Assistant Director for Program Management (4352)

Executive Management Charlottesville, Virginia Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is pleased to announce a new opportunity for an Assistant Director for Program Management (Director of Program Management) to provide the vision and leadership to maintain and evolve project and program management policies, processes, personnel and practices across the Observatory. The NRAO Assistant Director for Program Management is responsible for leading the Program Management Department, including policy and process development, and independent tracking and monitoring the analysis of requirements and performance of multiple program components across the Observatory.  The Assistant Director for Program Management develops, promotes, and tracks progress towards attainment of long range strategic goals of the Observatory as well as shorter term programmatic milestones, and as a member of the senior management team, works with various stakeholders responsible for key projects to ensure effective integration of efforts and resources. The Director of Program Management holds the formal position of an Assistant Director of the NRAO, and reports to the NRAO Director.


The Program Management Department currently has a technical staff of 10 people, deployed across the Observatory sites.  Additional staff are matrixed within other departments. The position is based at either our headquarters in Charlottesville, VA on the grounds of the University of Virginia (; or at the Science Operations Center in Socorro, NM on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology ( Socorro is a small, historical town in the Rio Grande Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque.


In addition to competitive pay, we provide excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave).  Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment.  Our retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary

  • Defines and implements the project and program management framework, including systems engineering, within which all major NRAO projects and commercial endeavors are implemented.
  • Collaborates with the senior management team to develop, promote, track, and monitor progress on the strategic goals of the Observatory.
  • Works with managers responsible for individual projects or project components to independently review cost, schedule, and technical performance of component projects and proposal developments.
  • Maintains the project management database of major Observatory targets (i.e. key deliverables, timelines, completion dates, program evaluation).
  • Conducts risk assessment(s) of the Observatory projects and programs, working with stakeholders to develop strategies to identify mitigation strategies.
  • Selects, trains and develops staff capable of meeting current organizational needs and future requirements of the PMD department; sets goals for, evaluates and addresses staff performance in program/project areas.
  • Ensures that projects are planned and completed within established controls and according to Observatory priorities.
  • Assists in the preparation and review of the Observatory's reporting, including the annual program plan and the multi-year long-range plan as required.
  • Ensures proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment, but may occasionally be required to work outdoors. Must be able to travel both domestically and internationally by air carrier.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Master's degree required or an equivalent combination of experience and education in a technical field. PMP certification or equivalent experience required.


Preferred Education

A degree in engineering, physics or a closely related field is preferred.


Minimum Experience

Five to ten years’ experience in project or program management, including scope, budget and schedule development and control, and performance tracking.


Preferred Experience

Ten to fifteen years’ experience in Project and/or Program Management on major ($100M+) projects or programs, preferably related to engineering, physics or similar fields. An understanding of the science of radio astronomy is strongly preferred. A background in the industry, as well as the ability to work with industrial partners is highly preferred. Must possess excellent analytical, communication and organizational skills. Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Strong leadership ability is required. A working knowledge of major office and project management software systems is required. Experience working on federally funded research engineering/scientific initiative is highly desired.


Competency Summary

  • Leadership - Ability to influence and lead others to perform their jobs effectively and to be responsible for making decisions.
  • Communication, Written - Ability to communicate in writing clearly and concisely.
  • Consensus Building - Ability to bring about group solidarity to achieve a goal.
  • Detail Oriented - Ability to pay attention to the minute details of a project or task.
  • Goal Oriented - Ability to focus on a goal and obtain a pre-determined result.
  • Management Skills - Ability to organize and direct oneself and effectively supervise others across a multi-disciplinary organization.
  • Organized - Must be organized and have the ability to follow a systematic method of performing a task or procedure, meet deadlines and commitments while handling multiple assignments.
  • Project Management - Ability to organize and direct projects of varying scope to completion.
  • Team Player - Ability to effectively build relationships with co-workers across Observatory Departments.
  • Resilient - Ability to recover from, or adjust to, misfortune or setbacks.
  • Technical Aptitude - Ability to comprehend complex technical topics and specialized information.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, particularly when expressing technical concepts.
  • Diversity – a strong commitment to the diversity and inclusion goals of the Observatory is expected.
  • Business Acumen - Ability to grasp and understand business concepts and issues.
  • Working Under Pressure - Ability to complete assigned tasks under stressful situations.


Application Instructions:


Select the "Apply" button below. Please combine into one PDF file and attach to your NRAO application: a curriculum vitae; bibliography if applicable; and a brief cover letter. As part of the application process, you should provide the names and contact information of three individuals, who are familiar with your experience and abilities, for letters of reference.


For full consideration, applications must be received by August 30, 2018; however, applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Inquiries regarding the application process may be sent to



The NRAO is operated by the Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. The Observatory is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer (M/F/D/V).


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.