Job Openings at Coastal States Organization


Program Director

Position Description

The Coastal States Organization (CSO) is looking for an energetic, team-oriented person to advance the mission of CSO and its members on coastal, ocean and Great Lakes issues. We seek a person with exemplary project management skills, excellent communication, and a good working knowledge of state and federal coastal program operations.

CSO is a 501(c)4 not-for-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1970. CSO represents the interests of the Governors of the nation’s coastal states and territories on legislative, regulatory, policy and program matters related to coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources.


  • Manage a multi-state coastal and nearshore habitat project under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, including:
    • Coordination with and project solicitation from 8 Great Lakes state coastal programs, and coordination with NOAA, EPA and relevant NGOs;
    • Contract and budget development and management
    • Project Planning and reporting.
  • Develop and manage coastal policy, regulatory and management projects, including drafting public reports, hosting workshops and events, natural & nature based infrastructure (NNBI) project planning and implementation, and more.
  • Provide strategic direction to CSO on working with state coastal zone management programs and NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management (OCM), including:
    • Ensuring CSO and state coastal program goals are implemented as part of the NOAA coastal zone management strategic plan;
    • Monitoring administrative developments on CZMA and other coastal management-related laws; and
    • Providing input on OCM initiatives;
    • Supporting organizational cooperative agreement with NOAA.
  • Support strategic partnerships with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and/or other federal agencies, through, for example:
    • Promoting state-federal cooperation via work with regional collaborations, such as the USACE Great Lakes Resiliency Study, South Atlantic Coastal Study, and others.
    • Promoting coastal state program resilience efforts with FEMA’s Public Assistance Mitigation, BRIC, HMGP and FMA programs.
  • Increase CSO’s partnerships with NGOs, Federal Agencies, and other partners broadly. This may include strategic partnerships, specific projects, or other undertakings.
  • In coordination with the Executive Director, develop and implement funding strategies for CSO programmatic work, including building and maintaining relationship with federal and private funders, and develop specific funding proposals.
  • Manage one or more CSO member-led issue-based Working Groups.
  • Manage up to two full-time fellows, and additional interns.
  • Provide regular members-only and public communications about all CSO projects and initiatives, including in the CSO newsletter, fact sheets, social media, external publications, Hill testimony and legislator education materials, and other outlets as relevant.
Other Responsibilities:
  • Help plan and execute biannual members meetings.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations at coastal management conferences, briefings, and workshops in order to advance CSO priorities as needed.
  • Contribute to implementation and annual update of CSO’s strategic plan.
  • Ad hoc assignments of varying duration.
  • Up to 15% of time for domestic travel may be required for this position.

Minimum Qualifications

  • At least 5 years of program or project management experience, including scope development, budget management and project reporting;
  • Substantive knowledge of some/all of the following issue areas: the Coastal Zone Management Act and its implementation, National Ocean Policy and its implementation, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, coastal/ocean ecosystem restoration, climate change mitigation and adaptation, non-point source pollution, beach nourishment, ports and harbors, other relevant coastal policy and programs.
  • Excellent written and oral communication.
  • A sense of humor, high energy, facilitation capabilities, and excellent organizational and time management skills, including ability to work proactively and independently, meet deadlines, and participate as member of a team.
  • Enthusiasm for the CSO mission and the strategic goals of the organization.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in relevant field.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience working on coastal or environmental issues with federal or state governments strongly preferred; work with coastal or environmental non-profits or companies is also helpful.
  • Demonstrated success in grant writing or business development.
  • PMP Certification or similar project management certification.
  • Experience leading partnership/coalition efforts.
  • Experience working on Great Lakes coastal issues.
  • Experience in media or communications.
  • Experience in in marine/coastal science.

Compensation and Benefits

Salary will be based upon qualifications and experience.  Excellent benefits package includes 401(k), health, dental care, and long-term disability. This is an at-will position.

The Coastal States Organization is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to age, color, race, national origin, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or other characteristic protected by law.

To Apply

Applications accepted until 5 PM EDT on October 15th, and reviewed on a rolling basis. Please email cover letter, resume and salary expectations to:


Washington, DC (applicants will be able to start remotely, but will need to be in Washington DC once offices re-open).