Head of Engineering Operations Gemini South

  Date of publication
  Deadline for applications
  Minimum qualifications:
Master's Degree in Engineering or related discipline required; in exceptional cases, a BS in Engineering with equivalent, relevant experience may substitute for Master's Degree.


  • English Language Fluency: Expert
  • Spanish Language Fluency: Experto

  Salary range
Gemini Observatory offers a competitive compensation and benefits and relocation package, promotes continued education and career growth and cultivates a dynamic and diverse working environment
Angelica Junco - AURA Chile HR Representative


Gemini Observatory operates two world-class, optical-infrared, 8m telescopes in Hawaii and in Chile. The Observatory is managed as a partnership between the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Korea and Chile. Gemini is the leading large Observatory for time-domain astronomy and strives to be the best observatory in the world for the execution of flexible, innovative, and efficient science programs.

The Head of Engineering Operations oversees the Gemini South Engineering Operations group and all its engineering activities. Ensures that it is responsive to scientific and operational priorities established by the Observatory and coordinated between the Operations and Development groups, and that this support is consistent with the overall scientific mission and budget of the Observatory.

Tasks and activities Essential Functions:  

Manages all Gemini South engineers and the facility management staff; this includes performance assessment, staff training and the development of engineering talent.

  • Oversees near- and long-term telescope facilities, instrument maintenance and upgrades.
  • Supports the Development group activities by providing engineering resources to Development activities enabling instruments to meet technical specifications and be delivered within budget and on schedule.
  • Takes responsibility for safety aspects in the work place.
  • Conducts on-going evaluations of engineering operations activities and monitors Key Performance Indicators.
  • Develops appropriate instrument maintenance and improvement plans.
  • Plans to provide supporting infrastructure and resources to future and current operational instruments and for visiting instruments as needed.
  • Plans and schedules strategic projects; develops strategic management goals.
  • Maintains excellent relations with internal and external customers, and reports to them.
  • Financial management responsibility: controls the Gemini South Operations Engineering budget and authorizes purchases.
  • All Gemini employees must be safety conscious, comply with the Safety Manual and attend safety training.
  • All AURA employees are responsible for the proper management and control of all AURA property within their work area, whether assigned to them or someone else. This responsibility includes reporting any known missing, stolen, or non-working property in their work area to their supervisor or the AURA Property Officer. For detailed information on proper custodial care of government property, refer to the AURA Employee Handbook at http://hr.aura-astronomy.org/?q=handbook
  • Responsible for ensuring compliance with government award terms and conditions assigned to this position or subordinates of this position as defined in the Vela Award Management system

Other Functions:

  • Strategic Management: Work with the Associate Directors and the engineering staff to ensure that, at the highest levels the Observatory continues to realize the goal of a single, cohesive, competent, focused, productive Observatory-wide Operations team of the highest quality. Requires a desire and the know-how to drive the effort to make the telescopes the best possible in ground-based astronomy. Responsible for management and planning of strategic, future engineering functions. As a member of Senior Management, will report directly to the Gemini-South Associate Director of Operations. Gemini Observatory is currently working with other AURA centers to launch the new National Center for Optical-Infrared Astronomy (NCOA), which integrates together the operations of the night-time, ground-based facilities managed by AURA. As a member of Gemini management, will work closely with other leadership across NCOA to ensure successful launch and operations of NCOA.
  • Operations Management: Responsibilities include oversight of infrastructure and support services required to conduct the day-to-day technical and observing functions of all systems within the telescope enclosures as well as daily and long-term maintenance of telescope facilities and instruments, hardware and software, telescope facility upgrades and instrument development; and engineering interfaces across all levels, internally within the Observatory and externally, as appropriate. Specifically, must provide line management of all engineers in Gemini South Engineering Operations, and for the Observatory Site Team.
  • Budgetary Management: Manages Gemini South Operations Engineering budget.

Skills and experience Requires high degree of professionalism and discretion.
  • Must possess the skills to build and maintain a high-performing team.
  • Requires the ability to delegate and to give employees a chance to reach their full potential. Must be able to handle conflict in such a way as to maintain productive relationships.
  • Must have the ability to maintain a view of the ?big picture? and communicate it to colleagues at all levels.
  • Ability to write clearly-worded reports at a level required by Gemini Governance and to develop/deliver clear and inspiring presentations.
  • Must possess financial and accounting knowledge as well as experience with budgetary management software.
  • Consensus-building skills; ability to think on feet; requires flexibility and adaptability to work in a dynamic environment
  • Requires flexibility, adaptability and unflappable demeanor.
  • Ability to reconcile competing demands and ensure that important issues are handled along with emergency or urgent issues. Requires excellent judgment and insight.
  • Frequent international travel is required.
  • Must be fluent in the English language; must be prepared to learn Spanish.
  • Must be willing to live in La Serena, Chile.
  • Must have a valid Driver's License; clean driving record; ability to drive a 4 wheel drive vehicle

How to Apply?
Please, with the on-line application submit a Cover Letter and Resume, including 3 reference contact information, one of which must be from a supervisor.