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LIGO Hanford Operations Manager

California Institute of Technology

Richland, Washington
Job Type:
  • Management
California Institute of Technology
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Job Details

LIGO Hanford Operations Manager


Job Category: Fulltime Regular

Job Summary:
The work location is at the LIGO Hanford Observatory, in Richland, Washington.
LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled LIGO Hanford Operations Manager to join its team. LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2015 LIGO launched the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the first ever successful observation of the birth of a black hole. In addition to research and development (R&D) sites on the Caltech and MIT campuses, LIGO consists of two widely separated (3,002 km), 4 kilometer-long interferometers operated as a phased detector. One (LIGO Hanford Observatory) is located north of Richland, Washington and the other (LIGO Livingston Observatory) is in Livingston, Louisiana. The Laboratory maintains a vigorous R&D program, in parallel to running the observatories, to further enhance the capabilities of the LIGO detectors. For more information, visit the Laboratory website at
The Operations Manager provides day-to-day management, direction and oversight for aspects of administrative, human resources, finance, and facilities operations for the LIGO Hanford Observatory (LHO). In conjunction with the Observatory Head and other Lab leaders, the Operations Manager establishes and implements appropriate policies and procedures. LHO's organizational structure consists of 10 work groups, most of which are led by a line supervisor. Overall supervision and leadership is provided by the Observatory Head and the Operations Manager (who reports to the Observatory Head.) Each formally supervises a subset of the work group leaders plus some others.

Job Duties:
• Manage and direct facility, administrative and some engineering staff directly and/or through subordinate managers or project leads. Provide, acquire and apply appropriate technical input and judgment concerning all aspects of facilities infrastructure and operations.
• Working with the Observatory Head, direct and guide administrative activities at the observatory site and have responsibility and authority for non-research and non-education human resource planning, including but not limited to staffing, career development, salary planning, resource allocation, and organizational structure.
• Together with the Observatory Head, direct, lead, mentor, train and advise LHO’s group leaders, by initiating, overseeing and assisting with (as appropriate) staff searches, skills and development training, performance evaluations, salary recommendations, disciplinary actions, etc. for facility, administrative and some engineering staff.
• In response to the operational objectives set by the Observatory Head, have overall responsibility for tracking of operations-funded financial activity within the Hanford Observatory, including planning, preparation, and management of operations budgets and financial accounts.
• Develop and implement policies, procedures and processes to improve the overall efficiency of the Observatory and the effectiveness of our interactions with the Lab as a whole. Work with the Observatory Head to develop and support business strategies that address current and anticipated Observatory goals.
• Working with the Facility Engineer, oversee and assure compliance with relevant Institute policies and governmental regulations including OSHA, Washington Department of Health, and LIGO Laboratory safety regulations and safety requirements, safety education and training. Oversee and assure compliance with those policies and regulations related to management of government owned property. Serve as the LHO local Safety Officer, with the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance by LHO with the overall Laboratory safety program.
• Serve on the LIGO Lab Staffing Committee, Safety Steering Committee, Executive Committee, and other committees as required; assess and understand the financial and other impacts on the Hanford Observatory of new Laboratory and Observatory programs, initiatives and actions. Propose and implement new initiatives in consultation with the Observatory Head.
• Lead and/or contribute technically as is appropriate to technical activities and systems. Anticipate and work with colleagues to resolve challenges to the various systems’ complete implementation, including technical, administrative and interpersonal issues.
• Serve as second in command to the Observatory Head, acting with that authority and representing LHO under circumstances set by the Head.
• Assist in development of new technologies, protocols and methods to support the Observatory’s continuing mission. These efforts may require occasional travel to other LIGO installations and collaborating institutions in Livingston, Louisiana, Pasadena, California, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and possibly internationally.
• Other duties as assigned.

Basic Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s degree in a scientific or engineering field or equivalent work experience.
• At least eight years of management experience within a technical or educational organization.
• Technical expertise in one or more of the LIGO key technologies.
• Proven skills in areas of finance, project management, human resources and other business-related functions.
• Demonstrated strong leadership under pressure, team building, problem solving and change management abilities.
• Ability to interact and communicate effectively with scientists, engineers, technicians and other personnel at a state-of-the art education and research facility and with members of the local community.
• Strong oral communication skills, skill and experience in expository and technical writing, and competence with common office and scientific software.
• At times will need to lift hardware up to 20lbs.
• Must have a valid driver’s license at the time of employment and be able to maintain it throughout the course of employment.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Comprehensive knowledge and overall understanding of multiple business functions including but not limited to finance, project management, human resources.
• Extensive familiarity with construction management and management of state-of-the-art technical facilities.
• Thorough understanding of laws, regulations and processes that apply to sponsored research and development programs.
• Demonstrated strong leadership, including in times of emergency and organizational change. Team building and problem solving skills.
• Experience working effectively in crises, and in effectively planning to avoid such situations.

To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link:

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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