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Group Lead, Engineering Design

Date: Jan 21, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4598 


The Centrifuge Engineering and Fabrication Section within the Enrichment Science and Engineering Division (ESED) is seeking a Group Leader for the Engineering Design Group. This group is focused on developing innovative, imaginative, buildable, and cost-effective designs of centrifuge components, subassemblies, and full machines.



The Enrichment Science and Engineering Division serves the nation in two critical areas: advancing enrichment technologies and exploring stable isotope production and applications. The division leverages an elite staff of scientists and engineers with the world-leading capabilities of Oak Ridge National Laboratory to deliver groundbreaking advancements with a variety of applications, from national security to life-saving medical treatments.  ESED is the national steward for the research, development, and demonstration of centrifuge technology.


The Engineering Design Group Leader brings together a group of peers with the primary goal of pursuing global scientific leadership in their field, nurtures ORNL’s culture among group members, and continues to build and scale up individual excellence and impact in enrichment science R&D. The Engineering Design Group Leader reports to and works closely with the Centrifuge Engineering and Fabrication Section Head to implement the group’s scientific vision; develops group members to enable career advancement; establishes capabilities that enable programs to excel at the forefront of science and technology; performs R&D to advance the field of knowledge and/or technology in one’s respective specialty; sets, implements, and models standards for performance of work consistent with Environment, Safety, Security, Health, and Quality (ESH&Q) requirements and business rules; and ensures a diverse and inclusive work environment where every employee feels safe, heard, and appreciated—a workplace that sets an example for the broader community. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 


This position will lead activities that advance the state of the art in centrifuge component and subassembly design, working with Development staff to turn concepts based on a combination of first principles modeling and test data into practical and cost-effective designs. The position will be responsible for communication of activities to senior research staff and management and will be responsible for understanding and contributing to detailed formal designs, testing/analysis plans, and fabrication plans in coordination with stakeholder personnel.


Desired Experience

To be successful in this position, applicants should have experience and future career interest in the following skills/subject areas:



  • Producing a variety of design output documents including but not limited to systems requirements documents, calculations, drawings, bills of materials, specifications, datasheets, inspection plans, assembly instructions, and test plans/procedures
  • Strong understanding of 3D CAD modeling software and drawings
  • Consistent application of product numbering, drawing structure, and drawing numbers
  • Ensure design outputs are of sufficient detail for use by the end user/design requestor
  • Use of drafting standards such as ASME Y14.100 or the Drawing Requirements Manual
  • Application of ASME Y14.5 for dimensional tolerances and inspection criteria
  • Tolerance stack-up and error analysis calculations
  • Material selection and compatibility with corrosive gases
  • General Machine Shop experience with metal cutting tools (mills, lathes, wire EDM, etc.)
  • Fixtures/tooling design for part fabrication, inspection, and assembly
  • Welding and Non-Destructive Examination code experience with AWS or ASME standards
  • High Vacuum seal and weld design
  • Experience working with leak check inspectors qualified per ASNT practice SNT-TC-1A or equivalent
  • Relevant design experience with high-speed rotating machinery
  • Defining and documenting the acceptance criteria, inspection plans, and testing required to qualify machine components
  • Work with Manufacturing staff (both internal to ORNL and with external suppliers) to disposition non-conformances and respond to request for waivers/deviations
  • The technical evaluation of custom designed machine hardware and purchased components to identify attributes which are critical to performance
  • The technical evaluation of structures, systems, and components to identify items relied on for safety (IROFS)


Group/Project Coordination:

  • Provide technical direction and trouble-shooting skills to support a group of machine design engineers and designers
  • Assign group resources to projects based on employee skillset. This involves assessing individual design scopes and the ability to accurately align personnel experience with the requirement to successfully complete design output documents.
  • Lead design teams
  • Perform or coordinate peer-review and approval of group design output documents
  • Understand critical path and near-critical path schedule activities to ensure group staff executes to priorities.
  • Work with project leadership and project controls personnel to advise design task durations and schedule logic for planning future work
  • Maintain design control. and set priorities
  • Document and adhere to established internal (group-level) and external (division-level) design interfaces. 



  • Promote a strong security culture. This involves understanding how to produce design outputs in/with areas, computers, and communication channels which have multiple levels of security control.
  • Experience in performing design scope on sensitive projects while maintaining excellent communication with the classification office, derivative classifiers, reviewing officials, and high-risk property management


Soft skills

  • Assist in all aspects of Employee Performance Management (EPM)
  • Resolve incidents of differing professional opinions (internal and external to group)
  • Motivate technical staff from diverse work experiences
  • Promote a professional code of conduct and ethical behavior



In addition, this position will participate with the Division’s quality assurance leadership team; and be responsible for the development, maintenance, and implementation of the following Project-wide or Division-wide quality functions and procedures:

  • Configuration management of design outputs through project data management systems, to ensure revision control and change control activities/workflows
  • Design procedures, processes instructions, and forms in support of Design Control, Design Reviews, Design Verification, Requirements Management, and Change Control activities.
  • Performance of verification matrices to ensure design criteria and requirements have assigned acceptance criteria, including documented inspection plans, vendor surveillance, and criteria for the disposition of non-conformances.
  • Aid in the establishment of Document Control plans, procedures, transmittals, and distributions for controlled documents
  • Aid in the establishment of Records Management activities to capture project/division records



The successful candidate will be required to effectively interact with various personnel and sponsors, both within and outside of ORNL. The candidate is expected to be able to be a technical leader in a team environment.  It is expected the successful candidate will work collaboratively with co-workers and management as well as independently, to fully document work performed in the forms of technical reports and presentations, and to participate in the development of research proposals.  The successful candidate will interface with principal investigators, management, engineers, fabricators, modelers, and test campaign personnel.

  • Develop a vision and implement a cohesive group research strategy to ensure the success of new and ongoing research projects to position the group for future success.
  • Develop and implement plans to exploit new opportunities and/or expand existing efforts.
  • Assist staff in setting performance goals consistent with the group’s strategy and members’ long-term career goals. Provide feedback to address performance issues in a timely manner.
  • Provide relevant input to assist the Centrifuge Engineering and Fabrication Section Head with staff development while providing direct and impactful guidance to staff on a regular basis.
  • Attract a quality, diverse pool of top candidates and support the section head in hiring staff members who are committed to world-class R&D and aspire to be the best in their field.
  • Lead by example by exercising the principles in ORNL’s “Research Code of Conduct” as a guide for proposing, performing, and communicating research.
  • Coach and mentor staff regarding Battelle’s “Safe Conduct of Research” principles
  • Lead ESH&Q by example and ensure all work is carried out safely, securely, and in compliance with ORNL policies, standards, and procedures.
  • Exemplify a commitment to “One ORNL” by modeling lab expectations for excellence in research, operations, and community engagement, and by working cooperatively to leverage capabilities across the Lab.



  • Serve as immediate supervisor for staff members in group.
  • Encourage staff to “think and dream big,” take appropriate risks in their work, and develop skills that will enable them to pursue new ideas, scientific passions, and research programs.
  • Advance the reputation of the group members and standing of the group as a whole through establishing collaborations, Professional Society leadership and involvement, and organization of technical events.
  • Support group members by consistently reviewing technical products such as proposals, publications, and artifacts to ensure high quality and consistency with ORNL standards.
  • Build strong teams across ORNL.
  • Connect staff to your scientific network and professional societies.
  • Hold regular scientific/technical group meetings and be visible in the labs and workplace.
  • Assume front-line responsibility for safety in the group’s laboratories; mentor and empower the Laboratory Space Managers to create a strong safety culture.
  • Effectively communicate the importance of protecting proprietary or sensitive information and complying with ORNL cybersecurity policies and guidelines.



  • To group staff, for the quality and safety of their work environment and opportunity for professional growth.
  • To the Centrifuge Engineering and Fabrication Section head, for world-leading science and technology directions; safe, secure, effective, and compliant operations; ownership of assigned staff, facilities, and equipment; and the quality of products and services.
  • To the customer, for the quality of products and services. 



  • Develop a vision and implement a strategy to pursue world-leading science and technology directions for the Engineering Design Group.
  • Hold staff accountable for performance.
  • Act to ensure safe and effective operations.
  • Support the Section head in the hiring of staff.
  • Certify the technical quality of the group’s products and services.
  • Serve as a Design Authority for the Enrichment Science and Engineering Division.



Required Qualifications:

  • Requires a M.S. degree with a minimum of 12 years’ experience, or a B.S. degree with 15 years’ experience in an Engineering or a related field of study.
  • The ability to work flexible hours and travel when required.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Proven ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs.


Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Licensed NCEES Professional Engineer
  • Active DOE Q Clearance


This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.
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This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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