Looking for a little solitude — okay a lot of solitude — in a stunning environment? Know how to cook, clean and fix cars, water pumps and anything else that might malfunction at a 10-cabin learning center?
For anyone who answered “Yes” to all those questions there might just be an exciting job opportunity. The Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, located on the remote south shore near Lameshur Bay, needs a new manager.
After running the show at VIERS for the past four years operations manager Jamie Irving is leaving.
Irving, who took over the reins at VIERS in November 2007, is heading to Key West to get his associate’s degree in Diving Technology at Florida Keys Community College.
As manger, Irving oversees all facets of life at VIERS, which caters to visiting researchers from universities and high schools, and hosts several summer camps for local children. Throughout his tenure at the resource station, Irving was instrumental in establishing VIERS’ photovolatic system and expanding the popular Tektite Museum.
VIERS was originally built in the 1960s by the U.S. Navy Seabees to act as a base for divers and researchers taking part in the Project Tektite underwater habitat and research experiments. The station is owned by the University of the Virgin Islands, is located in the V.I. National Park and has been operated by Clean Islands International since 1997.
There are a total of 22 structures on the property including guest and staff cabins, offices, classrooms, a dining hall and kitchen, restrooms and a waterside science lab. And if anything goes wrong in any of those buildings, one person is called — the manager.
“The person who takes my position needs to be willing to learn and be excited to learn how to adapt to all different situations,” said Irving. “One day I could be fixing a toilet in the morning, giving an educational tour in the afternoon, having a meeting later in the day and cooking dinner that night. I could really be doing anything in the course of a day.”
Being flexible and willing to learn are two of the most important traits the new VIERS manager should bring to the job, according to Irving.
“I didn’t know anything about auto maintenance or electrical work or running a commercial learning center before I started working out here,” he said.
And then there is the solitude. VIERS is located a good 45 minute drive from Cruz Bay and is nestled basically by itself at Lameshur Bay. While there are usually scientists and students at camp, long stretches of solitude go along with the job as well.
“There are weeks on end at times when there is no one out here,” said Irving. “But then you go to town and in two hours I’ll stop and have really nice conversations with about 20 different people.”
Irving maintains that he is not leaving VIERS or St. John, he’s just going to school in Florida for a while, he explained.
“I am going to spend a lot of time in the water and augment my education and training to become a research diver,” he said.
Looking back over the past four years, Irving is proud of what he has accomplished at VIERS.
“It sounds cheesy, but the best part of my job honestly is actually making a difference and being a part of getting the photovolatic system started and our educational programs going strong,” said Irving. “It’s also been a lot of fun seeing the development of the Tektite Museum.”
“I take a lot of pride in what we’ve done here and I really wish that VIERS was a mile outside of Cruz Bay,” he said.
Before heading up to the Sunshine State, Irving will oversee the VIERS eco-camps this summer as the education coordinator. He’s scheduled to head off-island for a few weeks in August and return to hopefully train his replacement in October before heading back to Florida in November.
VIERS is a self-sufficient non-profit learning center, getting no funding from UVI, VINP or the government of the Virgin Islands, and relies on user fees, donations and sponsorships.
For more information about the VIERS manager position and how to apply, check out www.islands.org/viers/ and click the “VIERS Manager” link.