Vivarium Support Supervisor

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is searching for a Vivarium Support Supervisor at the Janelia Research Campus in beautiful Ashburn, VA just 30 miles west of Washington D.C. Janelia is more than just a place to work. It is a place that one can call "home," a place with competitive salary and benefit packages, state-of-the art athletic facilities, a movie theater, bikes and Zipcars, onsite daycare, shuttle service to/from the Washington DC metro, and free coffee!

The Vivarium at Janelia is an AAALAC accredited facility that supports ground-breaking research in a variety of animal models (currently with a focus on mice, rats, and zebrafish) and is one of the highest regarded in the world. Vivarium operations are designed to maximize scientific progress and impact, while providing best-in-class welfare for, and responsible use of, laboratory animals. Our approach involves Vivarium staff working very closely with our scientists by taking responsibility and ownership of processes that involve animals, but are not data driven, to allow researchers to focus on data intensive tasks.

Essential Duties

  • Responsible for the supervision of all Vivarium Support Associates (VSA's), including scheduling, evaluating, and ensuring completion of all duties performed by these positions.
  • Work with outside contract organizations (e.g. ECHO) that support the operation in the cage washing facility.
  • Develop and maintain facility guidelines, procedures and policies.
  • Oversee the operation and use a working knowledge of cage washing equipment to preform basic upkeep procedures, including, but not limited to: tunnel washer (with dirtyside and cleanside robots), rack washer, autoclave, small cabinet washer, etc.
  • Responsible for troubleshooting cage washing equipment, submitting work orders, and communicating directly with the manufacturer and facilities maintenance staff on problems with the equipment.
  • Develop and maintain an ordering system to keep facility stocked with necessary supplies, including but not limited to: PPE, feed, bedding, caging equipment, enrichment, and other supplies as needed.
  • Assist in the development, implementation and delivery of departmental training programs; ensure that direct reports receive departmental orientation and necessary on-the-job training.
  • Oversee consistent practice of general company safety policies and procedures by VSA staff.
  • Liaise with building facilities and contractors to facilitate any construction or maintenance projects within or affecting the vivarium. May include communicating with outside venders.
  • Communicate with Vivarium staff, researchers, and other vivarium users regarding planned or emergency construction or maintenance projects and the potential impacts to their work in the Vivarium.
  • Ensure staff operates and maintains equipment and supplies according to guidelines, performs general housekeeping, and adheres to safety procedures.
  • Provide supervisory on-call support on a rotating basis for all species and duties covered. This will include weekends and holiday rotations.
  • Conduct or participate in interviews of applicants for open positions. Assist in developing recommendations regarding personnel actions, including hiring, promotions and raises. Partner with People and Culture and Managers to assist in the handling of performance issues.
  • Clean and sanitize animal rooms, support areas and other areas as needed.
  • Perform all other duties as assigned

  • Education: College degree preferred; High school diploma required with 8 years related experience.
  • Experience: A minimum of two years successful performance in automated animal research Cagewash facility operations and one-year leadership/managerial experience.
  • Certification/Licensure: Certification by AALAS at the LAT level required, and LATg required within one year of hire.

An equivalent combination of education, experience, and certification may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

Skills and Abilities
  • Demonstrated proficiency in detergent/disinfectant usage, use of autoclaves, automated washing machines and conveyors, bedding dispensers, and liquid proportioners.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain and repair facility equipment.
  • Demonstrated ability to train new employees to competency in all aspects of facility Cagewash performance.
  • Basic computer skills for recordkeeping preferred.
  • Must be able to follow verbal and written instructions and exhibit interpersonal skills that are conducive to effective communication and that contribute to a congenial work environment. Maintain positive work atmosphere by behaving and communicating in a professional manner with clients, customers, coworkers, and supervisors.
  • Ability to read, write, speak and understand English.

Physical Requirements
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee frequently is required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
  • The employee is regularly required to stand and reach with hands and arms.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.
  • The employee is regularly required to stand and sit and move from one area of the facility to another.
  • The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus.

Additional Information
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee frequently works near moving mechanical parts; with laboratory animal caging of various species including but not limited to mice, rats, and other rodents and possibly rabbits, as well as fish and amphibians; may also be frequently exposed to wet and/or humid conditions, fumes or airborne particles, toxic or caustic chemicals, biohazard materials and risk of electrical shock.
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate and occasionally high.
  • Normally 40 hours per week. May be required to work some weekends or later hours to complete duties.

HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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