Executive Director

Nova Labs is a thriving community makerspace in Reston, VA. With a core of 400 members and hosting over 2,000 events per year, Nova Labs supports metro DC’s hobbyists and maker pros with access to fabrication and maker tools, kid and adult education, and many programs such as MakerFaire Nova, Nova Labs FIRST Robotics, Empower2Make, and our new Innovation Center for hardware startups.

Founded in 2011 as an all-volunteer organization, Nova Labs has grown dramatically with strong finances, an engaged community, and a progressive board of directors. Nova Labs requires a leader who can manage paid staff, organize and energize our volunteer base, and provide critical project management for our operations. This is an opportunity for a community-savvy leader to make a big impact in our organization, serve the makers of metro DC, and advance the momentum of the maker movement.

The Executive Director would have overall operational responsibility for Nova Labs paid and volunteer staff (Team Leads and Stewards), programs, and execution of the mission. Our ideal candidate is someone who loves to get things done through others, can motivate, and loves creating the context for executing. Because we are community-driven, it is imperative that you can work with and earn the respect of volunteers. And just as importantly, you must be an effective leader of people, with all that that entails.

This offer of a part-time position could evolve into full-time employment. 


  • Work with the board President and other board officers to develop, evolve, and operationalize Nova Labs’ strategic plan.
  • Own the high-level metrics around revenue growth, diversification, and member satisfaction.
  • Implement the annual budget in collaboration with the Treasurer, effectively manage the budget, and provide the Treasurer with monthly budget status reports.
  • Lead, engage, coach, develop, and retain Nova Labs’ high performing paid and volunteer staff. 
  • Work with staff to develop and expand earned income revenue streams including membership, incubators, rentals, classes, and events to maintain self-sustaining operations. 
  • Work with staff to develop and execute marketing strategies to raise brand awareness and support earned revenue strategies and community outreach programming. 
  • Work with staff and the VP of Outreach to develop and secure fundraising to achieve a balanced budget via donor solicitations, grant writing, and corporate sponsorships. 
  • Work with staff to develop and execute educational strategy including tool certifications, skill building classes, workshops, and children’s camps. 
  • Work with staff, local government, and non-profit partner organizations to develop community outreach programming, including entrepreneurship and STEM education, workforce development, and art/technology events. 

Experience and traits that will help you succeed in this role

  • Real world experience with makerspaces, preferably 5 years or more.
  • Demonstrated ability supervising people in a professionally run organization.
  • Real world experience implementing complex projects with deadlines.
  • Solid organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development, and task facilitation.
  • A history of successfully generating new revenue streams and improving financial results.
  • Experience and skill in working with a Board of Directors.
  • Deep understanding of volunteering and non-profit movements.
  • Leadership skills with the ability to coach, manage, develop, align, and inspire high-performance teams. 
  • Operational and management skills with the ability to manage budgets, manage projects, and achieve fundraising and programmatic goals. 
  • Strategic thinking skills with the ability to turn a vision into a reality. 
  • Passion for the integration of art, science, technology, entrepreneurship, and the creative process. 
  • Persuasive and passionate communicator with demonstrated collaboration skills. 
  • Leading by example and fostering an inclusive environment that thrives by bringing together diverse perspectives and inviting in underrepresented communities.
  • Extensive personal network in the maker community.

To apply

Please send your resume and cover letter to sam.aparicio@nova-labs.org.