WET Design

www.wetdesign.com
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WET Design Reviews

Updated March 2, 2015
Updated March 2, 2015
58 Reviews
3.8
58 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
WET Design CEO Mark Fuller
Mark Fuller
45 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The best working environment I ever seen (in 4 reviews)

  • Because of the creative environment, it can be exciting and interesting work (in 3 reviews)


Cons
  • Lack of communication and finger pointing when problems arise is rampant (in 2 reviews)

  • Like I mentioned, there is a set time limit for projects, which is completely understandable (in 2 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great place to work while enjoying!

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

    I have been working at WET Design full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great work place for innovation & creativity
    Nice & well designed facility
    Friendly & talented co-workers

    Cons

    Communication among other departments needed

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    If You Like Playing Musical Chairs, Living At Work and Always Worrying About Being Fired, This Place Is For You!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Engineer in Sun Valley, CA
    Former Employee - Product Engineer in Sun Valley, CA

    I worked at WET Design full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    1) Colleagues are generally great to work with and helpful
    2) Good technical experience
    3) Free classes such as Improv (though some classes, such as Sketching, are coerced)
    4) Campus-like workplace

    Cons

    I'll preface this section by saying that my purpose is to help prospectives come to a decision about whether or not to work at WET. At the time I was hired, HR told me the negative reviews on Glassdoor were just written by "disgruntled" employees who weren't a good fit for the company. I hope you take more heed in these reviews than I did.

    1) Financial Instability
    I came to WET because I was impressed with the campus and the state-of-the-art equipment they have. This company seemed extremely financially successful. Upon hire I found out that their "success" is much more analogous to a teenager with a new credit card. This company is in CONSTANT financial turmoil. There are rumors that they have been BAILED-OUT on numerous occasions by Wynn Resorts and even the families of current employees. Due to this turmoil, projects and R&D are constantly expedited just to bring in revenue. Project deadlines are set with little to no input from engineering, meaning there is never time to do proper prototyping of new designs. This leads me to my next point.

    2) No Work Life Balance
    As an engineer, you'll quickly find that documentation is at least 50% of your job at WET. Engineers will stay 'til odd hours of the night while coming in on weekends to finish the large and often underestimated amount of documentation required on each project release. Personally, I believe this is okay in moderation. But this happens on a continual basis. There is simply not enough time to get everything done and have a normal life. If the company was better financially managed this wouldn't be necessary. And it's not like we're curing cancer or going to Mars. We're building water fountains... excuse me "features".

    3) Common Workstations for Engineers
    In November 2014, product engineering management decided to take personal workstations away from all product engineers and replace them IPads and with limited use common workstations. As you might suspect, the IPad turned out to be useless when it comes to doing anything engineering related. So product engineers have been stuck fighting over workstations. Management did this in an already fast paced and high stress environment where it was nearly impossible to get work done within the allotted timeframe. Meanwhile, all other employees (designers, electrical and controls engineers, architects, management, etc.) retained their dedicated workstations.

    4) Constant Threat of Losing Your Job
    The turn-over rate from the time I was hired is over 60%!!! I came on board happy and eager to do some amazing work at WET. Within the first month I was there, four people were let go for either design mistakes or disagreeing with the CEO. I spent my remaining time with multiple projects on my shoulders, all the while petrified that if dates slipped or mistakes were made I would promptly be out of work.

    5) The CEO's Policies of High Turn-Over
    I have since heard that the CEO puts pressure on engineering managers to annually fire 10% of their workforce in order to create competition between engineers. First of all, we didn't know about this! Second, this is just plain AWFUL. I can understand how this might work on a sales team or if there were competing products within the company, but here we were ALL WORKING TOWARD THE SAME GOAL. Engineers within a team work best when they SUPPORT one another not try to outshine one another with the treat of being fired. Good luck keeping this company afloat with that kind of policy!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They say the best bosses hire people that are smarter than them. The CEO has done this. WET has the potential to be great. But, the CEO needs to get his ego out of the way, trust his employees and let them do their jobs!

    Also, he should SERIOUSLY stop angrily dropping F-bombs during internal meetings. It's unprofessional and makes people not want to be around him or do good work.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    Product Engineering Review – WET, a place of contemptible values and practices

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Product Engineer in Sun Valley, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Product Engineer in Sun Valley, CA

    I have been working at WET Design full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Your experience at WET is highly dependent on the department you join. Some of the non-engineering groups seem to have a very creative and fulfilling environment doing work that few companies can offer. The product engineering department (PD&E) is not one of those groups. Do not confuse this review for the project engineer position, which serves as something closer to a project manager.

    If you are interested in doing large, public water or fire features, WET is one of few companies engaged in these types of projects.

    Salary is often well above average if you negotiate well, but remember that health care benefits, 401k plan, and the vacation policy are worst in class, even accounting for their 2015 increases to dependent benefits.

    If you thrive on or enjoy navigating drama and politics, WET could be an interesting and entertaining option for your next career move.

    The high turnover ratio of engineers (over 50% while I have been here) and constant reorganization of the sub groups within engineering could provide an opportunity for mid-level and senior engineers seeking to transition into management.

    There are a large variety of projects that a junior engineer could quickly build up a resume on – but watch out! You will need to survive to capitalize on this.

    The inside offices and labs look very hip and seem well equipped. This is an entertainment company. It’s very seductive but ultimately it’s all just for show.

    Unusual classes (improv, origami, photography) are taught onsite for free, although time spent there is usually not considered part of your work day.

    Cons

    The simple synopsis is that there are fundamental flaws in how the company is operated and the accompanying toxic culture it has created. As WET is privately held, it is not accountable to any board of directors but rather to the whims of the single owner. Concepts are sold to customers with little engineering input for development schedule. Cash flow management is budgeted with razor thin timing. Any slip in schedule coupled with the unreasonable deadlines, and that puts massive pressure on shipping products to book revenue before they are ready or have been thoroughly tested. Last minute changes and micro managing by the owner worsens the problem, all the while he threatens to fire people with his official “bottom 10% engineers” annual turnover policy. Poor quality products have high infant mortality rates, putting engineering into constant fire fighting mode. Remedying products in the field puts further pressure on profit margins. Under threat of losing their jobs, cross department mangers have made finger pointing an established company value. Morale collapses, and voluntary exits of talented people increase the turn over ratio until company knowledge is undone. Rinse and repeat and you have the worst set of company culture and values that you could find anywhere.

    All of this stems from the single owner, Mark Fuller, who styles himself as the Steve Jobs of water feature design by mimicking the famous capricious behavior and eye for aesthetics while missing Job’s strategic vision and demand that aesthetics be coupled with excellent function and quality.

    At this point, HR likes to counter negative reviews by claiming that the employee either was “a bad cultural fit for our fast pace” or “disgruntled because they were let go”. Let me dismiss that claim right now and establish that this is a genuine, fact driven engineering review. I come from multiple fast paced industries, small and large companies, and know what good company culture and ethics are. I do not come from an aerospace background, whose engineers typically struggle to adapt to WET’s loosely structured project environment composed of weak design processes and light testing requirements. I was not let go and multiple mangers have made it clear that I won’t be.

    The cultural problems at WET begin right when you are recruited. HR was not very forthcoming to me about exactly the last time they were late on payroll, only referring to the 2008-2010 down turn. Nor were they up front about the lack of dependent health care coverage during the offer process. Many employees with families have found themselves getting a rude surprise one month in at the benefits enrollment meeting when they find out WET doesn’t subsidize the health care of dependents. There has been a recent change for 2015 to contribute 50% of dependent costs, but this is still well below industry standard. The bigger problem with this is that you have an HR department that hasn’t been forthcoming with a known problem. To their credit, they have recently gotten better with communicating this to recruits, not after complaints forced change, but after hiring managers were forcing the issue by informing potential hires ahead of time.

    Once you start working at WET, the structural problems with the company culture, organization, and business quickly become apparent.

    First it will seem minor. It’ll seem odd that as an engineer that you have to electronically punch in every day. Then it seems unusually inefficient that mechanical engineers are expected to share CAD workstations and use iPads for everything else, even writing e-mails and using Excel. Remember how everything looked cool and the open environment seemed so progressive when you interviewed? Now you realize that engineers are crowded together and that you don’t have a complete desk to yourself. I can’t believe I am writing this, but WET has made me pine for the days of when I had a cubicle in a beige, cube farm.

    When you start getting projects you will notice that they are consistently understaffed and so aggressively and inflexibly scheduled that the scope of the project must exclude thorough testing, quality, or some aspect of functionality.

    Senior engineers will start to observe that any reasonable schedule they give to complete a project is usually cut in half. That is because the schedule is driven by the contract ship dates and making cash flow. Any engineering input, while asked for during the scheduling process, is usually ignored. Most engineers have to put in long hours without respite. Dates are very difficult to make as engineers are often correcting field problems from other employees who no longer work there, which cuts into the scheduled development time. Worsening the problem is that the owner is famous for changing requirements or product aesthetics at the last minute without changing schedule. These means untested changes making it into the field. Worse, the last minute changes are almost never data or analytically driven. Worse yet is that the changes may occur without the knowledge of the responsible engineer.

    Historically (and currently), the senior management of engineering, whether the director or VP of engineering, has been powerless to refuse or significantly influence the owner’s whims. Once it becomes apparent that their jobs are dependent upon appeasing the owner, they either quit or become yes men. In fact most long-term executive managers at WET are basically yes men. This also creates a toxic culture of covering your butt and inter-departmental finger pointing instead of a healthy company value of creating solutions, not blame.

    Both the culture and the owner’s frequent firings of engineers, either from random spot firings or from his official policy of firing the bottom 10% engineers annually (also without warning), creates a massive turnover ratio amongst engineers and incredibly low morale. More engineers seem to quit than get fired, but either way it destroys the organizational memory. When something in the field has a problem, chances are no one will be around to explain the design to you.

    Some other highlights:

    The phrase doing something “The WET Way” is openly used as a term of derision.

    Current engineers have refered to the “Caveat Emptor” Glassdoor review as a completely accurate guide to the company.

    Even old review criticisms of the company seem to still be in play. All those old reviews can’t still be relevant, right? Wrong. I have seen examples of even the most outrageous claims:
    1. Managers hired to intimidate employees? Check
    2. Use of abusive language by said managers and even the owner of the company? Check (first time I had to break up a fight in the work place)
    3. Product shipped knowingly incomplete or defective for cash flow? Check
    4. Examples of incompetent senior exec’s and cronyism? Check
    5. Employees worried about making payroll? Check
    6. Drawings changed without knowledge of responsible engineer? Check.
    7. Challenging management with data driven engineering results in termination? Check.

    A former engineer (who quit) and I had a long discussion about review credibility. If a review is too negative, will it look like a disgruntled employee wrote it? Will the review be weighted lightly by the reader because the tone appears disgruntled? He chose to give two stars to WET while being as objective as possible. Although it risks not being able to warn engineers away from this place, I prefer to describe reality as it is and give WET one star.
    Look, if you are reading this review because you have concerns about accepting employment at WET – then you are the perfect candidate to turn down working here. Believe me, you’ll regret it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    These problems are consistent over time because the owner refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for the problems created by his policies. The managers and HR will tell you that they are trying to change things for the better, but history suggests that significant change is not possible.

    The executive management structure desperately needs to be changed. As owner of the company, Mark Fuller must accept accountability for the current state of affairs of WET, divorce himself from all operations, budgeting, and project scheduling of the company, and concentrate on were he adds value, selling a creative vision to clients.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Shiny on the outside, rotting on the inside. Graphic designers beware.

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

    I worked at WET Design full-time

    Pros

    • Compensation - They pay really well if they want you bad enough. Don't hesitate to negotiate for a higher salary.

    • Amazing coworkers - They have very talented and friendly staff. Everyone on my team was delightful and easy to work with.

    • Great employee perks - Fitness classes, art and mind classes, gym memberships. These are all really nice perks that you can actually use on a regular basis.

    • Work/life balance - I can only speak for my department ("branding"), but they have a chill workload. Lunch breaks are the norm. Almost everyone leaves at 6 everyday.

    • Tons of potential - The CEO is very open to progressive thinking and working. With the right attitude and process, this company COULD be one of the most innovative, exciting creative agencies in the country. If that potential was ever tapped, I think WET would do amazing things.

    Cons

    I wish I had better things to say, but I feel compelled to warn prospective graphic designers.

    • Not as cool as it looks - Don't be fooled by how awesome everything looks. Yes, they have a bunch of cool toys and some nice examples of work. But the tools are rarely used and there is almost no cool work to be done.

    • Terrible design work - As a graphic designer, most of your job will be to do things like input phone numbers on business card templates and make parking signs. You might also have to build Excel templates or Christmas card invites. This is a great job for a production designer or a junior designer trying to punch up a community college design portfolio. Not for ambitious, talented designers who have devoted years of their lives to developing innovative and high concept design experiences.

    • Terrible management - This is speaking specifically to the so-called "branding" department. Very catty management within the department. Work is not validated based on concept, execution, or function. Critique is almost exclusively based on feelings, not design expertise or actual value. All your work approval comes down to the mood of management on that particular day.

    • No goals, thus no way to measure success - Management has no vision or goals, so everything comes down to random requests with no time frame for completion. There is hardly ever any concrete criteria that your work will be judged against so it's impossible to have a rational, pragmatic conversation about what you're doing.

    • Serious lack of design expertise - Management has a very theoretical understanding of graphic design, with no actual understanding of the design process or tools. For instance, they have no understanding of UX/UI and how that is implemented within a web or app experience. All they want is to see pretty images and hear things that make them feel good. Not have you do actual work that allows you to create great results.

    • Maintaining the status quo is more important than growth and innovation - There is no interest within the department to improve anything. Management doesn't want anyone who asks questions or approaches problems with critical thinking. It's almost cult-ish how little room for questioning there is within the department. If you don't always agree that everything is always perfect, you will be shot down instantly.

    • No mentorship - As designer, you will be in charge of everything, but will have nobody above you who knows more than you. You also probably won't be working with other designers within the company, so there isn't a lot of room for collaboration with direct peers. Some people like that, but because WET generally recruits junior designers, this means that you won't learn from seasoned professionals like you would in a normal design studio or creative agency.

    • High turn over - There's a reason they're hiring and recruiting. They've had many designers come and go over a short period of time. Prospective employees take note.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This is an amazing company with so much potential. But that potential is being squandered by a reluctance to take a hard look at what you do, where you are, and where you're going.

    Management should be more forthcoming to the CEO. He's a smart guy and would greatly benefit from having a clear understanding of the projects, needs, and weaknesses within the company.

    I feel that WET is hiding behind past success and a pretty representation of what it wants to be, but isn't actually doing all the things they say the company stands for. When anyone comes in and tries to take it to the next level, they're met with hostility and excuses. I think management would be well served to consider the input of people who have genuine expertise that they're excited to share, instead of getting scared of things they don't want to hear.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Test Engineer Tech.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Test Engineer in Sun Valley, CA
    Current Employee - Test Engineer in Sun Valley, CA

    I have been working at WET Design

    Pros

    Challenges you on a constant basis and excellent support from your peers. The projects and the work environment is EXCELLENT!!! The hiring process was very smooth transition and treated you like royalty. Very happy to work for WET Design.

    Cons

    Needs a better communication system between departments. Health insurance is extremely costly for family members.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 9 people found this helpful  

    Caveat Emptor - Beware the Lure

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Engineer in Sun Valley, CA
    Former Employee - Product Engineer in Sun Valley, CA

    I worked at WET Design full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Physical Work Environment - The work environment is aesthetically pleasing and well laid out. You won't find a myriad of cubicles here. Office structure is very open and is a refreshing change to the dreary structure you'd find at most places.
    Compensation - The base salary seems to be higher than average but comes at a cost.

    Cons

    Benefits - Health insurance is really only geared towards yourself. If you want to add family members expect to pay a premium. There is no matched 401k or equivalent retirement. Contributions come solely from yourself. Vacation is minimal and difficult to take any days regardless due to constant pressure from unrealistic project timeframes.
    Workload - Expect long hours and weekends trying to complete projects and pick up the pieces of past failures which are never ending. Everything seems to happen last minute and is always an emergency. A big factor is high employee turnover which leaves few seasoned experts. The reinventing of the wheel is continuous and repeating past mistakes are often as a result.
    Minimal Growth - For the same reason as above, almost everyone is in the same boat experience wise. It is difficult to grow professionally when there is no heritage. Most peers have only one year experience. While there are many skilled employees it remains a challenge to grow from your peers when their talents are used on seemingly trivial tasks to rush development and implementation of products.
    Research and Development - Seemingly none. The approach generally consists of reverse engineering other products or designs to meet requirements and deadlines. This limits an engineering creativity since most products will be quickly envisioned by a designer and mocked up then dumped in your hands to create the production solution. The design and vision is sold to the customer before a solution exists and often times devoid of any input for engineering. Most companies allocate time and funds to research and development so that ideas can be advertised and implemented within before overselling oneself but not here. For engineering, the group always seems to be behind the eight ball and scrambles to make ground once a project is already promised. To make matters worse, you could be at the midnight hour with a design only to have a change directed by the owner because it isn't as he envisioned. The last minute changes will end up being required, often with little testing or qualification before they reach the field.
    Unrealistic Time Frames - Projects are sold along with set time frames to delivery. This is expected at most places but here it seems that schedules are crafted without engineering input and thought into what is realistic. The Pyramids were not built in a month. As such. you get what you pay for, whether it's time or money. Expect products to reflect that.
    High Turnover Rate - Expectations are high and you have a short time to prove yourself. Hence Caveat Emptor. You may be paid significantly more than your last job but as such you are expected make miracles happen with no room for error. Even if you inherit a poorly designed product if you fail to meet delivery schedule or have failures in the field than you better have a job lines up because you will be let go. Beware leaving a job that you liked simply because you thought you could get a higher pay and prove yourself here. Many people did the same and are now unemployed. People will disappear and won't know why except "they weren't a good fit" or some other ambiguous explanation. The business model also does not lend well to retention so even if you are exceptional, if there is a lull in revenue, expect to be let go. This is across departments which is especially challenging since you often have to interface with purchasing, production, manufacturing, etc. Expect to babysit many aspects that would normally be seamless elsewhere. It is difficult and time consuming to constantly bring production personnel up to speed when they have never worked with comparable products and they will get changed out constantly.
    Finances - The company always seems to be flirting with collapse. Paper paychecks and delays in payroll are not uncommon. Again, the business model requires a steady cash flow in with little buffer to prevent this.
    Perception Trumps Functionality - Many common engineering practices are thrown out in the name of image.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow the departments to run under their selected directors without interference. Generally they are skilled and capable but cannot work effectively if handed down edicts that compromise their effectiveness. Involve engineering up front on critical decisions which include project time frame.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Life changing company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Operations in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Operations in Burbank, CA

    I worked at WET Design full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Team work is the only way this company operates. Lean methods with innovative ideas and designs

    Cons

    The culture is unique until the light goes on. Then you can not drink enough of it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    BIC talent comes from many walks of life. Flexibility will raise the bar even higher

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    The Worst Job of My Career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sun Valley, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Sun Valley, CA

    I worked at WET Design full-time

    Pros

    The only reason to work here is if you absolutely cannot find a job anywhere else.

    Cons

    The owner is an arrogant, dishonest individual who will not even look you in the eye when he speaks to you.
    The company absolutely refuses to pay their supply base in a timely fashion (or sometimes at all). The culture reminds one of an odd cult with strange priorities (The first team anyone?.....a shop floor that had better look a certain way but is utterly not designed for function.....memos written in their own cultish language / grammar...17 people at two tables in a single room with no partitions trying to conduct business all at once......).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Truly a waste of words.

    Doesn't Recommend
  10.  

    An Outstanding Opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Illustrator in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Illustrator in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at WET Design full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    There is no other company that I know of that has such integrated and cohesive teams able to dish out quality work within a set time limit. They hire you for what you can do best, and they put these unique skills to use. Often times, they will want to here input based on your specialty and have this input planted firmly into the project. It does not seem like a job, more like an environment meant to challenge your skill and use it to create something beautiful. What you put forward has lasting effects and the results are amazing.

    Cons

    Like I mentioned, there is a set time limit for projects, which is completely understandable. I see this more as a helpful push than a con because it leaves less time for procrastination.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Interim Controller

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Interim Controller in Universal City, CA
    Former Contractor - Interim Controller in Universal City, CA

    I worked at WET Design as a contractor (less than a year)

    Pros

    Very creative people designing exquisite water features. Much of the mechanical features of the systems were designed in-house. Very enjoyable to work with such talented people.

    Cons

    Because most of the systems were very close to being one-off designs requiring many hours of development and design cash flow was a recurring issue.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    With the exception of the cash flow problem I have none. I felt that accounting was at the lower end of the spectrum and design and engineering was the main event. It was the art of the design and fabrication that propelled the company.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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