Systems Operator 1

Systems Operator 1

Monterey Bay Aquarium //
Monterey, CA //
Posted on: February 17, 2021 //

The Systems Operator I is responsible for operation, quality control, troubleshooting, repairs, and basic maintenance relating to the Aquarium’s 25 million gallon per day seawater system, the associated mechanical plant, the building HVAC system, and the associated equipment and infrastructure in support of maintaining animal life support and environmental systems. Under the mentorship of the Senior Systems Operators, the Systems Operator I is responsible for monitoring a computer-based control system for life support and HVAC systems and assisting in operational engineering decisions based on analysis of the data. Perform other duties as required.

Functions & Responsibilities

Essential Functions

-Troubleshoots and repairs critical water and facility systems, including but not limited to life support equipment, chillers and boilers, filtration systems, valves, drains, heat exchangers, pumps, motors, fractionators, ozone systems, exotic treatment systems, UV sterilizers, HVAC system, an internal desalination plant, and seawater lines.
-Analyzes data provided by the controls system, meters, the laboratory, or other Animal Care staff, in order to troubleshoot water quality, flow, or other system problems or out-of-range parameters.
-Implements engineering decisions on operation and/or repair of life support based on data provided by controls system or from Animal Care or other Operations staff.
-Monitors real-time water quality and system trends provided by a computer-based controls system and responds to alarms or out-of-range trends.
-Provides routine maintenance on critical water and facility systems and equipment, including mechanical preventative maintenance, raw seawater line pigging, and chemical additions to the desalination plant.
-Works with appropriate personnel in Applied Water Science and other departments to determine required changes to life support systems based on analyses of water quality data, system trends, animal observations, regulatory and water discharge requirements, and water flow needs.
-Based on established equipment operating ranges, and meter and gauge readings, adjusts or overrides automatic controls to optimize equipment parameters as needed.

Other Duties & Responsibilities

-Works with other Applied Water Science staff to analyze data, produce scientific publications, and provide reports to other departments or other institutions.
-Assists with routine calibration, maintenance, and minor repairs of water quality sensors located in systems.
-Assists with MBA public relations and educational activities, such as providing tours and/or information related to water quality and life support systems.

Skills & Experience

Knowledge & Skills


-Ability to prioritize work while multi-tasking, without immediate supervision
-Ability to analyze data quickly and translate data into operational decisions
-Understanding of mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration as it applies to aquarium systems
-Knowledge of automated controls, pneumatics, electro-mechanical and electro-optical devices
-Ability to perform both as a team player and as a responsible individual when working alone
-Ability to work nights, holidays, and weekends, as required. Ability to work a compacted work week.
-Ability to work with a safety-first mindset
-Familiarity with industrial equipment operation / maintenance and stationary engineering practices
-Ability and willingness to learn through on the job training
-Familiarity with general industrial, electrical, and public building safety procedures
-Ability to pass a post-hire physical
-Ability to work within, and maintain Monterey Bay Aquarium’s policies and values
-Ability to work a rotating schedule that includes 12-hour days, holidays, and night work to provide 24/7/365 life support coverage


-Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) certification
-Familiarity with OSHA safety guidelines
-Experience in plumbing and electrical design, assembly, and maintenance
-Strong troubleshooting skills on mechanical / electro-mechanical systems
-Experience working with HVAC systems
-Familiarity with three-phase 480V electrical systems and components
-Understanding of the chemical and nutrient components and processes of seawater, including pH, alkalinity, and the nitrogen cycle

Education & Experience

Bachelor’s degree in Aquarium Science, Engineering, or related field OR advanced certifications in facilities engineering or automated controls OR equivalent experience in water treatment plant operations, power plant operations, water systems operations, or aquariums

Job Requirements
Salary & Benefits