Principal of Demographics, Estimates, and Forecasts



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, goods movement, public health, public safety, housing, and more.

With a $1B operating budget, 400 staff members, and our critical community partner organizations, SANDAG tackles major regional challenges through strategies that are real-world, big-picture, coordinated and equity-focused. 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. Every day we are bringing the plan to life by creating and supporting partnerships, identifying funding, and delivering projects.

Our current focus is to serve as 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


SANDAG is led by a dynamic leadership team committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace. The Principal will report to Dr. Cindy Burke, Senior Director of Data Science, and head of the Data Science Department. A 25-year veteran of SANDAG, Dr. Burke is a passionate, inclusive, and transparent leader. She is an accomplished and well-respected researcher, nationally recognized for her contributions to the field of public safety. Dr. Burke’s leadership style based on relationships and appreciation, supporting her team and the use of innovative strategies to achieve results. She cares about staff and encourages her team to find a healthy work-life balance. Dr. Burke also demonstrates her commitment to staff by leading the Recruitment and Retention Committee for the organization.

The Principal will be a key leader within the Data Science Department, comprised of 75 exceptionally talented professionals focused on delivering information and technical resources for regional planning, funding, and policymaking efforts. The department represents a broad range of expertise including land use and transportation modeling, programming, website development, applied social research, public safety, demographics, and economics. SANDAG, and Data Science Department team, is fully committed to providing quality data that can be used for action both internally and externally.


SANDAG offers comprehensive benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance as well as employee assistance, wellness, and work/life balance programs. Additionally, SANDAG offers the following:

  • Salary: $124,063 – $192,298 DOE with pay-for-performance merit increases
  • 9/80 flexible work schedule
  • CalPERS pension plan with employer and employee contributions
  • Excellent health, dental and vision insurance options for employees and eligible dependents
  • Education Assistance of up to $5,250 a year
  • 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
  • The employee selected for this position will be offered a three-year At-Will employment contract, which provides an annual $5,000 contribution to their defined contribution plan.


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


The Principal of Demographics, Estimates, and Forecasts will lead a team of exceptionally talented professionals who develop and maintain regional and sub-regional models, produce estimates and forecasts of demographic, economic, and land use data, and perform complex analyses for projects and studies. The economic and demographic modeling function is highly integrated with transportation modeling. As such, this role also works closely with the Manager of Transportation Analysis and Modeling, and project managers throughout the organization, to support regional planning activities. This is a highly collaborative role, working cross-departmentally to develop and implement a comprehensive data dissemination program, build accurate growth forecasts, and coach and mentor team members. The ability to provide both strategic leadership and technical expertise and manage multiple project teams is an essential part of the role. This is an excellent opportunity for an established demographer to join a highly regarded team recognized for producing quality research that informs local policy and improves our quality of life in the San Diego region.


  • Manage a service-oriented modeling program that focuses on providing consistent, accurate information to customers within the agency and throughout the San Diego region; coordinate, review, and evaluate staff, resources, budget, work plans, and projects assigned to the team.
  • Work in close collaboration with SANDAG executive team members, internal project partners and clients, and consultants to manage and coordinate multiple program areas and long-range projects with competing and interdependent timelines.
  • Supervise, mentor, train, and provide career development opportunities for a team of professional and technical staff with expertise in regional economics and demography, programming, and modeling.
  • Provide strategic vision and technical expertise in the field of regional data modeling systems and participate in the development of public policy recommendations on issues such as population growth, transportation, housing, environmental management, economic development, public safety, and binational coordination.
  • Oversee and conduct complex research, statistical analysis, and modeling related to socioeconomic forecasts, and demographic and economic analysis.
  • Ensure modeling technologies, tools, and analytical capabilities are reliable, credible, and effective for supporting long-range planning.
  • Oversee the development and maintenance of technical documentation for economic and demographic forecasting programs and procedures.
  • Coordinate and/or participate on inter-departmental and inter-agency teams assembled for modeling, analyses, and planning related projects; foster collaborative working relationships with local jurisdictions, Caltrans, and other public agencies.
  • Prepare and present written, oral, and visual reports to policy and stakeholder committees, member agencies, community groups, private organizations, and members of the public.
  • Develop Requests for Proposals, scopes of work, and project budgets; evaluate competitive project proposals and make recommendations for consultant selection; manage project consultants and ensure projects are completed on schedule, within the prescribed budget.
  • Coordinate the development and administration of the annual budget for the team; forecast additional funds needed for staffing, equipment, materials, and supplies; monitor and approve expenditures; prepare and implement budgetary adjustments as necessary.


  • A bachelor’s degree in economics, demography, geography, planning, mathematics, or a related field; advanced degrees are preferred.
  • Minimum of seven years of recent experience leading regional land use, real estate, demographic, or economic forecasting and estimations, including two years of supervisory experience.
  • Experience supervising and evaluating the work of professional and technical personnel.
  • Demonstrated experience managing or leading comprehensive modeling programs; ability to integrate excellent technical abilities and knowledge with a big-picture understanding of the regional planning process.
  • Demonstrated experience monitoring program and project performance measures including budget, schedule, and resource requirements; experience coordinating project teams and monitoring work performance.
  • Demonstrated experience managing a complex system of regional data models; ability to deploy state-of-the art methods for efficient maintenance, quality control procedures, and to verify the accuracy and reliability of the tools.
  • Knowledge of the principles, practices, and objectives of regional planning, and experience leading staff in producing estimates and forecasts of demographic, economic, land use, and real estate data, and performing complex analysis for projects and studies.
  • Knowledge of economic forecasting applications and software.
  • Experience communicating and presenting highly technical information effectively, both orally and in writing, to a broad range of audiences.
  • Ability to create and manage budgets, analyze and interpret financial data and prepare reports and recommendations.


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. SANDAG requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 within 45 days of hire.


Sarah Thompson, Director
Blair Search Partners
1855 1st Ave, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101