Head - Engineering and Pilot Plant Services

  • Senior-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 13 February 2020
  • Muscle Shoals, Alabama, United States
  • Closing on 11 July 2020
  • Current

Job Description



This position requires providing leadership in obtaining and managing projects that involve the different pilot plants. Projects from international development agencies and from the private industry typically require delivery of technical and economic information regarding the development of new fertilizer types, new formulations, testing of new ingredients from new sources, process reviews and improvements, and implementation and optimization of facilities that produce, transport, distribute or apply fertilizers.

Duties include:

  • Coordinating two teams of staff namely the Pilot Plant Services team (approximately 8-10 staff) and the Chemical Engineering team (approximately 4-5 staff) and assuring seamless operation between the two teams
  • Developing business opportunities that requires the services of the pilot plants by establishing and maintaining regular contacts with fertilizer and related industries on one hand and with the IFDC Research team and the Field Project and the Business Development & Partnership teams on the other hand. (e.g., identifying opportunities, discussing project alternatives, meeting with potential internal and external clients and selling IFDC engineering and pilot plant capabilities and services)
  • Developing and managing technical projects that require pilot plant and chemical engineering services (e.g. preparing proposals that include scope of work and budgets, planning and timing of activities to keep staff and facilities fully occupied, coordinate with Research to efficiently use laboratories and greenhouse facilities, produce appropriate reports for customers)
  • Providing support to IFDC International Training activities related to fertilizer production technology for international audiences and assuming a coordinating role when required
  • Preparing proposals that are fully costed, including the cost for intellectual knowledge, and oversee timely implementation for industry partners that require on-site technical assistance in commercial fertilizer production facilities
  • Attending international seminars related to fertilizer development, production and formulation and providing key-note presentations and handle exhibition booths
  • Guiding and providing engineering skills and economical calculations including designs or retrofitting of fertilizer production facilities or process improvements and coordinating with the Finance team to adequately cost such projects
  • Performing a variety of other related minor duties as required


Initially, contracted expertise in industry liaison and marketing of IFDC pilot plant capabilities is provided but the incumbent is expected to assume such responsibilities over a period of 2-3 years. Ideally the incumbent has a chemical engineering degree with experience in fertilizer production with specific and in-depth knowledge and understanding of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash-based fertilizer production, formulation processes and equipment, and quality control including basic understanding of fertilizer production economics. This job may involve the following:

  • Ability to apply engineering skills, knowledge of fertilizer production and production economics to answer technical questions, infer outcomes of alternative operating procedures, prepare process engineering design packages and calculate investment and production costs of projects
  • Capacity to liaise with fertilizer industry experts and with IFDC research and filed project staff to detect project opportunities that help provide fertilizer, formulation and or application solutions
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds to provide engineering and pilot plant services according to applicable standards
  • Ability to lead, coordinate and motivate project team members
  • Knowledge on the use of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and 8-10 years of relevant work experience in the areas of fertilizer production, research and development. Ideally, the incumbent has basic knowledge of other languages and can communicate in those languages.


This position requires detailed knowledge and understanding of engineering techniques and fertilizer production. Most projects require concepts to be developed or adapted to solve problems specific to the project. This position must consider local cultures, laws, economics, and environmental issues when presenting ideas and projects internally and externally. Safety of staff and facilities is of upmost importance.


This position is responsible for the methodology used in executing projects and decisions pertaining to the projects’ cost performance. Meetings are held with the staff involved in the project as necessary to discuss project status. This position is responsible for reviewing, editing and approving project reports. Undetected errors may result in lack of reimbursement or damage to IFDC’s public image.


Most contacts are made with internal and external clients to discuss and agree upon project scope of work, expectations and deadlines. This position is also responsible for explaining project results to the client.


This position requires working most of the time in an office environment, pilot plants and laboratory space. Exposure to hazardous chemicals, fertilizer dust and physical labor, which occurs while conducting pilot plant test work experiments and when providing on-site technical assistance is part of the job requirements. This position is responsible for ensuring that proper safety procedures are followed when operating equipment and handling hazardous chemicals (e.g., wearing protective gear). Traveling of approximately 20% to 40% of the incumbent’s time is required.

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