Engineering Specialist - Track & Structures and Rail Vehicles

Location: Washington, D.C.
Date Posted: 11-26-2018
WMSC Background
The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) is the designated State Safety Oversight Agency (SSOA) responsible for overseeing the safety of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail system, which operates rail transit in the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The WMSC is responsible for implementing an effective oversight program in compliance with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 674, and other applicable regulations. WMSC duties span a wide range of daily, periodic, annual, and triennial oversight activities. The WMSC is responsible for conducting a robust complement of observations, event investigations, inspections, special studies, and audits at WMATA, all with a focus on maintaining and enhancing the safety of customers, employees, infrastructure, and assets. The WMSC will promulgate safety standards and requirements for the Metrorail System, and has the authority to take swift and decisive action to address non-compliance or any hazardous conditions.

Position Overview
The WMSC is recruiting for an Engineering Specialist to conduct inspections, audits, and investigations concerning structures, track and structures and rail vehicles of the WMATA Metrorail System. This recruitment is open to anyone who meets the required qualifications listed below. The selected candidate will serve under the leadership of the WMSC Executive Director.
The selected candidate will ensure a commitment to effective safety oversight program administration through direct leadership, role modeling, establishing working relationships with WMATA personnel, coordinating with a team of skilled and qualified auditors and applying technical expertise to promote rail transit safety. Furthermore, the incumbent must have sufficient knowledge of industry best practices and benchmarks to effectively and collaborative monitor and evaluate the changes recommended or underway at the WMATA Metrorail system, and to develop recommendations for continued safety improvement.

Responsibilities and Duties
The Engineering Specialist is responsible for:
  • Planning and carrying out an itinerary of periodic audits and inspections of Metrorail System track and rail vehicles to ensure that it is properly installed, operated, tested, and maintained. 
  • Conducting independent audits of WMATA’s implementation of its standards, including riding and walking inspections of the Metrorail right-of-way. 
  • Verifying and ensuring WMATA’s compliance with its own maintenance and inspection policies and procedures, WMSC requirements, and industry best practices. 
  • Investigating allegations of hazardous conditions or non-compliance from WMATA employees, government officials, and the general public regarding unsafe track conditions (e.g. wide gauge, broken rail, switch malfunction). 
  • Participating in investigations of Metrorail events and development of independent WMSC investigation reports. 
  • Developing audit and inspection reports that communicate technical information to a wide audience. 
  • Reviewing WMATA Metrorail event (accidents, incidents, and occurrences as defined by 49 CFR 674) investigation reports from a technical standpoint. 
  • Reviewing, interpreting, and conducting trend analysis of Metrorail track and switch maintenance-related information. 
  • Coordinating with multiple WMATA departments to schedule routine activities and special audits. 
  • Advising the WMSC Board and Executive Director on technical matters pursuant to track and switches.  

A minimum of 5-10 years of experience in track & rail vehicles maintenance and inspection activities is required.
Knowledge and familiarity of applicable Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations is required, including industry best practices such as those issued by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA).
Prior experience with a large-scale heavy rail transit system, SSOA, or with implementing a Safety Management System (SMS) in a transportation sector is strongly preferred. 

A Bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related technical specialization is required. Substantial professional experience may be considered in lieu of educational requirements on an individual basis.

Residency Requirement
Given the frequency of site visits to the WMATA Metrorail system by WMSC personnel, including the need to respond quickly to an event scene, the incumbent for this position must live within 20 miles of any Metrorail station.

Physical Requirements
WMSC inspection, audit, and investigation work requires the person in this position to possess the ability to move for long periods on potentially rocky and uneven surfaces along railroad right-of-way, rail yards, and maintenance facilities on an occasional basis. The work requires the ability to position oneself to take measurements; ascend/descend ladders, narrow staircases, and rail and maintenance vehicles. Successful applicants must be able to detect and observe sufficiently to perform core inspection functions of the discipline and remain safe along the Metrorail System. 
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Work may take place at any time of day as warranted by emergency conditions or scheduled inspections (e.g. responding to a Metrorail event or conducting observations of overnight maintenance work). Work may take place on or about WMATA property where WMSC personnel must be alert at all times for: the approach of trains or rolling equipment; slips/trips/fall hazards; and hazardous materials. While on-site, WMSC personnel must also take precautions with electrical hazards associated with revenue and nonrevenue vehicles and equipment, the third rail, and other traction power equipment throughout the Metrorail System. WMSC personnel may be exposed to unfavorable weather conditions, including temperature extremes and precipitation, and other environmental discomforts such as insects and vegetation on or about rail property.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required for specific job functions. All WMSC personnel will comply with WMATA requirements for PPE as applicable to the circumstances, as well as with applicable industry standards.

All WMSC staff positions require possession of a valid driver’s license in order to travel to meetings, inspection locations, or event scenes as necessitated.
The Track and Structures Specialist is required to obtain and maintain the Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP) Certificate and complete the Safety Management System Training component required by the FTA’s Safety Certification Training Program final interim provisions. Other industry-recognized transportation safety certifications are desirable.
Additional certifications from AREMA, American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), World Safety Organization (WSO), or a Professional Engineer (PE) license are strongly preferred.

The ideal candidate will possess the abilities and skills to: 
  • Utilize comprehensive knowledge of railroad track and rail vehicle nomenclature, inspection techniques, maintenance methods, and equipment. 
  • Understand procedures of track and rail vehicle inspection and maintenance, including track stresses and fail points. 
  • Detect deviations from: Maintenance standards accepted in the industry and WMATA track standards and technical specifications. 
  • Convey knowledge of operating practices and vehicle/track interaction sufficient to understand the safety significance of deviations and combinations of deviations. 
  • Convey safety significance and technical knowledge to a wide audience of internal and external policymakers and senior managers. 
  • Communicate and interpret specialized knowledge of track and rail vehicle  requirements, including the remedial action required to bring defective issues into compliance with the WMATA, WMSC, or other applicable standards. 
  • Conduct hazard assessments, root cause and fault tree analyses. 
Technical Competencies
  • Engineering and Technology -- Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services. 
  • Design -- Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principals involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models. 
  • Transportation -- Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits. 
  • Mathematics -- Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. 
  • English Language -- Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. 
  • Building and Construction -- Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads. 
  • Administration and Management -- Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. 
  • Computers and Electronics -- Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. 
  • Physics -- Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes. 
Behavioral Competencies
  • Independence -- Develop one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. 
  • Integrity – Approaches all tasks ethically and with honesty. 
  • Cooperation – Remain pleasant with others on the job and display a good-natured, cooperative attitude. 
  • Concern for Others – Sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. 
  • Dependability -- Consistently reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfills obligations. 
  • Attention to Detail – Cautious about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. 
  • Self-Control -- The ability to maintain composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. 
  • Adaptability/Flexibility – The ability to be open to change (positive or negative) and to significant variety in the workplace. 
  • Stress Tolerance – Can accept criticism and deal calmly and effectively with high stress situations. 
  • Initiative – Has the willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. 
  • Innovation – Possess creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. 
  • Analytical Thinking – Has the ability to analyze information and use logic to address work-related issues and problems. 
  • Leadership -- Has the willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. 
  • Achievement/Effort -- Establish and maintain personally challenging achievement goals and exert effort toward mastering tasks. 
  • Persistence – Practice persistence in the face of obstacles. 

The WMSC is located at 777 North Capitol St., NE, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20002 and is responsible for conducting SSOA activities for the WMATA Metrorail System across the D.C. metro region.  

Salary is regionally competitive and will be commensurate with skills and experience.  

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