Head of Facilities Operations

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, December 1, 2017
Archive Date: 
Friday, December 29, 2017
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
La Serena
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Observatory in Chile seeks a Head of Facilities Operations to oversee the operation and maintenance of all common facilities in Chile operated by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) and the planned National Center for Optical-Infrared Astronomy (NCOA). The Head of the Facilities Operations Chile is responsible for oversight and management of the Facilities Operations department. This department maintains and improves buildings, utilities and civil infrastructure as well as key services at the La Serena headquarters, and the Cerro Tololo and Cerro Pachón observatory mountain sites. The AURA-Chile observatories host state-of-the-art scientific infrastructure, and the Facilities Operations Department plays a key role in their effective functioning. Duties include, but are not limited to, planning, organizing, directing, and controlling all facets of the facilities operations associated with these sites. Facilities operations encompass a wide range of activities such as taking care of electrical systems, water supply, road and building maintenance, and catering services.

The Facilities Operations in Chile is currently managed by AURA’s NOAO-South Center and will transition to the planned NCOA Center. NCOA will be a single NSF-sponsored center encompassing the current operating programs of NOAO and the Gemini Observatory in addition to the forthcoming operations of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Currently in pre-implementation, NCOA will be managed by AURA and headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, with facilities in the United States and Chile.

Essential Functions of the position:

The Head of Facilities provides the day to day management and supervisory functions for the Facilities group with overall responsibility for the maintenance and improvement projects for the common infrastructure and the responsibility to provide the common services defined in Service level agreements. Specific functions include:

  • Responsible for establishing, coordinating, and supervising a prioritized work schedule for subordinates. 

  • Plans and schedules facilities maintenance and improvement projects to ensure buildings and grounds of the NCOA facilities in Chile are properly maintained.
  • Provides written input to the annual Program and Long-Range Plans, prepares annual department budgets, monitors monthly financial statements, and estimates year-end financial reports. 

  • Prepares and reviews staff annual performance evaluations and counsels staff on work-related issues.
  • Researches, recommends, and institutes, new and improved cost saving methods of operation, materials, and procedures. Works with stakeholders to establish fees for services provided. 

  • Responsible for monitoring all regulatory compliance programs under Chilean law, such as Affirmative Action, OSHA, AURA safety, etc., within the facilities and for keeping subordinates informed of the programs.
  • Responsible for the design of facilities improvements, new projects, preparation of contract specifications and compliance during construction.

  • Responsible for implementing and maintaining preventative maintenance programs.
  • Writes and implements policy regarding transportation, safety, food service, housing and all other aspects associated with operations at the facilities in Chile.


We seek applicants with an engineering degree in an appropriate discipline with a minimum of five years experience in facilities management, but potential candidates with a proven track record of managing technologically diverse facilities are also invited to apply. Demonstrated managerial skills and experience in managing large contracts. 
Ability to work at the 2800-meter elevation summit sites. Excellent people skills in the context of a moderately large group in a diverse work environment. Proficiency in the use of applicable software tools. Knowledge and experience in project management methods. Strong awareness of health and safety standards. Good communication skills; fluency in Spanish is required and a reasonable ability to communicate in English is preferred.

AURA/NCOA offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment.

Applicants are requested to submit a resume or CV, a list of 3 professional references, and a cover letter describing how their skills and experience are matched to the essential functions of the position (PDF Files preferred). This position will be open until filled, however applicants are encouraged to apply by December 31, 2017 to ensure full consideration.

An Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer AURA does not discriminate because of race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual preference, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, or disability

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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