The University of Washington (UW) is proud to be one of the nation’s premier educational and research institutions. Our people are the most important asset in our pursuit of achieving excellence in education, research, and community service. Our staff not only enjoys outstanding benefits and professional growth opportunities, but also an environment noted for diversity, community involvement, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits, and natural beauty.
At the University of Washington, diversity is integral to excellence. We value and honor diverse experiences and perspectives, strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments, and promote access, opportunity and justice for all.
The Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) is a research unit at the University of Washington. Our research expertise is in ocean physics and engineering, ocean and medical acoustics, polar science, environmental remote sensing, and signal processing. We conduct research and development that is sponsored by a variety of federal and state agencies, and take great pride in our long-standing status as a US Navy-designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). Our work takes place not only on the University of Washington campus and medical centers, but in field locations around the world – at sea, in the air, and on polar ice caps. We apply rigorous scientific inquiry and engineering excellence in pursuit of solutions to important problems for the good of our region, nation, and world.
The Business and Finance team at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington is hiring – see yourself at APL!
Diversity is a core value at University of Washington and the Applied Physics Laboratory shares this commitment. We are focused on building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable research environment for all students, staff, and collaborators. We believe every member on our team enriches our community by exposing us to a broad range of ways to understand and engage with the world, identify challenges, and to discover, design and deliver solutions.
The Applied Physics Laboratory is seeking a Temporary Travel Operations Compliance Analyst to steward the Laboratory’s Travel Operations. The Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) conducts research that frequently involves traveling to remote domestic and international locations. This travel supports activities including collaborator and sponsor meetings; fieldwork for deployment of instruments used for observation and the collection of data; presentation of research. Travel and travel-associated expenses and reimbursements total approximately $1.6M across an average of 1,700 transactions per year. Work is conducted in a hybrid environment, leveraging remote and on-site work spaces.
The Laboratory has an in-house Travel Operations Team, as a unit within the Laboratory’s Business and Finance Team. Reporting to the Purchasing and Property Control Manager (PPCM), the Travel Operations Compliance Analyst will be responsible for all programmatic responsibilities and will provide comprehensive oversight of the APL Travel Operations Team with an understanding of the unique and everchanging challenges of high-stakes research travel in remote regions (e.g., polar ice caps, Bering Sea and within a set of complex Department of Defense restrictions). This position will also provide after-hours travel support, supervision of 1-2FTE, ensure efficient program operations, and performs complex and non-routine travel coordination, compliance, and reimbursement activities.
The Applied Physics Laboratory is a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) sponsored by the US Navy. As a result, APL is held to stringent compliance and security requirements not found in other UW units. This position must possess expert-level knowledge of travel regulations and restrictions, particularly those governing Department of Defense activities, and be able to communicate and apply them consistently. The position will regularly consult with other APL departments e.g., Purchasing and Property Control Manager, Grants and Contracts Administrator, Security Officer, Finance Administrator, and Research Department Administrators on behalf of the Travel Operations team to interpret and apply overlapping compliance requirements.
While working in this complex regulatory environment, this position is expected to cultivate proactivity and responsiveness in the Travel Operations team, developing procedures that support this endeavor. This is critical to meeting the changing and emergent needs of APL’s researchers. APL research travel often requires use of non-commercial and unconventional modes of transportation (e.g., Coast Guard cutter, military air transport, local fishing vessels) to connect “the last mile” and reach research or deployment sites in remote locations. This position must be able to balance multiple priorities, conflicting international regulations, and overlapping deadlines with a demonstrated ability to quickly understand project needs and prioritize essential tasks with short lead times.
This position provides comprehensive and expert level support of complex travel requests including, but not limited to, group travel, multiple business destinations, remote locations, and Sea Pay. They will support direct reports as an intermediary between the traveler and airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and conference organizers to represent the needs of the APL-UW researcher, staff, collaborator, or other stakeholders when higher level expertise is needed. They may work with the traveler to determine appropriate documents for enhanced insurance, visa, vessel-specific trainings, and health exams. This could require review of vessel boarding agreements, identifying problematic clauses, and helping the traveler negotiate final agreements.
This position oversees the compliant use and reconciliation of the APL-UW Central Travel Account (CTA) that allows departments to charge airline, rail/bus tickets and specified lodging as outlined below to a centrally billed "cardless" account. This position is one of only three positions at APL-UW authorized for a high-limit UW ProCard (limits of $100K per month/$10K per transaction). These high-limit cards require additional approvals by the UW Procurement Services ProCard Team and are designed for use in emergency situations which arise from the remote and sensitive nature of the work performed by APL-UW researchers.
This position represents the Travel Operations Team in meetings within the Lab; represents the APL’s interests in meetings across the University; and returns to the Lab or Purchasing Department to convey UW central unit information and perspectives. Because of this, the ability to communicate complex subject matter to a variety of stakeholders is essential. Over the next twelve to twenty-four months, the Travel Operations Compliance Analyst will partner with the Purchasing and Property Control Manager to represent the Lab during the UW Financial Transformation project, evaluating and iterating business process designs as updated models become available, and supporting the Workday implementation up to, through, and following go-live. This will involve a considerable commitment to training, troubleshooting, reporting, and follow up.
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
Policy Compliance: Review the activity of Travel Operations staff, exceeding defined thresholds, for compliance with all policies to which the Lab is subject and approve the transactions in UW systems. Partner with the Purchasing and Property Control Manager, Grants and Contracts Administrator, and other stakeholders to ensure the creation and maintenance of practices that are compliant with internal and external policies across the APL Travel department. Development and regular review of electronic record keeping procedures.
Policy and process review: This position considers the whole system perspective of APL-UW travel operations. Conducts ongoing process review across all travel services provided, specifies and implements improvements based on customer experience and known policy changes with a focus on efficient operations, fiscal responsibility, and traveler safety. Works closely with the Purchasing and Property Control Manager on upgrades and enhancements for future systems, including changes that will result from the implementation of Workday Financials.
Department-level Training: Provide comprehensive and ongoing formal training to the Travel Operation staff in UW systems, procedures, and the interpretation, application, and operational impact of policies. Provide ad hoc training to junior level staff within Travel, assisting them with questions of all complexity levels.
APL-wide Training: Develop and deliver training and tools to APL eight research departments (OPD, PSC, CIMU, etc) and six central administrative departments and functional groups (Resources & Facilities, Business & Finance, Director’s Office), addressing needs and interests at all levels of administration, Principal Investigator, and scientific and technical staff. Training subjects include tactical understanding and use of APL and UW systems, reports and resources; interpretation and application of UW and APL policies and procedures; and resources for addressing special situations (e.g. Fly America, airfare upgrades and required pre-approvals).
Communication and partnerships: establish and maintain relationships with key campus partners such as the UW Travel Services, UW Office of Global Affairs, UW International Scholars Office, Risk Services, and Procurement Services. Represents the Travel Coordination team in meetings within the Lab; represents the APL’s interests in meetings across the University; and returns to the Lab or Travel team to convey UW central unit information and perspectives to the APL.
APL Travel Program Administration:
Day to day oversight of APL Travel Operations team: Prioritization and organization of workloads, communication with stakeholders both internal and external to APL-UW, problem-solving complex activities, and providing travel, policy, and regulatory subject matter expertise to support junior level staff. Guides staff in addressing special situations (e.g. Fly America, airfare upgrades and required pre-approvals).
Purchasing Card Administration: Ensure purchasing cards (at present: CTA and ProCards) held by all members of the Laboratory are used for allowable activities. Ensure activity is compliant with Internal Revenue Service regulations governing partnerships with entities affiliated with UW staff or faculty.
Analysis: Performs high level analysis and modeling of Travel Operations unit activities, requiring independent judgment to develop the analysis which aides in decision making and recommendations to the Director of Business and Finance. Responsible for statistical analysis of programmatic milestones, capturing unit enhancements, operational performance metrics, and utilizes data for policy development and short-and long-range planning.
Full supervisory responsibility. Delegate and prioritize the day-to-day work of the Travel Operations team that will include one to two full-time regular contract classified staff. Review transactions, based on established dollar thresholds, for correct purchasing/payment method, accuracy, completeness, and timeliness. Regularly audit activity that does not trigger review at time of submission. Supports staff development and resolves training issues. This position escalates performance issues to the Purchasing and Property Control Manager, as needed.
Complex Travel Coordination:
Primary contact for complex travel requests that involve integrating an understanding of the research performed at APL with the compliance landscape within which the Laboratory must operate. Travel of this type can include identifying and securing travel to and lodging in remote locations that require knowledge of the restrictions of various countries as well as travel that requires specially negotiated pricing, unique, or high-dollar low-inventory requests requiring a high degree of complex policy interpretation.
Research Charter Coordination:
Coordinate charter of aircraft and vessels on behalf of APL PIs and research staff and in compliance with UW and sponsor rules, regulations, and recommendations. Partner with UW Procurement Services, UW Risk Management, to execute charter contracts in a timely manner. Ensure that appropriate insurance certificates are obtained and included for review by UW Procurement Contract Buyers. For complex and exceptional research scenarios e.g. researchers disembarking vessel onto polar ice, the Compliance Operations Analyst works with the APL Director of Business and Finance to obtain formal legal cover.
Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Finance, Public Administration, International Affairs, or other related field and at least three to five years of professional travel operations experience, including:
•Experience coordinating field research or highly complex global travel. •Ability to interpret, apply and communicate institutional, administrative, and fiscal compliance guidelines and practices. •Experience interpreting and applying federal, state, and international policy. •Demonstrated ability to respond quickly to challenges, assessing options, and enacting the best plan for resolution. •Demonstrated collaborative and independent problem-solving. •Flexibility to manage multiple and competing deadline-driven priorities in a dynamic environment. •Commitment to and orientation towards excellent customer service focused on proactivity and responsiveness. •Excellent written and verbal communication with a focus on clear, concise, solution-centered messaging. •Ability to teach, troubleshoot, and mentor staff and peers.
Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.
•Top candidates will possess five years or more of relevant experience with professional travel operations. •Experience as a professional travel coordinator, preferably in a high-volume academic research program, federal program, or other compliance focused program •Experience with complex travel activities. •Knowledge of federal regulations governing travel (e.g. Fly America, Open Skies, GSA). •Experience managing a Central Travel Account or ProCard program. •Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite of applications and software, Adobe Acrobat, online travel booking websites and applications. •Proficiency using remote communication tools, both synchronous and asynchronous (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Zoom). •Demonstrated ability to adapt to new software, web-based applications and tools. •Experience with Workday financials. •Prior experience with enterprise-wide system implementation.
The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process. These assessments may include Work Authorization, Cover Letter, and/or others. Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.
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