Physical Sciences

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  www.psicorp.com
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Physical Sciences Reviews

Updated July 2, 2014
Updated July 2, 2014
9 Reviews
3.4
9 Reviews
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B. D. Green
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great place to intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Engineering Co-Op  in  Andover, MA
    Current Employee - Engineering Co-Op in Andover, MA

    I have been working at Physical Sciences as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Everyone is friendly, there is a lot of (real) work to be done, the pay is good, there are tons of different projects to work on and you can focus on what you're interested in.

    Cons

    My specific supervisor is really great, but there could be a lack of direction depending on who you are working for. There are so many different projects it can get a bit hectic and you may have to tell people you don't have time to work on their stuff. And the work itself isn't the most exciting in the world.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great company for a young scientist to learn to develop and manage programs.

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

    I have been working at Physical Sciences full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Plenty of opportunity to work across a broad range of technologies and to learn new skills. Ph.D. scientists are encouraged to develop their own technical programs, usually based on their doctoral or postdoctoral work. Career advancement is achieved by winning significant numbers of contracts, hiring new staff, and eventually building a business area. The company is employee-owned so benefits are excellent. Most contracts are funded by the Federal government, many through the SBIR program. Management has significantly increased internal investment in promising technologies in recent years.

    Cons

    If government funding priorities change it may be necessary to reinvent yourself technically. It can be very difficult to transition technologies to commercial products.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Accelerate investment in commercialization activities for promising technologies.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Ph.D. physicist who worked at PSI for 4.5 years

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Principal Research Scientist  in  Andover, MA
    Former Employee - Principal Research Scientist in Andover, MA

    I worked at Physical Sciences full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    If you can write a research proposal that gets funded, you can work on it and hire people to help you. Bringing in new business and successfully completing research projects will predictably result in promotion-- it worked for me. This organization is about as close to a meritocracy as I have ever experienced (this statement includes academia). The diversity of early-stage research is inspiring and the staff are, with only a few exceptions, first-rate. Even though I don't work there anymore, I remain on excellent terms with former co-workers at PSI and returned to do some consulting work. For what it's worth, PSI was pivotal in transitioning my career from physics to electrical engineering as a result of the research opportunities I had while working there.

    Unlike my at my current company, gender bias is a non-issue at PSI. Although there is a dearth of women in senior technical roles (alas, the status quo at tech companies), it is not for lack of awareness of the issue by management or because the work environment is hostile to women. However, don't expect special treatment as a woman or a minority-- a true meritocracy is just that-- a level playing field. In short, PSI is what you make of it. It is definitely possible to spend your entire career there, although I chose not to.

    Cons

    Technology transfer from government-funded SBIR contracts to actual commercial products is not PSI's strong suit. Observations (did not apply to me personally): 1) Academic pedigree is perhaps weighted a bit too heavily in the hiring process. 2) Opportunities for advancement without a Ph.D. in science & engineering are somewhat limited.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The primary reason that I left the company is that I'm unconvinced that the business model (significant fraction of revenue from SBIR contracts) is viable in the long term. Additional efforts to win corporate R&D business might also help with commercialization effectiveness.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great company to work for to build a lot of skills in a short-time!

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

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

    Pros

    - You get to be the PI and program manager on government contracts.
    - You get to meet your sponsors and talk to them directly.
    - You get to craft your own little area of applied R&D.
    - If you don't want to work on a program, then don't. Period.
    - Flexible time. You get to work from home.
    - You get to work with the smartest people in the world. Your peers or managers do not feel insecure since they know that they are as good as you.
    - Great health care/dental benefits, 401K matching funds, stock options, discounted red sox tickets, discounted movie tickets, free drinks, free food sometimes, free aquarium and science center tickets, etc...
    - Pay is proportional to how much money you bring to the company (can be good or bad!)

    The first 4 bullet points is what distinguishes PSI from the rest of the world. In a large corporate or other companies, you need to be high up in the food chain to be able to do that. This is not the case at PSI. Even a fresh PhD holder can take a stab at writing proposals and get to do his/her own things.

    Cons

    - Not a lot of promotional opportunities. Unfortunately, if your group leader or area manager doesn't leave or retire, you can't be promoted! And because it's such a comfortable environment, the managers tend to stick around until they die. So prepare for the long haul.
    - If you don't win grants for a period of time, prepare yourself mentally and financially to get fired. This is not a joke. If you keep winning, then stay coz you'll be rewarded big time (big raise, CEO congratulating you, etc...). If you keep losing, consider other options fast before they let you go. You'll know when doom's day is coming.
    - Can be tiring. You are expected to do a lot of things on your own time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Younger staff are working for a couple of years and then leaving because there are no promotional opportunities. You folks spend time and resources training us for a couple of years to then realize that we're having better opportunities elsewhere.

    Because you've trained us so well, we are sought by your competitors. So my advice is for you to notice the brain drain and do something about it!!!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    Good place for summer internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Co-Op  in  Andover, MA
    Former Employee - Co-Op in Andover, MA

    I worked at Physical Sciences as an intern for more than a year

    Pros

    There are a plethora of interesting projects to work on from applied optics to biomedical to electrochemical. Projects turn over as they reach completion and new grants come in, so there are always new things to work on. As an intern I was able to do meaningful design work and felt like I was valued.

    Cons

    Sometimes PSI isn't the most organized place, and at times it isn't very clear what you're supposed to be doing, or when things are going to happen.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get people to communicate more. It felt a bit like everybody was off doing their own thing and not stepping out of their offices or labs very often to check in with other people working on the project. This leads to decreased communication and idea exchange, and can result in confusion or misunderstandings.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Challenging technical environment for self motivated research professionals

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Research Scientist  in  Andover, MA
    Current Employee - Principal Research Scientist in Andover, MA

    I have been working at Physical Sciences

    Pros

    Ability to pursue own research if funding available. Emphasis on technology transition dependent on government funding. Average salary but very good benefits and flexible work schedule. Good facilities. But expectation is that you will do a lot of background work on your own time.

    Cons

    Not a good place for someone looking for a 9-5 job. Advancement more keyed to winning proposals than program performance. Engineers play a secondary role to scientists but that is changing. Management often seems indecisive in resolving problems.

    Recommends
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good experience but not a place with much growth potential.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer  in  Andover, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in Andover, MA

    I have been working at Physical Sciences

    Pros

    They offer excellent benefits
    Flexible schedule and ability to take time off
    Exciting research environmenmt with a lot of innovative work

    Cons

    Not very much growth potential
    Management is disconnected from the actual work that goes on
    Pay is below average for most positions

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leadership is lacking and there is not much continuity within the company. Upper management is disconnected with the everyday operations in the labs.

    Doesn't Recommend
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Painful

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Research Scientist  in  Andover, MA
    Current Employee - Principal Research Scientist in Andover, MA

    I have been working at Physical Sciences

    Pros

    Decent salary and good benefits. Headquarters is near Boston, MA. You can get great experience managing programs and performing on government contracts as lead investigator. Dominated by engineers, so this is good if you are one.

    Cons

    The company is poorly managed by some people who have never taken business courses or worked elsewhere. Their business model is to obtain government grants, develop a technology, and license the IP. Their 'products' are very limited and specialized for government as the end-user. They have no interest in production for a commercial market through a pilot plant. High overhead rate for type and size of company. Not good for scientists. Consider them to be a perpetual start-up with increasing competition from university spin-offs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fire yourselves.

    Doesn't Recommend
  10.  

    Have a Ph.D. and a history of writing good proposals, you could do well.

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

    I have been working at Physical Sciences

    Pros

    Applied research can be interesting, both your own and that of others. If you are successful, you can be here forever. Many employees have been here for 20+ years.

    Also, there is good health insurance. Low cost chair massages on Thursdays.

    Cons

    Lots of pressure to write winning proposals to keep yourself (and your managers) billable. Staff without Ph.D.'s are generally not going to be promoted and must either stay as technical support forever or leave.

    There is no coordination between divisions, people cross compete with clients. Management would rather let the client decide that a proposal is worthless than tell an investigator to not write it. Many proposals and reports are written on your own time to get around billable hours limits.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Cut the deadweight employees (even if they have been here for 30 years), invest in infrastructure, streamline things in general. It's time to shift the model to something more modern.

    Doesn't Recommend

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