Director Maintenance Excellence

Join the Our Talent Network
Lancaster, NY 14086
United States
Job Description

Owned by 250+ family farms, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. is a food and beverage company that has offered innovative, award-winning, high-quality dairy products since 1965. Our progressive cooperative’s success is based on a commitment to quality in everything we do that extends to every stage of operations, from our farms to the consumer. Our product offerings include milk, flavored milk, yogurt, dip, sour cream, cottage cheese, Italian cheese, and ice cream mix marketed under the Upstate Farms®, Bison®, Milk for Life®, and Intense Milk® brands. 

Job Summary:  The Director of Maintenance Excellence is a strategic leadership role responsible for developing and implementing asset reliability strategies, maintenance programs, and continuous improvement initiatives across all manufacturing facilities. This position plays a crucial role in leading and optimizing the maintenance function by ensuring the reliability and availability of critical equipment, reducing downtime, and maximizing asset performance. The Asset Reliability Director leads a team of reliability and maintenance professionals and collaborates cross-functionally to drive maintenance excellence while supporting operational excellence.  This role requires a blend of technical expertise, leadership, and strategic thinking.

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop preventive maintenance programs to minimize downtime and ensure regulatory compliance.

  • Develop and execute comprehensive maintenance and asset reliability strategies aligned with organizational goals.

  • Define key performance indicators (KPIs) for asset reliability and performance measurement.

  • Establish protocols for responding to asset-related emergencies and breakdowns.

  • Manage preventive and predictive maintenance programs to minimize downtime and equipment failures.

  • Implement best practices for maintenance planning, scheduling, and execution.

  • Develop and maintain equipment maintenance plans and procedures.

  • Lead, mentor, and develop a high-performing maintenance team, fostering a culture of reliability and continuous improvement.

  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to ensure equipment reliability, safety compliance, and environmental standards.

  • Deliver training programs to enhance the skills and knowledge of maintenance and reliability teams.

  • Implement effective asset management practices, including equipment lifecycle management, to maximize asset performance and ROI.

  • Utilize reliability engineering principles to identify and address chronic equipment reliability issues.

  • Lead reliability engineers in analyzing asset data and implementing improvements.

  • Develop and maintain reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) strategies for critical assets.

  • Develop and manage maintenance and asset reliability budgets, optimizing resource allocation.

  • Define and monitor KPIs to assess maintenance effectiveness and report progress.

  • Maintain comprehensive documentation of equipment history, maintenance records, and reliability strategies.

  • Promote a culture of continuous improvement within the maintenance department, driving initiatives to enhance reliability and cost-effectiveness.

  • Implement reliability-centered metrics and benchmarking for improvement.

  • Collaborate with suppliers and vendors to secure necessary parts, equipment, and services in a cost-effective and timely manner.

  • Utilize data analytics and condition monitoring tools to proactively identify equipment issues and optimize maintenance schedules.

  • Oversee the maintenance, repair, and reliability of all production equipment and machinery.

Experience & Education Required:

  • Bachelor's degree in Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, or Industrial Engineering preferred).

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in asset reliability, maintenance, or related roles, with at least 5 years in a leadership capacity.

  • Relevant certifications (e.g., CMRP) are advantageous.

  • Proven track record of implementing maintenance and reliability improvement initiatives.

  • Strong knowledge of reliability engineering principles.

  • Familiarity with maintenance management software (CMMS) and predictive maintenance tools.

  • Leadership and team management skills.

  • Effective communication, problem-solving, and analytical skills.

  • Knowledge of safety regulations and environmental standards.

Knowledge & Skills - Required

  • Troubleshooting PLC-based control systems, Rockwell Software experience desired.

  • Experience with various measurement instruments (temperature, pressure, flow, etc.).

  • Knowledge of industrial control networks and configurations (Ethernet, DeviceNet, DH+).

  • Familiarity with Allen Bradley motor controls and VFDs.

  • Manufacturing experience with PLCs and automation controls.

  • Knowledge of electrical schematics, power distribution, motor controls, PLC logic, HMI, and industrial controls.


  • Professional certifications in reliability engineering or maintenance management (e.g., Certified Reliability Leader, Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional).

  • Experience in asset-intensive industries such as manufacturing, utilities, or heavy machinery.

  • Familiarity with industry-specific regulations and standards.

  • Dairy and/or food processing knowledge.


  • The Maintenance Excellence Director is entrusted with confidential information relative to production methods, customers and company strategy requiring a high degree of confidentiality.

Management Responsibility

  • The Maintenance Excellence Director manages both internal and external maintenance staff.

Work Environment

  • The Maintenance Excellence Director works both in an office and in a manufacturing environment.  Working often in production and maintenance areas to assess equipment and engage with teams; requiring adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and appropriate PPE when in the manufacturing plant. The role requires travel to manufacturing facilities.

Pay: $140,000-$180,000/year

Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. is committed to equal employment opportunity for all, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, disability, genetic information, or any other protected characteristic.