Nursery Equipment Lead, Equipment Operator Lead


$56,676.00 – $65,748.00 Annually


Thurston County – Olympia, WA

Job Type

Full Time – Permanent

Job Number



Dept. of Natural Resources

Opening Date


Closing Date

10/17/2023 11:59 PM Pacific

Salary Information


The high end of the salary range, Step M is typically a longevity step




Nursery Equipment Lead, Equipment Operator Lead description image
Nursery Equipment Lead, Equipment Operator Lead description image
Nursery Equipment Lead, Equipment Operator Lead
Recruitment #2023-10-0401/7055
Full-time, Permanent, Represented positions
Location: Olympia, WA

Salary: $4,723.00 – $5,479.00 Monthly 

Want to join something GREAT and make a difference?
The need for trees for reforestation efforts has never been higher on a global scale. Webster Forest Nursery is in need of talented employees to help produce trees for reforestation efforts across the Pacific Northwest.  This is your opportunity to be part of a great tradition and help us to reach 1 billion seedlings and beyond.

Webster Forest Nursery, established in 1957 on the current site, produces trees for state trust lands across all six regions of the DNR as well as large and small private landowners. The nursery consists of 150 acres of tillable land, 75,000 square feet of climate-controlled greenhouses, and an active research program focused on the operational production of native forest seedlings.  

The Nursery Equipment Operators perform a variety of equipment operations and maintenance duties during all stages of seedling production. The Lead Equipment Operator is the experienced-level position that supports the mission of the nursery through the safe and efficient operation of large equipment onsite. These positions report to the Equipment Operations Supervisor.  The ideal candidate will have previous experience operating large equipment in an agricultural, horticultural, farming, mining, logging, and/or warehouse setting. This position is for individuals who enjoy being outdoors and active throughout their workday.  Attention to detail is essential in our fast-paced production setting while working with our unique equipment. Attention to safety is critical to protect people, the seedling crop, equipment, and facilities. During the busy production season, there are opportunities for time & a half overtime pay.  




  • Act as the lead and participate in the daily operation of trucks, tractors, front-loaders, equipment implements, and all other site equipment.  
  • Direct and participate in the daily loading/unloading of trucks and trailers.  
  • Participate, lead, and train other equipment operators in the performance of site operations, equipment use, and work.  
  • Work unsupervised on weekends as needed to meet program needs.
  • Read, interpret, and adhere to directions for the application of restricted-use products used on the property.    
  • Maintain accuracy of information through correct reporting and labeling.  
  • Perform routine and emergency repairs on equipment.    
  • Manage a frost protection team during both spring and fall frost protection seasons.  Requires the incumbent to be on-call and respond at all hours when assigned to a team.  Includes stand-by and time & a half overtime pay.
  • This position must work both as a team and in individual settings to achieve the program goals and deliverables.  Understands the complexities of all the steps involved in annual production.



Required Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • Two years of experience operating equipment in a safe and skillful manner (such as forklifts, frontend loaders, backhoes, tractors, haul trailers, and/or class A equipment) in a production/industrial setting.
  • Two years of experience operating electric and/or propane forklifts in a production setting such as a loading dock, warehouse, or agricultural facility.
  • Fluent in written and verbal English language.
  • Reliable and punctual work attendance.
  • DNR Core Competencies:
    • Personal Accountability
    • Value Others
    • Compassionate Communication
    • Inspire Others
    • Commitment to Excellence
Special Requirements and Conditions of Employment:
  • Work is primarily outdoors in all weather conditions (wind, rain, cold, heat) in an agricultural setting. Must be able to work in coolers/freezers. Must have the ability to lift, carry, push, and/or pull up to 50 pounds (seedling bags, fertilizer/pesticide containers, and heavy equipment parts) without the aid of equipment. The ability to grasp, grab, pull, and use power/hand tools. Work is performed around large equipment, and must be able to perform sustained equipment operation for long periods of time. Must be able to walk on rough, uneven terrain in all weather conditions and effectively communicate in a large industrial setting.
  • Minimal travel is required. Mostly to attend offsite training or visit other facilities for technology exchange.
  • A valid unrestricted driver’s license and have two years of driving experience. This position requires driving as an essential function. Finalists and/or interview candidates will be asked to provide a driving record from all states in which they have held a license during the past three years. 
  • Forklift Operator certification (or the ability to obtain within 2 months of hire)
  • Public Operator’s License with Agricultural Weeds and Agricultural Insect & Disease Endorsements (or the ability to obtain within 3 months of hire)
  • Respirator use and fit testing (after hire)
  • Chainsaw certification (or the ability to obtain within 6 months of hire).
Desired Qualifications:
  • Ability to speak Spanish.
  • Knowledge and experience with computers, Microsoft Office Suite, and/or database systems (Access or Oracle).
  • Previous work experience with irrigation and/or pesticide application. Public Operators Pesticide license.
  • Previous work experience in industrial agricultural practices and/or forest seedling farming practices, agriculture, or horticulture
  • CDL License.


Supplemental Information

Application Requirements:

  • To be considered you must apply online at (Click on the APPLY button above). 
  • Attach a letter of interest describing how your experience and qualifications relate to the position profile and the position required, desired and special requirements.
  • Attach a resume describing your experience and qualifications.
  • Provide three to five professional references – you may attach a document, use the References text field in the online application, or include with resume.
  • Important: Do not attach any documents that include photos or private information (social security number, year of birth, etc.).
  • Complete all supplemental questions.
  • Candidates that move forward in the recruitment process may be contacted via email from with interview information/scheduling instructions. Please monitor the email listed in your application materials and check your junk email folder to ensure you receive those communications.
Questions?  Please contact David North at or e-mail us at

About the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 
At DNR we approach our work through the lens of making Washington a better place environmentally and are dedicated to serving Washington’s lands and communities through diversity, equity and inclusion. 
Our Vision – Our actions ensure a future where Washington’s lands, waters, and communities thrive.
Our Mission – Manage, sustain, and protect the health and productivity of Washington’s lands and waters to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Our Core Values:
  • Safety and Well-Being —Our top priority is the safety of the public and our employees.
  • Public Service —We value and respect the public we serve, and we value and respect the people of the Department of Natural Resources who step up to serve.
  • Innovation and Creative Problem-Solving — We solve our state’s most pressing challenges through innovative thinking, dedication, and bold and creative vision.
  • Leadership and Teamwork —We are committed to building leaders at all levels and building teams for success.
DNR provides excellent benefits, a few of those include:
  • Commitment to organizational health and wellness
  • Work/life balance
  • DNR Employee Resource Groups (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, Women’s Employee Resource Group, Veterans Employee Resource Group, etc.)
  • Statewide Employee Business Resource Groups, visit here to learn more
  • Leadership that empowers and supports employees
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Educational and career development aid
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Eligibility
  • Opportunities to participate in wildland fire suppression assignments
  • A comprehensive benefit package that includes employer contributions toward health insurance, paid holidays, retirement plans, sick leave and vacation days. Visit for more information.
Additional Information:
This recruitment may be extended and may also be used to fill future similar vacancies for up to sixty (60) days.
DNR does not use the E-Verify system. For more information, please visit

Veterans wishing to claim Veteran’s preference please attach a copy of your DD-214, NGB-22 or other verification of military service. Please black out your social security number prior to attaching.  We thank you and are grateful for your service!

Equal Opportunity Employer: The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 522-2500 or email Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call though the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6384.

Once you submit your online application, you can check your status by logging into your account. If you experience technical difficulties creating, accessing or completing your application call NEOGOV toll-free at (855) 524-5627 or email

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