Senior Operations Manager - Warkworth Composites Complex

Senior Operations Manager - Warkworth Composites Complex

companyRocket Lab
PublishedPublished: 3/28/2024
Procurement / Operations
Full Time


Rocket Lab is a global leader in launch and space systems. The rockets and satellites we build and launch enable some of the most ambitious and vital space missions globally, supporting scientific exploration, Earth observation and missions to combat climate change, national security, and exciting new technology demonstrations. Our Electron rocket has provided reliable access to orbit since 2018, becoming one of the most frequently launched rockets in the world. Neutron will be our next rocket on the launch pad, an advanced 13-tonne payload class, reusable rocket to launch the mega constellations of the future. Our space systems business includes our extensive line of satellites and components that have enabled more than 1,700 missions including the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA Psyche Mission, Artemis I, Mars Ingenuity helicopter, and more.  

Join our pioneering team and launch your career to new heights!


Rocket Lab’s Neutron team is responsible for bringing our new large rocket Neutron and its launch and test sites to life. From designing and testing Neutron’s structures and components, to firing up its new Archimedes engines, to setting up Neutron’s launch pads and test sites across the United States, joining the Neutron team is your opportunity to help launch a new large rocket for the very first time. 


This is a role within the Neutron Senior Leadership team that will oversee operations at the WCC (Warkworth Composites Complex) facility, delivering the required production output whilst maintaining quality, schedule and cost control. 

You can expect to manage the WCC facility, the Neutron Composites team in New Zealand, and local suppliers (NZ and Australia).

Performance in this position will be measured by the ability to successfully maintain a high performing team, delivering high-quality parts and assemblies for the Neutron program. WCC has an initial focus on first article development but has a longer-term focus on scaling production to support assemblies of the Neutron launch vehicle include stage 2 tanks, stage 1 fairings, and aerostructures across the entire launch vehicle.

Key responsibilities of the role are:

  • Oversee sitewide operations, production staff, administration and logistics, maintenance and upkeep of all WCC infrastructure and facilities to ensure continued production in a safe, effective environment 
  • Lead, mentor, and support the staff within the WCC department to be motivated, effective and efficient in their roles while provide opportunities for growth and development 
  • Ensure direct reports understand their role and responsibilities and receive timely feedback on their performance, both formal and informal 
  • Implementation of manufacturing and business processes to optimize operations 
  • Take ownership/responsibility for WCC facility output and quality 


  • Strong knowledge and applied experiences in both and R&D environment and lean manufacturing
  • 8 + years' manufacturing experience in aerospace or a closely related industry, such as launch vehicles, aircraft, helicopters, automotive or boat-building
  • Demonstrated experience in leading teams in fast paced environments
  • Demonstrated experience leading teams through change management initiatives that influence culture, define tools & processes and improve competencies
  • Demonstrated experience in composites design and/or manufacturing
  • Highly effective and professional verbal and written communication skills with the team, internal customers and suppliers that includes a strong focus on teamwork and internal/external customer satisfaction
  • Demonstrated ability to work cross functionally within a geographically disperse and diverse organisation


  • Composite manufacturing in prepregs and Infusion
  • CNC machining
  • Composite curing autoclaves
  • Composite curing ovens
  • Composite material handling and cutting machinery
  • General facility and civil construction
  • Domestic and global logistics

This role is based in Warkworth, Auckland. Apply now to be considered for this position!


We’re on a mission to unlock the potential of space to improve life on Earth, but that’s not an easy task. It takes hard work, determination, relentless innovation, teamwork, grit, and an unwavering commitment to achieving what others often deem impossible. Our people out-think, out-work and out-pace. We pride ourselves on having each other’s backs, checking our egos at the door, and rolling up our sleeves on all tasks big and small. We thrive under pressure, work to tight deadlines, and our focus is always on how we can deliver, rather than dwelling on the challenges that stand in the way.   

Important information:


To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Rocket Lab Employees must be a U.S. citizen, lawful U.S. permanent resident (i.e., current Green Card holder), or lawfully admitted into the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum, or be eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State and/or the U.S. Department of Commerce, as applicable. Learn more about ITAR here.

Rocket Lab provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment at Rocket Lab, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for the application/interview process for a job in the United States should contact Giulia Biow at g.biow@rocketlabusa.com.This dedicated resource is intended solely to assist job seekers with disabilities whose disability prevents them from being able to apply/interview. Only messages left for this purpose will be considered. A response to your request may take up to two business days.


For security reasons background checks will be undertaken prior to any employment offers being made to an applicant.  These checks will include nationality checks as it is a requirement of this position that you be eligible to access equipment and data regulated by the United States' International Traffic in Arms Regulations. 

Under these Regulations, you may be ineligible for this role if you do not hold citizenship of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the European Union or a country that is part of NATO, or if you hold ineligible dual citizenship or nationality.  For more information on these Regulations, click here ITAR Regulations.