VLBA Engineering Group Lead or Technical Manager (4967)

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Socorro, New Mexico Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking a group leader that manages a team of advanced technical specialists located around the United States. NRAO is a diverse, exciting, and prestigious astronomical research facility that plays a vital role in the study of the universe. The Observatory operates a variety of radio telescopes across the globe, including the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), which has antenna locations stretching from Hawaii to the Caribbean.


This opportunity is for a full-time VLBA Field Group Lead in the Electronics Division at the Domenici Science Operations Center (DSOC) in Socorro, NM. The position may also be located at the Very Large Array, 50 miles west of Socorro. By leading a team of geographically distributed technical personnel, a successful applicant will have a direct role in the VLBA’s maintenance, operations, and deployment of system upgrades.


The position, which will be classified as either an Engineer Group Lead or a Technical Manager, is responsible for the overall technical, personnel, and operational management for a 21-person team of Technical Specialists and Technicians directly supporting the ongoing operation of the VLBA. Work locations for the team span eleven locations including ten VLBA sites and the DSOC. The Group Lead will oversee maintenance activities and budgets, help develop their team's skills, and will work with the group, engineers, operators, and scientists to troubleshoot complex operational problems.


What You Will be Doing:

        Be hands-on: Diagnose and direct staff repair telescope subsystems, using your technical expertise.

        Be a problem-solver: Analyze equipment performance, identify areas for improvement, document processes and system performance, and implement solutions.

        Plan for success: Develop and utilize budget allocations for labor, equipment, and materials.

        Shape the future: Contribute to developing new systems and best practices for the VLBA.

        Be a team player: Lead, manage, motivate, and develop your team to achieve peak performance, including occasional travel to VLBA sites to work with your team.

        Contribute to a safe workplace: Develop and comply with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.

Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment; will be required to stand and sit, and perform fine hand manipulation. Must work near moving mechanical parts and/or with electrical equipment. Occasionally required to climb or balance, and stoop, kneel, and crouch. May occasionally work at high altitudes, and in high, precarious places and in outside weather conditions, and may be exposed to chemicals, or the risk of electrical shock. Some travel will be required to other NRAO sites.


Who You Are:


        You have a bachelor’s in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, a related engineering discipline, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

        You have five to seven years of relevant experience and skills in a combination of the following areas:

  • Experience in operations, maintenance, and theory/design of Electronic and/or Mechanical Systems
  • Demonstrated capability troubleshooting and repairing complex systems
  • Leadership of technicians and other technical staff
  • Documenting actions, results, and accomplishments of repair and maintenance activities


        While not required, you may have Ten or more years of experience in “Minimum Experience” items plus experience in some or all of the following areas:

  • Experience constructing, maintaining, and/or repairing radio telescopes
  • RF, Analog, and Digital Electronics
  • HVAC, Cryogenics, and/or Servo Control Systems
  • Management of group or department budgets
  • Experience developing safety protocols and procedures

Competency Summary

An excellent understanding of Electronic and/or Mechanical Systems is required. Excellent oral and written skills are required to facilitate effective and efficient communication with colleagues. This includes documentation of repair and maintenance activities Must be proficient with Microsoft Office programs. Must possess a valid driver’s license. Familiarity with software-based tools utilized for defect tracking and resolution and inventory management is desired.


Total Rewards:


The NRAO offers a comprehensive total rewards package for this position, subject to eligibility requirements. We are committed to serving our employees and their families with an extensive and competitive compensation and benefits package that supports our employees’ overall well-being and career growth.



The NRAO strives to attract and retain dedicated, highly qualified, competent, and motivated employees by offering competitive compensation and recognition for performance.


Factors which may affect starting pay may include; education, experience, skills, competencies, other qualifications of the successful candidate, as well as internal equity and labor market conditions.



NRAO’s benefits package addresses the needs of employees and their families with most benefits beginning on the first day of employment. NRAO provides excellent paid time off (13 holidays, annual accrual of up to 24 vacation days and 15 sick days, additional time off for doctor/dentist visits, and 8 weeks of paid parental leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay with no required employee contribution; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button. Please be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a cover letter 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 http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs. 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].



The NRAO is an equal opportunity 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.