Sr. Cost Estimator (4484)

Finance Socorro, New Mexico Albuquerque, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces an opportunity for a Senior Cost Estimator.  The NRAO is seeking to support the design and development stage of the Next Generation VLA (ngVLA) project (a radio telescope comprising hundreds of antennae spread across several states and Mexico) by creating structure, processes, documentation standards and content to support estimation of project life cycle cost; the project budget is anticipated to be approximately $2 billion.   All structures, processes and documentation must be compliant with GAO Cost Estimating Standards.  This position will work closely with the project director and team while reporting to the Assistant Director for Observatory Budgets to assure compliance with reporting standards.


The position is based in Socorro, New Mexico at the Domenici Science Operations Center, located 50 miles east of the Very Large Array (VLA), which is operated by the NRAO.  In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s 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.  Relocation assistance is provided.


Job Duties Summary

The Senior Cost Estimator will work both independently and within a dynamic team environment and will be responsible to:

  • Develop requirements for and assist in procurement and implementation of a cost estimating system/approach which will integrate with overall project management and documentation development and archival
  • Design, build and maintain models to support cost estimation of ngVLA project
  • Develop organizational processes to support cost estimation in conjunction with the Budget Office and ngVLA project management
  • Participate in work breakdown structure (WBS) development with the project team
  • Develop and implement cost records
  • Develop estimating plan        
  • Define Program Characteristics
  • Determine Estimating Structure
  • Identify Ground Rules & Assumptions for estimate preparation
  • Work with project staff and, where necessary, external sources to obtain data
  • Identify appropriate candidate to perform independent cost estimate
  • Develop point estimate and compare it to an independent cost estimate
  • Estimate must be developed with associated sensitivity, risk, and uncertainty analyses
  • Fully document and prepare estimate for management review and approval at various stages in the project lifecycle
  • Update the estimate to reflect actual costs and changes
  • Monitor and manage project development budget
  • Prepare regular reporting as needed.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in an office setting.  The successful candidate will be required to travel by air carrier and to travel by car between NRAO sites.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Finance, or Engineering. 


Preferred Education

An advanced degree (MBA or MS); Certified Cost Estimator/Analyst (CCEA) Certification or similar certification preferred.


Minimum Experience

A minimum of five years of experience in project cost analysis is required.


Competency Summary

  • Excellent computer skills to prepare statistical data and reports are a must. Microsoft Office Applications (Windows, Outlook, Word, Excel, Access).
  • Experience with document management systems. 
  • JD Edwards  experience preferred.
  • Experience with Tecolote’s ACEIT cost estimation tool a plus.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Cost Estimating Standards. 
  • Must exhibit excellent organizational skills and ability to track, consolidate, and analyze large amounts of data and information with inputs from multiple sources.
  • Strong analytical and project management skills required with expert attention to detail, accuracy, analytic consistency and data integrity. Requires mathematical skills to accurately develop statistical measures as well as ability to interpret results and make recommendations using the statistical output as a source of validation in report format.
  • Must exhibit excellent verbal and written communication skills with ability to interact professionally, both internally and externally, with a diverse group including executives, managers, planners, engineers, buyers, sales, and field service personnel.
  • Ability to influence without authority. Expert judgment to make and document decisions and business related assumptions, to prioritize work, and to trouble shoot issues efficiently to solve problems.

Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button below.  Please be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer.  Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply.  To view our complete statement, please visit  If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to


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