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Director, Autonomous Vehicle Initiative

Job Location

Washington, DC area preferred


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Published Date

Jul 20, 2021

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Director, Autonomous Vehicle Initiative

About Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) SAFE is an action oriented, non-ideological organization working to enhance the nation’s energy security and economic resurgence and resiliency by advancing transformative transportation and mobility technologies and ensuring that the United States secures key aspects of the technology supply chain to achieve and maintain our strategic advantage.


When SAFE was founded, there was no viable path to achieving energy security by using a diverse set of American fuels in transportation disconnected from the volatile and manipulated global market. With the vehicle technology that exists today, however, there is a clear path forward and SAFE is leading the charge. Near-total reliance on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for the widespread use of alternative fuels including electricity, natural gas and hydrogen, deployment of connected, shared and autonomous vehicles, responsible domestic production of U.S. resources, and improvements in fuel economy.


In 2006, to support its advocacy SAFE formed the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders. The ESLC is co-chaired by Adam Goldstein, former CEO of Royal Caribbean International and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corp. In 2009, SAFE launched the Electrification Coalition (EC), a nonpartisan, nonprofit group to work with consumers, businesses, and policymakers, to launch award-winning “real-world” programs and enable the needed polices to accelerate transportation electrification around the country.


SAFE’s policy proposals have been embraced by the leaders of both major political parties. In 2007, President George W. Bush used the State of the Union Address to propose a plan closely mirroring a SAFE proposal, which ultimately led to the first improvement in automotive fuel-economy standards in a generation. In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama outlined his plan to implement one of SAFE’s policy recommendations, the establishment of an Energy Security Trust, and credited the organization with generating the idea.


Since 2014, SAFE has increasingly viewed connected, autonomous, shared, electric vehicles as a critical piece of our future transportation system. The ways in which autonomous vehicles (AVs) can assist in reaching SAFE’s goals feature prominently in SAFE’s National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution report – which reached approximately 4 million readers with exclusive embargoed articles granted to the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times – and the societal benefits that could accompany AV deployment have been lauded in SAFE’s Fostering Economic Opportunity through Autonomous Vehicle Technology, America’s Workforce and the Self-Driving Future, and Self Driving Cars: The Impact On People With Disabilities.


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The Opportunity SAFE seeks a full-time Director for the Autonomous Vehicle Initiative. The Director will report directly to the Executive Director, Commanding Heights Initiative and Executive Vice President, Government and Public Affairs and will collaborate with internal staff in policy, government relations, fundraising, and communications as well as external consultants.


Key Responsibilities The Director will, in consultation with the Policy and Government Affairs teams, set SAFE’s AV agenda and chart the path needed to be successful, from determining the research focus area(s) to publicizing the findings to advocating for positions.


Efforts will be centered on:

1) Thought Leadership and Research In coordination with the Policy team and Executive Leadership, develop, refine and implement the organization’s strategy on autonomous vehicles. Have the ability and inclination to roll up sleeves to research, write and edit policy positions, public comments, and responses to ANPRMs, as well as fact sheets, case studies and short policy briefs and reports. Engage with external stakeholders in D.C., New York, Silicon Valley and elsewhere to advocate for policies that accelerate AVs. Build coalitions of support from the corporate sector (e.g. AV companies) and public sector (e.g. non-profits representing underserved groups who could benefit from AV deployment). Build and convene a working group of players in the AV deployment space, working with the group to determine which issues are of most value and then pursuing them. Lead the coordination of efforts to gain support for AVs from a wide variety of groups: policy leaders across the aisle, environmentalists, labor, and more.

2) Advocacy Working with SAFE’s Government Affairs team and political consultants to identify potential legislative and Administration champions, share SAFE’s findings, advocate for SAFE’s recommendations, and engage thirdparty stakeholders in the advocacy.

3) Communications With support from the Communications department, work to publicize the findings and arguments of the initiative, from drafting op-eds and social media posts to providing interviews. Work closely with the Communications team to ensure mobility technology expertise informs relevant SAFE communications. Protect the reputation and technical credibility of SAFE by ensuring that products released in SAFE’s name are of the highest technical caliber and enhance the role of SAFE as a standard bearer for best practice in oil security and transportation.


Professional Skills and Qualifications

-Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred. 

-Technical expertise in the transportation sector and, specifically, autonomous vehicles. 

-Outstanding leadership skills, as well as a deep understanding of the political process and issue advocacy. 

-Minimum of 5-7 years of experience substantively engaged with transportation issues a must. 

-Ability to coordinate with senior public and private sector officials to advance the mission of the organization. 

-A detailed understanding of political programs, fundraising, and the policy process is essential. 

-Thrives in a high energy environment with the ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously; comfortable working in a start-up-like environment with lean support staff. 

-Embraces SAFE’s mission, vision and strategic direction. 

-Team player and collaborator who is open and transparent about process and progress. Willing to pitch in and help others when needed.


Salary/Benefits The opportunity garners a competitive salary and benefits package. It is preferred that the individual is based in Washington DC but this is negotiable. Salaries are localized to applicant’s geographic location. We are open to both experienced and newer candidates; the offer will be reflective of a candidate’s individual experience level. We offer a competitive health benefits package, 401K with 3% employer contribution and life insurance, as well as other benefits to be detailed in the offer

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