Working at Vulcan | Glassdoor

Vulcan Overview
Seattle, WA
501 to 1000 employees
Company - Private
$5 to $10 million (USD) per year
Vulcan Inc. is a nimble private company based in Seattle with a portfolio as diverse as the challenges of the universe. Driven by the interests and intuitions of founder Paul Allen, Vulcan invests in brain science and basketball, retail space and outer space, traditional ... Read more

Company Updates

  • A great example of how we support local solutions to some of the world's toughest challenges.

    Video - Kelp power: can seaweed fight ocean acidification?

    While the Great Elephant Census was a key part of philanthropist Paul G Allen's conservation efforts, his work through Vulcan Inc has sought to tackle many of the world's other tough environmental challenges.

  • A great example of how we leverage our network of Paul G. Allen organizations to explore new ideas and technologies.

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Vulcan Video

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Vulcan – Why Work For Us?

We're a nimble private company based in Seattle, Washington with a portfolio as diverse as the challenges of the universe. Driven by the interests, ideas and intuitions of founder Paul Allen, Vulcan invests in brain science and basketball, retail space and outer space, traditional libraries and AI-enhanced textbooks. At Vulcan, we strive to answer big questions asked by our founder, and by the world. If we can discover the mysteries of the brain, we can pave the way towards understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s. If we can change the economics of space launches, we can enhance space travel. If we can get the formula right for a new kind of downtown neighborhood, it becomes a guide for the innovation centers of tomorrow.

Despite the diversity of Vulcan’s initiatives and investments, our efforts are tethered to a simple principle; if it has the potential to do good, then we should do it. With a local focus and global reach, the Vulcan umbrella covers our work in philanthropic and capital investment, real estate and community development, sustainability and conservation, arts and music, space, technology, science research, and education, and uses unique delivery mediums including documentaries, social campaigns, open-source databases, legislative action and partnerships. As a company, Vulcan’s mission is to discover and develop smart solutions for some of the world’s toughest challenges.

People usually guess that our company was named after the extraterrestrial humanoid species from Star Trek, renowned for their logic and reason. However, our founders actually had something else in mind when they created Vulcan Inc.

Vulcan was the Roman god of fire. Tossed from the heavens as a child, he grew up as a strong-willed outsider and free thinker, indifferent to the whims of the gods. This independence fueled his approach as a smith and craftsman, helping him forge works that no one else thought were possible. When Paul Allen and Jody Allen first thought of creating a company whose mission was to find smart solutions for some of the world’s biggest challenges, the myth of Vulcan seemed fitting – and in 1986, Vulcan Inc. was formed.

With headquarters in Seattle, Washington, Vulcan today oversees and managers a broad compilation of the Allen family’s projects, investments and companies all over the world. We are that big umbrella company under which a host of signature entities fall under including Vulcan Real Estate, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Flying Heritage Collection and the Seattle Seahawks. These are just a few of the projects, initiatives and investments in the Vulcan universe. We are also constantly innovating in-house, serving as an incubator for fledgling inventions, ambitious global campaigns, and new philanthropic efforts. After all, it’s a big universe.

An idea is just an idea, unless you have people willing to follow it down every pathway, twisting and turning and running after it until it’s finally realized. Vulcan is full of seekers and explorers, those who are eager to ask the tough questions and dig in on the wide range of projects always in the works within our walls. Whether we are solving problems at the local or global level, we embrace hard work and don’t blink in the face of a challenge. We look for professionals who are innovative, agile, and able to perform at the highest level


Vulcan’s main office is located on the border of two of Seattle’s most vibrant, eclectic neighborhoods: Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square. Situated on the south end of downtown, Vulcan is within walking distance of CenturyLink Field, Safeco Field, and dozens of restaurants that serve cuisines from around the world. 

Seattle is a hilly town on the Puget Sound, ringed by islands, mountain ranges, forests, and our beautiful slumbering volcano, Mt. Rainier.

Rain? Yes, we do get quite a bit of it, but you may be surprised to find out we don't even rank among the top 10 rainiest cities in the U.S. In fact, Pensacola, Miami, and New Orleans receive more rain than Seattle. Those of us who live here are used to our share of overcast days, but we don’t let a few raindrops spoil a good time.

Blessed by geography, our state is famous for its recreational opportunities: skiing, hiking, rock-climbing, kayaking, sailing and more. For those who prefer more urban pursuits, there's a thriving arts culture here, too, with a renowned independent music scene, the nation's largest film festival, and world-class museums, theatre and dance companies. We're proud to say that Seattle is a city of book lovers, and our wealth of bookstores, libraries, readers and authors attest to that.

Boasting an entrepreneurial business climate and talented labor pool, the Puget Sound region has among the strongest economies in the United States. Anchored by tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, the city is one of the best places in the country to do business.

Vulcan Reviews

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Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf
Bill Hilf
4 Ratings
  • Helpful (1)

    "Fast-paced and rewarding"

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Vulcan full-time (More than a year)


    -Unique perks like Cinerama movie nights, themed happy hours, Mariners suite tickets, office lounges with games and snacks, massages and manicures.
    -Incredibly passionate and talented coworkers. Some of the smartest people I've ever met. They encourage you to be the best you can and the team camaraderie makes it fun to come to work.
    -A lot of new upper management but they are working hard to be more approachable and communicative than previous leaders. For example, they have started doing breakfast with the CEO where you can ask questions in a casual environment.
    -Exciting projects and philanthropy like ocean conservation, wildlife conservation, AI and cell research. You feel like all your work is actually making a difference.


    It's definitely a "work hard, play hard" environment which is not for everyone. Communication from the top down could still be improved.

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Vulcan Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview




  1. Helpful (2)  

    Senior Front End Developer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Seattle, WA
    No Offer
    Negative Experience


    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Vulcan (Seattle, WA) in January 2017.


    I hope this was just my bad luck. I was excited when I first learned about this job opportunity. I had two non-technical phone calls with recruiters, both calls were about a half hour late. They went fine other than the recruiters were not very technical.

    I learned from them that Vulcan has a strict no work from home policy and is quite secretive. I still don't understand why such a philanthropic company needs to be so tightlipped (very counterintuitive).

    I scheduled a technical interview that was to be phone plus computer. I signed an NDA. I set aside the asked for hour but this call was also a half an hour late. I offered to do as much as we could in the remaining half an hour, but the technical person wasn't up for this.

    After all of this I decided not to reschedule. There are many other opportunities in the sea.

    I hope your experience goes better than mine. I would recommend, though, if you start to experience red flags early in the process quit before you end up wasting lots of time.

    Interview Questions

    • Some questions about my past experience. Read above I had to drop out before a real technical interview could take place.   Answer Question
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Vulcan Awards & Accolades

  • Washington's Best Workplaces, Puget Sound Business Journal, 2016

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