Utility Plant Operator

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Chicago, ILLINOIS
Job Type: FullTime


Facilities Central Utility Plant Shop

About the Department

Facilities Services supports the mission of the University of Chicago through efforts to maintain and enhance the University campus and environment and provide superior client service to our community including faculty, students, staff, neighbors, and visitors.

Job Information

Job Summary:

Operates, maintains, and monitors boilers, chillers and all auxiliary equipment located in Steam & Chiller Plants and distribution systems. Responsible for monitoring other equipment as assigned. Performs work in accordance with University standards and procedures.


  • Operates and maintains efficient firing of gas or oil fired boilers and chiller systems.

  • Turns valves and adjusts controls to set specified fuel feed, draft openings, water level, and steam pressure of boiler.

  • Operates and maintains turbines, pumps, motors, air compressors, fans, and all other steam plant equipment.

  • Observes pressure, temperature, and draft meters on panel to verify specified operation of automatic combustion control systems, feed water regulators and burners.

  • Observes boilers and all auxiliary equipment to detect malfunctions and makes repairs, such as changing burners and tightening pipes and fittings.

  • Ensures that water and steam treatment are appropriately tested and treated.

  • Maintains appropriate log of meter and gauge readings and records such data. 

  • Records operation and maintenance actions taken during shift in operator’s logbook.

  • Maintains equipment by tightening fittings, repacking bearings, lubricating, replacing packing glands, gaskets, valves, steam traps, recorders, and gauges, and cleaning or replacing burners or other components.

  • Dismantles defective chiller, boiler, plant and distribution equipment; installs new or repaired parts and piping.

  • Operates welding equipment to cut or weld parts and install or repair piping when assigned to maintenance.

  • Requisitions materials and supplies using in-house procedures as needed.  Keeps working area safe and clean.

  • Troubleshoots all equipment associated with boilers and chillers and identifies and solves problems.

  • Interprets equipment and piping documentation to troubleshoot and make repairs.

  • Instructs and directs assistant utility plant operator and other workers assigned to assist in the operation of the plants.

  • Repairs or maintains equipment.

  • Responsible for operations of plants in absence of supervisors.

  • Helps introduce new employees to shop protocol, procedures and campus applications and equipment.

  • Wears and/or uses appropriate safety equipment.

  • Uses computers to operate equipment; enters and accesses job related information.

  • Undertakes training related to job duties as deemed necessary by the University.

  • Performs related job duties as may be assigned.


  • Demonstrated ability to read and interpret documents including: blueprints, plans, drawings and schemata.

  • Demonstrated ability to access computer programs and use or learn basic computer operations related to position requirements.

  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in English, both orally and in writing.

  • Demonstrated ability to perform mathematical functions relevant to the position.

  • Demonstrated ability to solve problems.

Additional Requirements ​​

Education, Experience, or Certifications:


  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED) required.

  • Completion of job-related associate degree (AA) preferred.


  • Minimum of two years related experience required. 

  • A minimum of four years central plant operations experience with at least two years of high-pressure steam plant operations experience preferred.

Licenses and Certifications:

  • City of Chicago Stationary Engineer’s License, current valid driver's license, other licenses, or certificates needed for this position as required by law.

  • Universal EPA Refrigerant Certification.

  • ASME Welding Certification preferred.

  • Coursework completion or certification in one or more of the following core competencies: heating and ventilation, basic electrical, pipe fitting and fluid-handling systems, building automation systems or an encompassing certification such as in physical plant maintenance preferred.

Technical Knowledge or Skills:

  • Some welding experience preferred.

  • Chiller plant operation experience or the ability to acquire these skills through extensive training and testing preferred.

  • Completion of job-related apprenticeship program preferred.

  • Advanced job-related training programs preferred.

  • This position requires original and independent thinking, the ability to think fast on his/her feet, be alert, quick, responsive and use sound fact-finding approaches.  Common sense to reach workable conclusions is required, as well as consistent, logical and orderly thinking.

Working Conditions and Physical Requirements:

  • Must demonstrate mechanical aptitude and manual dexterity and be physically capable of strenuous activity over extended periods of time.

  • Must be able to lift and move loads appropriate to job requirements and be able to bend and work in a kneeling position for periods of time.

  • Must be able to climb stairs and ladders, be capable of working at heights as required, be able to enter and work within tight spaces, and be able to withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Pay Range:

  • $45.21 per hour.

Required Documents:

  • Resume

  • Cover Letter

  • List of References

When applying, the document(s) MUST  be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Benefit Eligibility


Requires Compliance with University Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement


Pay Frequency


Pay Range

Please refer to Additional Requirements to see the pay ranges

Scheduled Weekly Hours



042 - Local 73, S.E.I.U. Skilled Trades - Real Estate Operations

Job is Exempt


Drug Test Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Health Screen Required


Posting Date


Remove from Posting On or Before


Posting Statement: ​​

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity /Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.


Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.


All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.


The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: http://securityreport.uchicago.edu . Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

View or Apply

Similar Positions