CHESS Managing Director

CHESS Managing Director


Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.


The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) is one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world, and its pioneering capabilities are helping to keep the United States at the leading edge of scientific research. Located on the central campus of Cornell University, CHESS is internationally recognized for providing high intensity X-ray beams and advanced instrumentation to scientists and students around the world. The lab is comprised of seven state-of-the-art beamlines, each of which routinely hosts world-leading research in physics, chemistry, biology, environmental sciences, materials science, cultural heritage, and engineering. CHESS is a world leader in innovation for complex sample environments including in situ heating and loading, accelerators, detectors, and x-ray optics and plays a key role in many medical discoveries and scientific breakthroughs, including research that received Nobel Prizes in Chemistry in 2003 and 2009. The recent CHESS-U upgrade has expanded the lab’s capabilities to allow scientists to address the most pressing global challenges facing our society. CHESS is committed to engaging with industry, academia and government through its funding from the National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Lab, National Institutes of Health, and New York State.


Partners with the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) Director and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in the strategic development, direction and implementation of business operations, e.g., Finance, Budget, Planning, HR, Communications, Facilities, Safety, and Research Administration, encompassing a broad and highly complex variety of funding sources and staff. Works independently to provide high-level, complex, and confidential administrative and organizational support to CHESS through developing and maintaining a thorough understanding of the CHESS mission. Acts as a member of the CHESS SLT.


Key job responsibilities will include:

  • Manage business and administrative operations for the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS)
  • Work with CHESS Director and SLT to develop and implement new programs and materials based on the mission of the program and recommend modifications to operations as needed to allow for continued growth of CHESS.
  • Act as primary resource working in collaboration with PIs and Program Directors for ad hoc requests from funding partners, e.g., NSF, NIH, AFRL, NYS, etc.
  • Develop, plan, and manage CHESS program activities such as VIP tours, seminars, conferences, retreats, etc.
  • Oversee CHESS finances (~$25M/year operations, <$10M/year in special projects), in coordination with the CLASSE Budget, Finance, and Research Compliance office, including photon subscription, x-ray operations, beamline-specific expenses, education/outreach, etc. Prepare short and long range planning and forecasts.
  • As part of CHESS Operations, supervise CHESS User Office staff; oversee CHESS User Office operations (database, user experience, etc.) to ensure all aspects run smoothly and efficiently.
  • Manage the nonacademic and academic recruitment efforts for CHESS. Partners with CLASSE Executive Director of Administration and Finance, overseeing Salary Improvement Program (SIP), annual performance dialogues, promotions, reclassifications, disciplinary actions and terminations.
  • Oversee space usage at Wilson Lab and modular units. Collaborate with CLASSE Executive Director of Administration and Finance to review and approve space requests. Oversee annual Space Inventory for all CHESS buildings.


What we need:

  • Bachelor’s degree in field related to business management or equivalent combination of education and experience required.
  • At least five years’ experience and proven success in research administration, human resource management, facilities management, strategic planning, and financial management and planning.
  • Experience organizing and managing a large group of employees who efficiently and effectively deliver a broad range of services to multiple groups of customers.
  • Ability to analyze issues, develop solutions, and implement actions independently and in a timely manner. Ability to work well under pressure required.
  • Courteous customer service orientation required, including ability to assess service levels from team and ensure served populations are effectively supported.
  • Proven effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to negotiate and advocate effectively and tactfully.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage a wide variety of responsibilities.
  • Ability to develop effective working relationships, exercise leadership skills, and function as a team member and facilitator.
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse workforce, including faculty, staff, students, users, and partners.
  • Decision support system development and analytical skills required.
  • Ability to conceptualize and oversee design of databases and data collection methods, analysis and presentation to meet business reporting and decision-making needs.


What we would prefer:

  • Experience with database development and management.
  • Experience with capital planning, facilities and operational safety compliance.
  • Effective financial management, budget preparation, and fiscal operations management in higher education or the public sector is preferred.
  • Proficiency in Cornell University with in-depth knowledge of Cornell policies, procedures, and administrative structure.
  • Experience in Cornell financial, HR, and facilities systems.


Cornell provides great benefits that include comprehensive health care options, generous retirement contributions, educational benefits (Employee Degree, Tuition Aid, Cornell Children’s Tuition Assistance Programs), access to wellness programs, and employee discounts with local and national retail brands. Our leave provisions include three weeks of vacation and 13 holidays, including winter break from December 25th through January 1st.


Visa sponsorship is not provided for this position.  Please apply online at (posting #WDR-00027953). 


Cornell has been nationally recognized as an award-winning workplace for our health, wellbeing, sustainability, and diversity initiatives. For more information, follow the link: Benefits at Cornell.


Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.