Chemist II/ Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Lab Operations Manager

Job description

Job no: 507980
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: UMass Extension
Union: USA/MTA
Categories: College of Natural Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Summary

Manage analytical operations of UMass Soil and Plant Nutrient Testing Laboratory, including oversight, development and improvement of analytical methods and procedures and overall lab systems. Administer quality control and distribution of test reports. Directly supervise hourly and student technical support staff. Support Extension faculty and staff and lab customers as primary technical expert regarding lab operations and analytical methods. Serve as primary lab contact for environmental health and safety and equipment maintenance and procurement.

Essential Functions

Examples of duties:

  • Supervise and conduct personnel evaluations for all non-student lab personnel who primarily perform analytical operations.
  • Oversee analysis of all soil, plant tissue, and other samples received, and develop and maintain appropriate systems and procedures to ensure consistent, accurate, and efficient analytical operations.
  • Review test results prior to delivery to clients to ensure accuracy.
  • Maintain quality control program for all test methods.
  • Perform on-site approval and quality control functions related to administrative tasks including data entry, accounts receivable, and record keeping.
  • Track and order, or make timely requests for, needed chemical and consumable lab supplies.
  • Manage chemical inventory and proper disposal of hazardous waste, as well as maintenance of standards for environmental health and safety.
  • Manage repair and maintenance of 2,200 ft2 laboratory facilities, including monitoring laboratory equipment needs, scheduling maintenance and repair with Physical Plant personnel and outside vendors, purchase of repair parts, and planning for future equipment purchases.
  • Ensure that client needs are met by: collaborating with Extension faculty and staff to evaluate needs and service opportunities; conducting regular evaluation and improvement of methods procedures, reporting, and recommendations; monitoring lab email account and responding to technical inquiries in a timely manner; and contributing technical knowledge to development of newsletters, fact sheets and brochures for distribution
  • Contribute to system design and implementation with regard to lab database and other systems that interface analytical operations with other lab and Extension and oversee testing of new systems and integration into current lab operations.

Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. In the performance of work, take initiative, be creative, and operate with self-direction.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.

Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • B.S. degree in Plant and Soil Science or related field with a strong emphasis on analytical chemistry.
  • Three years of experience in an analytical laboratory setting in which attention to detail and critical thinking are critical to success, including 1-2 years of increasing responsibilities.
  • Demonstrably strong organizational and system design skills.
  • Ability to work independently to organize multiple tasks and set priorities for action, take initiative, be creative, and operate with self-direction in a fast-paced office environment.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interact effectively and work productively in establishing and maintaining harmonious working relationships with a diverse population of faculty, staff and students.
  • Ability to organize and prioritize goals; ability to collaborate well to formulate plans and objectives in accordance with overall college goals; ability to identify and implement process improvements.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and to set and meet deadlines while maintaining high standards of accuracy and quality.

Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Full understanding of concepts involved in material sampling, both with respect to field sampling and laboratory preparation.
  • Full understanding of analysis and interpretation of soil, plant tissue, greenhouse media, and compost testing. This includes the concepts involved in the nature of soil extracting solutions and plant tissue digestion methods, and how those processes affect the results obtained and their evaluation.
  • Bachelor’s degree and ten years of analytical experience in the testing of soils, compost, plant tissue, and greenhouse media. This includes a thorough knowledge of the concepts, operation, care, and maintenance of ICP Spectrometers, Flow Injection Analyzers, Block Digesters, Carbon-Nitrogen Analyzers by Catalytic Combustion, Ion-Selective Electrodes, and related lab equipment.
  • Demonstrated ability to supervise lab personnel, coordinate work tasks, and utilize funding efficiently.

Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical laboratory environment, including regular use of chemicals that require special handling and careful observance of safety protocols.

Work Schedule

Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm

Salary Information

Grade 20

USA Salary Schedule

Special Instructions to Applicants

Apply by May 7, 2021 in order to ensure priority consideration. Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations.

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Advertised: Apr 29 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: May 12 2021 Eastern Daylight Time




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Job No:
Posted: 5/2/2021
Application Due: 5/12/2021
Work Type: Full Time