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Response Chemist

Genwest Systems, Inc.
Seattle, Washington State
Compensation dependent on skills and experience, in combination with budget.
Closing date
Aug 12, 2022

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Field of specialization
Work Function
Consulting, Development-Process, Research-Applied
Job Type
Full time
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Genwest Systems Inc., an equal opportunity employer, is currently accepting applications for a Response Chemist. This position will primarily support our clients at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) Emergency Response Division (ERD) and will be based from NOAA offices at the Western Regional Center in Seattle, WA.

Position Background:

Numerous incidents occur each year in which oil or chemicals are released into the environment as a result of accidents or natural disasters, causing substantial disruption of marine transportation with potential widespread economic impacts. The Emergency Response Division (ERD) of NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides scientific expertise to support an incident response.  Under the National Contingency Plan, NOAA is responsible for providing scientific support to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for oil and hazardous material spills. To support this mandate, ERD provides 24-hour, 7 day a week response to spill events. ERD develops and maintains many of the applications used to support this mission.  The Response Chemist will function as part of the ERD team, providing critical chemistry support through direct analysis as well as guidance for software tool development.


Position Duties:

The Response Chemist will be a member of a multi-disciplinary response and development team contributing to both oil and chemical spill response. The position will be responsible for learning and becoming proficient with ERD tools used in spill response - including the GNOME model for oil spill weathering analysis and the CAMEO Suite for chemical spill response.  

The successful applicant will be expected to be able to understand these tools sufficiently well to apply them for spill response and suggest and implement research and development to improve spill response models.  Over time, this role will also serve as part of the core ERD scientific support team, taking the lead on providing assessments and analysis on pollutant behavior, pathways, fates, and potential impacts in order to inform operational response decisions and outcomes.


Primary Tasks:

  • Become proficient in and utilize ERD’s oil and chemical spill modeling tools to provide information needed to support emergency response. 
  • Provide chemical hazard assessment during a spill response onsite or remotely. Support general emergency response requests as a member of the ERD scientific support team (on-call on a rotational basis).
  • Provide input, testing, and programming support for development of ERD model and software tools.
  • Review and contribute to technical documentation on OR&R spill response tools and processes.


Qualifications and Skills:

The successful candidate will be evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate the listed qualifications and desired skills in their resume and interview.



  • Masters or Doctorate degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related physical science, life science, or engineering field.
  • Undergraduate or graduate coursework which includes at least 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by coursework in mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics.
  • Strong foundation in general, organic, and inorganic chemistry.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills. Self-motivated, energetic, and proactive - able to work both independently and in a team setting.
  • History of success in team-based project execution, working as both lead and contributor and accepting and integrating feedback, suggestions, and comments from team members.
  • Demonstrated flexible and proactive approach to problem solving.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and execute long-term projects, including setting timelines and milestones and balancing priorities.
  • Ability to occasionally work under tight deadlines.

Additional Desirable Skills and Knowledge:

  • Graduate or undergraduate coursework in one or more of the following sub-disciplines: Environmental chemistry; Fluid dynamics; Chemical reactivity
  • Knowledge of oil chemistry and weathering processes.
  • Knowledge of the physics and modeling of pollutant transport and dispersion in the lower atmosphere.
  • Experience in writing and implementing code for numerical modeling of physical processes, e.g. hydrodynamic modeling, dispersion, oil fate modeling.
  • Experience with computational programming, preferably in Python (or MATLAB, R, C++)
  • Experience working on geographically distributed interdisciplinary teams.
  • Teaching experience at the high school or collegiate level.  



Compensation will be determined based on the experience and qualifications of the successful applicant in combination with contract budget. The position is eligible for a full-time benefit package that includes health insurance, paid personal and holiday leave, 401(k) program eligibility, and employee disability and life insurance.



Relevant experience and certifications should be included in resume.  Applicants may include a one page cover letter describing your experience that relates directly to the job duties stated in this posting.  Applicants must include three references that can confirm your experience.


Please submit your resume and 3 references, including any cover letter, your resume and references in a single .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) attachment with your name included in the .pdf file name. If emailing, please include the words, “Response Chemist” in the subject line of your email.

Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted via email. The position will remain open until filled, with priority given to applications received by July 29, 2022.


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