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Lead Welder/ Machinist

Production | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Us

Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar powered autonomous surface vehicles called Saildrones, which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale. We are working with governments, civic agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas - be it in mapping out the ocean floor, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, counting biomass to establish fishing quotas, or detecting and stopping illegal fishing and trafficking. We believe that better inputs in planetary models in turn yield better outputs and that the new insights gained in weather forecasting, carbon cycling, global fishing and climate change will have tremendous impact on humanity. We are based in Alameda, CA and are backed by Social Capital, The Capricorn Investment Group, Lux Capital, Horizons Venture and The Schmidt Family Foundation.

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

The Role

We are seeking an experienced Lead Welder / Machinist to oversee all welding at Saildrone.  As a member of the production department, you’ll work closely with production and R&D to execute projects large and small. This is a team and hands-on position so finding someone who enjoys rolling-up their sleeves and getting involved is what we are looking for.

The Lead Welder/Machinist is responsible for the general operation of the Weld Shop and completing machinist projects. This includes: Completing complex and multi step build projects, obtaining material quotes; interfacing with managers and other technicians; tracking schedules of machined parts for both manual and CNC machines and various types of welding. 

  • Work directly with Production and R&D departments to plan and execute Welding and Machining projects

  • Responsible for tracking schedules of parts

  • Sets up and operates a variety of machine tools such as lathes, milling machines, shapers, planers, welders and precision grinders to make metal parts, mechanisms, tools, or machines to exacting tolerances and dimension. Interprets blueprints, sketches, and engineering specifications; determines sequence of operations, number of cuts required, and method of setup; uses a variety of machinist's hand tools and precision measuring instruments.

  • Makes standard shop computations relating to dimensions of work, tooling, feeds, and speeds; measures, marks, and scribes dimensions and reference points to lay out stock for machining. 

  • Fits and assembles precision parts into mechanical equipment and determines material, parts, and equipment required. 

  • May modify numerically controlled programs on numerically controlled (CNC) machines. 

  • Assist in practical operation of Weld & Machine shop including stocking, cleaning schedule, SOP for machines, safety and other employee use certification. 

Additional Responsibilities:

  • May perform other duties as assigned, including work in other production areas to cover absences or relief, to equalize peak work periods, or otherwise to balance the workload.

  • May be assigned to work on special projects.

  • Must be capable of lifting up to 50 lbs

Required skills and experience

  • Excellent welding skills

  • 5+ years in the role of a machinist, CNC/CAM experience required

  • Experience troubleshooting manufacturing operations, including machining processes

  • Experience completing multiple ongoing projects and managing employees

  • Experience leading machinists and technicians to work with CNC programmers, manufacturing engineers and quality engineers on processes development and continuous improvements efforts

  • Ability to read and interpret blueprints and engineering drawings

  • Well versed in GD&T and inspection procedures and processes

Location: This position is in Alameda, CA. Only candidates with proper permits to work in the United States can be considered.  Our waterfront office offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar used to film 'The Matrix'.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.
  • Active sailing classes: become a certified skipper on boats up to 35ft!  (once COVID safety allows)
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced paternity / maternity programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, discounted gym, life insurance, 401k plan

Catch up on the latest news about us:

 Saildrone is an equal opportunity workplace dedicated to pursuing and hiring a diverse workforce.

 Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.