Observatory Manager

May 25 2024
Job Description


Title: Observatory Manager

Position Number: 0081274T

Hiring Unit: Institute for Astronomy

Location: Hilo, Hawai‘i

Date Posted: May 24, 2024

Closing Date: June 10, 2024

Band: C

Salary : salary schedules and placement information

Full Time/Part Time: Full-time

Month: 11-month

Temporary/Permanent: Temporary


Duties and Responsibilities

1.       *Serves as on-site Manager for the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), which is a unique NASA asset providing ground-based support for NASA space missions and planetary astronomy programs, and astrophysics programs.

2.       *Responsible for day-to-day on-site oversight of the multi-tens-of-million dollar telescope facility and instrumentation, with authority over telescope operations and safety in consultation with the IRTF Director and Senior Engineer.

3.       *Oversees and manages the hiring of on-site multiple technical personnel and includes monitoring staff performance, resolving conflicts when disputes arise, and advising on career development.

4.       *Plans, schedules and supervises the observatory day crew in the operation and maintenance of the observatory facility, facility support equipment, telescope and associated instrumentation (infrared cameras, infrared spectrographs, and optical systems).

5.       *Performs complex technical work with the telescope and instrumentation requiring knowledge of cryogenic systems, mechanical systems, electronics and computers.

6.       *Plans, schedules, budgets and coordinates major facility projects involving critical systems such as the dome shutter maintenance and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) maintenance in consultation with the IRTF Director and Senior Engineer.

7.       *Serves as the observatory facility Safety Officer with authority to enforce safety regulations, supervise staff training, and conduct safety briefings for astronomers visiting the high altitude observatory.

8.       *Formulates plans to keep the observatory facility in compliance with the Maunakea Stewardship Oversight Authority (MKSOA) and Office of Maunakea Management Conservation District Use Permits.

9.       *Responsible for ensuring that technical support is provided to astronomers using the telescope by maintaining the telescope and telescope systems in working order.

10.     Serves on call 24/7 to manage response to technical (e.g. telescope failures) and medical emergencies (e.g. high altitude sickness requiring immediate evacuation).

11.     *Manages, plans, schedules, organizes, and establishes priorities to ensure the efficient operation and proper maintenance of a state of the art observatory facility.

12.     Manages observatory facility-related contracts. Contracts include dome maintenance, HVAC maintenance, building maintenance, site maintenance, and managing the GSA fleet of vehicles.

13.     Works closely with the IRTF Director to set goals and objectives for short-term and long-term planning and scheduling of observatory facility operations.

14.     Resolves operational and administrative matters in accordance with current policies, procedures, and directives as requested.

15.     Responsible for written and oral communications, exercising tact, diplomacy, and good judgement in relations with others.

16.     Works with the staff to enforce UH policies and procedures of ethical behavior in the workplace.

17.     Other duties as assigned

* Denotes Essential Functions


Minimum Qualifications

1.       Possession of a vocational degree in electronics technology, machinery/mechanical technology or related field and 7 year(s) of progressively responsible professional experience with responsibilities for electronic and electro-mechanical repair; or any equivalent combination of education and/or professional work experience which provides the required education, knowledge, skills and abilities as indicated.

2.       Advanced and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of a wide range of developing and emerging concepts, principles and methodologies in the area of electronic and electro-mechanical work.

3.       Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of a wide range of principles, theories, federal and state laws and systems associated with electronics and electro-mechanical work.

4.       Demonstrated ability to understand problems from a broad interactive perspective and use reasoning to discern underlying principles and issues when problem solving, and apply creative thinking to resolve problems in new and innovative approaches.

5.       Demonstrated written and verbal competence in presenting ideas, concepts and models clearly using persuasion and negotiation to build consensus and cooperation.

6.       Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external organizations, groups, team leaders and members, and individuals.

7.       Demonstrated ability to operate a personal computer and apply word processing software.

8.       For supervisory work, demonstrated ability to lead subordinates, manage work priorities and projects, and manage employee relations.

9.       Must be able to work at an elevation of 14,000 feet.

10.     Must be able to lift and carry up to 40 lbs independently and/or with assistance.

11.     Considerable knowledge of the materials, methods, tools and equipment employed in the maintenance utilized in or in support of observatory facilities and equipment.

12.     Considerable knowledge of the operation of observatory or observatory equipment.

13.     Knowledge of the hazards and safety precautions in observatory maintenance and repair.

14.     Ability to plan, assign, and supervise the work of a number of skilled and semi-skilled subordinates.

15.     Ability to follow engineering drawings, sketches, oral and written instructions.

16.     Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with visiting astronomers, contractors, employees, and the general public.

17.     Experience supervising mechanical, HVAC, electrical and electronic repair and maintenance of equipment utilized in or in support of observatory facilities and equipment.

18.     Ability to travel independently to various locations in a timely manner. Fulfilled by possession of valid State of Hawaii Driver's License (class 3), valid comparable driver's license, or use of other means of transportation which meets positions needs.

19.     Experience as a Supervisor as well as hand-on experience with mechanical and electronic equipment.

20.     Must be able to work a non-standard work schedule.


Desirable Qualifications

1.       Demonstrated ability to supervise, plan, and coordinate work schedules.

2.       Experience with cryogenic systems.

3.       Demonstrated ability to manage highly technical projects (e.g. astronomical instrument development).


To Apply:


Click on the “Apply” button on the top right corner of the screen and attach the required documents.  Applicants must submit (1) cover letter indicating how you satisfy the minimum and desirable qualifications, (2) resume, (3) names and contact information of 3 professional references and (4) official transcripts.  Copies of transcripts are acceptable, but official transcripts will be required at the time of hire.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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Inquiries: John Rayner, [email protected]