Skip to Main Content

Engineer, Observatory Systems (Mt. Graham, AZ)

Below you will find the details for the position including any supplementary documentation and questions you should review before applying to the opening.  To apply to the position, please click the Apply to this Job link/button.

If you would like to bookmark this position for later review, click on the Bookmark link.  If you would like to print a copy of this position for your records, click on the Print Preview link.

Position Details

Position Information

Title Engineer, Observatory Systems (Mt. Graham, AZ)
Department Large Binocular Telescope Obs (0463)
Location Outside of Tucson
Position Summary

The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) Observatory near Safford, Arizona is seeking a motivated and talented junior engineer to join the team on the summit of Mount Graham, Arizona. This engineering position requires minimal observatory experience.

The LBT is the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world, with a number of unique, leading edge capabilities. In particular, the LBT’s unique binocular design and state-of-the-art adaptive optics technology provides diffraction-limited imaging capability with the resolution of a 22.8 meter telescope.

This is a junior level, multi-disciplined engineering position. The candidate will be responsible for improving, maintaining, documenting and troubleshooting observatory systems, including: PLC systems, cooling, instrumentation, HVAC, telemetry and drive systems involving electric motors. The position requires excellent communications skills. The ability to communicate technically complicated concepts, designs, and coordinate with mountain staff is critical. Familiarity with, and the ability to use standard electrical engineering tools (Oscilloscope, DVMs, Logic analyzers, etc.) is desirable.

This position will report to the Chief Observatory Engineer and all work is performed in concert with the Observatory Manager.

The position will be based in Safford, AZ, with most of the time spent at the observatory site on Mt Graham (3200m). Generally work will be scheduled on a 4 ten-hour days per week schedule, including some weekend shifts.

Travel to the Tucson-based observatory headquarters on the campus of the University of Arizona is occasionally required and deployments for on-site work are sometimes required which may last two to four days.

Outstanding UA benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance plans; life insurance and disability programs; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays; UA/ASU/NAU tuition reduction for the employee and qualified family members; state and optional retirement plans; access to UA recreation and cultural activities; and more!

Accepting a new position is a big life step. We want potential candidates and their families to be able to make informed decisions. Candidates who are considering relocation to the Tucson or Phoenix area, and have been offered an on-site interview, are encouraged to use the free services offered by Above & Beyond Relocation Services (ABRS).Ask your department contact to be introduced to ABRS prior to your visit.

The University of Arizona has been listed by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers in the United States and WorldatWork and the Arizona Department of Health Services have recognized us for our innovative work-life programs. For more information about working at the University of Arizona, please click here.

Duties & Responsibilities

• Diagnose and troubleshoot observatory systems;
• Maintain PLCs. Develop and modify software for PLC hardware;
• Maintain and update documentation including electrical drawings and schematics;
• Improve and optimization the operations of subsystems within the observatory;
• Develop and modify documentation and procedures;
• Develop and perform field tests of observatory subsystems;
• Specify and verify requirements;
• Participate in design team efforts for observatory subsystems;
• Promote a proactive safety culture by coordinating with the Safety Manager to identify and be responsive to safety issues.
• Maintain good working relationships with members of other organizations at the observatory site.
• Assist the Observatory Manager in operational tasks and planning when needed.
• Backup of the technical staff including some overnight stays at the facility.
• Report all potential problems and/or deviation from normal mountain procedures.
• Prepare or assist in the preparation of proposals for construction.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities

• Demonstrable knowledge of PLC programming;
• Knowledge of electrical and mechanical engineering practices;
• Good organizational skills;
• Ability to learn about and understand the operations and functions of observatory subsystems;
• Knowledge of computers and standard software such as Microsoft Office products;

Minimum Qualifications

• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in engineering or physical sciences and a familiarity with complex mechanical systems;
• Valid Driver’s license and ability to drive according to the University Fleet Safety Policy;
• Ability to work at altitudes above 10,000 feet;

Preferred Qualifications

• Observatory facilities infrastructure experience is highly desired.
• Experience interacting with all levels of management and staff, as well as vendors, contractors and others, to accomplish the responsibilities of a position.
• Electro-mechanical experience;
• Experience working independently and in small teams on technical tasks;
• Experience with standard electrical engineering tools (Oscilloscope, DVMs, Logic analyzers, etc.);
• Experience with AutoDesk CAD software desirable, specifically electrical schematic modules

FLSA Exempt
Full Time/Part Time Full Time
Number of Hours Worked per Week 40
Job Category Computer, Engineering and Technical
Benefits Eligible Yes - Full Benefits
Posted Rate of Pay DOE
Type of criminal background check required: Name-based criminal background check (non-security sensitive)

Posting Detail Information

Posting Number A22212
Number of Vacancies One
Desired Start Date 12/11/2017
Position End Date (if temporary)
Limited to Current UA Employees No
Contact Information for Candidates

Gene Gardner

Open Date 11/20/2017
Close Date
Open Until Filled Yes
Review Begins On 12/01/2017
Special Instructions to Applicant
Diversity Statement

At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. We translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including people of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

Quick Link for Internal Postings

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Where did you first learn about this position?
    • Arizona Daily Star
    • Arizona Republic
    • Chronicle of Higher Education
    • Department of Economic Security (DES)
    • Diverse Issues in Higher Education
    • Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education
    • Jobing.Com
    • LinkedIn
    • Local Job Banks
    • Pima County One-Stop
    • Professional Conference
    • Professional journal/publication
    • Referred by UA Employee
    • Invited by Dept to Apply
    • UA Website
    • Other
  2. * Do you have a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in engineering or physical sciences and a familiarity with complex mechanical systems?
    • Yes
    • No

Documents Needed to Apply

Required Documents
  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume
Optional Documents