.7 billion people live in places, including the western United States, where unsustainable water withdrawals already threaten long-term water supplies, and water shortages are expected to increase in the majority of countries around the world. Climate-driven water scarcity and declining aquifers necessitate more precise measurement and efficient use of water to continue supporting vibrant communities and ecosystems while also producing food for the world’s growing population.

To sustain our water supplies and their many uses, decision-makers must understand not only how much water is available, but also how much water is being used. While supplies have long been tracked, information about water use — especially by crops and other vegetation — has been difficult to obtain. In most settings, this transfer of water back into the atmosphere is the second largest component (after precipitation) in the water cycle, yet access to this data has previously been limited and expensive, keeping it out of the hands of most water users and decision-makers.

OpenET ( is a nonprofit collaborative that generates evapotranspiration (ET) data for user-defined geographies and time frames across the western United States through an online platform that employs several well-established methods to generate daily, monthly, and annual satellite-based ET estimates. The web-based platform consists of data visualization and access tools as well as an application programming interface (API), providing publicly accessible and scientifically rigorous ET data and filling a critically important data gap in water management. The organization recently released a beta version of its newest application, the Farm and Ranch Management Support (FARMS), to allow users to make customized data requests and reports using a simple user interface. OpenET uses the best available science and publicly available data to increase access to satellite-based ET and consumptive water use information for farmers and water managers.

The OpenET collaborative includes leading national and international experts in remote sensing of ET, cloud computing, and water policy, partnered with internationally recognized web development teams and leaders in the western agriculture and water management communities. Core implementing partners include the Desert Research Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, and California State University – Monterey Bay. Cooperating federal agencies include NASA, USGS and USDA.

OpenET is driving transformational change in water management across the Western United States. The data it provides can help farmers improve irrigation practices; evaluate water conservation strategies, such as alternative crops; and reduce the costs of fertilizer, water, and energy. OpenET can also help rural communities design water accounting and trading programs to guide decisions about water use, and it can help build new water conservation programs. OpenET enables water managers and policymakers to develop and track more accurate water budgets in near real-time, and better operate water management systems. Finally, access to this information significantly increases the ability to collaborate across different scales of decision-making - OpenET enables policymakers and water managers to co-develop solutions with local communities, reduce the burden of regulatory compliance, and design incentive programs that support more sustainable water management.

Demand for OpenET data has accelerated since the launch of the public data explorer in 2021 and the application programming interface (API) in 2023. OpenET’s public data explorer and API are gaining traction across the American West and around the world — with over 5,000 OpenET user accounts and 130,000 API queries.

The Opportunity

Position: Chief Executive Officer

Location: Flexible within the U.S.

Reporting Relationship: Board of Directors


Purpose of the Position

The Chief Executive Officer is responsible for leading all strategic and day-to-day operations of OpenET’s work. The successful candidate will serve as the primary spokesperson for the organization and supporting Consortium, representing it to its constituents, including non-profits, government agencies, customers, elected officials, funders, and others. The Chief Executive Officer will play a critical role externally, expanding relationships with organizations and subject matter experts in the field, and leveraging those relationships to sustain the organization and consortium and grow the use of ET data in water decision-making. Internally, the Chief Executive Officer will develop and execute a corresponding business plan in cooperation with the Consortium Partners and the Board of Directors with pathways for global expansion. This dynamic leader will drive OpenET and the Consortium to realize the transformative potential of OpenET data to improve water management policies and practices.

OpenET In The News

• USGS EROS Helps Assess OpenET Accuracy

• NASA expands use of freshwater tool to protect the Amazon

• Assessment points to expanding, vital role of satellite-based water management tools

• Open evapotranspiration data support water management, Nature Water – February 2024

• OpenET Launches a new API

Duties and Responsibilities:

The Chief Executive Officer of OpenET will be a thought leader in water management, data, or a related field with a desire to advance management of scarce water supplies through use of satellite-based evapotranspiration data. The successful candidate will work to increase OpenET’s brand recognition across relevant users, develop and update processes and procedures to support the organization’s mission and objectives, and create sustainable funding pathways across a diverse range of outlets.

Executive and Operational Leadership

• Serve as the key member of the executive team, recruiting, retaining, and mentoring a world-class team at OpenET to accomplish existing and future strategic objectives.

• Provide opportunities for professional development and advancement for staff within OpenET and partner institutions.

• Assess organizational performance against budget and make actionable recommendations.

• Participate in developing and implementing short- and long-term strategic plans that support the organization’s vision and goals; translate the strategic plan to staff to ensure support; and modify the plan in response to changing internal and external factors.

• In collaboration with OpenET staff and Consortium Partners, manage, grow, improve, effectively deliver, and enhance programs' reliability, innovation, timeliness, and excellence across the organization.

• Effectively and continually communicate the vision and mission of OpenET to a wide variety of stakeholders.

• Guide the organization and its diverse internal and external stakeholders through goal setting and prioritizing, and long-range planning.


• Establish a compelling value proposition for funders of all types to invest in OpenET as a vehicle for transforming water stewardship practices.

• Lead and be the face of OpenET’s fundraising and resource mobilization efforts, working with Consortium Partners and the OpenET Board to target philanthropic funding; successfully engage other team members and partners in fundraising and in earned income generation.

• Build and expand on major public agency contracts and grants.

• Continue to grow the organization by increasing its fundraising goals year over year to expand operational budget and staffing.

• Establish and steward positive relationships with institutional funders, such as foundations, government agencies, corporations, and so forth.

• Establish, or expand, and steward positive relationships with individual donors.

External Affairs and Partnerships

• Build and lead a world-class leadership team to execute OpenET’s strategy.

• Provide opportunities for professional development and advancement for all staff both within OpenET and at partner institutions.

• Provide oversight and strategy to support OpenET Consortium teaming and execution of jointly developed plans.

• Establish effective new Partnerships with organizations vital to OpenET’s goals around expansion into new geographies, expanded applications, and user communities.

• Conceptualize and lead relationship development with key local, state, federal, and international entities to support and expand the impact and support long-term financial sustainability of OpenET, Inc and the Consortium. Initiate and steward partnerships as needed to further OpenET goals.

• Recruit and retain a diverse staff in accordance with organizational diversity goals and policies.

• Ensure compliance with relevant workplace and employment laws.

• Lead staff in maintaining a climate of excellence, accountability, and respect within the nonprofit organization and across the Consortium.

• Where appropriate, direct and engage in state and federal policy efforts to support appropriate use of OpenET data and/or the long-term financial health of the OpenET enterprise.

Finance and Operations

• Ensure solid control and accounting of all funds, including maintaining sound financial practices consistent with generally accepted accounting principles.

• Manage staff and consultants and facilitate efforts among partners to execute the day-to-day and strategic business of the OpenET Consortium.

• Work with the staff and the Board to prepare budgets, monitor progress, and initiate changes (to operations and/or to budgets) as appropriate.

• See that official records and documents are retained; sees to compliance with federal state and local regulations (examples: Form 990, payroll withholding).

• Conduct official correspondence for the organization, and jointly with designated officers, develop and execute legal agreements appropriately.


• The Chief Executive Officer reports to a Board of Directors that represent a unique cross-section of experiences and perspectives relevant to OpenET.

• Work with the Board and core team to develop strategies for achieving mission, goals, and financial viability.

• Provide support and leadership to the Board, committees, and partner institutions.

• Support Board in the development and implementation of policy objectives.

• Appropriately leverage Board members’ expertise to advance OpenET’s goals.

• Provide appropriate leadership to the Board.

• Ensure clear communication and effective and growing relationships with Consortium members.

• See that Board members are kept fully informed in a timely way on the condition of the organization and important factors influencing it.

• See that Board committees are appropriately supported.

• Work with the Board officers to ensure that the Board is effective as a body and that recruitment, involvement and departures of individual Board members are effective.


The Chief Executive Officer must be a passionate advocate for OpenET’s mission, excited to direct the day-to-day operations and grow the organization into its next iteration. OpenET seeks a credible, proven, innovative, and dedicated leader to provide long-term innovative leadership to the organization.

Specific qualifications include:

• 10 plus years’ experience in progressively responsible leadership roles in positions across the non-profit, academic, or for-profit industries.

• Proven track record of large-scale fundraising experience and success, including private philanthropy, foundations, corporate donations, and government funding.

• Excellent strategic thinking and planning skills, and proven record for tackling and solving complex problems.

• Demonstrated success managing a complex budget with multiple funding sources and grant obligations.

• Experience working with or managing diverse consortiums or organizations with multiple stakeholders preferred.

• Demonstrated success in nonprofit or business management and working with and supporting a Board of Directors.

• An understanding of the politics and stakeholder landscape of water management within the US.

• Understanding of water accounting and management systems, programs and practices, especially for agricultural and other non-urban landscapes.

• Excellent and demonstrated outreach and communications capabilities, especially across multiple stakeholder groups including agricultural producers and rural communities, academics, water resource managers, technical consultants and practitioners, and policymakers.

• Experience with one or more of the following: satellite-based approaches for measuring/mapping evapotranspiration; open-source software applications; managing a complex technology stack (API, data hosting, public website).

• A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. A master’s or doctorate degree in a relevant field is preferred.

• Experience and willingness to travel domestically and internationally.


• The expected salary range for this position is $200,000 - $225,000. OpenET will offer a competitive salary and benefits to the successful candidate.

OpenET (OPENET) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other category legally protected by federal or state law.