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Job Posting
Provides engineering and engineering management to facilitate operations and maintenance support, planning and design development, integration of research facilities, and capital project execution.

Position Summary

The Underground Operations Engineer provides engineering and engineering management to facilitate operations and maintenance support, planning and design development, integration of new research facilities, and capital project execution. The engineer maintains, monitors, evaluates, and plan for safe access to underground areas supporting the SURF mission. The Engineer provides oversight and guidance to resolve ventilation, ground control, and water in-flow and containment issues. This position reports to the SURF Director of Engineering. 

Functional Responsibilities: (include but are not limited to)

  • Participates in or leads project engineering teams in design, oversight, integration, and coordination of activities to plan and develop infrastructure and excavations for proposed experiments. This includes all facility subsystems for underground construction and operations. 
  • Plans and documents the routine inspections of the existing ventilation systems and underground footprint. Builds mitigation strategies to include the use of ventilation modeling programs and techniques as required.
  • Plans and documents the routine inspections of ground conditions within commonly accessed areas of the underground. Builds mitigation strategies as required.
  • Plans and documents the routine inspections of water-in-flow control systems. Builds mitigation strategies as required.
  • In the role of Project Manager/Owner's Rep, providing oversight and coordination for scope definition, cost estimating, and contract management of out-sourced production of detailed specifications, engineering design, construction, and maintenance documents, including site assessment, engineering analyses, engineering studies, safety and environmental compliance, drawings and specifications, etc.
  • Serves as a Project Manager/Owner's Rep for construction projects required to execute capital programs to provide safe underground access and support to ongoing and emerging science.
  • Develops policies and procedures for managing ventilation, water inflow, and logistics in the underground facility.
  • Provides input to the SURF management on matters related to allowing or restricting access to areas within the underground footprint.
  • Provides written and oral reports to indicate project progress and areas in need of attention.
  • Coordinates and supports the installation of select underground experiments as assigned.
  • Acts as a liaison with science collaborations for assembly of new experiments or decommissioning of experiments.
  • Creates or reviews procedures and job hazard analyses.  Investigates and develops new methods and techniques for project advancement.
  • Coordinates with SURF Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) personnel on planning and documenting routine inspections of the secondary access routes.
  • Serves as liaison between the SURF and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) with matters that are mutually beneficial to both institutions.  This may expand to other institutions in the future.
  • Assists the Department Director in matters that require coordination between the Engineering Department and other SURF departments as assigned.


Desired Qualifications


A degree (B.S. or higher) in Mining or Geological Engineering, or a closely related field is required. The successful applicant must demonstrate skills including sound engineering judgment, engineering management, and evidence of strong communication skills and relevant experience with design and construction of surface facilities, underground mining operations, civil construction, excavation and/or tunneling.  Educational background and/or experience may include design, construction, management or operations in some of the following areas: 1) Large-scale excavation, tunneling or mining operations, 2) Surface facilities with relevant technical challenges, 3) Federally funded projects, 4) Engineering project management and supervision 5) Systems engineering.


  • Required to have a minimum of 5 years of progressive experience in mining or underground construction/operations type environments.
  • Have managed projects valued in excess of $1M.
  • Have demonstrated a history of safe work practices.
  • A Professional Engineer (PE) credential in a mining discipline or related field is desirable.


  • AutoCAD or similar drafting software
  • Vulcan
  • MS PowerPoint, Word and Excel
  • VentSIM or equivalent.
  • Surveying and laser scanning software


  • 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.
  • Communication—ability to communicate well both orally and in writing and with a wide variety of people.
  • Decision Making—ability to assess situations, evaluate options, and choose most appropriate course of action.
  • Initiative—ability to persist despite difficult conditions and to make suggestions for improvements.
  • Adaptability—ability to effectively adjust to changing priorities and demands.
  • Influence—ability to gain acceptance or support for ideas, projects, and solutions.
  • Safety – willing to accept and enforce strict safety practices

Work Requirements

Although the primary working environment will be in an office setting, successful applicant will be required at times to: 

  • Perform strenuous physical labor and lift heavy items.
  • Work in all types of conditions (heat, humidity, wet, cold).
  • Work in a shaft environment where depths reach 5000’.
  • Work from ladders, scaffolding, and in confined places.
  • Work underground.
  • 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.