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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0159
Post Date 8/1/2017
Title Mechanical Engineer
City Maui
State HI

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory (NSO), Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The NSO Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) Project has an immediate opening for a Mechanical Engineer (ME) to provide professional mechanical engineering expertise and support for key aspects of the facility during the DKIST Integration, Testing and Commissioning, (IT&C) and handover to operations. The ME will participate in factory acceptance of major systems of the DKIST, and manage staff as assigned by the Lead Systems Engineer. The engineer will also manage assigned Mechanical and IT&C work packages including scheduling and budget. Coordination of DKIST site work will be done in conjunction with the site manager and, safety officer during the construction phase and the Lead Systems Engineer during IT&C phase. This position is permanently located on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop a thorough working knowledge of the specifications, requirements and design of all major DKIST systems.
  • Participate in formal Design and Acceptance Reviews ensuring performance requirements are met and fit-for-purpose.
  • Advise on technical improvements in Observatory operations or equipment.
  • Plan, recommend, and execute improvements in engineering activities on varied new and existing technical problems. Diagnose causes and develop solutions for any electrical/electronic malfunction, ensuring the repair meets requirements
  • Participate in IT&C activities on site to ensure that the facility meets requirements.
  • Manage assigned technical staff for selection, utilization and training of subordinates. Provide recommended salary and title changes when appropriate.
  • Guide and direct employees and subcontractors in integration of equipment into the facility within area of expertise.
  • Comply with approved schedules and insure meeting both technical and budgetary requirements of assigned work.
  • Comply with all applicable codes and safety standards and corrects and/or reports unsafe conditions or practices.
  • Determine the proper equipment, tools, materials, assemblies and methods to be used during their assigned IT&C activities.
  • Solves engineering and technical problems where minimal guidance is provided.
  • Reports results of activities and specifies unusual situations to the Lead Systems Engineer.
  • Cooperates and coordinates closely with other personnel involved with the assigned technical problem.
  • Determines the proper equipment, tools, materials, assemblies and methods to be used for an activity.
  • Bachelors, preferably Masters, degree in Mechanical Engineering or equivalent
  • At least ten years of progressively responsible experience in Mechanical Engineering including ‘hands on’ integration.
  • Ability to resolve technical problems by application of general engineering, scientific, or mathematical techniques.
  • Use of common 2D and 3D modeling packages.
  • Ability to interpret FEA post-processing data.
  • Be experienced in the use and operation of standard manufacturing and test equipment.
  • Ability to communicate and cooperate with others both inside and outside of the DKIST project.
  • Ability to speak and write effectively, including preparation of comprehensive technical reports.
  • A thorough working knowledge of MS Office applications

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Have direct staff management and development experience including supervision and mentoring of engineers and technician level employees.
  • Proven project management experience including working knowledge of MS Project or other scheduling tools.
  • Experience of work in a research and development or astronomical facility and of working with observing instruments.
  • Experience with opto-mechanical hardware installation and alignment.
  • Experience with high precision alignment and analysis tools, laser tracker, CMM arm, Spatial Analyzer
  • Experience in development of operations and maintenance documentation.
  • Experience FEA modelling (ANSYS preferred).
  • Experience with in house CAD package software (AutoCAD, Solidworks, Navisworks)
  • Experience in the planning and execution of maintenance for complex Mechanical systems.
  • Experience with high vacuum and cryogenic systems.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than eye contacts or eye glasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately
  • Must possess sufficient mobility, strength or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) grasp, push, pull, turn or otherwise manipulate tools and mechanisms; b) push, shove, pull or otherwise safely and efficiently manipulate tools or mechanisms; c) lift, hold, maneuver, objects of 50 lbs or more; d) maintain balance while performing work; e) remove parts, systems, tools of 50 lbs or more
  • Ability to work at 10,000’ elevation, sometimes during inclement weather
  • There will be occasional working at height utilizing fall protection equipment, ladders and scaffolding
  • Frequent travel to/from the mainland US to the Hawaiian Islands may be necessary. There may also be some international travel.

Please list 3 professional references in your application and attach a CV or resume (PDF files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0159LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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