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Controls Engineer for the National Ignition Facility

Mid-Senior Level | Full-time
Engineering | livermore, CA | 05/16/2022

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Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are committed to a diverse and equitable workforce with an inclusive culture that values and celebrates the diversity of our people, talents, ideas, experiences, and perspectives. This is essential to innovation and creativity for continued success of the Laboratory’s mission.

Job Description

We have multiple openings for Controls Engineers. You will be responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining process control systems in the National Ignition Facility (NIF) using a broad-based controls approach from project inception through commissioning.  These systems are primarily based on the Rockwell ControlLogix family of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).  These systems control safety interlocks, vacuum systems, cooling systems, machine protection systems, pressure systems and interface with all types of instrumentation.  The systems vary from discrete control to complex automated system control.  These positions are in the Laser Systems Engineering and Operations (LSEO) Division, within the Engineering Directorate.

These positions will be filled at either the SES.2 or SES.3 level depending on your qualifications. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if you are selected at the higher level.

In this role, you will

  • As a member of the controls team:  gather moderately complex to complex requirements, develop system control strategies and applications, documenting all design and implementing software under strict configuration management.
  • Under limited direction, refine and manage the system requirement specifications and control system design. This may include conducting Failure Modes and Effects Analysis. 
  • Participate in formal and informal code review designs, giving input on proposed hardware installations, ensuring proper integration with associated software.
  • Develop moderately complex to complex PLC applications for supervisory, automated processing and/or device level controls.  May include development and execution of test plans. Write code for maintenance and to debug when necessary. 
  • Maintain a close interface with the various programmatic and project elements to provide regular status reviews, ensure effective teamwork, and facilitate end-user communication.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SES.3 level

  • Research and provide in-depth analysis to advance the architecture of the control system and lead formal code and system design reviews while mentoring junior staff.
  • Develop complex applications for PLCs and other suitable technologies and deploy systems into the lab and the field.
  • Develop, design, implement complex software including automation routines; develop and execute test plans, and conduct Failure Modes and Effects Analysis.
  •  Develop new projects or programs enhancing facility controls.  Guide project completion working with multidisciplinary associates beyond the local work group. 


  • Ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or the equivalent combination of education and previous relevant experience.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of, and broad experience in development of moderately complex to complex process control, data acquisition, and computer interfacing.
  • Comprehensive experience and proficiency with the application, use, and programming of PLCs. 
  • Broad experience with the systems and software engineering process for generation of requirements, design documents, configuration control, and preparation of test plans and user documentation.
  • Experience working effectively in a dynamic multidisciplinary environment, which includes working with scientists, engineers, technicians, and designers.
  • Proficient verbal and written communication skills necessary to effectively collaborate in a team environment to present and explain technical information. 

Additional qualifications at the SES.3 level

  • Significant experience with complex process automation, working with parameters that may not be well defined including the ability to perform research to further advance system architecture.
  • Advanced knowledge of Rockwell’s ControlLogix PLC family, RSView and advanced knowledge of real-time control systems. Experience with the application of various safety standards such as ANSI/ISA S-84, IEC-61508, etc.
  • Advanced verbal and written communication skills necessary to effectively collaborate in a multidisciplinary team environment and present and explain technical information and provide advice to management.   Experience with mentoring team members.  

Qualifications We Desire

  • Master’s degree in Engineering, Computer Science or Computer Engineering.
  • Experience in the use of Rockwell’s Asset Centre system for configuration and code management
  • Knowledge of robotics, instrumentation, and process engineering.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Position Information

This is a Career Indefinite position. Lab employees and external candidates may be considered for this position.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

  • Included in 2022 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor!
  • Work for a premier innovative national Laboratory
  • Comprehensive Benefits Package
  • Flexible schedules (*depending on project needs)
  • Collaborative, creative, inclusive, and fun team environment

Learn more about our company, selection process, position types and security clearances by visiting our Career site

COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate

LLNL demonstrates its commitment to public safety by requiring that all new Laboratory employees be immunized against COVID-19 unless granted an accommodation under applicable state or federal law. This requirement will apply to all new hires including those who will be working on site, as well as those who will be teleworking.

Security Clearance

This position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level clearance.  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. In addition, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship.  For additional information, please see DOE Order 472.2

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position will be required to pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

Equal Employment Opportunity

LLNL is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer that values and hires a diverse workforce. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please submit a request via our online form

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

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