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Systems Engineer

At the heart of Recompose is our vessel system which transforms human bodies into soil. The systems engineer will lead ongoing improvements of this system, discovering and prioritizing changes that will make the Recompose process more efficient, sustainable, and operator friendly.

OVERVIEW

Recompose is an ecological death care company offering the service of natural organic reduction (NOR), where human bodies are converted into soil (aka “human composting”.) The Recompose model offers an authentic, participatory experience for families and a natural return to the earth for the dead. Our first location opened in December 2020 in Kent, WA. We are opening a larger location in Seattle in the Spring of 2021.

Recompose is transforming the funeral industry and creating deep ecological change. We are looking to hire people who are passionate about creating a radical new death care paradigm and helping to heal the environment through this work.

At the heart of Recompose is our vessel system, which facilitates the transformation of human bodies into soil. Recompose is seeking a systems engineer to lead ongoing improvements of the Recompose vessel system. This systems engineer will work with the capital projects manager and NOR manager to discover and prioritize changes that will make the Recompose process more efficient, effective, and operator friendly. The systems engineer will then work collaboratively with Recompose staff and contracted engineers and manufacturers to design these improvements, implement them, and track their efficacy.

The systems engineer will also support the planning and start-up of the vessel system in new facilities as we expand our operations into new states. Responsibilities include system layout, budgeting, scheduling, and coordination between manufacturers and construction teams.

The systems engineer is not expected to have worked on human composting systems before – this is a new concept and an emerging industry. Qualities we are looking for include a collaborative design approach, a willingness to not know (but to investigate all options), an extremely high level of organization, and an ability to communicate design options and priorities.

 

Responsibilities include:

 

Lead design changes that will serve Recompose as we grow, across all Recompose systems:

  • Bring a high level of organization to the improvement of all our production processes.
  • Identify inferior-performing aspects of our production processes, research and evaluate possible solutions, and communicate these possible solutions to the team.
  • Solve complex engineering problems using systems engineering skills.

 

Identify opportunities for Recompose vessel system improvements:

  • Continually look for opportunities to improve and refine the Recompose vessel system with an eye on future replication. Review such considerations as materials, tooling, design, testing, employee training, and other areas of potential improvements to achieve overall goals.
  • Work with NOR Team(s) to identify pinch points or other issues within the operations flow and needed improvements to the vessel system or ancillary systems to reduce or eliminate such issues.
  • Assist in building out schedules for necessary maintenance on vessels and ancillary equipment for the NOR team.
  • Help identify and establish metrics to measure whether process and/or equipment improvements are having the expected effects on Recompose services.
  • Evaluate design focuses by looking at:
    • Cost (design time and manufacturing)
    • Labor (time and comfort/ease of work)
    • Schedule

 

Manage build-out and start-up of the vessel system in all new locations:

  • Define unique system needs for each new potential location.
  • Produce scaled drawings of production line layouts.
  • Coordinate systems layout and work with the project team to ensure best fit of equipment and process controls.
  • Coordinate and facilitate project team meetings. Take detailed notes and distribute minutes.
  • Act as point-of-contact for design team, construction team, and systems/equipment manufacturers.
  • Assist in sourcing and ordering appropriate ancillary supplies/equipment for new locations based upon the supplies/equipment used in prior locations, as well as improve upon such supplies/equipment where appropriate and efficient to do so.
  • Work with contractors to manage process equipment layout and installation.
  • Coordinate the commissioning of all systems and work with staff and contractors to troubleshoot.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

  • 3+ years’ experience in engineering, process engineering, production engineering and/or manufacturing processes.
  • Experience with prototyping physical objects (not just software).
  • Facility with design software (ex: CAD, Sketchup, Bluebeam), and ability to use such software for process equipment layouts and system design work.
  • Comfort with mechanical systems.
  • Experience with project management, including basic scheduling and budgeting.
  • Experience in setting and measuring sustainability goals, metrics, and strategies.

 

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS

  • Ability to see the overall picture and assess various project and company goals (sustainability, budgetary, efficiency, etc.)
  • Outstanding ability to deal with problems, handle difficult interpersonal situations, and find creative solutions.
  • Ability to act upon organizational mission, vision, and values.
  • Empathy and interpersonal sensitivity; great listening skills.
  • Resilience: ability to manage own emotions, demonstrate self-control under pressure or adversity, and practice self-care.
  • Flexibility: ability to multi-task, adapt to new situations and to change focus unexpectedly.
  • Commitment to working at a progressive company that explicitly works to be anti-racist, by advocating and ​protecting the rights of people of color and religious minorities, and feminist, by protecting the rights of women, transgender, and gender nonconforming people.

 

A NOTE ABOUT DEATH

Other than our funeral directors, only one person on our current team has come from a professional background in death care, and yet our team is the best we could have for our amazing and complex operation. Personal experience, or even just a thoughtful approach to death or dying, can help inform the work we do, but please don’t hesitate to apply because you haven’t worked in this industry previously. We are looking for people who are passionate and skilled in engineering, and who are ready to help us transform an industry and build one of the best companies in the world.

 

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

Our goal as an employer is to have a feminist, antiracist culture, and to employ a diverse, inclusive workforce that is representative of all people we do or might serve.

 

As such, we do not discriminate on any protected status, and moreover, we celebrate applications from persons of color, persons of all genders and gender expressions, persons of any sexual orientation, the formerly incarcerated, and persons in of any other protected class, such as religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, national origin, pregnancy status, or genetic status. Please feel free to let us know in your application if you fit into any such category/ies, or if you need a reasonable accommodation to apply.

 

WORKING CONDITIONS AND PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

In the long run (3-5 years), it is Recompose’s explicit goal to create an atmosphere where staff work 40-hour weeks and the live/work balance doesn’t only exist but is celebrated. The systems engineer will play a role in creating that structure and culture.

Must be able to work near a variety of plant-based organic materials such as straw, alfalfa, wood chips, etc without adverse reactions.

Some travel will be required to evaluate and work on out-of-state projects as we expand.  Travel requirements may vary from 0-20% depending on a current project’s status, location, and needs. The ideal candidate is located in – or willing to relocate to – Seattle or Denver.

This role reports to the capital projects manager. Salary range: $60-$75k

Apply here.

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Land Acknowledgement

Recompose acknowledges we make our lives and livelihoods on the lands of the Coast Salish People, specifically the Duwamish People. We honor with gratitude the Duwamish People past and present, the land itself, and the Duwamish Tribe.

Colonization is an active, persistent process. Indigenous communities continue to be resilient in protecting their ecological and cultural lifeways and deathways despite ongoing oppression. Recompose respects, shares, and supports this commitment to climate healing and environmental justice. Join Recompose in contributing to Real Rent Duwamish.