Calspan
1.6 of 5 5 reviews
www.calspan.com Buffalo, NY 150 to 499 Employees

Calspan Reviews

Updated May 14, 2014

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1.6 5 reviews

                             

100% Approve of the CEO

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Louis H. Knotts

(1 ratings)

20% of employees recommend this company to a friend
5 Employee Reviews
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    Exciting projects but sub-par pay and lack of engineering excellence

    Software Engineer (Former Employee)
    Buffalo, NY

    ProsThe projects are extremely exciting, being either aerospace or other-transportation related. Small company allows for enriching and rewarding work soon out of college. Weekly hours are typically under 50 hours with flexibility of work-life balance.

    ConsBecause it is a small company without a business plan with expansion, there are fewer opportunities to grow your career than at other larger or more successful companies. Same is true for salary, I was able to immediately increase my salary almost 20% at my next employer. There is also a lack of engineering expertise - this was noted to me by employees who had worked at large defense contractors and not realized by me until I left for a major healthcare R&D organization.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    The work is great. The "Leadership" is far from it.

    Anonymous (Former Employee)

    ProsMost of the work that Calspan does is interesting for the technically minded person. There are few other places where you can be involved in cutting edge technology and testing like Calspan.

    ConsThe executive team has destroyed any sense of enjoyment at work. Other than the chosen few, employees are fearful of losing their jobs on a whim. The new GM has successfully created a vast divide between the workers and the upper management. Company cars and large bonuses are provided to the executives while pay and benefit reductions are handed out to the rest.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRealize that if no one is following you, you aren't leading.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    WAS a great place to work...

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe work was interesting. My supervisors were knowledgeable and genuine people (before they started firing them and laying them all off)

    ConsIn 2011 there was an awkward restructuring. By the time it had trickled down to us little people, it had destroyed the personal, comfortable atmosphere that made the company great.

    I would not discourage anyone from working here, but I would warn potential employees: Never assume that management considers you to be anything more than a commodity.

    I understand that the world of federal funding can be unpredictable, and that layoffs had to happen. The tactless manner in which so many dedicated employees in good standing were laid off was unconscionable.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEmpathy doesn't cost anything.
    Employees are humans with hopes, fears, and loved ones who love and depend on them (just like you!). I'm sure cold and objective makes for sound business sense, but it also degrades (or in your case, destroys) the employee motivation that made this such a great place in the first place.
    This leaves you with employees who have traded respect for mistrust, and replaced their dedication with the fear that they could be the next ones to go.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    If you love intimidation tactics and general terrorizing you'll love Calspan

    Crash Research (Former Employee)

    ProsIt's a paycheck. There's really not much more the can be said in a positive way about this company or my position

    ConsThe pay is low and the benefits are minimal and too regional in nature.
    My company was purchased by Calspan. My pay was reduced, my bonus pay was eliminated, my workload was increased but, as an hourly employee, I was not "allowed" overtime but job had to be finished on time no matter what. I did an investigatory job requiring me to be flexible but management was extremely rigid and every aspect of my work was micromanaged even after 10+ years of service of excellent quality.

          I was never given a review until a review was suddenly announced in February of 2012. The reviews were then rigged so that only the lowest paid employees had good ratings and, surprise surprise, only the lowest paid employees were kept when a mass layoff was done in March 2012 with only a couple hours of notice. It was later discovered that the company management knew months before the review process that there would be a layoff.

          My job was dependant on a 40 million dollar 5 year contract from the federal government that was cut in half less than a year after it's beginning. The company was a 50million dollar per year company prior to that, so much for their profitability. There were many signs prior to the contract cut that calspan arrogantly ignored the promised performance that got them the contract.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIt's hard to give this company's management advice as they are almost all new as of the last year or so and obviously have no idea how to manage this type of business. Very few of them even know what the employee's job duties even are.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Unless you're desperate, don't bother.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe industry that Calspan works in (aerospace and transportation safety/engineering) is interesting. There's a large wind tunnel, airplanes, vehicle crash tests, etc. Though if you're not involved in engineering, you probably won't encounter any of these much. The Niagara Falls airplane hanger location is new and very nice. The people at Niagara (not the Genesee St location) are really nice and the atmosphere there is pretty good. Benefits are basic and nothing special. Generally, the lower to mid level employees are pretty nice and good to work with.

    ConsMost of the company's employees, outside of the "executive team," are very demoralized. HR generally contributes this to a few disgruntled employees, but I'm really not exaggerating when I say almost all the regular employees there feel: overworked, treated poorly by upper management, are regularly in the dark about company management (company direction, decisions, etc), and almost always feel like they could be replaced/fired. The pay seems ok, but again, for how stressful it is to work there, it actually seems like it should be more.

    One of the biggest issues is that ever since the company laid-off nearly half of their staff in the mid-2000s, they brought in a new management team to make the company more profitable. This is understandable obviously, but the large disparity between the upper management and the employees continue to this day. The executives act like they run a billion dollar company, but never take advantage of the small-company feel they could use (since there are only about 200 employees total). As a result, the communication is very poor, people get laid off for minor offenses. The company is extremely frugal with even like an extra $50 or $100 here for equipment. However, the upper management enjoy all the paid for company perks they don't share with everyone below. As a result, many engineers experience the depressing reality that they can't get money to fund their work, while there does seem to be extra money laying around. The Niagara Falls hanger definitely seems to be the priority as the facilities, atmosphere, and funding appear to be better than the transportation testing department. Transportation engineers and assistant engineers consistently work 55 hour weeks due to the small staff and over demand (again, generated by the upper managements frugality).

    Bottom line: this company seems like a bank account for the owner and the execs. Take a job here if you really need one and start looking for an upgrade while you're working there.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSee above. Stop acting like you're the CEO of Lockheed Martin or some legitimate player in the engineering industry. You run a 200 employee company in Western New York. Get over yourselves.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Calspan reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Calspan CEO Louis H. Knotts. All 5 reviews posted anonymously by Calspan employees.