Career Opportunity

Vice President Product Design & Regulatory Compliance

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Emporia, Kansas

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$170,000 - $190,000

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Responsible for the coordination and direction of activities relative to new product development, (e.g., design, prototyping, testing, etc.), cost reduction on existing products, product compliance with local, state, and national regulations and protection of intellectual property.



  • Directs and controls the activities of the engineering department and personnel. Makes project assignments. Reviews and evaluates technical contributions.
  • Develops subordinates’ technical and interpersonal skills through direct guidance, special assignments and outside education.

Project Management

  • Schedules engineering to complete projects within established objectives.
  • Monitors the progress of each project and maintains available up-to-date information on status of project budget, timelines and completion.
  • Works with Marketing and other functional areas to develop action plans to complete projects in a timely fashion.
  • Develops and maintains a project schedule for engineering projects.

Product Development and Design

  • Directs the company’s research and development activities to discover new products and processes to support this development. Provides for research and experimentation in all matters, advancing the technological position of the company including improvement of quality, cost, and productivity. Promotes the application of relevant new and emerging technologies.
  • Serves as a member of Product Teams or selects appropriate subordinates to serve.
  • Provides direction to engineering personnel in the preparation of all required parts, subassemblies, final assembly drawings, and prints required in the internal or external manufacturing of our products consistent with Marketing’s product specifications and targets.
  • Initiates, coordinates, and directs all internal and external scientific and technical studies, including testing and certification of our products as requested, and maintains appropriate records and files. Understands major customer’s product testing and regulatory requirements and prepares designs and testing for compliance.
  • Oversees the construction of prototypes as needed to give appropriate visibility to products to ensure will meet product specifications, are designed to be ergonomic for the end user and are designed to be manufactured.
  • Closely coordinates engineering activities with Marketing to evaluate new product submissions, and initiates projects based on Marketing direction that meet consumer needs and are expected to meet identified project goals.
  • Directly participates in initiating new product ideas, including the promotion of internally developed ideas and the coordination of third-party inventor submissions.
  • Provides for continuous improvement of the product development process to improve the introduction of new products.
  • Provides for the continuation of product support throughout the life the product for both designed and acquired products, including failure analysis and cost reduction.
  • Provides product failure analysis and technical recommendations related to customer product damage claims.
  • Support Supply Chain in approving product changes from existing suppliers and approving new suppliers.

Product Specification

  • Provides product specifications to maintain product integrity.
  • Ensures product design outputs meets specifications, are designed for manufacturability and/or sourcing, comply with regulatory requirements, and are not infringing on intellectual property rights of others.
  • Provides counsel to manufacturing engineering for tooling requirements in the manufacturing of company products. Assists Manufacturing Engineering in “make or buy” decisions.

Product Improvement

  • Review existing product portfolio and identify opportunities to improve cost position, quality and position in market.
  • Review consumer and user feedback from internal tech support team, on-line product reviews, customer feedback to improve products.

Budgeting and Cost

  • Provides initial cost estimates to be used in preliminary product and project profit projections. Monitors costs and develops new designs, methods, or material to reduce costs and/or improve quality.
  • Obtains quotes on custom engineering, prototypes, or special built products.
  • Develops engineering fiscal year budget based on available information and corporate objectives. Monitors deviation from budget, and updates budget adjustments.

Intellectual Property

  • Assures the security of intellectual property through understanding and management of the patent process.
  • Coordinates product related legal activities, including disclosure agreements, and research of competitive proprietary restrictions.
  • Assists in the preparation and support of patent applications; provides direction on value and need for existing patents.
  • Recommends and oversees any infringement actions needed to maintain intellectual property and coordinates response to infringement actions/allegations by others.
  • Monitors the status of relevant applications and issued patents in our product field and ensures non-infringement in new designs.

Product Regulatory Compliance

  • Manages the process and systems for product regulatory compliance and the tracking thereof.
  • Manages the awareness of existing and pending regulations and regulatory trends, keeping necessary parties informed of them.
  • Manages response to any legal action resulting from real or perceived regulatory noncompliance.



  • Marketing – close coordination, communication, and alliance to ensure products and projects are being designed and developed to meet consumer needs as delineated by product specifications and projects meet profit targets.
  • All division and departments – Coordinate the functions of the engineering department collaborates with them on their projects and programs.


  • Outside contacts – Works with outside engineering firms, consultants, inventors, patent counsel and vendors as needed in completion of projects.
  • Government agencies – Participates in discussions relating to intellectual property, regulation, and other potential actions potentially affecting Hopkins.
  • Trade Associations – May Participate as a member in SAE, SPE, SEMA other appropriate trade associations.

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering or related technical field required.
  • MBA or advanced technical degree preferred.
  • At least 10 years of managerial experience, preferably in project management, directing engineering and new product development; prefer experience with mechanical and electrical designs.
  1. COMPETENCIES (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities)
  • Technical knowledge of plastic molding processes (i.e., injection, blow molding and structural foam). Prefer prior experience in molding business.
  • Experience managing the product patent process.
  • Experience managing the consumer products regulatory compliance environment, including experience with major retailer requirements.
  • Prefer experience and an affinity to automotive and related products.
  • Working knowledge of MS Office platform, project/task management and advanced Excel skills required

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