Senior Principal Automation Engineer

California, United States of America

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The Position

Location:                           Vacaville or South San Francisco, CA

Department:                     Global Engineering

Reports to:                        Resource Manager

Direct reports:                  None


Global Engineering executes major CAPEX projects in the Pharma Division with focus mainly on Pharma Technical Operations (PT).  The Senior Automation Engineer / Senior Principal Automation Engineer provides discipline focused project management, technical leadership and accountability for Automation Engineering in the delivery of capital projects and engineering services to support PT, CMO, and Affiliates.  This includes projects that are single and multidisciplinary in nature.  The Senior Automation Engineer / Senior Principal Automation Engineer reports to the Resource Manager (Head of Project Engineering and Execution) within the region."         

Key Sub-Project Management Responsibilities/Tasks

The Senior Automation Engineer / Senior Principal Automation Engineer has exceptional skills in the follow Project Management focus areas.

  • Acts as Sub-Project Manager for Automation Engineering with personal responsibility for:
    • Applying decision making processes
    • Defining roles and responsibilities
    • Gaining alignment with key stakeholders, customers and project management team
    • Management of sub-Project to approved budget and schedule
    • Definition of priorities
    • Close coordination across disciplines
    • Regular status updates including progress vs plan, risks, mitigations

Including substantial contributions to overall project scope including:

  • Options Analysis
  • Project Planning
  • Execution strategies
  • Development of detailed Schedule based on Work Breakdown Structure
  • Resourcing
  • Estimating

  • Executes deliverables in compliance with EM, Global Standards and Processes and all other Roche Guidelines and Directives    
  • Expresses relevant information timely, clearly and concisely to relevant stakeholders including adjusting communication style to the audience being addressed      
  • Partners proactively with key customers, team members and stakeholders, while being open and approachable with a friendly, positive and professional attitude  
  • Challenges the status-quo and develops creative solutions within the framework of Global Standards and Processes       
  • Leads proactive measures to achieve the specified goals in the event of deviations from the project plan 
  • Manages a sub-project team including external contractors and gives clear guidance to the team in terms of technical solutions and/or business processes       
  • Maintain ownership of assigned work-package within discipline through all project phases so that target functionality, quality and reliability are achieved         

Discipline Specifics  

  • Extensive expertise include systems and equipment within one or more of the following areas: biologics drug substance,  biologics drug product, small molecules drug substance, small molecules drug product, packaging/warehousing and GMP utilities
  • Technical Analysis:  including process and technology plant fits, capacity and equipment utilization, and assessment of applicable new technologies.
  • Championing, initiation, and leadership of cross functional strategies & initiatives required to maintain Roche's leadership in automation technology  in collaboration with the Community of Practice (COP).
  • Serves as primary consultant to senior management and internal/external spokesperson for the organization on significant matters pertaining to its policies, plans, objectives, and business operations.
  • Expected to create and deliver presentations and updates to senior management and the broader forums both internal and external to Roche.  Applies advanced theoretical knowledge and establishes new principles and concepts independently address strategic problems.
  • Perform the role of Senior Expert  within one of the Automation Engineering Community of Practices
  • Act as certified reviewer for discipline reviews for CAPEX Projects
  • Is an acknowledged expert both within and outside of Roche
  • Mentor and coach less experienced engineers
  • Expertise in developing and executing the automation strategy: including technology selection, level of automation justification, flexibility, and cost benefit analysis
  • Technology expertise includes MIS, DCS, MES, BAS and PLC
  • Experienced in planning and execution of automation system commissioning and qualification
  • Work is self directed, and exercises significant latitude in determining objectives and approaches to assignments.  Provides guidance and manage work activities of others.

Qualifications: required educations / experiences / competencies          

Education / Experience

  • Bachelors Degree in Engineering or related discipline with 12 to 15 years of experience preferable in pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical , 10 to 13 years of experience with Masters Degree, 7 to 10 years of experience with PhD
  • Preferred Requirements: MS in Engineering and/or an MBA           
  • 12 years of experience in international management of capital projects
  • Able to execute scope that is highly complex on projects that are mid-sized to large


  • Exceptional collaboration, teambuilding and communication skills
  • Strong business and technical acumen, strategic agility and global perspective necessary to lead the groups to world-class performance           
  • Global experience and culturally savvy, can adapt to and effectively manage in various cultural environments and organizational levels including executive management
  • Exemplifies Roche Values and Leadership Commitments
  • Significant travel such as assignment requiring weekly commuting or temporary remote assignment as required to meet the business need
  • International project assignment of 1 to 3 years as required to meet the business needs

Who We Are

A member of the Roche Group, Genentech has been at the forefront of the biotechnology industry for more than 40 years, using human genetic information to develop novel medicines for serious and life-threatening diseases. Genentech has multiple therapies on the market for cancer & other serious illnesses. Please take this opportunity to learn about Genentech where we believe that our employees are our most important asset & are dedicated to remaining a great place to work.

The next step is yours. To apply today, click on the "Apply online" button.

Genentech is an equal opportunity employer & prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin/ancestry, age, disability, marital & veteran status. For more information about equal employment opportunity, visit our Genentech Careers page.

At Genentech, we share salary ranges with applicants during the recruiting process, if requested. Third party salary estimates may not be accurate or up-to-date.

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