Astronautics

  www.astronautics.com
  www.astronautics.com
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Astronautics Reviews

Updated September 16, 2014
Updated September 16, 2014
27 Reviews
2.6
27 Reviews
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Ronald E. Zelazo
16 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Projects are OK, but pay, work environment and security are terrible

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

    I have been working at Astronautics full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The projects are interesting, good opportunity for the kid fresh out of college to get some experience and then move on to bigger and better things.

    Cons

    Pay for engineers is at the bottom of the pay scale. Benefits, 401k match are the worst I've ever seen. Location, worst neighborhoods in Milwaukee and that's saying something. A person is 3X as likely to be a victim of crime in these neighborhoods.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For starters, get the company under one roof in a decent area with parking. Raise pay and the 401k match to be competitive or you're never going to be able to retain talent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great company to gain ENTRY LEVEL experience only. Stay for a bit and MOVE ON.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Milwaukee, WI

    I worked at Astronautics full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great work/life balance. Most folks arrive around 7 and leave 4 to 5.

    Security people, or should I call them rent a cops, are friendly but are old. Thank goodness they don't have weapons.

    Yeah the HQ is in a bad part of town but the rent a cops will guard your cars when they are awake and will shuttle people to the main gates if needed. Always make sure you have plenty of gas and leave before sundown or drive an armored platted vehicle. Seriously!

    Has a cafeteria but closes too early. There are 2/3 great meals every week.

    All my immediate managers (had 2) cared and wanted you to succeed. Very proactive folks but they could only do what they could unfortunately. Too much old school thinking with the higher ups.

    Most people are friendly and down to Earth except for the higher ups.

    Cons

    The pay is so-so. It isn't competitive to the industry at all nor to Milwaukee jobs in general. I left after accepting a 40% pay raise and much better benefits. I am thankful with the C++/Linux skills I learned at ASA though. It helped me get a much better job.

    The main OS is WindowsXP. Need I say more?????? Seriously.

    The computers given are slow. Better computers and two monitors makes everyone more productive.

    The escalator breaks all the time. I miss being a kid.

    The vending machine in the cafeteria always took my money.

    The IT staff is under staff. Do we really need to wait WEEKS to get something done? Come on think of all that engineering time being lost.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in tools and technology and take better care of the employees so they will feel appreciative and thus will do more. You need to spend money to make money (it all adds up).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Employees outside the born or married into "Family" are a necessary evil

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Milwaukee, WI

    I worked at Astronautics full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Hire recent grads
    Chance to work on LED avionics displays and learn about navigation
    Chance for a recent grad to work on a real time operating system
    You can use this place as a stepping stone, but don't make it your career. I made a lateral move to another company in the area and got about a 50% raise in base salary.

    Cons

    Horrible neighborhood. People have had cars broken into. People have been carjacked at gunpoint trying to leave the parking lots.
    Anyone in the company that is a VP of anything or better was either born into the position or married into it. They are all relatives of the founders Nate and Norma.
    Management is extremely cheap. Don't expect more than 2 weeks vacation until you are there 10+ years. They give sick days, but expect each one to be listed in your permanent file.
    Management will tell you that you are "family" and treat you like a child.
    They don't have full time employees use the time clock, but they will will have the babysitters (I mean security) write your license plate number down when you enter or leave the parking lot.
    They lay people off with no warning. Not even to the person's direct manager. They bring 20+ people into a conference room and just say "bye" and "here's how to apply for unemployment". I saw this happen to people with 10+ years with the company.
    Everything about the company is on a need-to-know basis. Even silly things like the company "sunshine meetings" are kept secret until you arrive one day and are ordered to the cafeteria to listen to the VPs babble.
    Don't expect raises to be meaningful.
    With so many government/DOD contracts, this company will be in trouble as the government keeps reducing military spending.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do some research on what competitive salaries/benefits are.
    Fire your HR staff and get someone that will treat employees with respect rather than a necessary evil to provide services.
    MOVE HQ. You started talking about it in about 2005 and still haven't done it. Again cheap much? Care about employee safety?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    If you absolutely need work experience, work here for a little while and then move on. Else, don't waste your time.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milwaukee, WI

    I worked at Astronautics

    Pros

    Good work experience
    Meet new contacts for networking for future jobs
    Some pay is better than no pay at all

    Cons

    The company is in a very bad neighborhood.
    The management is very cheap in every way.
    The company does not invest in its employees' professional development.
    The company constantly lays people off and offers no severance pay. (I was laid off after a couple years there. I moved on to a much better company, which worked out very well for me.)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Move your headquarters out of the dangerous neighborhood.
    Stop being so cheap.
    Invest in your employees. The better you treat them, the more productive they will be.
    Offer severance pay for the employees you let go. This will keep morale higher among the remaining employees.
    Reward the productive employees with recognition as well as monetary incentives.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Challenging.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milwaukee, WI

    I have been working at Astronautics

    Pros

    Challenging projects.
    The opportunity to work on leading edge avoinics technology.
    Salaries are competitive.
    Employee benefits are competitive.
    It is privately owned, meaning no dead weight is tolerated. It is my opinion that privately held companies are much more efficient at running a business.
    Employees may have laptops.
    Located in Milwaukee.

    Cons

    No organization is perfect, but here are some of the challenges:
    Project management often seems reactive instead of proactive.
    Communication between teams is poor or non existent.
    Assignments may change without notice.
    There is some inexperienced management on board.
    There is no direct employee appreciation from supervisors. The company from a top level does provide incentives, recognition and awards, but this is not coming from the supervisors. I wonder if the supervisors have any idea what the engineers go through and contribute to the company. It may be that the definition of supervisor in this company is a little different.
    Supervisors have no real say on many decisions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There's been some organizational changes that helped alleviate some of the problems but still needs some refining.
    Focus on cultivating talent, proactive management, improve communications, and simplify the process.
    Try to get experienced managers on board.
    This is easy for me to say but hey! I am not a manager, managers need to figure this out!

    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great Expectations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milwaukee, WI

    I have been working at Astronautics

    Pros

    If you work at Astronautics, you will work with latest equipment in Avionics. You will work with very talented people on challenging projects.

    Cons

    Expectation is 50 hours/week -- overtime is unpaid for permanent employees. The customers are very demanding. The deadlines are short. People are working hard. Only a handful of people really know the complex avionics system.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward experienced employees. Cut back on consultants who don't have enough time to get up to speed. Invest in developing company talent.

    No opinion of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Excellent Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milwaukee, WI

    I have been working at Astronautics

    Pros

    Your opinions are valued and heard in this mid-sized company. Open door policy allows you to sit down face to face with the President of the company. The founder of the company is also available for conversations. Company meetings share information with employees. Everyone says hi to each other in the hallways. Casual environment-everyone gets along well.

    Cons

    benefits are not as high as with larger companies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    grow employees-those who are passionate about doing a good job.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Bad company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Milwaukee, WI

    I have been working at Astronautics

    Pros

    A paycheck is better than starving.

    Cons

    Upper management are clueless, especially about how to manage medium to large-sized software projects. They apparently have no interest in finding out about industry-standard practices or how successful companies do it.

    Bad company culture. Outdated blue-collar management style, An unhealthy micro-management mentality pervades the whole company and apparently comes from the top down. If somethings broken they only know to just throw more rules and more micromanagement at it rather than how to actually fix it.

    Management repeatedly cause massive rework by continually messing with the development process and unnecessarily moving software parts between engineers, often right before a delivery is due. They always agree to very unrealistic delivery dates with the customer, and allow the customer to change their requirements whenever they want. Then to fix these mistakes and bail the company out they demand the software engineers work more than 10 extra hours of overtime per week for months on end, totally unpaid and unrewarded, not even with equivalent time off later. The worst is, management then go and make exactly the same stupid mistakes right over again.

    Upper management place no value in their non-managerial employees:

    The company refuse to consider any modern or innovative ways of working like telecommuting, just because of a paranoid and undeserved lack of trust in their employees.

    Cheapskate benefits package is uncompetitive with other companies offerings.

    The company has no real commitment to provide or even pay for training for staff to allow them to develop new skills useful to the company or even keep their existing professional skills current.

    There is little to no chance of real career progression unless you sit in the office 80 hours every week and act busy, regardless of how skilled or productive you actually are.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Really fix all the items above, not just talk or make token gestures.
    Completely overhaul the old-school mentality and stale corporate culture at ACA. Implement a mechanism to detect and move out ineffective managers in all departments and at all levels, especailly the highest.

    Instead of repeatedly trying and failing to invent a process from scratch, look at how successful software companies run large development projects and emulate them. Hint: consider other strategies that can also fit DO178 other than "waterfall", which always has been recognized as the most unrealistic/unworkable model by nearly all smart software companies.

    Treat employees with more respect. Learn why it is not ok to just flat out demand instead of ask people to work massive overtime, and learn why not giving anything tangible back when they do actually hurts the company more than it costs.

    Educate the president enough for him to realize why judging professional employees productivity just by noting whether their cars are in the car park at 7am is ridiculous.

    Fix the most dehumanizing and illogical company rules like the one where legitimately sick employees can be penalized on their annual review or even fired for taking 3+ single days sick just because they were less than 3 months apart.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Layoff City

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Milwaukee, WI

    I worked at Astronautics

    Pros

    You might get to do new things and work with interesting hardware.

    Cons

    The SW design process is hosed. They lay people off like there's no tomorrow and then have company meetings where they talk about how they are a 'family company'. The headquarters building is in an unsafe neighborhood and the A/C is insufficient for weeks at a time every year. A bullet went through the 3rd floor window one night and people would occasionally get robbed walking to lunch, that's how bad it is. The yearly bonus, retirement plan, and health savings plan are all mediocre at best.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think about more than just squeezing money out of the company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    OKAY!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Milwaukee, WI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Milwaukee, WI

    I have been working at Astronautics

    Pros

    Good learing experience with lots of technologies to study and gain experience. Very laid back not too much pressure on employees.

    Cons

    Very bad area to work in, and its been tough for the part several years, but hopefully things will get better.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Relocations is hufe factor in attracting new employees since a lot of people turn down positions once they see the area.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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