DAI (Redmond, WA)
4.0 of 5 15 reviews
www.denaliai.com Redmond, WA 150 to 499 Employees

DAI (Redmond, WA) Reviews in Bethesda, MD

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4.0 7 reviews

                             

67% Approve of the CEO

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Chris Gerhardt

(3 ratings)

71% of employees recommend this company to a friend
7 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    Great place for junior staff

    Senior Project Coordinator (Former Employee)
    Bethesda, MD

    Pros- People are happy to speak to younger staff who want to learn more about a specific area.
    - Junior staff are encouraged to travel when possible (e.g. to help start up or close down projects, which is where operations skills that junior staff have are most useful)
    - Ability to work at HQs in the DC area OR on projects overseas (the latter after internal networking)
    - DAI tries to be more efficient in order to get a bigger bang for clients'/donors' buck and created a Business Process Management unit to work on efficiency, which is rare in international development.

    Cons- It is a fairly large firm for the industry, which means there are bureaucratic issues, especially since project teams depend on cross-functional collaboration.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTurnover was high among Project Coordinators, partly because of the nature of the job (people tend to stay two years and either get promoted, leave DAI to get a field assignment with another organization, or go to grad school). When I left, there was an idea floating around of creating a clearer career path for PCs so that they saw there was room to grow -- either up into technical roles or into operational ones. If implemented, this could help PCs stay on longer.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Good People But Company Is Struggling To Find Its Way

    Senior Program Manager (Current Employee)
    Bethesda, MD

    ProsThe people are really nice to work with and they have good in-house technical knowledge. Benefits are average to above average. There are opportunities for growth due to the size of the organization. Improved management systems.

    ConsIt may be a product of success but growth has created a distance between Sr. management and the rest of the company as well as a disconnect between departments.

    There is constant competition for interesting work and people that have it tend to hoard. Jr. staff are undervalued and Sr. staff are overpaid. Too many chiefs syndrome but nobody is willing to budge. Stark divide between 'technical' and 'project management' areas.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCompany culture is to coddle senior project staff as long as they win new business even if it is toxic to the operations. This is often at the expense of supporting staff who often are treated as expendable.

    Transparency! It is very difficult to know what is really going on behind the scenes. Senior management seems disconnected from the rest of the company.

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

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    Good place to work if you're aggressive about your own development

    Project Coordinator (Former Employee)
    Bethesda, MD

    ProsMany many travel opportunities for very young (under 25) staff. I enjoyed working in international development in an office that was run like a real business. There are many opportunities for growth if you're the kind of person who aggressively seeks them out. Staff are very professional. I recommend DAI to most young people I meet who are looking to get into int'l development.

    ConsEmployees who are less aggressive/competitive get stuck in monotonous positions (like project coordinator) for years on end. No one will offer you a promotion; you have to aggressively work for it and know the right people. Lots of drama among junior staff when things get competitive (vying to cover projects in coveted locations; applying for promotion opps). USAID market is dwindling, so not sure about job security for the time being.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStaff meetings and retreats do little to improve staff morale and are mostly a waste of time that staff would prefer to spend working or with their families. Create more positions that don't involve frequent travel or excessive hours so that people with families and personal lives can be successful at DAI too.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    A very good experience

    Consultant (Current Employee)
    Bethesda, MD

    ProsProfessional people, helpful, always on time.

    ConsI have nothing bad to say about them.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Check your personal life at the door.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Bethesda, MD

    ProsTravel, great experience, good salary, fascinating work

    ConsYou aren't expected to have personal time outside of work. You are on call 24/7. Very few people at DAI seem to have a healthy home life and they all seem to be under 35 years old. I was the only person in my area that was married with children. I was made to feel guilty only working 60 hours a week.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWork-life balance is in order and this does not mean more staff retreats.

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

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    great place for young employees to cut their teeth

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Bethesda, MD

    ProsDAI is big enough that it is possible to start at a junior position and grow through a progression of assignments. Despite its size, the company is also very much based on relationships, which is good for people that are active networkers professionally and socially.

    ConsIt can be difficult to make the jump from a junior employee to a mid level employee, mostly due to the structure of the company over the past 30 years and the administrative role that junior staff generally play. Jumping from an administrative role to a technical, or knowledge-based role, can take leaving the company or taking a relatively undesirable field assignment.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFewer reorgs, more investment in junior staff and middle management.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    A learning experience

    Intern (Former Employee)
    Bethesda, MD

    ProsA company that truly cares about international development solutions.

    ConsVery competitive company and thus difficult to grow.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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