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Sr Director, Product Engineering

Date: Jul 19, 2021

Location: CHICAGO, IL, US, 60603-4013

Company: Grainger Businesses

Company Overview

Grainger is North America’s leading Maintenance Repair & Operating provider and we are the 10th largest North American E-commerce player with over 50% of our revenue coming from online transactions. We deliver technology solutions across the enterprise including our call centers, branch network, sales, and our various digital channels. The team supports over 1000 applications across the network and operates in an agile environment to deliver complex solutions quickly and seamlessly.


 *This role is typically located in our downtown Chicago office, but due to COVID-19 will be fully virtual until further notice.  Once this office location has a return to work plan, the team member will be required to be on-site.


Primary Function

Sr. Engineering Director is the IT leader accountable to deliver capabilities in complex & strategic domains, e.g., Product Search & Merchandising. Scope of responsibility entails all aspects of engineering delivery (design, development, quality, resiliency) & ensures Product/Business alignment and with Security & platform. Plays a key role in co-creating a holistic (process, information, application) vision with Product Mgmt. & Engineering; in turn, accountable to derive a technical roadmap from Product’s business roadmap, driving healthy & effective capabilities that enable the business by continuously delivering value. Leads teams of people leaders, engineers & assigned Sr. Architects, specializing in component capabilities within 1 or more product domains. Drive capabilities’ migration, leveraging key Architectural principles, e.g., APIs, Event-Driven or Cloud-Native Architectures, ensuring there is a program for work alignment across domains.

Position Description

This strategic role provides overall direction for multiple &/or complex domains (e.g. Product Search & Merchandising) with a laser focus on Engineering while being responsible to maintain close alignment between Product, Architecture & Engineering from business & technology strategy, vision through delivery.

  • Lead teams of technology leaders & engineers, evangelizing high quality & scalable code
  • Evaluate internal Domain Architecture strategies & IT processes, facilitating improvements
  • Evaluate engineering & architecture talent, seeking to upskill, recruit & enable the org
  • Champion areas of technology optimization based on business need & inefficiencies 
  • Promote efficiency, security, & support of organizational goals for Engineering 
  • Champion implementation of architectural standards, capabilities & governance across the Engineering org
  • Provide metrics to business on the overall health of the business to IT strategy alignment, while seeking to drive improvements
  • Provide metrics to business on design execution & enablement across capability teams & domains, while seeking to drive improvements
  • Drive financial forecasting & resource planning & spend optimization
  • Solution Options: Set direction for solution choices in highly complex situations based on cost, risk, technology, etc.
  • Solution Standards: Ensure standards set; championing their implementation & adherence
  • Architecture: Ensure Capability Domain level logical & transition architectures are integrated
  • Leadership: Develop & shepherd performance of teams (Engineering managers & engineers). Ensure engineering staff follows architecture/engineering best practices & standards
  • Training: Plans developed & executed; seen as a champion of engineering managers’ & team members’ development.  Accountable to position TMs to apply standards as they employ development tools & leverage the highest technical skill & competency levels in the delivery process.
  • Communication: Champion engineering process improvements, outcomes & ongoing results
  • Domain Modelling: Promote consultation with Architects et al during Domain Modelling exercises resulting in wider alignment between domains
  • Delivery: Scope of responsibility & accountability – lead Grainger’s Product Search capability from definition through development to delivery. Breadth of scope: Encompasses both external & internal applications. From a Merchandising domain perspective, direct lifecycle from entry to display on all digital channels
  • Strategic Thinking & Application: Adopt a holistic approach to Product Search which can be applied across channels, such as the website, printed catalogs & internal customer service applications
  • Technical Expertise & Depth: Accountable to build a search capability that will span across thousands of categories & millions of products with minimal response times
  • Analytical Skills: Retrieve & analyze search analytics to identify & solve business problems with the search algorithm or the display heuristics
  • Continuous Improvement: Develop a search strategy utilizing data to make recommendations that create advantage for Grainger


Position Requirement


7-10 yrs. People Management Experience

15+ yrs. Industry Experience (Technical & Business)

Specialty Experience Area: Search

  • Demonstrated experience conceptualizing, designing, building, or significantly modifying a large-scale Search system for customer-facing channels
  • Experience building a Search experience for internal applications is a plus
  • Experience building Search indexes for printed catalogs is a plus
  • Experience using Elastic, Solr, Endeca, or other search engines is a plus


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science (related) or equivalent experience in hands-on software design, distributed systems architectures, services-oriented styles, or cloud-native
  • Experience with multiple IT disciplines 
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the business 
  • Strong modeling, analytical & communication capabilities 
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the business
  • Collaboration & consultation skills. 
  • Can articulate & evaluate the applicability of various architecture styles along with tradeoffs 
  • Deep understanding of one or more business domains 
  • Ability to communicate across both technical & non-technical roles 
  • Depth of experience with cloud-native development & cloud providers
  • Experience in modernizing IT footprint; demonstrated ability to maintain agile approach to IT
  • Strong understanding of modern architectural & engineering approaches in infrastructure, software & security
  • Ability to traverse into details while able to take a step back to assess broader patterns


EEOC Statement

Grainger is an Equal Opportunity Workplace and an Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.