University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

  www.ucar.edu
  www.ucar.edu

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Reviews

Updated September 8, 2014
Updated September 8, 2014
11 Reviews
3.8
11 Reviews
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University Corporation for Atmospheric Research President Richard A. Anthes
Richard A. Anthes
4 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great Place to Work!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator in Boulder, CO
    Current Employee - Systems Administrator in Boulder, CO

    I have been working at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, including education benefits. Important mission!

    Cons

    Some of the people who work here don't seem to know how good they have it!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Amazing company!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Scientist II in Offutt AFB, NE
    Current Employee - Associate Scientist II in Offutt AFB, NE

    I have been working at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, 26 days of vacation per year, competitive salary.

    Cons

    Medical insurance coverage is not that great, difficult to advance, lots of term jobs.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Losing sight of their mission.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    Benefits are great, with lots of training opportunities and a mostly flexible schedule. Education benefits are pretty generous and, on the whole, the people are really great to work with.

    Cons

    Company culture has shifted and the focus is on management rather than true leadership. Pay scales in some areas are below market, raises are minimal and promotions are difficult to attain.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The organization structure has too many levels of middle management and the organization holds on to staff who fail to fulfill their responsibilities. If they went back to a true merit increase system, slimmed down management and let go of non-performers the company would be more efficient, be able save a lot of money and cut out a lot of unnecessary steps in administrative processes. The savings would allow them to be competitive in the market and reward performing employees appropriately.

    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Limited potential for professional growth and treated as second class citizen that lacks the "proper" level of education

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate Scientist in Boulder, CO
    Former Employee - Associate Scientist in Boulder, CO

    I worked at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    COMET offers the opportunity to mingle with professionals in a variety of settings; operational and research alike. The possibility is there to travel and present your work at professional meetings, seminars, and conferences.

    Cons

    The "O" in COMET stands for "operational", yet there are no members on staff with operational meteorological experience. They rely solely on subject matter experts in the field to edit, revise, and add to the product being created. In other words, too much theoretical and not enough practical. A product takes from six to nine months to complete--similar to writing a thesis--yet management shows little, if any recognition. And finally, despite an outward appearance of acceptance, COMET does not inwardly support members of the military reserve or veterans. Their ideal candidate is a post-doctoral fellow from a major educational institution; i.e., Pennsylvania State University.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Providing timely recognition for a job well done goes along way, especially if such recognition is spread amongst coworkers and peers.

    Doesn't Recommend
  6.  

    great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer III in Boulder, CO
    Former Employee - Software Engineer III in Boulder, CO

    I worked at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    Great work-life balance, interesting work, interesting people, beautiful location, great benefits especially for parents (generous family sick leave plan). Excellent 403b plan with TIAA-CREF with 5% contribution required matched by 10%; vested immediately. Low turnover.

    Cons

    Working in the basement and only seeing daylight at lunch. Low-turnover sometimes means fewer new ideas. Funding uncertainty is affecting morale.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue what you are doing. It's a great place to work.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    very satisfictory

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

    I have been working at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    flexible schedule, many career developing paths

    Cons

    Research field is somewhat narrow. Limited

    Recommends
  8.  

    Suggestion for improvement

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

    I have been working at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    Work that contributes to society. People who, for the most part, try to do the right thing. The ability to work relatively independently, depending on circumstances.

    Cons

    Stovepiping between functional groups. An over reliance, in some situations, on the supervisory structure as opposed to a more sophisticated approach that considers both supervisory and project management activities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The supervisors in some groups think their group is organized functionally when, in fact, the groups activities have a more matrixed structure. If project-managers were included in the decision-making processes that affect them, then the groups would be more efficient, productive, make less risky decisions, and have higher morale. The supervisors appear to have a blind-spot in this area and behave as if they were unconsciously protective of their power.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Good place to work in a good city

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Boulder, CO
    Former Employee - Summer Intern in Boulder, CO

    I worked at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    Decent pay, decent benefit, boulder is a really great city and the work schedule is very relaxed. Opportunity to do research as well as development.

    Cons

    Job prospect largely dependent on government grant which can be somewhat finicky sometimes, also the cafeteria is ridiculously expensive. High living expenses.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You should spend more money on supercomputing research, there is no sight of NCAR when it comes to top 500 listing. Without sufficient computing power, there'd be no research.

    Recommends
  10.  

    UCAR needs to institutionalize cross-divisional support

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

    I have been working at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    The employees are, in general, intelligent and dedicated. The work environment is (at least in my sector) relatively low in stress. The work is challenging and benefits humanity. Also, it's possible to become a master of all trades (at least in my sector) due to the amount of work that needs to be done and the paucity of bodies to do it.

    Cons

    Speaking as a software engineer, the organization has not institutionalized support for software engineering as much as it has for science (I suspect this is also true in other areas). For example, there are many instances of scientific "joint " (i.e., cross-divisional) appointments, which allow for cross-divisional communication and a concomitant increase in scientific productivity. Such institutionalized support is lacking in software engineering. To their credit, senior management is aware of this problem, but their attempts to fix it rely, for the most part, on extracurricular work by volunteers --- work that is neither compensated, nor, for the most part, valued by supervisors (with foreseeable results). As a result, there is little leveraging of software practices amongst the divisions, little synergy, and, consequently, lower productivity than what might otherwise occur.

    In a similar vein, one's supervisor is, for the most part, expected to be one's mentor. This can work well for those fortunate enough to have a knowledgeable supervisor whom one respects. There are cases, however, where the person being supervised is more technically knowledgeable than the supervisor --- with foreseeable results.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look into institutionalizing orthogonal structures for the support of things like software engineering (and by "institutionalizing", I don't mean volunteer committees). Besides working for supervisors on one or more projects, one should also have a more experienced professional in one's domain whose institutional responsibility is to help one become as good as one can be. In some cases, this person could also be one's supervisor; in other cases, not. Yes, a person wearing another hat will have less time to devote to their "official" duties, but the entire organization will benefit due to synergy, leveraging, and mentoring with a payback in productivity that will more than compensate for the "lost" time.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    National Center for Stewarding Ancient Technologies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Engineer III in Boulder, CO
    Former Employee - Software Engineer III in Boulder, CO

    I worked at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

    Pros

    The Mesa lab is absolutely spectacular, an architectural masterpiece nestled beneath the beauty of Green Mountain.
    The vacation time and 401k are exceptional.
    There are many interesting people to meet.

    Cons

    First, this place is the living definition of stale. The technologies refuse to advance. The institution shows brazen disregard for new computational technologies, and relies on an illogical defensive stance to justify its use of ancient technology. An entrenched workforce of technologists from the 1970's run the show, resulting in frustration for
    anyone who has worked anywhere else in the industry.
    Second, the place treats employees with very little respect. It is virtually impossible to secure anything other than a 1-3 year term position unless you are management, secretarial staff or food staff.
    Management arbitrarily freezes raises for the entire institution when the budget is tight, and raises are within very tight brackets, so that, effectively, the salary schedule is predetermined by your starting pay for the rest of your career. Attempts to reclassify or reinvent oneself is blocked by people who blatantly disregard common standards for privacy in internal hiring and who politic without regard for common ethic.
    Management has been recently bloated by expectations of growth, so now the management hierarchy is more fitting of a place with 10,000 employees, with layer after layer of hierarchy and hundreds of divisions with just a few employees each doing actual work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good luck with that one.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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