I worked at Applied Technologies Associates full-time
Cool technology with interesting challenges based on the industry we are working for (oil and gas drilling equipment). There were some really great people (less and less of them are left each day, it seems) who cared about what they were doing and wanted to help the company and the younger employees succeed.
After the death of the founder, new management was brought in and quickly changed the whole feel of the company. To be fair, some changes (even some that were hard to get used to) were certainly needed and perhaps long overdue. That said, there was a feeling that anything from the old days was somehow bad and needed to be done differently. New management had a vision for growth for the company, but added so many personnel in the corporate office, extensive management structures throughout the company, sales and marketing, HR, and HSE that the company had trouble dealing with the recent downturn in the oil and gas markets. Again being fair, some of this structure was long overdue, but the company feels more top heavy and much less efficient than it used to be. As is often the case, layoffs seem to hit the lower parts of the company hardest while protecting the majority of management for as long as possible. This time of growth and unfortunate downturn in the industry have been difficult, but I am hopeful that Applied Technologies (Scientific Drilling) some day will once again be a great place to work on the Central Coast.
Advice to Management
Value your people better and do your job to make their jobs more efficient. Make sure that different groups in the company all have a voice in decisions that affect them. Simply creating new forms or implementing processes rarely is the quick fix you expect. Also, value the history of the company and historical knowledge of the staff. People can have quirks that can make them challenging to work with, but they also have skills and experience that you benefit from. While you can't let people be difficult because they believe they are irreplaceable, it is equally bad to treat everyone like they are easy to replace and bring no value to their positions. Also, aside from "Safety", it really doesn't feel like you believe in your own core values. "Humanity" and "Integrity" in particular seem to be lacking.
Location, location, location. Central coast of California. Wine country, beaches, university (CalPoly SLO), Big Sur / highway 1. The work can be intellectually challenging and satisfying. Learn the game and you will have a job for a long time. Wages aren't bad for Paso Robles, but low for the oil and gas industry as a whole. ATA has the potential for world class engineering but is hamstrung by the owner/CEO. Senior management (President and below) are generally good. There can be opportunity for the right player.
Oppressive leadership by the very top level management (CEO). No appreciation for employees personal life. High stress. Not family friendly. Adversarial. More stick than carrot. Nepotism. Suspicion and distrust. The company is a dichotomy. Sole proprietorship, family owned. Tough to convince them to change or improve their management style or approach. No voice mail, no department budgets or costing, no training, goofy succession plan, home grown MRP system.
Advice to Management
Provide employee appreciation events. Promote personal and professional growth. Finance and support employee involvement (volunteering) within local community and schools. Invest in a real MRP/ERP system.
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