Business Development Officer - Gulf of Maine Research Institute - Portland, ME |
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Business Development Officer

Gulf of Maine Research Institute | Portland, ME

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The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) pioneers collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. Our scientists explore dynamic ocean systems from marine life to environmental conditions to coastal economies. We infuse our discoveries into the policy arena and design solutions with fishermen and seafood businesses to protect fishery resources, harvest them responsibly, and market them as premium quality food. We share our discoveries with the public and nurture a culture of leadership in communities that depend on the sea. Our education programs cultivate science literacy and build a foundation of collaborative problem-solving among our next generation of leaders, scientists, citizens, and stewards. Each year, we serve over 25,000 stakeholders from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia.

GMRI is recruiting its first Business Development Officer (BDO) to work with GMRI’s President/CEO, Management Team, staff, and Board of Directors to pursue GMRI’s business development and social investment aspirations as part of GMRI’s strategic plan.  This is a new position at GMRI; the BDO will play the lead internal and external role developing this new capacity at GMRI.  The BDO will identify, prioritize, and develop internal know-how into business opportunities; identify, prioritize, and support a limited portfolio of external business development relationships; mentor internal and external entrepreneurs; and, assess, prioritize, and pursue access to or development of promising sources of investment capital.  The BDO will manage a portfolio of business investments at various stages of development over time. 

The BDO will serve as a peer on GMRI’s Management Team.  The BDO will report to the President/CEO along with the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Development Officer.

RESPONSIBILITIES and TASKS:  Responsibilities will include an evolving mix of:

Identify and Develop Internal Business Opportunities: 

Over the past fifteen years, GMRI has developed substantial know-how across multiple fields, such as ocean data management, climate change modeling, otolith analysis, sustainable seafood assessment and provenance, marine community leadership training, fishing vessel monitoring, and STEM learning technology.  The BDO will work with the President/CEO, Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Chief Development Officer (CDO) to:

  • Survey GMRI’s internal know-how, assess market needs that might be addressed with GMRI’s know-how, prioritize business opportunities to do so, select business opportunities for development, and engage GMRI’s internal stakeholders to review selected opportunities.
  • Determine whether staff member(s) responsible for know-how underlying a selected opportunity has the interest and capability to transition into a business leadership role.  If so, work with staff to develop the opportunity into a business.  If not, find a partner to develop the opportunity through licensing or partnership.
  • Develop business plans, review with our Management Team, Business Development Committee, and Board of Directors, and secure approval.
  • Develop and pursue funding strategies to start and develop businesses, in coordination with our CDO.
  • Develop businesses to the point where a separate legal/organizational structure (i.e., commercial partner, separate for-profit subsidiary, or an independent spin-off) is required.
  • Serve as GMRI’s lead representative developing and governing separate legal/organizational structures through which to grow promising businesses.
  • Communicate with internal stakeholders at GMRI to build understanding of GMRI’s business development process and aspirations.

Identify and Develop External Business Development Opportunities: 

As time and resources allow, the BDO will identify and cultivate external business development opportunities as follows:

  • Identify external businesses relevant to GMRI’s mission and expertise, assess external business development potential, prioritize external business opportunities, select external businesses for development partnerships, and engage GMRI’s staff and board as appropriate to review selected businesses.
  • Work with leadership of external businesses to develop business plans, review them with our Management Team, Business Development Committee, and Board of Directors, and secure approval for continued GMRI involvement as a management and fundraising advisor.
  • Develop and pursue funding strategies to support growth of partner businesses.
  • Serve as GMRI’s lead representative developing and governing partner businesses.
  • Communicate with internal and external stakeholders to build understanding of GMRI’s external business development interests and process.

Pursue Access to and/or Development of Investment Capital: 

Given the challenge and nuances of social investment and the specialized nature of seafood investment, the BDO will identify, access, and develop external sources of investment capital as follows:

  • In coordination with GMRI’s President/CEO and CDO, identify external sources of private, public, and philanthropic capital relevant to GMRI’s business development aspirations, assess GMRI’s fit with such sources of capital, develop collegial relationships with such sources of capital, and secure capital investments as needed.
  • Communicate proactively with external sources of capital to cultivate their awareness of GMRI as an investment opportunity and partner.
  • Assess the need for and potential of a sustainable seafood investment fund.  If assessment is positive, secure necessary partners, investors, and staff to raise and launch such a fund.
  • Serve as GMRI’s lead representative in social capital markets.
  • Communicate with internal stakeholders at GMRI to build understanding of GMRI’s investment capital interests and strategy.

Engage and Support Board of Directors:  GMRI is governed by a talented, eclectic, and committed Board of Directors.  The President/CEO and Management Team work together to develop a calendar of engaging board meetings, support directors in their committee work, and insure a transparent, lively exchange of ideas between board and staff.  The BDO will:

  • Work with President/CEO to staff our board’s Business Development Committee to support their productivity as volunteers with significant fiduciary responsibility in an area new to GMRI.
  • Attend and report at board and Executive Committee meetings.

Manage Implementation of Impact Investment Initiative in Strategic Plan: 

GMRI recently completed an extensive strategic planning process that identified Impact Investment as one of five New Initiatives.  The BDO will develop and manage implementation of our Impact Investment Initiative through the following general activities.

  • Work with GMRI’s Management Team to translate our Impact Investment aspirations into a rolling three-year development plan and successive annual budgets to implement that plan;
  • Work with GMRI’s Board of Directors and its Business Development Subcommittee to govern GMRI’s business development and social investment activities with best-practices;
  • Contribute to the evolution of GMRI’s culture and capacity to harness market forces to deepen GMRI’s impact and achieve our mission;
  • Diversify GMRI’s revenue with earned income;
  • Generate sufficient income to reach breakeven within three years (fully funding the cost of the BDO position in year four) and meaningful income within a ten-year horizon; and,
  • Work with GMRI’s President/CEO, COO, and CDO to refine and evolve our Impact Investment strategy over time.



  • Sophisticated leader in both complex, dynamic external markets and internal organization operations.
  • Proven ability to conceive and develop effective business initiatives, secure funding, and build and manage a talented team to implement them;
  • Entrepreneurial soul capable of and energized by shifting between high level strategy and rolling up sleeves to do heavy-lifting inherent to new ventures;
  • Demonstrated ability to provide subtle leadership in a creative, disciplined, periodically ambiguous and chaotic environment;
  • A good listener, with deep interest in and respect for diverse internal and external stakeholders.
  • Deep understanding of at least one of GMRI’s three core program competencies:  marine science, science education, and fishing community development.

Education and Work Experience:

  • Business experience in the sustainable seafood, marine technology, marine conservation, or fishing community economic development markets;
  • Demonstrated success at an executive level in an organization of similar scale to GMRI.
  • Minimum of fifteen years of challenging operational and management experience;
  • Experience in securing and closing investment and/or strategic partnership deals of $1 million or more.
  • Experience in public, private, government, and philanthropic markets.
  • Master’s in Business Administration or equivalent.
  • Final candidate may have the literal pedigree summarized above or an eclectic background that provides the insight, leadership, management, communication, organizational skills, and entrepreneurial bent required to excel in this position.


  • Self-motivated, optimistic, and energetic;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, collaborative, interested in other viewpoints;
  • Self-awareness and sensitivity to navigate the opportunity and cultural tension between mission and profit.
  • Articulate and concise in verbal and written analysis and communication;
  • Gathers team perspective to make decisions and then moves decisively.


Compensation will be competitive and depend on qualifications.  GMRI offers an excellent benefit package.


To submit your cover letter and resume CLICK HERE. Questions should be emailed to  Please note we will not accept resumes sent to this email address.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Deadline: February 22, 2019. Resumes will be reviewed upon receipt.

We are proud to confirm our long-standing policy and commitment to providing equal access and equal employment opportunities in all terms, conditions, processes and benefits of employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. Our employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. Applicants and employees are encouraged to voluntarily self-identify their race/ethnicity, gender, disability status and veteran status to assist us in fulfilling various data reporting requirements of the federal government. This self-identification is completely voluntary, will be kept strictly confidential and separate from your application data, and used only to meet federal reporting requirements. Providing or declining to provide this information will not result in adverse action of any kind.

Posted On: 2019-02-25 10:11:29
Closing Date: Open Until Filled
Telecommute: No
Categories: Business Development, Research
Job Type: Regular
Job Status: Full Time
Career Level: Senior Level (10+ years experience)
Minimum Degree: Master's Degree
Pay Type: Annual Salary
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