Origin Materials – Vice President of Engineering

client success story

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  • 40+ Employees
  • Headquartered in Sacramento, CA
  • Strategic partner with and invested in by Nestle’ Waters, Danone, and PepsiCo
  • Established 2008
  • Demonstration scale plant online by 2022

Headquartered in West Sacramento, Origin Materials is the world’s leading carbon-negative materials company. Origin’s mission is to enable the world’s transition to sustainable materials. Over the past ten years, Origin has developed a platform for turning the carbon found in nonfood biomass into useful materials while capturing carbon in the process. Origin’s patented drop-in core technology, economics, and carbon impact have been validated by trusted third parties and are supported by a growing list of major global customers and investors. Origin’s first plant is expected to be operational in 2022, with a second, full-scale commercial plant expected to be operational by 2025, and plans for additional expansion over the next decade.

Origin’s patented, breakthrough platform technology can disrupt and decarbonize the materials industry, which represents a ~$1 trillion market opportunity to revolutionize the production of a wide range of end products, including clothing, textiles, plastics, packaging, car parts, tires, carpeting, and toys. Derived from non-food sources (wood residue), Origin produces sustainable and recyclable carbon-negative materials at a fraction of the cost of other bio-based technologies. Origin’s technology can make “net zero” possible and support customers in meeting their ESG and decarbonization goals.


With Origin Materials’s demonstration-scale plant projected to come online by 2022, they faced the challenge of driving the project through successful execution, production, and continued growth. Having already chosen a leading EPC partner for the plant and having employed some of the brightest engineers and project managers in the world, their executive leadership team identified a need for a strong engineering leader who could mentor, develop, and guide their engineering team through Origin’s next phase. The right candidate also needed industry adjacent experience with a strong technical, project management, and third-party engineering management background. This individual would ultimately be responsible for engineering technology and operations used in production as Origin Materials scales their plant and manufacturing capabilities from pilot to demonstration to commercial scale.

Through the execution of Ropella’s SMART Search System, a national search was conducted to uncover, engage, recruit, and assess a group of best-in-class Vice Presidents of Engineering. These candidates had a proven track record of leading engineering teams to proactively identify and organize around challenges related to commercializing and setting up manufacturing footprints for new chemical processes. Equally important, these executives were from leading manufacturers who possessed an intimate knowledge of organic materials and solids handling with a total mass flow of 20-50 thousand tons per year.

Custom created for Origin Materials, the Opportunity Marketing Piece was used to attract passive (employed and not looking) candidates from a select group of highly targeted companies. The Opportunity Marketing Piece enabled Ropella’s Executive Search Consultants to present a world-class overview of Origin Materials, the unique challenges facing the new Vice President of Engineering, and the incredible opportunity to join a rapidly growing carbon-negative materials innovator.


Custom created, the Skill Survey equipped our Executive Search Consultants to effectively gather information from a large pool of candidates. This step was critical to identifying and selecting for submission only the most qualified ‘A’ players.


Ropella thoughtfully scored all candidates as we moved through the screening and interview process using a custom-created Scorecard. The Scorecard took into account each candidate’s skills and experience, cultural dynamic, management style, compensation, relocation fit, and other attributes.


Our proprietary Compensation Comparison Calculator merges a variety of complex compensation factors into one report. This allows for easy comparison of current and competing offers, to ensure our client didn’t lose the perfect candidate to any counter offers or competitors.


Results Delivered

While not as cut and dry as a typical search, Ropella conducted a massive and thorough national search effort giving the leadership team an opportunity to zero in on their ideal leadership profile. Ropella identified 114 target companies and engaged with more than 300+ prospects on behalf of Origin Materials. From there we submitted 26 candidates, 15 of which were interviewed.

10 Business Days
To Qualified Candidates

With multiple A-player candidates interviewed through an in-depth interview and assessment process, the top three candidates were identified. Ultimately, Origin Materials utilized Ropella’s Compensation Comparison Calculator and supporting Offer Recommendation Summaries to creatively bridge a gap and secure their ideal leadership candidate. Reporting directly to the Co-founder and CEO, this new Vice President of Engineering will play a fundamental role in helping Origin Materials bring carbon-negative materials manufacturing to a commercial scale.

We researched and interviewed several recruiting firms before deciding to engage Ropella for an executive search. Now that the process is complete, it’s safe to say we have no regrets. We found their service to be incredibly responsive and thorough. The initial meeting to establish the process is extremely helpful and highly detailed. Ropella listened to our needs, provided candidates that fit both our job description and our company culture, and never rushed the process. Communication and updates were always timely and professional, and we were never left wondering or uncertain. We’re very happy with the process, applaud their efforts, and look forward to working with them again in the near future.

Amanda Medina
Human Resources Manager
Origin Materials