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Job Posting
Leads the development and implementation of plans and programs to advance the operations performance of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF).
Open until filled.

Position Summary 

The Operations Program Manager leads the development and implementation of plans and programs to advance the operations performance of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). The Manager reports to the SURF Laboratory Director and works closely with the laboratory management, staff members and partners to lead key elements of SURF operations responsibilities. These elements include management of contractual deliverables and reporting, logistics and planning for the activities of SURF advisory committees, operations performance measurement and reporting, and strategic planning. The Manager will also lead the planning and implementation of SURF-wide advancement initiatives as directed. Although in leadership position, the Manager is expected to play a significant “hands on” role in each of the functional responsibilities.

Functional Responsibilities (include but are not limited to)

  • Provides strategic planning and project management leadership to plan and implement organizational improvement and optimization initiatives to advance SURF’s operations performance.
  • Analyzes and improves organizational processes to improve quality, productivity and efficiency.
  • Oversees the activities of the SURF Advisory Committees. Ensures meetings are effective, well planned, the results are documented and tracked, and recommendations are closed in a timely manner.
  • Leads the planning, development and management of a formal contracts deliverable and reporting system. Ensures all contracts deliverables are provided on schedule and are of the highest quality.
  • Works with the SDSTA management team to coordinate, prepare and manage all regular reporting to the Department of Energy (DOE) and the SDSTA Board of Directors.
  • Works with finance and contracts functions to lead the development of an annual operations work plan and budget proposal presentation to the DOE.
  • Leads the development and management of a comprehensive operations performance reporting and assessment system including the development of appropriate performance measures and reports.
  • Leads planning and development of programs to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture and workforce at SURF. Leads efforts to increase awareness and build a culture where everyone at SURF feels empowered to succeed and contribute to SURF’s collective success.


The Manager has the following authority:

  • To identify and coordinate resource requirements with the Laboratory Director.
  • To organize and lead working cross-functional groups for the accomplishment of work tasks.
  • To act for the Laboratory Director when designated.
  • To stop work upon recognition of a condition that presents imminent danger to the health and safety of staff, the public, or the environment.


The Manager is accountable to the following:

  • The Laboratory Director for the successful performance of assigned duties.
  • Funding agency representatives for prompt and accurate responses to questions.
  • Colleagues to respond in a timely, accurate manner.



A degree (B.S. or higher) in engineering, science, management, business, or a related field is required.


A minimum of five years of relevant work experience is required in a management role is desired. Experience in the planning, coordination, and execution of federally funded projects is required. Management of high visibility strategic projects; organizational optimization; identification of resource requirements; sound judgment and evidence of excellent communication skills is highly desired. A Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is desired.


  • Attention to Detail—ability to maintain constant awareness of surroundings and ensure tasks are completed carefully and accurately.
  • Organization—ability to prioritize tasks, manage time, and keep order and coordinate numerous activities including coordination of priorities to staff.
  • Communication—unquestioned ability to communicate clearly both orally and in writing and with a wide variety of people. Ability to present complex topics simply and appropriately to review panels, scientists, and senior agency officials.
  • Decision Making—ability to assess situations, evaluate options, choose most appropriate course of action, and effectively communicate decisions to staff.
  • Initiative/Resilience—Ability to start something independently, plan it, and complete it successfully. Ability to take direction, manage changes in project direction and adjust work plans and processes accordingly.
  • Adaptability—ability to effectively adjust to changing priorities and demands and work independently to solve problems and keep management informed of progress and status. Ability to accept criticism from review panels tactfully and to adjust plans as appropriate.
  • Influence and Team Building—ability to lead diverse stakeholder teams towards a common vision.

Work Requirements

Successful applicant will be required to: 

  • Perform limited physical labor and light lifting.
  • Provide proof of a valid driver’s license.
  • Limited work in an underground laboratory is required.

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.