Applied Research Associates

www.ara.com

Applied Research Associates Reviews

Updated October 19, 2014
Updated October 19, 2014
30 Reviews
3.7
30 Reviews
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Applied Research Associates President and CEO Rob Sues
Rob Sues
17 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Staff Engineer, Applied Research Associates

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Engineer in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Staff Engineer in Washington, DC

    I worked at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of opportunity for advancement, excellent benefits and employee stock ownership plan.

    Cons

    Collaboration between divisions on projects challenging.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more in employee development.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great place for young engineer to grow

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Staff Engineer in Raleigh, NC
    Current Employee - Staff Engineer in Raleigh, NC

    I have been working at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Lots of freedom to move among projects. Provides both breadth and depth to technical experience. Relatively relaxed, social atmosphere. Management is not over-bearing.

    Cons

    As you move up towards senior level, you are expected to do a fair amount of marketing and bring in a decent amount of funding. This detracts from the amount of technical work you can do, and forces you into a project management role.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    N/A

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    employee oriented

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Emergency Management Specialist in Robins AFB, GA
    Former Employee - Emergency Management Specialist in Robins AFB, GA

    I worked at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The pay! But also the management worked hard to keep employee's informed and up to date on virtually anything that may have an impact on our company success. Also the management didn't micromanage it's people we where allowed to perform our duties and everyone knew that the yearly bonus was based on your performance.

    Cons

    I worked as a contractor and the bidding every couple of years is very stressful not knowing if your going to win the contract and have a job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't really have anything for the Management like I stated earlier the company has a good management team as in our region.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Group Leader / Engineering Manager

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist/Engineer
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist/Engineer

    I have been working at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great freedom to do the kind of work you love. No limits to what you can achieve as long as you can find a client to fund it.

    Cons

    Definitely not a company for slackers. Significant amount of pressure to keep marketing to have projects funded.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Engineers are expected to look for work, and in some cases in areas that as individual is almost impossible.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineer
    Current Employee - Engineer

    I have been working at Applied Research Associates full-time

    Pros

    Marginal benefits, Retirement plan and ESOP, flexible work schedules, reach-back engineers with vast expertise in their fields.

    Cons

    Weak management, constant need to look for more work, too much focus on Government, specially DoD, unable to versify work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need more focus on areas that can work could be versify, not to focus in one and only one area. Need more dedicated people to seek and look for work, not all engineers have good marketing skills. Need more professional development programs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great Company, Great Benefits, Great Culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Niceville, FL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Niceville, FL

    I have been working at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Passion, flexibility, freedom to pursue what we enjoy doing

    Cons

    The latest senior management is more numbers driven than people driven

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a good balance between success in numbers and taking care of your people

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great First Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Computer Science Co-Op in Vicksburg, MS
    Current Employee - Computer Science Co-Op in Vicksburg, MS

    I have been working at Applied Research Associates as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    No bs co-op jobs
    Interesting and diverse work

    Cons

    I was pretty satisfied working for ARA.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good place to work. Great exposure to many fields and new ideas. Little career path development for young engineers.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Mechanical Engineer
    Current Employee - Senior Mechanical Engineer

    I have been working at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    You have the power to shape your career, your office, and create a local culture by bringing new ideas to the table. You can pursue the work you want to pursue so long as a customer is asking for it. You get a chance to work on a myriad of projects and meet experts in many different fields. The company is employee owned and provides a generous 401K and employee stock ownership program.

    Cons

    Salary compensation lags behind other engineering companies. Employee compensation and benefit structures are set up to reward marketing efforts (often not directly compensated for), not technical performance. There is little to no emphasis placed on career development which can take a toll on talented young engineers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop a plan to recruit and keep young engineers and scientists. Create mentoring programs for all new hires to ensure proper marketing development.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great place for person with initiative

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist/Engineer in Raleigh, NC
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist/Engineer in Raleigh, NC

    I have been working at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    As advertised, freedom to follow your passion. If you can find external customers and bring in work you will be appreciated and treated well. Company management does want to evolve and change and is open to suggestions. Company is employee owned, good benefits.

    Cons

    Unpredictability in work flow and large variations in culture from office to office.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Despite pretty good benefits need to work on a retention policy for top technical experts that can also sell work. ARA is more dependent on these individuals than most companies and their rewards should reflect this.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Ok Pay, fun place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - LAN Manager in Albuquerque, NM
    Former Employee - LAN Manager in Albuquerque, NM

    I worked at Applied Research Associates full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    This was, without a doubt, the most fun work environment I've had. The coworkers were talented and very friendly. The HR department was helpful every time I had a question regarding benefits, pay, etc. The benefits through BCBS were inexpensive and covered a lot more than I've gotten through other employers. The company highly encouraged their employees to obtain more certifications and continue their education. There was a lot of opportunity for IT staff to get more involved in all aspects of an IT department. Also, this was one of the few positions I've ever had where the IT department was treated with a sense of respect. That's surprisingly rare these days.

    Cons

    The pay left much to be desired and there wasn't much room for promotion or raises. When I left the company, it was because I got an offer to do the same work for almost $8 /hr more. If ARA would have been willing to match even half of that, I would have stayed in a heartbeat.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This was an amazing company to work for, with the exception of pay for your IT staff. If you can find a way to bring the pay for your folks up to par with other employers, you'll have a perfect combination.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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