Technical Manager I-II, Cryogenics Group Lead (4853)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico




Position Description: 


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking to hire a Technical Manager to lead a group responsible for maintaining, developing, and supporting Cryogenic systems for the Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). The manager must also be able to supervise, coordinate and prioritize the efforts of four or more electronics technicians or technical specialists performing routine maintenance and repair of cryogenic refrigerators, compressors, and related equipment.


The NRAO has a long history of developing new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy. This development occurs in a collaborative environment with technicians, hardware and software engineers, and scientists. By joining NRAO, an employee has a direct contribution to expanding the observatory’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment used by scientists around the world. 


The position is based at the VLA, 50 miles west of Socorro, NM. Socorro is a small, historical town in the Rio Grande

Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque and is home to New Mexico Tech ( 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.


Job Duties Summary

The successful candidate will work as a group lead for technical staff located at the VLA supporting maintenance and ongoing developments for both existing telescope systems and future projects. Key responsibilities will include supervising and training the staff that maintains the cryogenic systems for the VLA and VLBA 25-meter antennas.

Functional responsibilities for this position include:

  • Managerial duties including staff prioritization, supervision, evaluation, and recruiting.
  • Oversees and coordinates the daily maintenance of assigned systems such as compressors, vacuum pumps, supply lines, and cryogenic refrigerators.
  • Designates staff assignments, establishes work priorities, and evaluates cost and time requirements. Ensures that all safe work practices are followed.
  • Directs group’s personnel activities, including training, performance management and career development.  
  • Coordinates work projects to repair hardware or make improvements to existing systems. Ensures the efficient use of maintenance and testing time.
  • Reviews completed tasks and projects to ensure that goals are met and that equipment is compatible with other systems already in use.
  • Helps develop standard operating procedures, technical proposals, reports, and other technical papers.
  • Conducts tests and data recording.
  • Proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures is expected.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a work shop and office environment, but the group lead and their staff frequently work in high places, up to 150 feet, in outside weather conditions. While in these locations the employee must balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. The employee must be able to negotiate vertical ladders to access service locations on the antenna and is often required to utilize fall arrest equipment.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. The employee works near moving mechanical parts and is exposed to electrical hazards. These and other situations mean the employee is often responsible to perform lockout/tag out to create a safe work environment.  



Position Requirements: 


Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience.


Minimum Experience:  

Five years of work experience in field of cryogenic systems.


Preferred Experience: 

At least seven years of experience in field. Previous supervisory experience and/or experience managing work assignments or projects.



Requires strong interpersonal skills, especially motivation of the work group, effective listening and speaking skills.  The ability to clearly convey technical information to craft workers, developers, engineers and scientists, interact with peers in a positive and respectful way and calmly resolve conflicts are essential management behaviors in this position. Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Must be able to learn and apply safe work practices involved in this type of work.


Physical Demands: 

The physical demands and the work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to handle or feel objects, use tools or controls; reach with hands and arms. The employee must frequently lift and move up to 40 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus (corrected vision is OK).


Additional Requirements:

Must possess a valid driver's license. May be required to drive Observatory vehicles. Must pass any applicable knowledge/skills assessments. 


Safety Sensitive

The selected candidate must successfully pass a post-offer, pre-employment/pre-placement drug screen.  Failure to pass the Screen will disqualify the candidate from employment consideration for a period of six months from the date of the results.


Application Instructions: 


Apply online at the careers page.  You will need to 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 [email protected]. PM20



The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)