Plant Growth Facilities Manager
Harvard University, University Administration
United States

Duties & Responsibilities

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University seeks a Plant Growth Facilities Manager to oversee its technically complex growth facilities at the state-of-the-art Weld Hill research facility.  The facility at the Arnold Arboretum consists of approximately 6,800 square feet of greenhouses, growth chambers, and related work space, plus ~33,000 square feet of outdoor common garden space. Working closely with Arboretum and other Harvard faculty and staff under the supervision of the Arnold Arboretum Director of Research Facilitation, the Plant Growth Facilities Manager will ensure high quality plants and plant growth facilities to support a full range of research and teaching activities.

Plant Growth Facilities Manager Duties and Responsibilities (including, but not limited to):

  1. Plants for Research and Teaching
    1. Pest and Disease Control - responsible for assessing, diagnosing and coordinating treatments for pest control including conducting applications of chemical pesticides as needed to keep certain plants pest-free. Conducts pesticide applications, maintains spray equipment and pesticide spray log, records, and reports. Establishes and maintains USDA/APHIS permits, records, protocols and quarantine procedures.
    2. Plant Care/Health - will advise, train, and work with researchers to establish and maintain protocols. In consultation with researchers, responsible for establishing and monitoring growth parameters and environmental control settings including temperature and photoperiod regimes, supplemental light intensities, growth media selections, fertilizer and watering regimes, and cultural practices. May be the primary person responsible for all aspects of plant care for a wide variety of plant species, large monocultures and transgenic plant material. Responsible for troubleshooting and remedying problems before they become serious and detrimental to experiments.
    3. Communication - interact with faculty and staff to determine project needs and responsibilities. Communicate policies, plant growth/health and facility status.
    4. Training - researches and answers questions about plants, plant pests, and plant growth. Acts as a resource person to users in regard to growing methods and techniques.
  2. Plant Facilities and Environment
    1. Facilities Maintenance - will maintain, repair, improve, and manage mechanical, environmental, and computer systems of growth facilities. Find and remedy problems before they become serious and detrimental.  Supervises the general operation of the Growth Facility and ensures the facility is clean, safe and operating smoothly.
    2. Emergency Response - acts as primary call-back person on 24 hour alarm system. Responsible for growth facilities, plants, and contents of facilities during emergency situations including equipment failure, power outage, etc. Promptly communicate facility status to supervisor and users as needed to safeguard experiments and plants.
  3. Growth Facilities Management
    1. Policies and procedures – will develop, implement, and train staff and users of plant growth facilities in proper protocols, safety procedures, and growth facility policies.
    2. Budget/Finance - responsible for preparing, tracking and maintaining annual budget ensuring fiscal responsibility while striving to meet Arboretum’s goals.
    3. Inventory - responsible for ordering and maintaining all supplies and equipment for operation of growth facilities within budgetary allowances.
    4. Space Allocation - responsible for the space allocation to each research group; maintains space allocation record.
    5. Safety/Emergency Preparedness – responsible for safety in the growth facilities. Maintains pesticide spray log, label log, records, and reports. Establishes spill procedures. Maintains chemical inventory and records.
  4. Supervision and training
    1. Support Staff - responsible for the supervision of support staff.
    2. Growth Facility Users - responsible for general training of all growth facility users in basic plant culture and safety procedures.


Basic Qualifications

Candidates MUST meet the following basic qualifications in order to be considered for this role:

Basic qualifications:
Three years greenhouse experience with a minimum of two years of greenhouse management experience.  Proven expertise in growing quality plants, optimizing greenhouse systems, effective pest control, plant nutrition, and development and enforcement of protocols and procedures required.
Knowledge of pest management principles and practices, plant propagation/culture methods, soil and growth media preparation required. Proven experience with relevant pesticides, fertilizers, safety and legal requirements, and the correct use of equipment.
Must possess and maintain (or acquire in a reasonable amount of time after hire) a valid Mass. driver's license and pesticide license; be able to perform strenuous manual labor, including climbing ladders and frequent lifting/carrying heavy loads up to 50 lbs.; experience with hand and power tools.
Must be able to work with chemicals and substances requiring safety precautions and equipment requiring constant and careful attention. Protective devices required during periodic use of pesticides, fertilizers, and soil preparation.
This position is considered ESSENTIAL STAFF. Must be able to work weekends and holidays. Must be able to work during periods of adverse weather and during emergencies.

Additional Qualifications

Advanced degree in horticulture, plant biology, or related field preferred.
Experience with computer application systems related to management of greenhouse environments preferred. Experience with growth chambers preferred. Experience with facilities management and financial management including budget preparation and monitoring preferred.
Excellent organizational skills; ability to prioritize tasks, work under pressure, and manage multiple projects simultaneously. Must be detail-oriented.
Ability to work well with multiple constituents, including faculty, students, researchers, vendors, and administrative and facilities staff.  Excellent interpersonal skills; excellent verbal and written communication skills.  Strong communication skills to tactfully build and maintain productive relationships with clients, staff, administrators, experts, and vendors.
Demonstrated ability to anticipate, perceive, diagnose, prioritize, and remedy problems, and adapt, combine or make improvements to systems, services, and/or processes before problems become serious and detrimental.
Ensure compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations as well as University policies relating to greenhouse and growth chamber functions.

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