Director of Center Operations Services (COS) - NCOA

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, October 19, 2018
Archive Date: 
Friday, November 16, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Street Line 1: 
950 N Cherry Ave
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is seeking a talented Director of Center Operations Services (COS) for NSF’s National Center for Optical-Infrared Astronomy (NCOA).

NCOA is planned to be an AURA-managed center headquartered in Tucson, Arizona that will integrate the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in the United States and in Chile. 

The Director of COS will be a member of the NCOA senior management team and directly manage NCOA’s Center Operations Services (COS). The COS is a matrixed cross-functional team including Safety, Health, and Environment; Facilities Operations; and IT Operations. The position may be based in Tucson, Arizona, or La Serena, Chile. La Serena, Chile is the preferred location.


  • Leads the planning and initial implementation of organization-wide COS activities for NCOA, soliciting and incorporating input from the NCOA Project Team and domain experts from each of the constituent NCOA Programs (NOAO, Gemini, and LSST Operations).
  • Provides day-to-day management oversight and leadership for Center Operation Services and ensures COS activities are well supported per the annual NCOA Program Operating Plan and established strategic priorities.
  • Working with and through the geographic heads of Facilities Operations, provides leadership and direction to the Facilities Operation group which is responsible for the operations, maintenance, and on-going modernization of the entire “outside the telescope enclosure” NCOA physical plant to include buildings, roads, grounds, utilities, and infrastructure both at base facilities and on mountain tops.
  • Working with and through the Head of Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE), provides leadership and direction to the SHE group ensuring the development, implementation and maintenance of an integrated cross-NCOA program for the protection of the safety and health of all NCOA employees, the environment in which they work, and the physical plant.
  • Working with and through the Head of IT Operations (ITO), provides leadership and direction to the ITO group that is responsible for integrated, standard IT services across all NCOA sites. The IT services provided to NCOA will include email, voice-over-IP telephony, video conference system, web servers, network services, ISP connection, domain namespace specification and maintenance, and desktop computing. Common configuration, standards, and hardware platforms for scientific computing services will also be included in the services offered.
  • Working with the NCOA Director and Deputy Director, establishes plans and priorities for Center Operations Services that reflect a shared allocation of resources and effectively manages competing priorities.
  • Establishes and maintains regular reporting to provide information on progress and concerns to the NCOA Director and Deputy Director on the areas that fall within Center Operations Services.
  • If located in Chile, the COS Director may be designated to act on behalf of the NCOA Director and be responsible for: (a) day-to-day NCOA operations in Chile, including problem resolution and dispute mediation; and (b) coordination of all NCOA activity in Chile with the AURA Head of Mission (the senior AURA representative in Chile) to ensure NCOA activities in Chile are consistent with local rules and regulations.
  • Demonstrates for all audiences a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Requirements and Qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree, preferably in the field of engineering, information technology, or other relevant field
  • Five to ten years progressively responsible experience managing and leading Facility Operations, IT Operations, or Safety Health and Environment teams
  • Excellent management, customer service, and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated negotiation and team building skills with the ability to work strategically and collaboratively across NCOA programs
  • Solid verbal and written communication skills and the ability to clearly communicate at all levels within the organization
  • Ability to produce and administer effective business and operations plans to meet the needs of NCOA
  • Demonstrated strategic and visionary leadership abilities
  • Success in advocating for diverse and inclusive teams and work culture across geographic locations


  • Experience working in a matrixed organizational structure

Qualified candidates will be able to demonstrate their skill in leadership, adaptability, teamwork, problem solving, and project management across geographically and culturally diverse teams. Must be honest, responsible, dependable, self-motivated, detail oriented, and have proven ability to operate effectively in a complex matrixed organization.

If you are interested in this opportunity to join the NCOA team, please submit a cover letter, writing sample, and CV/Resume describing your skills, relevant experience, and prior work history. Review of applications will begin on November 15th, and the position will remain open until filled. Applications received by November 15th will receive full consideration.  Please name any attachments with the following format: LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to employment@aura-astronomy.

THIS POSITION WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED AS REQ#  DIREC02821.  If you applied for this position your application will included in this recruitment.                      

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.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 19, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
AURA Human Resources
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job