see also: UT Austin Job Search

A full list of employment opportunities with both the Department of Astronomy and McDonald Observatory can be found at https://utdirect.utexas.edu/apps/hr/jobs/nlogon/search/0/. For openings at the Observatory, enter 'McDonald' as the Hiring Department. Listings will include both Austin and Fort Davis, TX.


Research Engineering/ Scientist Associate V - Mechanical Engineer and Machine Shop Supervisor

Hiring department McDonald Observatory
Monthly salary $7,083+ depending on qualifications
Hours per week 40.00 Standard from 800AM to 500PM
Posting number 18-06-06-01-4207
Job Status Open
FLSA status Exempt
Earliest Start Date Immediately
Position Duration Funding expected to continue
Position open to all applicants
Location Austin (main campus)
Number of vacancies 1


General Notes

Will include travel to the Observatory located 440 miles west of Austin, 16 miles outside Ft. Davis, TX. Must be authorized to work in the U.S. on a full-time basis for any employer.


Required Application Materials

  • A Resume is required in order to apply

Additional Information



Provide mechanical engineering input for design, fabrication and implementation of astronomical instruments. Manage maintenance, repairs and upgrades for telescopes and facilities. Coordinates fabrication workflow to ensure progress on mechanical projects.


Essential Functions

Seeks innovative technical solutions in mechanical design and maintenance efforts. Coordinates, develops, and supervises operations and personnel in the engineering shop to ensure appropriate progress is made on approved projects on a daily basis. Maintains work hours that intersect with customers of the engineering group. Proactive on notifying Facilities on building maintenance issues that impact the working and safety environment. Provides liaison and coordination between the Austin Mechanical Engineering Team and McDonald Observatory West Texas staff, including instrument documentation. Supervises CAD software, licenses, file vaults, and backups. Provides mechanical engineering and machining support during instrument installation.

Licenses: Class "C" Operator's Driver's License. Applicant selected must provide a current three year Driving Record from the current state of residence. If not currently a Texas resident, must obtain a Texas Driver's License within 30 days after entering Texas as a new resident.


Marginal/Incidental functions

Other related functions as assigned.


Required qualifications

Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and eight years of experience in a technical environment designing and building instruments. Minimum five years of experience using Autodesk Inventor or Solidworks computer-aided design (CAD) software. Experience supervising personnel and coordinating work flow in a machine shop. Experience with project management, including managing a budget and documenting expenses. Experience selecting the proper tooling, laying out the order of operations, and designing jigs and fixtures, as needed, to fabricate parts. Experience with typical machine shop equipment such as manual and computer-numerical controlled (CNC) mills and lathes, wire electro-discharge machines (EDM), and measuring tools. Experience making precision measurements. Experience following institutional procedures, policies, and rules. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Must be able to work efficiently and productively with staff and teams (listen, seek clarification, and take feedback). Equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.


Preferred Qualifications

Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. Five years of experience in a research environment designing and building astronomical instruments, and maintaining telescopes and related equipment. Experience designing and working on high-precision and miniature instrumentation, troubleshooting and repairing large mechanical systems, electronic controls systems, and opto-mechanical systems. Three years of machine shop experience operating manual and computer-numerical controlled (CNC) machine and wire EDM tools and programming CNC machines. Three years of experience using MasterCAM software for programming CNC machines and troubleshooting CNC programs. Five years of experience using Autodesk Inventor and Solidworks CAD software, deploying CAD software, maintaining file vaults and license servers for each, and ensuring backups are maintained on a regular basis. Experience translating CAD files to different formats. Working knowledge of DOS-based scripts to automate tasks. Working knowledge of basic administrative tasks for Windows operating systems, including resetting passwords and using Task Scheduler to schedule tasks.


Working conditions

May work in all weather conditions May work in extreme temperatures May work around standard office conditions May work around chemicals May work around electrical and mechanical hazards Use of manual dexterity Climbing of stairs Climbing of ladders Lifting and moving Occasionally requires working extended hours in inclement weather with optical equipment or materials.

A criminal history background check will be required for finalist(s) under consideration for this position.

The retirement plan for this position is Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), subject to the position being at least 20 hours per weekand at least 135 days in length.

The University of Texas at Austin, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws  regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

If hired, you will be required to complete the federal Employment Eligibility Verification form, I-9. You will be required to present acceptable, original documents - http://www.utexas.edu/hr/current/services/I9docs.html - to prove your 
identity and authorization to work in the United States. Information from the documents will be submitted to the federal E-Verify system for verification. Documents must be presented no later than the third day of employment. Failure to do so will result in dismissal.