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Division Director, Nuclear Engineering & Systems Analysis

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)
Reports to
General Manager, Research & Development Operations

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization. The Headquarters and core Research and Development operations are situated at Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) in the upper Ottawa Valley of Ontario.

The Chalk River Laboratories represent the largest single complex within Canada’s science and technology infrastructure.  Over the next decade, CNL will be transforming its Chalk River Laboratories through the revitalization of essential site infrastructure, the decommissioning of aging infrastructure and a significant investment in new, world-class science facilities.

The Research and Development Operations at CNL is segmented into program areas covering Energy, Environment, Health, and Safety and Security.  The Research & Development Operations at CNL is divided into five Divisions: Nuclear Engineering & Systems Analysis, R&D Nuclear Facilities, R&D Operations, Fuels, Materials & Design and Environmental, Radiological & Chemical Sciences.  Each Division, made up of several branches, is led by a Division Director.

The Opportunity:  CNL is seeking a Division Director, Nuclear Engineering & Systems Analysis in support of their R&D Operations vision and strategy.  The role is responsible for understanding the behavior of current and future reactor systems and components during design and beyond design-basis events.  Areas of interest include Fluids Engineering, Nuclear Safety Experiments, Computational Methods, Systems & Safety Analysis, Applied Physics and Cyber Security.  The ideal candidate understands how to support growing initiatives and programs by providing innovative solutions through developing staff and expanding research capabilities, while fostering an environment of collaboration and inspiration and providing effective leadership to the division.

Reports To:                       General Manager, Research and Development Operations

Location:                             Chalk River Laboratories, Chalk River, Ontario, Canada


  • Accountable for the operation of the Nuclear Engineering & Systems Analysis Division, for sustaining a team capable of producing quality outputs and for giving effective leadership to the Division.
  • Determines schedules and measures the outputs of Branch Managers.
  • Responsible for staffing, performance management, staff development and supervision of Branch Managers within Division. Ensures clear succession management plan is in place and constantly maintained.
  • Builds/initiates environments that support cooperation and cohesiveness amongst the work team(s) and with other areas within the organization.
  • Establishes the Division strategy in resourcing and capabilities necessary to support laboratory and program objectives.
  • Promotes/initiates an environment that values willingness to implement new approaches to problem solving.
  • Leverages organizational knowledge by looking for and tapping resources and team problem solving. Seeks to explore options, challenge status quo and establish greater clarity.
  • Maintains and manages budgets and required financial reporting.
  • Actively promote and demonstrate the expectation that everyone shall behave in a manner consistent with the traits of their healthy nuclear safety culture.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

  • 10 to 12 years’ experience in a Research and Development environment with a minimum of 5 years management experience
  • National and international recognition in his/her field, including a publication record that supports that recognition
  • Frames Division direction, based on a thorough understanding of the Laboratory Vision.
  • Ability to integrate information from multiple sources to form a comprehensive perspective
  • Identifies interdependencies in cross-functional projects
  • Skilled at analysing setbacks and seek honest feedback to learn from mistakes
  • Translates vision and policy into concrete work activities
  • Develops Division strategies, based on the departmental vision and CNL’s vision
  • Designs initiatives to enhance operational efficiency
  • Encourages and incorporates diverse initiatives and perspectives
  • Redesigns the Division’s work activities to meet changing department needs

Competencies and Personal Characteristics:

Leadership Skills Ability to communicate vision and division plans with clarity and commitment across the organization. Establishes regular comprehensive exchange of ideas. Sets realistic timelines and clear accountabilities for branch managers and leads.  Known to inspire and motivate others.  Coaches branch managers, challenges them, and provides opportunities for their growth.

Communication Skills (Internal and External) Regularly interacts with executives and/or major customers.  Ability to negotiate with customers, partners, or management attempting to influence senior level leaders regarding matters of significance to the organization.  Shares information vertically and horizontally. Promotes collaboration among managers.  Uses persuasion to gain support for initiatives. Adapts communications to suit audience and forum.  Communicates regularly and openly with unions and stakeholders.  Solicits input from and listens to staff, partners and stakeholders.  Communicates vision and Division plans with clarity and commitment.  Establishes regular and comprehensive exchanges of ideas.  Promotes team building.

Fostering RelationshipsAbility to develop, build and foster relationships. Demonstrates and integrates values and ethics in personal behavior and division practices.  Fosters a climate of transparency, trust and respect within the Division and in partnerships.  Incorporates equitable practices into HR planning.  Builds and promotes a safe and healthy, respectful unite, free of harassment and discrimination.  Provides regular feedback, acknowledges success and the need for improvement.  Coaches, challenges and provides opportunities for growth.  Resolves labor relations problems. Balances the needs of employees and the organization.  Monitors and addresses workplace well-being.  Develops and supports career plans and learning opportunities.  Secures funding for Organizational learning and other training. Develops HR strategy for unit succession planning.

Contribution to Business Performance Good business acumen. Implements strategies to achieve operational efficiencies and value for money.  Allocates and manages Division resources transparently.  Applies and monitors rigorous systems for Financial Information Management, internal audit, and evaluation. Fulfills obligations of accountabilities for unit finance and assets management.  Acts on audit, evaluation and other objective unit performance information.

Resource Management- Designs Division work plans based on the big picture.  Guides Division projects and resources to avoid obstacles. Delegates appropriately to managers. Manages resources to maximize output.  Sets realistic timelines and clear accountabilities for managers.  Manages the Division’s workload through prudent resource planning and prioritizing.  Shifts priorities and adapts Division work plans, as required.  Heeds early warning signals and advises General Manager and others as needed.  Follows through on Division’s business plan from planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating to reporting. Integrates Comptrollership, federal regulations, and policies into Division practices.  Responds decisively and quickly to emerging opportunities or risks.  Maintains composure in adverse situations to alleviate pressure and maintain momentum.

Role Complexity-Works on the complex issues where analysis of situations or data requires an in-depth knowledge of the company. Participates in corporate development of methods, techniques and evaluation criteria for projects, programs and people.  Ensures budgets and schedules meet corporate requirements.  Works collaboratively and cross-functionally, and considers and understands the impact of decisions on other areas of the company.

Education and Certifications:  PhD in Nuclear Engineering/Mechanical Engineering/Physics or related science field is required.  International recognition within the Industry through publications and projects.

Compensation:  The successful candidate will be offered an attractive salary, excellent benefits, and relocation assistance.

Contact Information:  KeySource Thomas Thor has been exclusively retained to conduct this search.  Any information exchanged and related to this role is considered proprietary and will be managed through:


Loree Weber

Project Director, Executive Search