Plant Science Operations Manager

California Polytechnic State University

San Luis Obispo , California

The Horticulture & Crop Science Department (HCS) is in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences (CAFES). Department is comprised of department head, 9 full-time faculty, 10 part-time faculty, 275 undergraduate majors, 6 support staff, and student-assistants. This position will have dual reporting responsibilities. 1) to the HCS Department Head and 2) to the Dean of CAFES. 

In consultation with department head, Manager will assume responsibility for the tasks and daily operation of Crops and Horticultural Units. Incumbent will have overall management responsibilities for HCS agricultural production fields and greenhouses. Manager will ensure that Crops and Horticultural Units and all field operations are running smoothly, efficiently, and safely. Manager will advise and oversee technicians and students and will work directly with faculty to facilitate specific instructional and field research activities. Optional on campus housing. 

In consultation with the Dean, incumbent will serve as the lead in strategic planning and management for college's plant production lands. Incumbent will work with leads in animal production operations and Agricultural Operations along with directors or department heads of related centers, institutes, and academic departments to provide input to Dean on land use issues. This includes ensuring sufficient land resources for teaching, research and outreach activities of the college. 

  • Incumbent will directly supervise, assign, schedule, establish priorities, and review daily work assignments for staff. 
  • Foster a culture of service excellence and serve as role model and mentor to motivate staff to improve their quality and responsiveness of service. 
  • Provide and establish required and recommended trainings for all assigned staff in areas of daily facility operations, safety, and procedures. 
  • Evaluate employee performance and provide feedback, support, training, correspondence, and administer progressive discipline when applicable. 
  • Manage farmland and controlled-environment facilities (and associated support facilities) for conventional and certified organic production of row, agronomic and tree crops, including managing all aspects of the production and cultural care of these crops. 
  • Work with faculty to schedule and coordinate instructional, production, and research needs. 
  • Oversee and schedule cultural operations required to establish and maintain crops, including land preparation, irrigation and fertilizer applications (including fertigation) and pest management. 
  • Oversee hiring, training, scheduling and supervision of student assistants. 
  • Oversee all aspects of safety related to managed production areas and support facilities, including but not limited to: Food safety (FSMA); Pesticide use (records, safety training); and OSHA standards compliance. 
  • In coordination with faculty, set up and support labs for instructional needs of Department. 
  • Provide technical support, maintain and submit all paperwork required by CDPR for pesticide use; maintain organic certification, including preparing for and participating in inspections; coordinate with Cal Poly Farm Manager requirements for Regional Water Quality Control Board; maintain appropriate service records and files; manage purchase orders; and track inventory and storage.

Bachelors' degree from an accredited university, preferably in the field of agriculture (horticulture, agronomy, entomology, plant pathology, soil science, or similar field). Five years of increasingly responsible farming experience including crop production, row agronomics and/or fruit crop production. 

Possession of a valid driver's license or the ability to obtain by date of hire. 

Required Qualifications / Specialized Skills

  • Demonstrated farming operation skills in crop production, row agronomics and/or fruit crop production. 
  • Demonstrated leadership and supervisory skills with experience working collaboratively in team environment. 
  • Demonstrated experience in effective management principles and possessing the ability to apply the principles and practices of effective supervision. 
  • Ability to use tact and diplomacy to effectively handle a broad range of high-level and sensitive interpersonal situations involving diverse personalities, and to respond appropriately to conflicts and problems. 
  • Demonstrated ability to operate, calibrate and do minor repair on equipment related to agricultural operations. 
  • Ability to coordinate support services (e.g. Farm Shop, Facilities) to meet a comprehensive variety of needs. 
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain records, produce reports and required documentation including but not limited to applicable certifications (e.g. Farmers Market, Organic Certification, pesticide use, etc.). 
  • Ability to initiate, establish, and foster communication and teamwork by maintaining a positive, cooperative, and productive work atmosphere in and outside the university. 
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships within a diverse population and with those from various cultural backgrounds. 
  • Ability to interface and maintain good relations with the agricultural industry. 
  • Excellent communication skills; ability to effectively communicate information in a clear and understandable manner, verbally, and in writing using English with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. 
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain a high degree of confidentiality. 
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills with the ability to set priorities to coordinate multiple assignments with fluctuating and time-sensitive deadlines. 
  • Excellent computer skills and proficiency with a variety of computer applications including word-processing, spreadsheets, databases, on-line systems, the Internet, as well as online calendaring and email. 
    Working knowledge of or ability to quickly learn and apply University infrastructure, policies and procedures.

 Preferred Qualifications / Skills

  • Demonstrated skills in an institutional/educational environment utilizing a customer-oriented and service-centered attitude. 
  • Experience in providing instructional support. 
  • Qualified Applicator Certificate (QAC) from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, or obtaining the Certificate within the first year of employment 
  • Agricultural Pest Control Adviser (PCA) license, or obtaining the license within the first year of employment