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Louis H. Knotts
1 person found this helpful
I worked at Calspan full-time
Pros – The work was interesting. My supervisors were knowledgeable and genuine people (before they started firing them and laying them all off)
Cons – In 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 Management – Empathy 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
2012-11-29 15:55 PST
1 person found this helpful
I worked at Calspan full-time for more than 10 years
Pros – It's a paycheck. There's really not much more the can be said in a positive way about this company or my position
Cons – The 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 Management – It'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.
2012-06-03 06:54 PDT
1 person found this helpful
I worked at Calspan
Pros – The 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.
Cons – Most 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 Management – See 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
2012-05-16 16:52 PDT
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