Job Listing Overview

About the Position
The Programs Director is a key role at NRWA and reports to the Chief Operations Officer. The position will be based at NRWA Headquarters in Duncan, Oklahoma. The selected person will focus on programs strategy, managing program operations, compliance with government requirements, building key relationships with shareholders, and other administration and management activities.

About the Ideal Candidate
The preferred candidate should possess a demonstrated commitment to professionalism, a clear sense of integrity, and dedication to the mission of NRWA.  Also preferred is experience working for an association, organization, or other related industries, having served at least 7 years in a senior management position.  The preferred candidate for Programs Director should possess a bachelor’s degree or higher, or equivalent experience.

Required Skills:  NRWA’s Programs Director will need to be a creative problem solver with high energy and focus, excellent relationship-building skills, and strong abilities to communicate complex information to a variety of audiences.  Other required attributes include the ability to build consensus, the ability to motivate staff, willingness to work long hours and travel when necessary, and willingness to share information.  The successful candidate will be a person who is transparent, innovative, accessible, and accountable to the entire Rural Water organization.

Other Characteristics:  We seek a solid manager and a person with a passion for NRWA’s mission.  The Programs Director should be business-minded, an effective decision maker who is confident in his or her own ability, and a person with proven interpersonal skills who understands the importance of member service.  NRWA is looking for a thoughtful professional who is a good leader, who is open to the ideas of others, who has unquestionable integrity with high moral and ethical values, who can operate in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment, and a proven ability to select, motivate, and lead a high-quality staff.

Job Description
The Programs Director of the Association shall administer NRWA’s day-to-day operation, affairs, and activities of federal programs.  The Programs Director will ensure NRWA meets its staffing needs, including hiring, disciplining, or terminating certain employees.  Knowing the NRWA’s personnel capabilities, as well as the capacity of State Associations, the Programs Director will help determine which initiatives the organization can pursue, making effective decisions regarding the operations of different programs. The Programs Director will play a key role in preparing and responding to Agency requests for proposals for Awards, Grants and Contracts. The Programs Director will ensure all programs are compliant with any and all applicable curriculars, rules, regulations or requirements.

Key Responsibilities

  • Responsible to the Chief Operations Officer for the effective and efficient delivery of all federal grants and contracts, a range of corporate support functions, with particular emphasis on performance of financial, legal, and contractual requirements.
  • Manage NRWA’s program manager-level posts including over ten cooperative agreements, grants & contracts through multiple federal agencies, utilizing over 400 field staff through State Associations.
  • Effectively engage across all functions at NRWA HQ to ensure there are robust processes in place to meet program performance and financial targets.
  • Lead on increasing program efficiencies, raising standards of practice, productivity, and impact to our members across the nation.
  • Oversee the development of effective information analysis to support strategic decision making, document positive outcomes, and improve program delivery.
  • Become an effective upper-management team member, taking responsibility for the deliverables and outcomes of the programs offered through NRWA and State Associations.
  • Establish and implement policies and procedures that promote Rural Water’s culture and vision.
  • Maintain and expand genuine relationships with State Associations, agencies, partners, and vendors.

The salary for the Programs Director position will be market driven, depending upon the experience and qualifications of the successful candidate.  In addition, a competitive benefits package will be provided.  This is a full-time position, and no outside employment or consulting will be allowed.

Reasonable relocation expenses will be paid by NRWA.  Legal residence within 100 miles of the NRWA headquarters office is required and mandatory for the successful candidate.  NRWA was founded in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1976 and continues to operate true to our rural roots.  Duncan has a population of 22,000 people in south-central Oklahoma with nearby access to Oklahoma City (80 miles) and Dallas/Ft Worth (150 miles).  Duncan enjoys a robust economy, low crime rate, moderate climate, and low cost of living.


NRWA will accept applications starting January 2, 2023. It is anticipated that an offer of employment will be made as soon as a suitable candidate is identified.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status.  NRWA will make reasonable accommodations in the application and/or interview process.  The successful candidate must pass a background check and drug test.

About National Rural Water Association

The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) is the nation’s largest professional association of public water and wastewater systems, with a membership of over 31,000 utilities. NRWA is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization that provides training and technical assistance through 50 State Associations to small utilities across the United States and U.S. territories. NRWA currently receives more than $50 million per year in federal funding through federal grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements to support Rural Water initiatives.