W. M. Keck Observatory

This is a temporary position - Duration up-to six (6) months.


Under the general supervision of the Infrastructure Supervisor, this position is responsible for fabrication and installation, of summit infrastructure. Summit infrastructure is the equipment and structures that make up the Physical Plant, Telescope Structure, Dome and Shutter, and other systems with large structural elements.

 Essential Functions

  • Participate in fabrication, installation and repair of the machinery, equipment and structures that make up the summit infrastructure so that they are in good operating condition, available for observing and safe.  The infrastructure includes, but is not limited to:      
    • Physical Plant machinery
    • Telescope Yoke, Tube, Platforms, Decks and other Structures
    • Dome and Shutter
    • Other infrastructure
  • Perform installation, repairs, modifications, fabrication, and assembly of observatory mechanical and plumbing systems, as directed, to insure that systems are safe, up to date, and capable of performing their intended functions.
  • Organize parts and conduct inventories to insure that tools and parts are available when needed.
  • Assist others at the observatory when necessary, to provide smooth and efficient daily operations.
  • Keep supervisor informed of progress, problems and concerns related to the observatory; provide status reports as required.
  • Under the guidance of supervisor and the Summit Lead, collaborate with other summit technicians to create an efficient, effective and unified work environment based on the principles of teamwork and mutual responsibility for shared objectives.

 Additional Responsibilities

  • Remove snow and ice as required to make the facility accessible, operational and safe.
  • Perform other duties consistent with the scope of this position.

 Required Qualifications

  • Five (5) years' related work experience in an industrial environment and a proven capability for installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting in at least one of the following areas: mechanical systems, refrigeration, plumbing, hydraulics.
  • Capability of operating common maintenance shop hand and machine tools.
  • Working knowledge of shop fabrication practices (drilling, tapping, milling, turning, welding, cutting, forming, grinding, assembly, etc.)

 Desirable Qualifications

  • Rigging and lifting certification.
  • Experience working at an astronomical observatory.
  • Five (5) years' experience or equivalent degree as an industrial machinist, including manual milling equipment, lathe, and standard machine shop equipment and tools.
  • Knowledge of mechanics, machining, pneumatics, and hydraulics.


  • Basic computer skills with office productivity software for e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets.
  • Ability to coordinate multiple tasks concurrently in a fast-paced dynamic environment.

 Certificates and Licenses

  • Associates Degree in Tool Technology or equivalent.


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: Remain on one's feet in an upright position at a workstation without moving about
  • Walk: Moving about on foot.
  • Lift: Raising or lowering an object from one level to another (includes upward pulling) Up to 75lbs.
  • 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, kick and treadle actions).
  • Pull: Exert force upon an object so that the object moves toward the force (includes jerking).
  • Climbing: 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 a high altitude physical.
  • 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.

The above information on this job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by an employee in this classification.  It is not to be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory, or all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications of employees assigned to this job.  Management has the right to add to, revise, or delete information in this description.  Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.


W. M. Keck Observatory
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