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Project Manager – Southwestern Regional Food Business Center – Davis, CA, Job ID 58570

Location: UC ANR - Davis

Date Posted: September 1, 2023
Closing Date: Until Filled

Southwestern Regional Business Builder Center Summary:

The Southwestern Region Food Business Center seeks to build local and regional food systems that provide new business opportunities and markets, address food insecurity, affordability, and access, while promoting inclusive and equitable economic viability of food and farm businesses across the supply chain. In recent years, the Southwestern region has experienced economic downturn as a result of the ongoing pandemic, changing temperatures, and persistent drought, putting increasing pressure on small-scale producers, processors, distributors, and retailers.

The Center (funded by a $35 million, four-year USDA AMS grant) will prioritize serving disadvantaged and historically underrepresented communities of producers, farmers, and agrifood businesses. Objectives are to: (1) activate Regional Food Business Resilience and Equity Strategies that will drive regional strategic planning, economic action, and community partnerships; (2) scale and extend locally-relevant infrastructure, business development technical assistance to create new food producers and food system business entrants, increase institutional purchasing of local foods, and improve the overall financial knowledge base of businesses; (3) deliver region-specific financial assistance programs to build capacity for business and market readiness; (4) communicate knowledge and awareness of stakeholder needs to intra- and inter-regional decision-makers and stakeholders; (5) evaluate Center programs, economic impacts, and financial resources. Centering equity across all activities, the Center focuses on the development of strong small and mid-sized businesses into regional supply chains with a priority on serving disadvantaged and historically underrepresented communities of producers, farmers, and agrifood businesses.

The Center will build a ‘coalition of coalitions’ that deliver multi-sector coordination efforts and business development programs to strengthen local producers' economic viability, improve the supply chain's resilience, and center equity in regional food systems. The Center plans to use a hub and spoke management structure for coordinating community and stakeholder engagement, partnership development, and outreach to underserved and disinvested communities. Technical assistance will be provided through onsite and distance learning, focusing on business planning, financial management, legal and regulatory, succession planning, safety certification, record keeping, direct marketing, value-added products, and institutional purchasing and procurement. The Center’s work will increase direct sales and access to institutional market for regionally produced food. Funding is allocated towards Business Builder subawards through two categories: a) Seed Grants (noncompetitive) to advance business plans based on technical assistance provided through a key partner, and b) Development Grants (competitive) to assist businesses already in a position to expand. Business Builder subawards will be administered at the center level by the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources with support from a regional-level advisory board.

Position Summary:

The Project Manager reports directly to the Principal Investigator (PI) and works collaboratively with the project collaborators. Project management involves managing all aspects of the project to ensure its success. The role of the Project Manager is to develop structures and systems to successfully implement and manage all components of the awarded grant, including administering all subawards to Key Partners and Business Builder Seed Grant and Development Grant awardees. The Project Manager works with PI, Project Director, and leadership key partners to oversee the overall planning, organizational management, and implementation of the Center to ensure efficient and integrated operations across three main interconnected responsibilities of coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building through financial assistance. The Project Manager assumes responsibility for the daily implementation of grant program requirements and programming, grant program management, and reporting of grant information as required by ANR, UC, and the federal grant (United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service; USDA AMS) as required. The Project Manager directs staff on the tasks required to adhere to grant compliance and reporting including working groups for Business Builder Subawards, Communications, and Evaluation and Impacts. 

This position is a contract appointment that is 100% fixed through June 30, 2028.


  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant field (e.g., science, social sciences, engineering, or a related discipline).
  • Proven experience as a Project Manager, preferably in an academic environment.
  • Strong knowledge of project management methodologies, including project planning, budgeting, risk assessment, and progress tracking.
  • Familiarity with federal and other grant and funding processes in academia, including budget management, financial reporting, and compliance.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills, with a keen eye for detail and the ability to prioritize tasks effectively.
  • Proficiency in project management software and tools, as well as collaboration platforms commonly used in academic settings.
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to build relationships, facilitate collaboration, and communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a team in a complex and fast-paced environment.
  • Strong problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities, with a proactive approach to identifying and resolving project-related challenges.
  • Knowledge of relevant ethical guidelines and applicable regulatory frameworks.
  • Financial, accounting, analytical skills to manage all phases of the grant cycle.
  • Advanced skills with MS Office Suite or similar applications and technology systems: word processing, spreadsheet, database, calendaring, AV equipment, social media platforms, etc.

Preferred Skills:

  • Master's degree in food, agriculture, or the environment or advanced training in Agriculture, AI, policy, or any other of the main areas pertaining to the Southwestern Regional Food Business Center.
  • Knowledge of University of California policies and procedures to interpret inquiries and requests to formulate appropriate action or response including automated financial and accounting systems.
  • Exposure to the University of California academic environment.
  • The experience or skills, knowledge and ability to manage a $30 Million+ federal grant.

Pay Scale: $93,200.00/year to $135,300.00/year

This position will promote, in all ways consistent with the other responsibilities of the position, accomplishment of the Affirmative Action goals established by the Division.

The University reserves the right to make employment contingent upon successful completion of the background check. This is a designated position requiring a background check and may require fingerprinting due to the nature of the job responsibilities. UC ANR does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California Policy on Vaccination Programs, as may be amended or revised from time to time.  Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

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