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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Engineering Technician (Mechanical)
Agency:  Smithsonian Institution
Job Announcement Number:  14-18

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$48,910.00 to $63,580.00 / Per Year
Thursday, March 13, 2014 to Friday, April 04, 2014
Full Time - Career/Career-Conditional.
1 vacancy in the following location:
Hilo, HI View Map
This position is open to current and former Federal employees with permanent status or reinstatement eligibility.  Individuals who are eligible for a special appointing authority may also apply; such as applicants with a disability, former Peace Corps volunteers, certain military spouses, veterans seeking a VRA/VEOA appointment, or veterans who have been separated from armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of continuous active service.  Must be a US citizen.


About the Agency

This position is to provide expert mechanical technician support for maintenance and repair of complex mechanical systems within the SMA antennas, summit and Hilo facilities. Working with the Summit Engineering Supervisor and other support staff, the incumbent will be responsible for many areas of mechanical activity at the observatory.


  • Not Required


  • No


  • May be required to pass Pre-employment Background Investigation.
  • May be required to serve a one-year probationary
  • Must maintain a bank account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Must possess a valid state driver's license.
  • This position receives a COLA of 6.24%
  • Must pass a high altitude physical examination prior to employment.


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  • Provides technical expertise in the maintenance and/or repair of precision mechanical assemblies in the SMA radio telescopes at the observatory on Mauna Kea. These assemblies encompass a diverse range of mechanical areas including precision mechanical mounts, motors and gearboxes, cryogenic systems, hydraulic systems and precision servo systems. These systems vary greatly in complexity and mass, thereby requiring excellent skills in understanding design drawings, procedures and Bill of Materials.
  • Perform precise mechanical alignments of SMA antennas and associated mechanical and optical components using developed procedures and, using specialized equipment, run tests to perform optical alignments, various mechanical tests, etc. 
  • Perform precise optical alignments of various assemblies used in the antenna’s optical systems and their co-alignment to the pointing and servo systems. Assemble and/or disassembly of various optical assemblies to make repairs or install new components.
  • With other members of the SMA antenna group, develop maintenance tasks that result in optimal mechanical operation of the SMA antennas, transporter and all other mechanical systems to be operated at the SMA Site on Manna Kea. Implement (or in some cases, supervise the implementation of) these required maintenance activities.
  • Operate specialized boom and bridge cranes, forklift trucks used in the assembly of large antenna components. Additionally the incumbent will work with the antenna transporter, which is used to move the antennas.
  • Operate machine tools such as lathes, drills, milling machines, planers, etc. to perform machining and modifications of new and existing mechanical parts.


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One year of full-time experience at the GS-8 or equivalent that is close or similar to the work of this position.  The experience includes activities such as working with mechanical assemblies in large instruments and/or industrial equipment and experience with machining operations on metals and plastics.

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job opportunity announcement closing date.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions viewable on the
web at


Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above.  The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

  • Knowledge applying mechanical engineering principles, techniques and concepts that are applicable to precision mechanical assemblies used in large instruments and/or equipment.
  • Ability to read and understand mechanical drawings, plans, and specifications in order to make informed decisions on problems and issues and to identify and correct deficiencies, recommend improved designs and/or manufacturing procedures.
  • Skill in modifying existing parts, instruments and/or equipment in order to adapt them to new interfaces and preparing the necessary documentation.
  • Knowledge of machining using lathes, multi-axis mills, drill presses, etc, fabricating, assembling and testing mechanical assemblies and fixtures required for the maintenance and enhancement of precision mechanisms.
  • Skill in operating heavy equipment such as fork-lift trucks and front loaders for use in mechanical assembly, unloading and loading heavy mechanical fixtures and snow removal operations.
  • Ability to work independently or as an integral member of a diverse team of technicians, engineers and scientists using effective oral and written communication skills.
Important Note:
Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience.

Your resume should provide detailed information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

To preview questions please click here.


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Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page.

Please Note:
  • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
  • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process;
    You may manually fax required documents.  Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine.  Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date.  Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.  
  • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
  • If you are unable to apply online, paper applications may be accepted with prior approval of the Contact Person listed below.


Your application package should include the following documents:
  • Detailed resume created in the USAJOBS Resume Builder.
  • Proof of prior federal service such as the latest SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action
  • Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify.  If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
  • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign
  • study, if applicable.
  • A recent performance evaluation
  • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy) if you are requesting a special appointment authority, such as VRA or VEOA
  • Proof of severe disability if you are requesting special placement consideration
  • Proof of eligibility for a military spouse appointment, such as a permanent change station military order
  • Proof of eligibility for any other special appointing authority not specifically mentioned here.


Judith Gallagher
Phone: 617-495-7374
Fax: 617-495-7263
Agency Information:
Human Resources
60 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138
Mail Stop 17
Cambridge, MA
Fax: 617-495-7263


At the end of the application process you will be able to create and save a PDF file that contains your responses to the assessment questions.  You may save this file as receipt of your application.      

The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job.  Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks.  We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process.  You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" e-mailing; or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed.

Additional Information:
  • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.

  • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (

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