Cascade Designs, Inc. Reviews | Glassdoor

Cascade Designs, Inc. Reviews

Updated February 7, 2017
21 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

2.4
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David Burroughs
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21 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Nice and friendly but glacier pace"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cascade Designs, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    My department is very laid back and interacting with supervisors is easy and friendly. There is a lot of flexibility to take time off. Even at short notice.

    Cons

    Some departments are under skilled and that can affect your work. If your department has to work with another and that other produces poor engineering drawings, or concepts, or products, whatever, then it is on you to fix it or deal with it. That happens a lot.

     The company is really laid back and no one is ambitious. Once you're hired on, expect to stay in the same job the entire time. Do not expect to get a raise or a change in responsibility. Some people are okay with that and they'll work there for 20+ years.

    The culture and values are there. They talk about them all the time at the company meetings. But no one follows them in the slightest.

    Advice to Management

    Be more ambitious! See the workers and reward them!


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Not Better Than Real Engineering"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Quality Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Quality Engineer in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cascade Designs, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    -Generally nice people who aren't too serious. Sometimes it's easy to forget this is supposed to be a workplace where people earn money to build a future for their families.
    -You can show up to work whenever and dress in shorts, sandals or wear baseball caps 100% of the time, even if you're a highly paid director or VP.
    -Good for engineers who are non-degreed, lack confidence or attended non-accredited regional universities.
    -They might give you a fancy title to keep you happy. Directors outnumber engineers (think about that for a second).

    Cons

    - This review is focused on engineering and the technical aspects of manufacturing. This is a well known company with well known brands. They've carved out a niche in the outdoor industry with MSR and Thermarest and are able to attract potential employees from around the area (and country). Do not be fooled. This company used to employee many highly talented engineers who develop the products and processes over 15 years ago. Those people are long gone and with every 5 year cycle or so, more information is lost with the constant churn. Over time, the only ones that are left are those coasting or are otherwise unemployable elsewhere. If this interests you and you want to coast through your career, this might be a fit for you.
    - This review may sound harsh, but remember, if you've gone to a top 100 engineering university, you should be focused on developing a wide range of skills, challenging yourself and learning from top-tier mentors. You can learn none of those things here. They simply want you to keep pushing the rock down the path instead of finding cheaper more innovative ways of doing business. Why? Because those in place are simply not skilled enough to reciprocate your curiosity. Be careful. If you show up here right out of school, you will be behind the 8-ball as most local employers don't take the experience here seriously. They all know MSR / Thermarest and what type of "laid" back manufacturing company it is. That doesn't look good on a resume. If you are coming here mid-career, just have a plan in place to exit when you need to.
    - Overall supplier quality is very poor here. They use a philosophy that "we're MSR / Thermarest. Doing business with us is such a privilege, that you will deliver us quality materials." This has turned off many long standing suppliers and turned away new ones.
    - Designs and processes are frozen in time 15+ years ago. The current design engineering / product development base lacks the ability and motivation to learn the products and improve them. Lean manufacturing is toss around and used to more developed under the old MSR owners, but many of those initiatives have been rolled back.
    - Most of the talented people (even those who were happy here) have left, realizing that there simply is no future here. Go on LinkedIN and do a search for Cascade Designs for ex-employees and see who used to work here. Top level people (President, VP's, Directors) in the most cush jobs leave when they realize it's a dead-end.
    - Morale might be better than a tier one aerospace supplier building switches for Boeing, but it's not better than prime contractor aerospace which offers far superior pay, opportunities for advancement, the opportunity to work with world-class mentors and with colleagues from the top universities in the country. Everybody has their level.
    - Pay is about $40k below market even though in certain positions who will be carrying a very heavy load.

    Advice to Management

    - Be honest when hiring. If you want to be a "laid back" company who doesn't want to change much or improve, be honest about that. Many people are ambitious, want to develop their skills, provide for their families at the level their education and experience allows them. Those people wouldn't fit at CDI. Period.


  3. "Better morale than working in Aerospace"

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

    I have been working at Cascade Designs, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    A collection of very talented and down to earth people work here.
    Flexible hours
    Average to above average health and 401k benefits
    Industry friends and family deals
    Family owned (I cannot stress how big of a deal this is after working for publicly traded companies over the last few years)
    Management seems to listen. If you can justify something is beneficial they will generally get out of your way or help you accomplish your goals.

    Cons

    Trying to be a profitable manufacturing company in Seattle is becoming more and more challenging. There is restructuring happening to try and combat this.

    Some lines have moved to Reno where wages and rent is cheaper. This hurt morale pretty bad and has caused many people to question what is headed there next. It seems clear the owners and management wants to keep as much in Seattle as possible. I believe for the foreseeable future we will have our headquarters, R&D and higher complexity manufacturing based in Seattle with lower cost easier to produce products moved to cheaper locations such as Reno.

    Advice to Management

    Lets clean things up and figure out where we are before we change directions again. There is a lot we can do to improve. I understand we can't get it all done overnight so its important we have a plan that allows us to focus and prioritize.

    Figure out how to get returns data to the BU's


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Riding into an uncertain future."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administration in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Administration in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cascade Designs, Inc. (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Autonomy in job development, I can bring my dog to work, most people are nice, execs give the appearance of availability.

    Cons

    Change is slow and not often managed or followed up on, you can get bullied if you don't get in with the right crowd and the long term employees are very unhappy and that is cause for concern.

    Advice to Management

    Good corporate culture and positive work morale comes from the top down. I feel that our leadership is competent for the goals that have been set but personal preference for people in jobs where they are clearly not suited or lack efficacy. There are too many people trying to run the company and everyone has their own agenda. But this isn't Europe and what worked over there clearly isn't working here. I used to be excited to come to work, now I don't know.


  6. "Just a job..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Machinist in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Machinist in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The people are great on personal level. Cascade has Lots of areas to experiment with, and new products are always being played with, you can count on having a new project to try. Attention to quality and detail is sometimes recognized. There is room for learning and growth, all in all you can do what ever you want if your willing to suck up and kiss butt of your higher ups

    Cons

    As a production employee you mean nothing your worthless and any one can replace you is the mindset your a number not a person. Profit sharing is a joke the company has been at a "loss" every quarter for a few years supposedly. One perk of the job is being low income so you can apply for benefits. There is no communication at all. Low pay and crappy cramped work areas It's dark cluttered and cramped unless you you have an office

    Advice to Management

    Pull your head out of the sand, with out low level nothings you'd have no company no name or product so have a little respect for the bottom floor if you want robots then automate the lines because we're people not machines and need to be treated that way


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Not Worth It"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cascade Designs, Inc. full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Can be a very relaxed job. Cascade Designs is a place where you can bike in around 9:45 shower get to their desks at 10:15 and leave promptly at 4 with a long lunch. If you can avoid getting between a VP and an end of month sales figure there is very little pressure. You can take a lot of vacation. You can get discounts from other outdoor companies but it pales in comparison to the pay cut you will have to take to work here.

    Cons

    -At most positions at Cascade Designs it is just a job, your day to day life won’t be made better by working on outdoor gear as compared to other companies it can actually be worse because you care about the outdoors and can be let down that much more.
    - After seeing the quality of products being shipped out one cannot truthfully take pride in the products made at Cascade Designs.
    -Cascades Designs have an extremely top heavy management structure 8+ VPS, even more directors. There is very little communication between the levels even though it is not a large company.
    -There is no investment in employees from training to opportunities for advancement. This includes an almost baffling lack of cross functional work / training between the different brands and groups.
    -The company has extremely low morale and a passive aggressive management style were “Consensus” is used to legitimize the lack of leadership at the company.
    -Low pay, mediocre benefits.

    Advice to Management

    -Spend some time and money improving the factory workers jobs. Clean the ThermaRest Factory, Properly cool/ventilate ridge rest in the summer, bring more on as full time instead of temps etc.… They are the hardest workers in the company and it’s not that expensive to improve their working environment.
     -There should be much better communication between lower level employees and management. The company isn’t that big that the VPs can’t know what is actually going on and make responsive decisions or at least enable others to do so.
    -Constantly reorganizing the company is just rearranging chairs on the titanic, it is not the lines on the org chart that are the problem it’s the people and incentives.

    Cascade Designs, Inc. Response

    Mar 3, 2016 – HR

    Cascade Designs is a very diverse company in terms of our workforce and the range of challenges we embrace to create a truly unique combination of product and manufacturing innovations, with quality ... More


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Sales"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Made in US. All outdoor industry people like the product line

    Cons

    Middle management is not connected to entry level

    Advice to Management

    promote people that are not engineers

    Cascade Designs, Inc. Response

    Mar 3, 2016 – HR

    As a product design and manufacturing company we traditionally have been engineer- dominated. That has advantages in terms of our demonstrated superior ability to create innovative products and to ... More


  9. "Great for those that love the outdoors"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cascade Designs, Inc. full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great community of smart, passionate employees connected by love of the outdoors

    Cons

    Too much structural change without letting past changes play out.

    Advice to Management

    Make a plan and see it through.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Not impressed. Wait for Tesla."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Assembler/Warehouse in Reno, NV
    Former Employee - Assembler/Warehouse in Reno, NV
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Outdoor industry seems like it might be fun.

    Cons

    This is a new employer here in Reno. Interviewed for a position. They don't seem to be ready to open their doors yet. They were offering very low pay which is surprising them coming from Seattle. It doesn't seem like they are trying to help people build long term futures. They are probably just trying to get some short term profits. I decided not to pursue the job and sill hold out for Tesla which is paying 250% more with the same experience.

    Advice to Management

    Don't know


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Cascade is being selfish in moving."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - DISGUSTED in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - DISGUSTED in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Cascade Designs, Inc. full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    this could be a great company. Just put people first. The rest will follow.

    Cons

    It is not a law that they pay their employees as little as possible.

    It is a choice.

    It is a choice made by senior managers and owners who want to keep the highest possible percentage of a company's wealth for themselves.

    It is, in other words, a selfish choice.

    It is a choice that reveals that, regardless of what they say about how much they value their employees, regardless of what euphemism they use to describe their employees ("associate," "partner," "representative," "team-member"), they, in fact, don't give a damn about their employees.

    These senior managers and owners, after all, are earning record profits while choosing to pay their employees so little in many cases that the employees have to live in poverty.

    Advice to Management

    If you have been at Cascade for more then five years, it's time to go. Your just in the way.

    Cascade Designs, Inc. Response

    Mar 3, 2016 – HR

    The decision to relocate a small percentage of positions from Seattle to Reno was a painful one and made in the long term interests of the company as a whole. As a result, in 2016 we already have ... More



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