UCAR Chief Operating Officer

Boulder, Colorado
$247,641 - $309,551
May 10 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Application Deadline: This Position will be posted until May 28, 2021.

Relocation: Relocation is available for this position.

Work Authorization: UCAR/NCAR will not sponsor a work visa (e.g., J-1, H1-B, etc.) for this position.

Location: Boulder, Colorado. Note: In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and restricted access to UCAR facilities, UCAR may allow temporary remote work arrangements for newly hired employees. Eventual relocation to UCAR facilities in Boulder, CO is required for this specific position.

Hiring Salary Range: $247,641 - $309,551
Full Salary Range: $247,641 - $402,416

Benefits: UCAR affirms its continuing commitment to developing, providing, and administering its employee benefit programs with due consideration for equal employment opportunity and diversity guidelines.
UCAR's rich package of employee benefits includes medical, dental, vision, education assistance, retirement, and life insurance. UCAR offers a variety of programs designed to assist with work-life balance including flexible work alternatives, paid time off and 14 weeks of paid parental leave.

Where You Will Work:

Located in Boulder, Colorado, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) serves and participates in a collaborative community of researchers and educators who are dedicated to understanding the atmosphere -- the air around us -- and the complex processes that make up the Earth system, from the ocean floor to the Sun’s core. UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) on behalf of the National Science Foundation and the university community.

What You Will Do:

The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the smooth and efficient operations of University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and provides leadership and management oversight for the development of high quality and cost-effective support services designed to meet the needs of National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) laboratories and programs.

Has responsibility for leading the UCAR Operations team in integrating and implementing the UCAR strategic plan.  Develops, tracks, and analyzes metrics used to assess progress towards organizational goals. This will either be done directly, or through delegation of responsibility to the appropriate UCAR staff.  Works closely with other senior leaders and serves on the UCAR President’s Council. 


Management of Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC)

  • Primary point of contact for the National Science Foundation (NSF) customer, responsible for the UCAR Cooperative Agreement and Cooperative Service Agreement negotiations and performance.
  • Directs UCAR operations and services to provide the highest quality services to support the needs of NCAR and UCAR Community Programs (UCP).
  • Responsible for overseeing the preparation of UCAR’s Annual Management Report and other required reports to NSF.  
  • Provides advice on the strategic business case for new opportunities and reviews major sponsored research proposals within this context before they are submitted for review to potential sponsors.
  • At times acts for the UCAR President in his absence.

Leadership of Operations Functions

  • In collaboration with the UCAR President, serves as a primary leader in the areas of capital and operating budgets, strategic plans, operating plans, budgets, service improvement, performance measurement, and accountability.
  • Creates critical operational measures and metrics in support of program management, operational, financial and strategic goals; reports on these on a quarterly and annual basis with a focus on the operating plans of all UCAR administrative/service units and their execution.
  • Oversees all facilities maintenance, repair, operations, sales and construction. Leads efforts to modernize facilities as needed.
  • Manages the following operations units Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO), Office of the Chief Operating Officer (OCOO), Facility Management, Risk Management and associated staff.
  • Evaluates operations service offerings for business efficiencies, develops new offerings as needed and sunsets programs that are no longer required or efficient. Leads and oversees change management initiatives related to operations activities.
  • Responsibility for Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) function in consultation with the ERM Manager. 
  • Manages and facilitates the Operations Council.  

Financial Oversight

  • Responsible for the leadership and management of the UCAR Board of Trustees UCAR Budget and Planning Committee.
  • Responsibility for strategic financial performance of the organization in consultation with Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 
  • Co-leads with the Board of Trustees the Internal Audit function. 

Leadership of Organizational Initiatives

  • Responsible for reorganization, as appropriate, across the operations areas of responsibilities, including cross-organization realignments.
  • Responsibility for Human Resources performance in consultation with the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), Leads strategic efforts to modernize the workforce environment.
  • Responsibility for Information Technology, Cybersecurity, and Network Engineering and Telecommunications Section (NETS) in consultation with the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Leads efforts to modernize technology and secure the IT environment.
  • Leads special projects at the request of the UCAR President and the UCAR Board of Trustees 

Promotion of Organizational Excellence 

  • Works collaboratively with other members of the Senior Leadership Team to establish and promote positive working and interpersonal relationships with all employees, Board of Trustees, sponsors, University members and stakeholders.
  • Promotes an efficient service-oriented culture within the organization by ensuring leadership develops methods and/or systems for improving quality, accountability, and reducing costs.
  • Models and promotes an inclusive and respectful workplace culture that is supported by comprehensive and proactive policies and practices. 
  • Identifies opportunities and delegates responsibilities to better enable staff to learn, grow and develop their abilities.
  • Employs and promotes effective management practices to continually improve organizational culture and performance.

What You Need:

Education and Years of Experience

  • Master’s Degree, preferably in business administration (MBA) or equivalent master’s degree and ten (10) years of comparable operational management leadership experience, including at least three years on an executive leadership team.
  • Demonstrated leadership and complex organizational management skills.  An understanding of how to achieve results in a complex environment.
  • Prior experience taking initiatives to scale (piloting something, then implementing on a broader scale).
  • Knowledge of government funding environment and complex non-profit requirements desirable, preference will be given to candidates with experience working in a management organization with NSF funding relationships.


  • Prior experience in a management role at a Federally Funded Research and Development Center highly desired. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities 

  • Broad knowledge of:
    • fundamentals of business operations and the functions of all support departments
    • financial management and strategic planning
    • emerging best practices in organizational operations and benchmarking relating to innovations in process, technology, user experience; as appropriate to UCAR. 
    • strong orientation toward customer service, quality/process improvement, and team building
  • Advanced analytical skills in order to organize, plan, and direct the work of operations  leadership staff, and develop short- and long-range plans and financial strategies, etc.
  • Project management experience/certifications, total quality management experience/certifications in business process excellence highly desired
  • Ability to respect and bring together diverse perspectives and needs and build high performance teams
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills which are equally effective with large and small audiences, on a one-on-one level and to a wide range of constituencies, including Board level stakeholders.
  • Ability to handle confidential and sensitive matters with utmost discretion