NRRI Quality Specialist

Title: NRRI Quality Specialist
Job ID: 361297
Location: Duluth
Job Family: Administration-General
Job Code: 9341A1
Employee Class: Acad Prof and Admin

About the Job

NRRI Quality Specialist

The Quality Specialist position at NRRI in Duluth, MN, is centered around developing and implementing a rigorous quality management program aimed at ensuring project compliance with standards and fostering a culture of safety. This role focuses on establishing efficient quality systems, managing equipment inventories, conducting audits, and facilitating ISO certification, where feasible. Through collaboration, training, and continuous improvement efforts, the specialist aims to uphold NRRI's commitment to delivering high-quality research while prioritizing safety and excellence. The position is based in Duluth, MN, with occasional travel to Coleraine, MN. The minimum compensation is $73,000 annually. The final compensation offer will be determined based on the candidate’s education, experience, etc. Relocation assistance may be available. 

This is a hybrid position that requires in-person presence with remote working opportunities.

Essential Functions: 
1. Quality:  Develop, implement, and manage a comprehensive quality management program emphasizing project compliance and safety standards. 

  • Establish and maintain quality systems including inventories, document control, instrument calibration, data management, and sample tracking across multiple sites. 
  • Manage equipment inventories, oversee installation verifications, performance management, and calibration processes and associated records. 
  • Facilitate ISO certification efforts and lead procedure validations, where feasible. 
  • Chair the Management of Change Committee and ensure alignment with quality standards and regulations.
  • Define key performance indicators (KPIs) and establish methods for measuring results and performance.
  • Lead the 5S initiative across both NRRI campuses.
  • Develop and implement an auditing system and plan and conduct regular internal audits of quality management systems, ensuring compliance with standards and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Write and review work instructions or procedures and oversee the entire review and approval process to ensure accuracy and compliance with established standards.
  • Develop and implement quality policies and procedures.
  • Become an expert user of WorkOtter project management software for quality management processes (training provided).
    60 % of Time 

2. Safety:  Assist in the development and implementation of the NRRI Safety Program.

  • Collaborate with the Safety, Quality, and Training (SQT) team to develop safety policies and procedures aligned with regulatory requirements and organizational goals.
  • Assist to conduct risk assessments and safety audits to identify potential hazards and areas for improvement in work processes and facilities.
  • Assist to monitor safety performance metrics and analyze trends to identify opportunities for enhancing safety practices and preventing incidents.
  • Assist in the development and implementation of project control plans, safety plans, hazard assessments, and process hazard assessments. 
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to ensure consistency and compliance with safety standards across departments and projects.
    20 % of Time 

3. Training:  Develop, implement, and manage training systems and documentation to ensure staff competency in quality and safety procedures.

  • Design training programs tailored to different roles within the organization, covering quality management systems, safety protocols, and relevant regulations.
  • Create training materials such as presentations, manuals, and online modules, ensuring clarity and effectiveness in conveying information.
  • Schedule and facilitate training sessions for employees, both in-person and virtually, accommodating different learning styles and preferences.
  • Assess training needs through regular evaluations and feedback mechanisms, adjusting programs accordingly to address gaps and emerging requirements.
  • Develop a training tracking system to maintain accurate records of training attendance, certifications, and competencies, ensuring compliance with internal standards and external regulations.
  • Serve as a resource for staff members seeking additional training or assistance in understanding quality and safety protocols, fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
    20 % of Time 

Additional essential functions that account for less than 10% of time:

  • Utilize and configure computer software systems such as Google Drive and WorkOtter to create and manage documentation and workflow systems for quality, safety, and training purposes, ensuring efficient and organized processes.
  • Participate in safety committees to contributing insights and recommendations for improving safety performance and fostering continuous improvement.



  • Required: Bachelor’s degree Quality management or a related field, such as systems management, quality control, manufacturing, mathematics, project management, or engineering
  • Preferred: Master’s degree

    Required work experience:   
  • A bachelor's degree in quality management or a related field, such as systems management, quality control, manufacturing, project management, or engineering.
  • 6 years of related  experience
  • Quality-related certification or two years of quality experience. 
  • Excellent technical writing, verbal communication and presentation skills.

    Preferred work experience:   
  • Knowledge and experience with ISO 9001, Lean Six Sigma, Quality Management, and Quality Auditing.
  • Masters Degree, in quality management or a related field, such as systems management, quality control, manufacturing, project management, or engineering.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Excel and advanced formula usage.
  • Proficiency with Google Drive and associated applications, utilizing Excel and Google Sheets formulas.
  • Willingness to learn quality management and project management software.
  • Proficiency in creating training materials using Google Slides and PowerPoint.
  • Ability to regularly write, review, and update procedures.

    Specific physical requirements or environmental exposures. Must have a driver's license, be able to lift 50 lbs, walk up and down stairs, and may need to wear a

About the Department

About the Department
The Natural Resources Research Institute was established by the Minnesota legislature in 1983 as an applied science and engineering research organization to inform state citizens and decision-makers while leveraging the power of the University of Minnesota. NRRI is guided by the forward-looking charter provided by the Legislature to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.

NRRI’s mission is to deliver integrated research solutions that value our resources, environment, and economy for a sustainable and resilient future. We are a mission-driven, project-focused team working to create opportunities for natural resource stewardship. With industrial-scale facilities in Duluth and Coleraine, MN, NRRI works across five strategic research platforms. These platforms address Minnesota’s soil, forest, water, and mineral resources:
• Applied Ecology and Resource Management
• Minerals and Metallurgy
• Materials and Bioeconomy
• Data Collection and Delivery
• Commercialization Services


Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you’ll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning.  We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work.

The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
  • Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Tuition Benefit Program
  • Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • University HSA contributions
  • Disability and employer-paid life insurance
  • Employee wellbeing program
  • Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity
  • Financial counseling services 
  • Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

Please visit the Office of Human Resources website for more information regarding benefits.

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please visit the UMN Careers page and click the Apply button and follow the instructions.  You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume. A cover letter and resume are required.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Job Applications" page and uploading documents in the "My Cover Letters and Attachments" section.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-8647.


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission.  The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  To learn more about diversity at the U:

Employment Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

About the U of M

University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD)

The University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD) consistently ranks among the top Midwestern, regional universities in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue.

Overlooking Lake Superior, UMD provides an alternative to both large research and small liberal arts environments and attracts students looking for a personalized learning experience on a medium-sized campus of a major university.  A firm liberal arts foundation anchors a variety of traditional degree programs, as well as professional and graduate students that draw on UMD's many research institutes and labs.

At the University of Minnesota, we are proud to be recognized by the Star Tribune as a Top Workplace for 2021, as well as by Forbes as Best Employers for Women and one of America’s Best Employers (2015, 2018, 2019, 2023), Best Employer for Diversity (2019, 2020), Best Employer for New Grads (2018, 2019), and Best Employer by State (2019, 2022).