Director of Human Resources



We exist to maintain and improve the quality of life for everyone who calls this region home. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is both a metropolitan planning organization and a council of governments, bringing together local decision-makers to develop solutions to regional issues including improving equity, transportation, air quality, clean energy, economic development, public health and safety, housing, and more.

With a $1B program budget in FY 2024, 400 employees, and a network of key community partners, SANDAG applies strategies that are real-world, big-picture, and equity-focused to tackle major regional challenges. The SANDAG Regional Plan guides our work with a long-term vision for transforming the way people and goods move across our region now, and into the future. We bring this plan to life by creating and supporting partnerships, identifying funding, and delivering projects.

We are a data-driven agency, speeding up the delivery of exciting, large-scale infrastructure projects throughout the region. This includes building a new Central Mobility Hub to link transit connections, boosting cross-border travel between the U.S. and Mexico with a new, high-tech border crossing facility, and fortifying our coastal railway corridor against erosion. Other important SANDAG initiatives include administering the TransNet Program, disseminating critical economic and criminal justice data, providing a forum for housing needs, and offering funding and technical assistance to partner agencies. For more information, visit


Our dynamic leadership team is committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace. This newly created position will report to Melissa Coffelt, Senior Director, Organization Effectiveness. Melissa’s path exemplifies SANDAG’s commitment to providing employee development and internal growth opportunities. She has been engaged and enthusiastic about building a career that spans more than 20 years with the agency and has extensive experience in SANDAG’s people and work culture, having served in various business and leadership roles, including 19 years on the Human Resources team. She is passionate about building cultures that align the strengths and talents of employees with the goals of the organization, and takes great pride in supporting her team, developing strong relationships, and implementing solutions that deliver results.


SANDAG offers comprehensive benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance as well as employee assistance, wellness, and work/life balance programs. The total package for this position includes:

  • Salary: $220,000 – $240,000 DOE with pay-for-performance merit increases.
  • Hybrid and 9/80 flexible work schedule.
  • Participation in the CalPERS pension plan; SANDAG contribution toward employee’s 457 Deferred Compensation Plan; SANDAG does not participate in Social Security.
  • Excellent health, dental, and vision insurance options for employees and eligible dependents.
  • Management benefit – 2.5% of salary to be applied toward time off, health premiums, or deferred compensation plan contributions.
  • Access to Executive Health program.
  • Education Assistance of up to $5,250 a year.
  • Paid parking, and free transit pass for use throughout the San Diego region.
  • Paid time off including 12 paid holidays, 2 floating holiday days, generous paid time off (PTO) per year, depending on length of service.


This is a hybrid role with an office located at 401 B Street, Suite 800, San Diego, CA 92101.


The creation of this new Director of Human Resources position reflects our investment in expanding and responding to the evolving needs of our workforce and organization. With the full support of leadership, the Director will be responsible for driving change within our HR programs, using innovative strategies to modernize, refresh, and enhance our practices, infrastructure, and services to elevate the entire employee experience. This includes leveraging the skills and talent of the dynamic HR team of 12 professionals to provide best-in-class service and partnerships built on a foundation of customer service, attentiveness, and responsiveness.

The Director will serve as a strategic thought partner to the Senior Director, Organization Effectiveness, and leaders throughout the agency. The Director will provide oversight and direction for the HR program, including the functional areas of talent acquisition, performance management, health, benefits, safety, systems, and employee relations, and will support and mentor the HR team, including three direct reports. This position will have a major impact on our culture through the intentional enhancement of the employee experience across all levels and in every area of SANDAG.

Year One Priorities:

  • Talent Acquisition: Reinvigorate our recruitment strategy to attract top talent, and position SANDAG as an employer of choice in today’s competitive market, with a focus on refreshing the classification and compensation programs to align with our current needs.
  • Performance Management: Continue to evolve the agency’s performance management program and identify opportunities to elevate leadership and management practices that reflect the values and culture of SANDAG and foster outstanding performance for individuals and teams.
  • Technology: Oversee the rollout of our new ERP system. Look for innovative ways to leverage technology to elevate our HR services and capacity.


  • Establish operational and fiscal objectives for the HR program and ensure it operates within budget.
  • Develop and implement personnel strategies in support of organizational initiatives and business operations in the areas of workforce planning, talent acquisition, performance management, classification and compensation, benefits, wellness, and safety.
  • Provide vision, leadership, and oversight to develop strategies and best practices that promote a culture of inclusion, equity, and diversity where all individuals can thrive.
  • In partnership with leadership, develop and implement HR policies, programs, systems, and services that support the achievement of agency goals and objectives.
  • Build talent acquisition strategy and develop innovative programs to identify, recruit, develop, and retain key talent across the organization.
  • Establish progressive total rewards strategies and programs to motivate, recognize, and reward employees to foster high performance and engagement.
  • Develop and maintain a performance management program; establish and implement effective methods, practices, tools, and resources to communicate expectations and evaluate employee performance.
  • Ensure SANDAG remains in compliance with all federal, state, and local employment and labor laws and regulations.
  • Serve as the EEO Personnel Officer, ensuring SANDAG remains in compliance with EEO requirements and identify, recommend, and implement actions to eliminate barriers to equal employment opportunity.
  • Act as a liaison to foster and maintain effective employer/employee relations and resolve problems; establish and maintain effective working relationships at all levels of the organization.
  • Serve as the primary communicator on all employment-related matters and facilitate communication across all levels within SANDAG; ensure there is an effective approach to employee relations, including staff communication, employee engagement, conflict resolution, recognition programs, and employee feedback programs.
  • Lead and oversee HR-related project management efforts from the RFP phase through project completion; ensure projects remain on schedule, adhere to funding requirements, and meet objectives.


  • Demonstrated HR experience with strong knowledge of organizational development and HR management principles including labor regulations, state and federal compliance requirements, and HR best practices.
  • Strategic, innovative, and hands-on approach to all aspects of HR and operations; adept at analysis, strategic planning, and change management; adaptable and creative in diversifying and modernizing offerings in response to organizational needs.
  • A proactive leader dedicated to fostering a positive and inclusive workplace; strong background of embedding diverse, inclusive, and equitable strategies within HR initiatives, cultivating a culture of belonging and empowerment for all employees.
  • Excellent communication skills, written and oral; an active listener and respectful communicator with the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with management, employees, and stakeholders.


In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, applicants hired by SANDAG must show acceptable proof of identity and evidence of authorization to work in the United States. The selected candidate can anticipate a driving record check upon hire, and approximately annually thereafter. The results of the check may determine whether the selected candidate will be permitted to drive for SANDAG business.


Katie Do, Director, Executive Search & Recruiting
Blair Search Partners
1855 1st Ave, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101