Career Opportunity: Director: Product Development

Focal Point

Chicago, IL

Position overview:

Focal Point is seeking a Director – Product Development to lead the product development team within the Engineering department and to focus on building the foundation for exploring new technologies and their application within Focal Point’s products.  The research portion of the role will evolve, starting with a roll-up-the-sleeves approach as the technical lead for exploring new technologies, and growing into a strategic role to help the company stay current and innovate in step with advancements in the lighting systems market.  This role reports to the VP of Engineering.

This role requires stellar capabilities in talent management, program and project execution, technical leadership, and strategy development and deployment.  The Product Development team is a key part of the company’s performance engine, supporting Product Leadership, Sales, and Customer Service to deliver products and solutions that deliver increasing levels of performance, quality, and value.  Developing internal technical capabilities and strengthening/expanding external relationships will be important success factors in establishing the research function.

This position provides leadership to two key functions: Product Development and Product Architecture.

Roles & Responsibilities:


  • Budget (headcount, consulting, prototyping, equipment, travel, professional development, patent, etc.)
  • Hire, evaluate, train, and support the development of staff at every level
  • Direct, support, and monitor department managers to accomplish goals, consistent with established manufacturing and safety procedures

Product Architecture

  • Lead the technical integration of electrical and mechanical components
  • Lead the definition of product architectures, including scoping and roadmaps
  • Ensure that FMEA and DVP&R activities are executed
  • Own quality metrics and corrective action resolution for product architectures
  • Own cost control for product architectures

Product Development

  • Lead product and feature development activities across multiple product portfolios
  • Guide and oversee project management
  • Develop and enforce best practices
  • Coordinate across departments to ensure that products are launched on time, with the desired features and performance, and at the agreed-upon cost
  • Develop roadmap and plan for post-launch cost-down activities
  • Refine and manage the product development process, including stage gates, validation planning and execution, and coordination of launch activities with Engineering Operations, Supply Chain, and Manufacturing
  • Consistently drive improvements in key metrics, including speed-to-market, spec-achievement, first-pass quality, and schedule attainment.  Evaluate and optimize metrics to ensure that the impact to the company’s success is being appropriately monitored


  • Lead organic efforts to drive the investigations, investments, development, and integration of new technologies that align with market needs related to LED sources, LED drivers, control systems, and advanced light quality features
  • Provide guidance and insight, influencing Focal Point’s integrated technology strategy
  • Work with controls suppliers and industry organizations to engage in the developments in the lighting controls arena – products, technologies, standards, trends, rebates, etc.
  • Actively engage with standards, regulatory, or other industry groups to advance the field of lighting



  • Skilled at managing multiple simultaneous workstreams
  • Proven capability to plan at both strategic and operational/tactical levels with clear links to the company’s goals of increasing sales, shortening lead times, and improving on time performance
  • Demonstrated success in building and sustaining high-performing teams through leveraging and developing talent
  • Demonstrated communication and interpersonal skills, honed through leading teams and mitigating conflict
  • A distinct openness to new ways of thinking
  • Ability to drive complex change and manage key stakeholders
  • Exceptional analytical skills as demonstrated through a history of generating and implementing elegant solutions to complex problems
  • Strong project/program management skills, with the ability to organize and mobilize cross-functional teams to support multiple simultaneous priorities
  • Game-changing mindset with a mind to innovate and implement best practices
  • Relentless customer focus combined with a strong commitment to continuous improvement



  • Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s preferred) in Engineering
  • Minimum 15 years of direct experience in managing engineering and/or research and development teams, with advanced leadership experience in progressively responsible positions
  • Demonstrated experience in forming and leading high-performance teams
  • Well-versed in leveraging ISO 9001 standards to achieve best in class performance
  • A passion for safety with personal accountability and proven ability to drive positive change throughout the organization


Key Performance Indicators:

  • Speed-to-market
  • Spec-achievement
  • First-pass quality
  • Schedule attainment


Focal Point is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All candidates will be evaluated on the basis of their qualifications for the job in question. We do not base our employment decision on an employee's or applicant's race, color, religion, age, gender or sex (including pregnancy), national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic identity, genetic information, disability, veteran/military status or any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law.



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