Director of New Mexico Operations (4585)

Executive Management Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) seeks an Assistant Director for our New Mexico Operations (AD-NM) site.


The AD-NM oversees and manages all NRAO activities in New Mexico (NM), currently comprising the operation and maintenance of the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) facilitates, and all ALMA support activities in NM. The AD-NM will provide the vision and leadership to continue this tradition, and address the key technical challenges of the current instrumentation while maintaining the performance of current state-of-the-art NRAO facilities.


Specific responsibilities include the maintenance of infrastructure at 13 work locations, including the Domenici Science Operations Center (DSOC), the VLA site, 10 VLBA stations, and the NRAO Albuquerque Office (NAO). In addition, the AD-NM is responsible for providing local leadership in scientific program development, contributing to strong relations with telescope users and subscribers, proposing and supervising facility enhancements, and participating in Observatory-wide senior management activities. The AD-NM reports to the NRAO Director. 


This position is based at the NRAO Science Operations Center, located on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology ( in Socorro, NM. Partial teleworking arrangements will be considered.


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

  • Provide scientific, technical and managerial direction for implementing the scientific goals of the Observatory, radio astronomy and related fields;
  • Identify and where possible, pursue collaborative opportunities and partnerships with academic and government entities, in concert with the Observatory Director's Office
  • Develop program proposals and staffing plans and engage in strategic planning and implementation of related goals.
  • Supervise a program of research and technical development following best project management practices to benefit NRAO’s facilities and astronomy in general, in support of the nation's technical interests.
  • Select, train and develop staff capable of meeting current organizational needs and future requirements of NM Operations; set goals for, evaluates and addresses staff performance.
  • Ensure that NM Operations projects are planned and completed within established controls and according to Observatory priorities.
  • Support the activities of the next-generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) Project Office and liaise with the ngVLA Project Director to maintain VLA observing capabilities while also strongly supporting ngVLA development.
  • Represent NRAO’s interests in the VLBA stations, particularly so for the multi-observatory sites at Maunakea and Kitt Peak
  • Work with other NRAO departments to develop and implement NRAO policies and initiatives
  • Assist in the preparation and review of the Observatory's annual program plan and the multi-year program plan as required. Prepare progress reports on plan execution.
  • Ensure proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.
  • Perform 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. Partial teleworking arrangements will be considered.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

PhD in astronomy, engineering, physics or a closely related field is preferred.


Required Experience/Competencies

Experience in budget planning, development and control, and financial management. Must possess excellent analytical, communication and organizational skills. Must be able to communicate effectively both verbal and written. Strong leadership ability is required.


Application Instructions:


Job Open Date:   04-12-2021; applicant consideration will begin 06/01/2021.

Job Close Date:Open until filled


Select the “Apply” button below. Please be prepared to upload a combined PDF file consisting of:  a curriculum vitae; bibliography if applicable; and a brief cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position. 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 May 30th, 2021; however, applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Email inquiries: Faye Giles ([email protected]), Human Resources.


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].



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.