Skip to main content
Job Posting
. The position reports to the Engineering Director and may involve working in a variety of disciplines and job sites in surface facilities and underground laboratories.

Position Summary

The Engineering Technical Associate at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) will work within Engineering and across organizational lines with Science, Underground Access, and the Facility Infrastructure Departments, along with off-site Research Collaborations and contractors to facilitate assembly, commissioning, and operation of research experimental equipment and supporting SURF infrastructure.  The position reports to the Engineering Director and may involve working in a variety of disciplines and job sites in surface facilities and underground laboratories.

Functional Responsibilities (include but are not limited to)

  • Provides hands-on assembly support for various Research collaborators to enable research equipment and systems integration and interface processes.
  • Uses experience and education to support collaborators with problem-solving related to assembly and testing of experimental equipment and supporting SURF infrastructure.
  • Supports verification of in-the-field quality requirements from drawings and specs during assembly, testing, and construction of systems.
  • Becomes familiar with detailed assembly plans and schedules, then verifies logistical needs for supporting hardware and personnel.  Coordinates work plans around available personnel and hardware arrivals.  Highlights possible logistics issues to management as part of corrective action.
  • Performs daily and weekly inspection checks for machinery infrastructure systems that support experiment assembly plans.
  • Provides Quality Assurance oversite of contractors performing work on SURF infrastructure and research equipment to include ensuring compliance with contract requirements, workmanship, and safety provisions.
  • Interacts daily with internal staff for Engineering, Science, Operations, and ESH as well as suppliers, contractors, and off-site research collaborators.
  • May coordinate the activities of nonexempt personnel and graduate students.
  • Assures daily safe operations for tasks performed.

Desired Qualifications


  • Associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology (or related field), or 5 years of research support, industrial and/or mechanical construction experience. 
  • Knowledge of computer aided design tools such as AutoCAD and SolidWorks is beneficial.
  • Previous experience working in a cleanroom environment is preferred. Experience with high vacuum pumping systems, cryogenics systems, and multi-kw compressors is beneficial.


  • Professional level work that applies standard mechanical principles, theories, and/ or concepts. Must understand and apply technical scientific/ engineering concepts and Sanford Lab policies and procedures to solve a variety of problems.
  • Position requires a working knowledge of typical machine shop operations and proficiency with related tools and equipment for fabrication and assembly of parts and construction of mechanical and/or industrial systems.
  • Must exercise judgment within defined procedures and practices to determine appropriate action.  Works under general supervision.  Follows established directions. Work is reviewed for accuracy and overall adequacy.
  • Attention to Detail—ability to maintain constant awareness of surroundings and ensure tasks are completed carefully and accurately.
  • Communication—ability to communicate both orally and in writing with a wide variety of people.
  • Organization—ability to prioritize tasks, manage time, and keep order and coordinate numerous activities.
  • Decision-making—ability to assess situations, evaluate options, and choose most appropriate course of action.
  • Adaptability—ability to effectively adjust to changing priorities and demands.
  • Initiative—ability to persist despite difficult conditions and to make suggestions for improvements.
  • Teamwork—ability to work cooperatively and support others in the workgroup.

Work Requirements

Successful incumbent will be required to: 

  • Perform strenuous physical labor and lift heavy items.
  • Work in all types of conditions (heat, humidity, wet, cold). 
  • Work from ladders, scaffolding, and in confined places.
  • Work underground.
  • May occasionally work shifts, weekends, holidays and callouts as scheduled.
  • Provide proof of a valid driver’s license.

The South Dakota Science & Technology Authority (SDSTA) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to the development of a diverse workforce. Applicants are invited to self-identify as an individual with a disability or as a protected veteran. Forms are available on the website or upon request from Human Resources.

More Information

ADA reasonable accommodations request form
44.08 KB
Voluntary disclosure of veteran status form
304.64 KB