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The (ESH) Director leads the planning, direction, and implementation of all safety programs to ensure a safe, healthy, and environmentally sustainable ESH program.

Position is open until filled.

Position Summary

The Environment, Safety and Health (ESH) Director leads the planning, direction, and implementation of all safety programs at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) to ensure a safe, healthy, and environmentally sustainable ESH program that is world-class. The Director’s role also includes leadership for quality assurance and site security programs. The ESH Director reports to the SURF Laboratory Director.

Functional Responsibilities (include but are not limited to)

  • Serves as the principal strategic advisor and provides proactive leadership and planning for all ESH needs to the Laboratory Director and other SURF senior leaders. Sets ESH expectations and goals across SURF.
  • Partners with other SURF managers to develop, implement and improve a fully integrated ESH program to support the development, construction and operation of an underground facility and its scientific experiments.
  • Manages and directs ESH programs and initiatives to assure necessary information is available for management action to raise staff awareness of risks and to protect staff by reducing and eliminating hazards in the workplace.
  • Promotes a culture of safety by engaging employees to participate in injury prevention processes such as hazard recognition, audits, inspections and risk assessments.
  • Provides leadership and direction of emergency preparedness and response, industrial hygiene, fire protection, radiological safety, ESH training, accident prevention, case management and worker's compensation, and ergonomics improvement.
  • Works with other SURF managers, the SURF safety committee and researchers to seek staff feedback, improve staff safe work practices, and strengthen staff commitment to an accident-free workplace while driving continuous improvement activities to meet or exceed both regulatory and SURF requirements.
  • Actively manages the investigation of incidents and injuries to determine causes and identify preventive measures. Reviews all incidents, near misses, incident investigations, inspection reports to determine root causes and make recommendations to abate identified hazards and underlying causes.
  • Leads SURF interactions with mission partners, regulatory and funding agencies, science collaborations and the public on ESH matters.
  • Provides line management and supervision of the ESH Department and its staff. Develops and manages allocated ESH budgets and work schedules. Supports reporting of work progress and budget and schedule performance.
  • Interacts peers at comparable facilities and adopts best practices from such facilities.
  • Serves as SURF Quality Assurance Manager and leads the implementation and advancement of quality control and assurance programs at SURF.
  • Serves as SURF Security Chief and leads the implementation and advancement of the site security programs at SURF.

Desired Qualifications


  • Masters degree in a related safety engineering, environmental health, scientific discipline or equivalent experience is required.


  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in underground and/or research facility safety program management, along with OSHA and MSHA regulatory experience including electrical safety, mechanical safety, cryogenic/compressed gases safety, facility design, regulation/code interpretations, incident investigation, equipment/facility design/layout review, and hazard recognition and control.
  • Demonstrated experience in “raising the bar” of safety above regulations and consistently reducing incidents/injuries at a site similar in nature to SURF.
  • Proven and highly developed management skills to effectively lead and direct a comprehensive loss control program.
  • Experience developing and organizing ESH plans and procedures to conduct a growing program.
  • Experience overseeing a complex ESH training program and staff, including diverse ESH topics that require regular updating.
  • Minimum of 5 years in a similar ESH line management position; Management expertise to lead and direct subordinate managers and staff and managing/administering budgets.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of DOE Order 10CFR851, Worker Safety and Health.
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communications skills including use of computing technologies for reporting, analysis, and communications.
  • Experience in leading multidisciplinary teams.
  • Statistical skills to analyze safety data, reports and trends.


  • CSPCertified Safety Professional certification is highly desired.


  • Strong passion for safety—Demonstrated passion for results and demand for safety excellence. Willingness to confront mediocrity.
  • Visionary—Thinks and acts strategically to set a vision and ensure the ESH organization moves towards it.
  • Entrepreneurial—Identifies opportunities and encourages resourceful and innovative solutions to problems.
  • Political Astuteness—Uses personal influence, combined with an understanding of internal organizational reality and external factors, to positively affect results for the agency.
  • Relationship Building—Develops networks and uses them to strengthen ESH organizational support.
  • Team Building—Builds and leads a cohesive ESH team that is committed to common goals.
  • Inspires Others—Empowers staff and motivates them to achieve or exceed their goals.
  • Exercises Due Diligence—Manages resources and day-to-day activities in a manner that instill public trust and builds an effective and efficient ESH program.

Working Conditions

In addition to working in a typical office environment, the successful candidate must have the ability to work deep underground.

Work Requirements

  • 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.