Science and Technology

Job Details

Number: 1734

Title: Senior Plant Engineer (SPE)

Type: Full time

Location: GMT Project Office, Pasadena CA

This exciting job opportunity is with the GMTO (Giant Magellan Telescope Organization) located in Pasadena, California. The GMT is being developed by a group of leading university and research centers from across the globe. The GMTO Corporation has been formed to design, construct and operate the GMT Observatory which will be located in the Andean mountains at Las Campanas Peak in Chile. The GMT is the next generation astronomical observatory with the capability to have 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. The project is entering the formal construction phase with scientific operations expected to begin in 2023.


The successful candidate will be an employee of the GMTO Corporation and must be able to meet pre-employment requirements including any background and reference checks and the successful candidate must be a US citizen or eligible to work in the United States and at least 18 years of age. GMTO provides competitive salaries and a generous benefits package.

Job Summary:
The Senior Plant Engineer (SPE) will report to the Enclosure Element Manager, and will be responsible for leading the specification, design, procurement, integration, testing, and commissioning of the physical plant systems required to support operation of the GMT observatory.

The successful candidate will work closely with the GMT systems engineering, telescope, and enclosure groups, to assure the plant systems are properly sized, organized, and equipped to meet the GMT needs over the 50-year observatory lifespan. The successful SPE will work closely with the Senior Electrical Engineer, who is responsible for the distribution of electrical power (and associated back-up generators and UPS systems), from Chile national grid sources to each of the observatory facilities, including the telescope, enclosure, facility buildings, and associated technical and personnel support sites.

The SPE will also work closely with GMT architecture and engineering (A&E) and construction management (CM) commercial partners to define, specify, procure, construct, and commission the physical plant systems. This role will have broad knowledge and experience with the specification, design, procurement, installation, and commissioning of industrial-scale physical plant systems, including electrical support equipment, liquid chillers, air handlers, air compressors, industrial refrigeration systems, cryogenic cooling systems, high and low vacuum systems, de-ionized and purified water systems, HVAC systems, high-pressure hydraulic oil conditioning, pumping, and distribution systems, diesel-powered back-up generators, water pumping and distribution systems, and PLC-based control and monitoring equipment appropriate to each of the physical plant subsystems.

This role will be based at the GMT project office in Pasadena, California. The successful candidate will be expected to travel to, and work at, a variety of sites, including the observatory site in Chile, US and international subsystem integration sites, as well as well as US and/or international utility and plant equipment manufacturers.

Job Duties:
• Develop functional and performance requirements and manage the design, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning of the physical plant subsystems for the observatory.
• Work with other observatory subsystem groups to document the physical plant ICDs (Interface Control Documents) between subsystems, contribute to definition of remote monitoring system requirements, specification of sensors, and selection of programable logic controllers (PLC).
• Act as the technical point of contact for contractors and other groups for the observatory physical plant subsystems.
• Prepare cost and schedule estimates, proposals, design review documents, and presentations for internal and external project reviews.
• Ensure that physical plant system designs comply with US, Chile, and/or international codes, standards, and certifications as required.
• Participate in failure modes, effects, and criticality analyses (FMECA) for plant and utility systems for critical operational facilities
• Work closely with GMT systems engineering, enclosure, telescope, and facilities teams to complete the Assembly, Integration, and Test (AIT) and commissioning plans for the physical plant systems.

Essential Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• A minimum of a BS degree in mechanical, electrical, or industrial engineering or closely related field
• Must be able to demonstrate superior engineering expertise with physical plant systems for complex and high-reliability facilities
• 10 years of relevant hands-on experience with the planning, design, and installation of physical plant systems for complex technical facilities
• Have a proven track record in specifying, designing, managing, constructing, and operating physical plant systems for remote and isolated industrial facilities
• Demonstrated leadership, organizational, and management skills
• Ability to prepare documents, reports, and oral presentations
• Demonstrated ability to work efficiently and collaboratively within a group setting
• Knowledge of standards and best practices in industrial physical plant systems, PLCs, and remote monitoring techniques
• Flexibility to work outside of core business hours and travel to GMT partner locations, vendor facilities, and to the GMT site in Chile as necessary.
• Ability to work at an altitude of 8500 feet for extended periods

Desired Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• M.S. degree in mechanical, electrical, or industrial engineering or closely related field
• Professional Engineer (PE) registration
• 8 years of relevant experience with complex physical plant systems for complex technical projects and facilities
• Experience with ground-based observatory physical plant systems
• Spanish language skills

Applicants should send a Letter of Interest and a Resume to
Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Please refer to the Job Number in the letter and in the email subject line.

GMTO is an equal opportunity employer.