Senior Systems Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Archive Date: 
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

We are currently seeking a Senior Systems Engineer to be located at the Gemini North (GN) Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii. The Senior Systems Engineer will primarily support the GN Adaptive Optics (GNAO) and Real Time Computer (RTC) projects. The Senior Systems Engineer is responsible for performing systems engineering tasks associated with assigned Observatory projects and activities.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of 40 US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, the Space Telescope Science Institute, and the construction of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

Essential Functions:

  • Lead and collaborate on needs identification, requirements definition and requirements analysis, and perform requirements management and verification.
  • Lead project configuration and knowledge management, including change control.
  • Collaborate on project risk management and quality management.
  • Collaborate on design and implementation activities including oversight to ensure adherence to systems engineering best practices.
  • Collaborate on integration and test activities including oversight to ensure adherence to systems engineering best practices.
  • Lead and collaborate on transition and project close out activities.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of systems engineering best practices and application within Observatories and similar environments.
  • Become proficient in Gemini systems engineering tools and processes and instruct the larger Gemini community in the use of these tools and processes as warranted.
  • Supervise and mentor junior Systems Engineering personnel as needed.
  • Responsible for the safety of activities of self, employees and contractors under their purview. Ensure the safe conduct of operations and activities of subordinates. See that safety is built into projects and plans for the future.

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • BS degree in an Engineering or Science discipline with courses in pertinent fields such as systems engineering, aerospace engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics.
  • 10+ years as a systems engineer or performing systems engineering functions.
  • Demonstrated experience with industry standard systems engineering tools.
  • Demonstrated systems engineering experience through the entire lifecycle of large, complex projects.
  • Demonstrated experience working with geographically distributed teams.
  • Demonstrated experience working with both internal and externally contracted teams in a systems engineering role.
  • Adaptive Optics experience highly desired.
  • Experience in both development and operations environments.
  • Experience in an Observatory environment.
  • Must have a valid Driver’s License; clean driving record; ability to drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
  • Systems engineering expertise across the system lifecycle.
  • Cooperative and independent leadership and management of technical activities throughout the system lifecycle.
  • Effective leadership and collaboration with people of diverse professions and background.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications.
  • Ability to easily grasp a wide range of engineering and science concepts and terminology pertaining to observatories.
  • Ability to ethically and inclusively lead teams and perform work in a safe and welcoming environment.
  • Ability to work independently, manage multiple assignments simultaneously and prioritize activities as needed.
  • Ability to garner consensus, make decisions, and communicate to stakeholders.
  • Must be able to travel internationally in performance of these duties.

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Advanced degree in an Engineering or Science discipline with courses in pertinent fields such as systems engineering, aerospace engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics.
  • Graduate coursework in Adaptive Optics science and engineering.
  • Professional certification in systems engineering desirable.
  • Fluency in English required, and fluency in Spanish desirable.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately.  

We will interview candidates who meet the minimum basic qualifications upon receipt of application. The position will remain open until filled.   All applicants must submit a cover letter with their CV that describes their interest in this position and their relevant experience. Please include a list of 3 professional references with contact information.

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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