Program Associate (GIS, Ecosystem Services)

Winrock International
Arlington, VA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Private Sector
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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The Program Associate-GIS (PA-GIS) contributes to the Ecosystem Services Unit's global work in the sphere of GIS, Remote Sensing, watershed management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, REDD+, ecosystem services valuation, environmental services, and related topics. The PA-GIS supports the Unit Director and Program Officers and works with other staff in the Unit to implement and manage Ecosystem Services project activities, carrying out and presenting scientific analyses, ensuring timely completion of tasks within scope and budget. This position is based in Arlington, Virginia and cannot be remote.

The PA-GIS is primarily responsible for carrying out spatial and non-spatial technical analysis and assisting in project design and management. The PA-GIS position will require frequent domestic and international travel (estimated 15-30% of year) to project sites to lead consultations with clients and key stakeholders from government, civil society and private sector, to conduct field work and technical trainings, and to deliver presentations on scientific topics to technical and non-technical audiences. The PA-GIS will also assist in business development by producing text, figures and maps for proposals.

The positions requires excellent English writing and communication skills for technical reports, communication materials and proposals. The candidate must be highly skilled in ArcGIS, and mastery of other geospatial standards and platforms is also desired. As an important element of the Unit's portfolio is the generation, evaluation, and analysis of remote-sensing derived spatial products for assessment of dynamics of land use change, skill in production and interpretation of land use change maps is desired. Additional desired skills include familiarity with ESRI Enterprise software for development of web-facing interactive spatial tools and communication products that cater to a diverse global audience. The PA-GIS ideally will have skills in programming automated geospatial data management and analysis (e.g. Python, PostGIS). The PA-GIS will be expected to provide advice and guidance on geospatial science-based decision making in natural resource management and the piloting of new technologies and techniques in GIS, especially web-based GIS.

The selected candidate will become part of a close-knit interdisciplinary team of scientists and geospatial experts working in international development with a focus on land use, hydrology and climate change. The work environment is collaborative and dynamic, providing growth opportunities in science, geospatial analysis and management, and international development. Professional fluency in English required. Spanish and French language is desired.


Project Implementation

  • Manage spatial and non-spatial technical analyses with scientific rigor
  • Work both independently and in teams; seeking guidance and advice as needed.
  • Assisting in the writing and development of reports and proposals.
  • Maintain positive relationships with clients and development partners through proactive and professional communication.
  • Travel both domestically and internationally. This may include field work involving hiking for multiple hours sometimes carrying heavy equipment and staying in less than ideal accomodations.
  • Conduct presentations and trainings to a variety of stakeholders.

GIS and Technology leadership

  • Capable of conducting high-level GIS analysis, leveraging ESRI Enterprise software, conducting and advising on remote sensing methods and analysis, assisting in the development of web-based tools and other products to efficiently communicate results to a broad audience.
  • Maintain high level of scientific rigor on technical deliverables, including close adherence to latest best practices and recommendations from the scientific community
  • Track new geospatial technologies, tools and methodologies through participation in professional networks, attendance of industry events, and personal skills development.
  • Coach overseas and US-based staff on techniques to ensure skillsets are sustained within unit
  • Take ownership of a suite of Winrock-branded GIS-centric methods, toolkits, etc. that can be packaged and reused into multiple new business efforts.
  • Serve as an ambassador of Winrock to global private and government audiences, emphasizing our unique technical capabilities in addressing interlinked social and environmental issues.
  • Conduct geospatial data management and programming.

Business Development

  • Contribute to the development of new business by assisting in proposal writing, coordination, and co-authoring technical sections of several proposals per year.
  • Help identify sources of new funding to support the Ecosystem Services Unit through work with government, multilateral agencies, non-government organizations, etc.
  • Actively seek new funding opportunities and share unit responsibility for meeting annual business development targets.
  • Directly coordinate with other units in the Environment group, as well as other groups at Winrock, to identify opportunities and develop strategies for pursuing interdisciplinary work with Winrock's practices in water, adaptation, clean energy, agriculture, and human rights.



  • Current US work authorization.
  • Graduate level degree in environmental science, forestry, ecology, environmental studies, geography, geospatial science, or a related discipline.
  • Ability and willingness to travel internationally up to 10%-20% of year, for 1-3 weeks at a time, often to developing countries.
  • Demonstrated advanced aptitude in GIS technologies including ESRI desktop, server and Enterprise software.


  • Professional competency in Spanish and/or French Languages.
  • Experience with open source geospatial database development such as PostGIS.
  • Experience with geospatial web development.
  • Experience with application of existing scientifically validated models, e.g. hydrologic, biogeochemical or climatic models.
  • Strong knowledge of geostatistical and inferential statistical techniques in a natural resource management context.
  • Experience working or living in developing countries.