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Argon ST Reviews

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3.1
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Argon ST CEO Terry L. Collins
Terry L. Collins
2 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting work exists, indifferent management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer IV in Fairfax, VA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer IV in Fairfax, VA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Argon ST full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Good people putting in good work
    - Good benefits
    - For the most part, runs fairly efficiently

    Cons

    - Management is at odds with where the market is going and bringing in good work.
    - Seems to be on the fringe of technologies with little momentum building.
    - Core product line is arcane and inefficient that only a few old timers has a full grasp on.


  2. "Good people, but lack of vision"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Manager
    Current Employee - Program Manager
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Argon ST full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Stable employer, great staff, excellent benefits, good pay. Good career opportunity with parent company, Boeing.

    Cons

    After acquisition by Boeing, Argon is struggling with loss of visionary leaders and its role in the defense market. Boeing flow-downs have affected Argon's small-business fluidity as well as growth opportunities within Argon. Employees are frustrated with constantly changing management goals and processes, leading to a loss of many good engineers and project managers.

    Advice to Management

    Either roll the company into Boeing or sell us off. Half in/half out isn't working.

  3. "electronic engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - ELECTROPHYSICS Engineer/SCIE in Ventura, CA
    Former Employee - ELECTROPHYSICS Engineer/SCIE in Ventura, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Argon ST (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Enjoyed working with new and interesting projects, from ground based emitters to airborne pod
    systems. Did the system interfacing and power distribution of the systems and test sets. Worked the engineering, the Drafting and even had a chance to do hands on wiring while mentoring the junior techs.

    Cons

    When Boeing bought the company we were a small one of company expected to use the guidelines of a large corporation and all the necessary rules and regulations set forth by Boeing and the Government.

    Advice to Management

    Need management to be more straightforward with the employes and plan ahead, i.e. more direct ;meetings and contact with the engineering department, too much attention to administration and not enough to engineering. Project ran out of money due to bad decisions by management in their endevour to protect their staff.


  4. "culture at Argon ST/Boeing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Fairfax, VA
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Fairfax, VA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Management was receptive to out-of-the-box solutions to engineering challenges.

    Very diverse talent throughout the company.

    Compensation was industry-competitive.

    When I first started, there was a $2000 allowance for health-related expenses. Free money, and for good use.

    Cons

    Projects would suddenly end for no apparent reason, or at least no reason that was fully shared with the responsible engineer(s). In cases like that, it was a mad scramble to find charge numbers. Charging time to overhead was a big no-no, but when you have nothing to work on, what can you do?

    No clear vision for certain departments. Management sometimes unwilling to make capital investments like tools, fabrication machines, and other items that would make our work more efficient.

    Not a lot of opportunity to move up the ladder.

    Advice to Management

    Spend money where it makes sense.

    Try to help find work for your charges. Sometimes you're just going to have to take a hit to your overhead numbers in order to keep good people from leaving.


  5. "Amazingly smart engineers, Great place to test and challenge yourself"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Systems Engineer
    Former Employee - Systems Engineer
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Argon ST full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I worked here before Argon ST was acquired by Boeing and it was a great place to work. Company policies and benefits were very fair to employees. I felt I had the freedom to new develop ideas and bring them forward in an environment where leadership would listen and consider them.

    Cons

    The company was acquired by Boeing in 2012, so a lot of the good company benefits and culture began to change as parts of the company were absorbed into the Boeing structure.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "On the slide"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Fairfax, VA
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Argon ST full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Argon has some very interesting work and a group of very talented engineers - as well as some really nice people. This was a wonderful and innovative place to work before the company went public and the founders left. The acquisition by Boeing has not helped the atmosphere, but it's probably kept the doors open. In the Fairfax location, most offices have windows. But depending on your job, you may spend most of your time in a windowless lab. Nearby there are many options for lunch or run errands. But like most of Northern Virginia, the traffic is difficult.

    Cons

    Argon is struggling. They're having difficulty maintaining their current size - there have been quite a few layoffs recently. I'm not sure if the problem is the economy, the defense budget cuts, local management or Boeing corporate management, but I see other companies doing much better.

    Advice to Management

    I recommend that management focusing more on new product development and updating their software tools sets and methodologies. They seem to be coasting off the work from the early 2000s. Furthermore, they need to invest more in R&D and in expanding their customer base. I understand that integration jobs have higher margins, but today's fielded system becomes tomorrows relic. You need to keep your technology pipeline full.


  7. "Real Argon Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Argon ST full-time

    Pros

    I enjoy the option to work a 5/40 or 9/80 schedule.

    Cons

    Now that Boeing has taken over, the morale has gone down. It doesn't help that there are quartly lay offs happening to Argon employees.

  8. "Was great starter place back in the day"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Argon ST full-time

    Pros

    Worked with some amazing people. This was a great place to start at right out of college. I really feel I got where I am today because this company enabled me to grow. The domain and type of work was interesting and I got to work alot of types of projects over the years. The benefits (401k and medical insurance in particular) under Boeing are hard to beat.

    Cons

    I think the glory days of this company are over. There is a lack of work coming due to many factors including government cutbacks on defense but also due to poor business decisions of not growing to other areas and alienation of some existing customers. There are several old timer engineers who have been promoted to roles such as management but lack in the necessary soft skills such as managing employees, customer relations and business development. Also, any efforts to raise these issues is ignored and suppressed due to the some of the managers and engineers focus on only protecting their inner circle of people while excluding others. With this behavior a hostile environment is created where anybody who is not in this tiny circle is not rewarded for their work, is micromanaged and assassinated during technical reviews, gets bad performance reviews (note that I haven't gotten the bad reviews myself but many did simply by not being in the circle), is not allowed to provide any technical input, and is ultimately excluded from future projects with the hope of getting pushed out. Because of this there is serious attrition where a lot of experienced talented people are leaving or getting laid off while being replaced with new grads who also face a tough environment as they are expected to "fit" into this culture of tribalism. Additionally the technology used for software development is quite backwards by today's standards (even government standards), rigidly controlled by the tiny circle, and others are given very limited if any opportunity to update it.

    Advice to Management

    Promote up experienced managers who have the necessary soft skills, be open about updating to newer technologies, diversify client base, develop strategy to handle lulls as opposed to simply laying off any people not in the inner circle.


  9. "Defense contractor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Staff in Fairfax, VA
    Former Employee - Technical Staff in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Argon ST full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    9/80 work schedule
    Flex work hours

    Cons

    Indifferent middle management
    Middle management politics
    Uncertain outlook

    Advice to Management

    Good people leave - why?


  10. "Fascinating work, some great people, but generally a dysfunctional company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Argon ST full-time

    Pros

    Challenging and fascinating projects. Some very smart people work here. This is a good place for a first job if you are a college intern or a recent graduate of the right school, such as MIT, VTU, RIT. Boeing (the parent company) benefits are good.

    Cons

    Argon ST does not have enough customers to weather dry spells without layoffs.

    The archaic, heavy-weight software development process (recently re-branded as "agile" with very few changes) is broken and often used as a means of controlling people more than quality.

    Some long-timers only share domain knowledge with those that they like that come from the right schools, which is a problem in light of the brain drain (see below). The vision, experience and knowledge of experienced engineers that come from other companies is generally not respected. Most of them and many of the best engineers have left Argon ST over the past few years. Hiring now is almost exclusively limited to college graduates.

    The CM and build tools are a disaster and efforts to address these issues appear to be going in an even worse direction.

    Some slackers stay on year after year and are taken care of very well - seemingly at the expense of others who work *very* hard but are not well-rewarded.

    Boeing is forcing some necessary changes but a lack of vision and inertia in the old guard Argon ST culture have made these changes far more painful than they need to be.

    Advice to Management

    Turning electrical and software engineers into managers rarely works out well. Hire people with proven management skills and give them the authority make decisions and execute them.

    Employees follow your example. Show respect for customers and employees - even when they are not present.

    Recognize that your "resources" are people with families and treat them accordingly.


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