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Employment opportunity: Director of Planning and Projects

By April 29, 2021June 1st, 2021Blog

Director of Planning and Projects – Riverlife (Pittsburgh, PA)

About Riverlife:

Since 1999, Riverlife has worked to create, activate, and celebrate Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, connecting people through exceptional places and experiences. A nonprofit leader in building a community vision for Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, Riverlife has overseen a $132 million investment in the city’s waterfront transformation, catalyzing $4.2 billion in related economic development, arts and culture, and ecological sustainability on or adjacent to the city’s riverbanks. Riverlife centers their work on the belief that the riverfronts belong to everyone, and world-class riverfront experiences can be created for all using community-driven, equitable development and high-quality, regenerative design.

Job Description:

Download a printable PDF of this employment opportunity.

The Director of Planning and Projects leads the department that oversees visionary and tactical planning, essential projects, and catalytic programming for Riverlife. They will work closely with the Riverlife leadership team and department staff to implement the organization’s plans to complete and enhance the downtown Pittsburgh riverfront Loop, expand the Loop into specific, adjacent geographies, and engage in mission-critical issues that impact the Loop. This is a full-time, exempt position reporting to the CEO.

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Key Responsibilities, Qualifications and How to Apply

Planning and Implementation

  • Implement key organizational planning documents, including the Vision Plan for Pittsburgh’s Riverfronts and recently completed Implementation Framework and Completing the Loop plans.
  • Coordinate future planning efforts, including those related to long-term riverfront care and maintenance; ALCOSAN-related investments in key watersheds; expanding the Loop to specific adjacent neighborhoods; business and implementation plan for Loop amenities to enhance riverfront experience; and riverfront bank stabilization.
  • Position Design Review Committee as an indispensable steward and though leader for the riverfronts, ensuring that projects within the Loop are aligned with a shared vision.
  • Partner on community-driven riverfront planning efforts in neighborhoods adjacent to the Loop.
  • Participate in regional planning efforts that impact the Loop.

Projects & Programs

  • Advance essential capital projects to address gaps in the Pittsburgh riverfront Loop.
  • Lead efforts to refresh & reposition key areas of the Loop through targeted infrastructure and placemaking initiatives.
  • Lead and partner on efforts to activate the Loop through catalytic programming.
  • Oversee project management for Riverlife-led projects and programs, including conceptual design, feasibility analyses, predevelopment work, site planning, design development, project budgets and timelines, and project management through construction.
  • Provide partnership and support on riverfront development projects to ensure that projects undergo public review process and comport with design standards and guidelines.
  • Identify and build partnerships to secure new and ongoing funding for Riverlife projects and programs, including proposal writing, and oversight of deliverables & outcomes.
  • Provide partnership and support on riverfront development projects to ensure that projects undergo public review process and comport with design standards and guidelines.
  • Identify and build partnerships to secure new and ongoing funding for Riverlife projects and programs, including proposal writing, and oversight of deliverables & outcomes.

Engagement & Advocacy

  • Work with key staff to establish and develop strong relationships with nonprofit partners, local, state and federal agencies, elected officials, private businesses, landowners and developers, residents and other community stakeholders.
  • Build organizational capacity and clear protocols and systems for deep community engagement.
  • Work with key staff on advocacy efforts around mission-critical issues that impact the Loop in key areas of environmental quality and equitable riverfronts.
  • Support organizational advocacy efforts on government affairs, policy, and legislation.
  • Represent Riverlife to a diverse group of stakeholders.


  • Serve on the organizational leadership team.
  • Recruit, select, orient, supervise, evaluate, mentor, and manage departmental staff.
  • Develop & oversee departmental and project budgets.
  • Provide support and implementation on departmental and organizational project management systems.
  • Attend required staff, committee and board meetings; assist with the taking of minutes, preparing of reports, and setting of agendas.
  • Maintain organizational records, files, and databases.
  • Assist other staff members with day-to-day office administration.
  • Other related duties as assigned.

Education, Experience & Abilities:

  • Demonstrated commitment to and passion for Riverlife’s mission and Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, trails, and open spaces.
  • 7+ years of progressively responsible experience in urban planning / design, program / project management, landscape architecture, community and economic development.
  • Demonstrated success executing public-private partnerships preferred.
  • Prior supervisory / leadership experience required.
  • Strong understanding of urban residential and commercial real estate development preferred.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and professionally, both verbally and in writing. Prior professional experience with proposal and / or technical writing preferred.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and disciplines simultaneously.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and maintain relationships with a broad and diverse constituency.
  • Strong organizational skills with a keen attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated analytic, conceptual, planning and implementation skills.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment concerning budget expenditures.
  • Positive and professional attitude; strong work ethic.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a small, non-profit environment.
  • Flexibility to attend meetings and work events on evenings and weekends as needed, and to travel occasionally for work-related meetings, trainings and conferences. Reliable transportation a plus.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and Adobe Creative Suite, and project management software. Experience with GIS a plus.
  • Database design and management a plus.

Salary & Benefits

This is a full-time exempt position and reports to the CEO. The salary range is $95,000-$105,000, commensurate with experience. Riverlife offers comprehensive employee benefits, including medical, dental, and vision insurance for staff and family members, retirement plan contribution, and generous paid time off.

How to apply:

Interested candidates should apply via the following link and include a cover letter and resume:

Please direct all inquiries related to this position to Applications accepted on a rolling basis until position is filled.

Riverlife is an equal opportunity employer, committed to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. Qualified individuals who bring diverse perspectives and represent marginalized communities are especially encouraged to apply.