W. M. Keck Observatory

This is a temporary position with an anticipated, but not guaranteed, end date of September 30, 2019

Under the general supervision of the Project Manager and technical direction of the Principal Engineer, this position is responsible for performing repair work on the primary mirror segments.  Specific responsibilities include repairing damaged optics, transportation and handling of large optics, participation in segment exchanges, and support of cleaning and coating of optical elements.  The person should be capable of precision work on complex optics and be capable of working carefully while diligently following a prescribed procedure.

Essential Functions

  • Repair segments in accordance with written procedures.  Repair work will involve using regular tools to perform mechanical assembly and disassembly, using special tools to make precise measurements and remove old support components, grinding glass, working with chemicals to etch glass and remove adhesives, and using special tools to install new components precisely.
  • Perform the safe handling of all large optics including removal from the telescopes, delivery to the optical laboratory, storage and handling within the laboratories, and reinstallation into the telescopes. 
  • Maintain crack repair records, discrepancy reports, and related documentation.
  • Recommend improvements to the crack repair process in cooperation with engineering personnel.
  • Perform general lab maintenance, cleanup, supply inventory, waste management, and related tasks.
  • Comply with safety procedures and wear personal protective equipment as directed.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Keep supervisor informed of progress, problems and concerns; provide status reports as required.
  • Collaborate with other technicians to create an efficient, effective and unified work environment based on the principles of teamwork and mutual responsibility for shared objectives.
  • Drive WMKO vehicles as necessary to transport employees and segments to and from the summit in a safe manner.
  • Perform other duties consistent with the scope of this position.

Required Qualifications

  • Two (2) years' experience in optics, electronics, working with precision mechanical assemblies, or in a related field.
  • Associates Degree or an equivalent combination of experience and training. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge or experience in one of the following areas: adjustment, alignment, and calibration of precision sensors; handling of chemicals; glass grinding; production of precision assemblies; and/or use of a laser tracker.
  • Experience in a research laboratory or an observatory environment


  • Microsoft Office Proficiency.

Certificates and Licenses

  • Valid driver's license and clean abstract.


To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Communication: Ability to communicate effectively and concisely at all levels.
  • Interpersonal skills: Ability to build collaborative, effective relationships with staff.
  • Professionalism: Approaches others in a tactful manner; reacts well under pressure; treats others with respect and consideration; accepts responsibility for own actions; follows through on commitments.

Other Requirements

  • Willingness to commit to WMKO core values: Safety, Integrity, Respect, Discovery and Service.
  • Willingness to commit to WMKO cultural values: Education/Learning, Communication, Teamwork, Rewarding Work Environment, Excellence, Community Involvement.
  • Willingness and ability to occasionally work nights and weekends.
  • Ability to work in a constant state of alertness and in a safe manner

Physical Demands

These physical demands are representative of the physical requirements necessary for an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. This is not a complete list of the physical demands that may be required.

  • Stand: Remaining on one's feet in an upright position at a workstation without moving about.     
  • Walk: Move about on foot.
  • Lift: Raise or lower an object from one level to another (includes upward pulling) up      to 75 pounds.
  • Vision: Color vision - Ability to identify and distinguish colors.
  • Carry: Transport an object, usually holding it in the hands or arms, or on the shoulder.
  • Push: Exert force upon an object so that the object moves away from the force (Includes slapping, striking, kicking and treadle actions).
  • Pull: Exert force upon an object so that the object moves toward the force (includes jerking).
  • Climb: Ascend or descend ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles using feet and legs or hands and arms. Body agility is emphasized.
  • Balance: Maintain body equilibrium to prevent falling when walking, standing, crouching, or running on narrow, slippery, or erratically moving surfaces.
  • Stoop: Bend body downward and forward by bending spine at the waist, requiring full use of the lower extremities and back muscles.
  • Handle: Seize, hold, grasp, turn, or otherwise work with hand or hands. Fingers are involved only to the extent that they are an extension of the hand, such as to turn a switch or shift automobile gears.
  • Ability to pass Respirator Medical Evaluation and to wear tight-fitting respirators 10%-15% of time.
  • Ability to work at the Observatory (14,000 feet elevations).

Environmental Conditions

These environmental conditions are representative of what an employee will encounter while performing the essential functions of the job. This is not a complete list of the environmental conditions that may be encountered.

  • Exposure to weather: Subject to extreme cold.  Temperatures can be below 32 degrees for periods of more than one hour.  Consideration should be given to the effect of other environmental conditions such as wind and humidity.
  • Subject to Noise:  There is sufficient noise to cause the worker to shout in order to be heard above the ambient noise level.
  • Subject to Hazards: Moving mechanical parts.
  • Subject to constrained spaces: Required to function in narrow aisles or passageways.



W. M. Keck Observatory
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