Field Operations Manager

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a $430 million dollar
observatory project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land
use and invasive species impact ecology. For the next three decades NEON
will collect a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale
across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems. NEON will use
cutting edge technology including an airborne observation platform that will
capture images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, re-locatable,
and fixed data collection sites with automated ground sensors to monitor
soil and atmosphere; and trained field crews who will observe and sample
populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data. A leading
edge cyber-infrastructure will calibrate, store and publish this
information. The Observatory will grow to 300+ personnel and will be the
first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological
change at continental scales.

The NEON Field Operations Manager is responsible for managing all personnel
and activities coordinated from the assigned field office. Field office
activities include (1) preventative and corrective maintenance of scientific
instrumentation, field infrastructure and equipment, office and laboratory
equipment, (2) field observations, (3) specimen collection, handling,
preparation and shipment according to NEON scientific protocols. Personnel
management includes (1) selecting, (2) training, (3) scheduling, and (4)
performance management for 5-10 regular full-time field technicians and
20-30 seasonal field technicians according to NEON, Inc. Policies and

Must have permanent authorization for US employment.

The Domain 2 Field Operations Manager’s primary work location is near Front
Royal, VA. This position supports sites in the Mid-Atlantic Domain.
Mid-Atlantic sites are located in Front Royal, VA at Smithsonian
Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Blandy Experimental Farm, and near
Annapolis, MD at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). A
candidate aquatic site is located near Cockeysville, MD. The Mid-Atlantic
Domain includes parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia,
West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Supervise all regular and seasonal field personnel supporting field
office, lab and collection sites.
• Perform and oversee the recruitment and training of regular and seasonal
field personnel.
• Ensure that safety policies, procedures, and practices are followed
within their area of authority. Reinforce positive attitudes toward safety
and sets the example for staff by enabling compliance with safety requirements.
• Coordinate logistics and schedules, within NEON scientific parameters,
for all maintenance, repair and field activities.
• Perform and oversee maintenance, repair and field activities according to
NEON scientific protocols.
• Administer the operation of the office and laboratory. Oversees
maintenance of office and lab areas including lab equipment and coordinates
necessary repair or replacement.
• Act as liaison between regional stakeholders, including educational and
research organizations, local property owners and the general public and
NEON, Inc.
• Communicate NEON status and activities, local activities and
partnerships, and regional issues and concerns to appropriate regional
stakeholders and NEON staff. Work with regional stakeholders to resolve
issues or concerns.
• Prepare annual operating budget for assigned office, lab and collection
sites in collaboration with the Director of Field Operations. Ensure NEON
funds are used appropriately and within budget.
• Record activities and completed work according to Field Operations protocol.
• Perform field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather,
terrain, diverse assigned biomes).
• May carry, move and lift field supplies (pack weighing up to 40 lbs.) to
assigned field site (diverse and uneven terrain).
• Follow and ensure all NEON, Inc. policy and procedure including
administrative, safety, and financial requirements for field station
operations are followed.

Required Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills:
• Bachelor’s Degree biology, ecology, environmental science or related
field. Equivalent education and work experience may be considered.
• Three (3) or more years’ experience supervising at least 5 personnel
including hiring, evaluating performance, implementing performance
improvement plans and terminating employees.
• Three (3) or more years’ experience in management including budgeting,
monthly status reporting.
• Three (3) or more years’ experience developing complex work or task
schedules (e.g. 24×7 operations with full-time, part-time, and seasonal staff).
• Previous experience performing ecology related lab and field activities
and/or maintaining scientific instrumentation (e.g. meteorological and
aquatic sensors).
• Previous experience communicating with external stakeholders such as
customers, funding agencies, regulatory agencies, etc.
• Ability to organize and execute multiple activities and priorities.
• Effective problem solving skills and the ability to determine and act on
changing priorities in a fast paced dynamic environment.
• Effective leadership skills and the ability to motivate others.
• Displays good judgment in ensuring safety and operational standards are met.
• Ability and willingness to adopt new technologies as needed.
• Ability to travel frequently within assigned domain.
• Depending on assignment, current and valid State issued driver’s license
with insurable Department of Motor Vehicle record (parking violations, minor
driving offenses excluded) as determined by NEON’s insurance provider.
• Willingness to work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations,
on difficult or hazardous terrain.
• Ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs on instrument
• Willingness to work on towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet
and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain).
• Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise.

Preferred Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills:
• Graduate study in biology, ecology, environmental science or related field.
• Previous experience managing a technical field operations services group.
• Previous experience leading or participating in outdoor activities in
remote areas.
• Familiarity with federal and state employment and safety regulations.


NEON Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, Minorities, Veterans and
Disabled Persons are encouraged to apply.


Front Royal, Virginia
National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
Human Resources