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Lead, Central Plant/Controls

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
La Jolla, CA

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Job Details


Under limited direction from the Assistant Director, Facilities Services, incumbent provides the most senior-level technical service/support for the Central Plant. Incumbent assures proper operation and maintenance of high temperature hot water generators, steam generators, chillers, cooling towers, air handling units, air conditioning systems, fans, pumps, heat exchangers, sewage ejectors, and other equipment. Incumbent responds to service calls, performs preventative and corrective maintenance.


  • Assumes all non-disciplinary supervisory duties in the absence of the supervisor and provides instruction and training to lower-level trades and ensures quality of work.
  • Ensures all central plant systems and assigned auxiliary systems are properly installed, maintained, repaired, and operated.
  • Coaches and guides assigned personnel so that they understand work assignments and methods of completing tasks, make detailed progress reports to supervisor(s)
  • Coordinates work schedule with customers, other departments, and contractors.
  • Participates in hiring interviews as needed.
  • Ensures shop compliance with applicable Federal, State, local laws, Salk programs and regulations.
  • Assist in resolving questions regarding services performed. Refers customer inquiries or complaints to appropriate area.
  • Provides expeditious, professional, and courteous customer service.
  • Works with Institute customers, co-workers and contractors to accomplish work with a high level of quality and efficiency.
  • Communicates ideas and information orally, in writing, and electronically.
  • Operates, maintains and repairs a wide range of central plant equipment including but not limited to: boilers, steam generators, chillers, cooling towers, diesel generators, air compressors, vacuum pumps, water softeners, and reverse osmosis systems.
  • Manipulates features of building automation systems to adjust space temperatures and air intake to optimize comfort, while conserving energy; affect building automation programming schedules for the heating and cooling of campus facilities.
  • Diagnoses operational problems, control and equipment malfunctions, and initiates corrective actions.
  • Develops operational and casualty control procedures.
  • Ensures proper operation and maintenance of the building automation system, fire alarm system, and laboratory monitoring system.
  • Responds to trouble calls such as: hot and cold calls, equipment alarms, water leaks, clogged drains, electrical power issues, and lighting issues.
  • Conducts chemical analyses for water treatment for various systems such as: chillers, cooling towers, boilers, and water softeners.
  • Installs central system parts, gauges, valves and various types of pipes which may require soldering, brazing, threading and gluing.
  • Repairs and replaces belts, filters, bearings, shafts, seals, and rings for equipment such as: fan coil units, air handlers, water pumps, compressors, and vacuum pumps.
  • Maintains, inspects, and makes repairs to steam, natural gas, various water systems, drains, air and vacuum distribution systems.
  • Takes readings and maintain logs of maintenance and repairs using manual and computerized recordkeeping systems.
  • Read and interpret construction plans, prints, specifications and Operations and Maintenance Manuals.
  • Estimates cost, time and materials for projects.
  • Ensures adequate inventory of necessary supplies and parts.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned by management. 


  • This job has no supervisory responsibilities.


  • Education Required:
    • High school diploma or general education degree (GED).\
  • Training Preferred:
      • 1 year trade school in one of the following trades: HVAC&R / Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Welding, Machining or Building Maintenance.
  • Experience Required:
    • 5 years of experience as an HVAC&R mechanic or Central Plant mechanic
  • Computer skills required:
    • Microsoft Office; Project Management Software.
  • Other skills required:
    • Demonstrated ability to read construction drawings and documentation.
    • EPA-608 Universal Certification
    • Certificates, licenses, and registrations required: Must be willing to maintain First Aid/CPR/AED training/certification.
    • Satisfactory completion of the post-offer physical required.


  • Integrity - Guides our moral compass and underpins our every action. We do what is right in all situations for no other reason than because it is right. We uphold honesty and ethical behavior and make good on our commitments. We understand that words and deeds matter and that integrity leads to trust.
  • Community - Enables us to harness the power of our collective talents. We work together towards common goals. We recognize the importance of diversity where everyone’s ideas, identities, backgrounds, and perspectives are valued and pave the paths that propel us forward. We understand our pioneering role in the broader scientific community and take pride in our efforts to have a positive impact on the world.
  • Accountability - Keeps us focused, and keeps us honest. We are responsible not only for our own success, but the success of our teams and the entire Institute. We consider how the actions we take and the decisions we make in our own work may impact others.
  • Respect - Creates the foundation of trust and brings out the best in us all. We value the experiences, identities, and feelings of those we work with, regardless of their position or their relationship to us. We provide feedback in a constructive manner, use appropriate language, and allow others to share their thoughts and ideas without fear of ridicule.
  • Empowerment - Amplifies all voices and inspires the pursuit of greatness. We lift each other up, enabling us to grow continuously and live to our fullest potential. We support the expression of ideas, encourage self-advocacy, inspire confidence and recognize that an environment of mutual respect is critical to our collective success.


  • Adaptability - Adapts to changes in the work environment; Manages competing demands; Changes approach or method to best fit the situation; Able to deal with frequent change, delays, or unexpected events.
  • Attendance/Punctuality - Is consistently at work and on time; Ensures work responsibilities are covered when absent; Arrives at meetings and appointments on time.
  • Customer Service - Manages difficult or emotional customer situations; Responds promptly to customer needs; Solicits customer feedback to improve service; Responds to requests for service and assistance; Meets commitments.
  • Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Commits to long hours of work when necessary to reach goals; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.
  • Judgement - Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.
  • Problem Solving - Identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner; Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; Develops alternative solutions; Works well in group problem solving situations; Uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics.
  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Treats others with respect and consideration regardless of their status or position; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.
  • Teamwork - Balances team and individual responsibilities; Exhibits objectivity and openness to others' views; Gives and welcomes feedback; Contributes to building a positive team spirit; Puts success of team above own interests; Able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives; Supports everyone's efforts to succeed.
  • Quality - Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; Looks for ways to improve and promote quality; Applies feedback to improve performance; Monitors own work to ensure quality.

The expected pay range for this position is $26.92 to $37.50 per hour. Salk Institute provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the institute reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location, and external market pay for comparable jobs.


  • Frequently required to stand
  • Frequently required to walk
  • Occasionally required to sit
  • Frequently required to utilize hand and finger dexterity
  • Frequently required to climb, balance, bend, stoop, kneel or crawl
  • Frequently required to talk or hear
  • Occasionally required to taste or smell
  • Occasionally exposure to wet and/or humid conditions (non-weather)
  • Frequently work near moving mechanical parts
  • Occasionally work in high, precarious places using ladders
  • Occasionally work around fumes, airborne particles, or toxic chemicals
  • Occasionally exposure to outside weather conditions
  • Occasionally exposure to extreme heat or cold (non-weather)
  • Occasionally exposure to bloodborne and airborne pathogens or infectious materials
  • While performing the duties of this job, the noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and /or move more than 50 pounds / frequently lift and/or move up to 20-50 pounds / continually lift and/or move up to 0-20 pounds
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include: Close vision; Distance vision; Color vision; Peripheral vision; Depth perception and ability to adjust focus
  • Additional remarks regarding work environment: NA
  • Specialized equipment, machines, or vehicles used: NA


The Salk Institute is an internationally renowned research institution that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. We seek bold and interactive leaders passionate about exploring new frontiers in science. Our collaborative community embraces diverse perspectives and unique life experiences, fostering innovation, and a sense of belonging. Together, we strive to improve the wellbeing of humanity through groundbreaking research.


Working at Salk Institute for Biological Studies

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world's preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused on both discovery and mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.

Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M.D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.

Salk Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is committed to providing equal access to opportunities for students, employees, applicants for employment and other persons.

Our policies prohibit harassment or unlawful discrimination against individuals on the basis of sex, gender, marital or parental status, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, medical conditions/disabilities related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation age, ancestry, color, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), family and/or medical care leave status, disability (mental or physical), registered domestic partner status, legally protected medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status (disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, other covered veteran status), national origin (including language use restrictions and possession of a driver’s license), race, religion or any other classification protected by local, state or federal laws.

The Salk Institute participates in the E-Verify program.

Reasonable accommodation is available for qualified individuals with disabilities and for individuals with religious restrictions.

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