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Niowave Reviews

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Bob Trezise
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  1. Helpful (5)

    "Roll The Dice; Do You Like Gambling?"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Designer in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Designer in Lansing, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Niowave full-time

    Pros

    I worked at Niowave for 2-1/2 years.

    -Potential to learn introductory skills in the manufacturing and engineering industry.
    -Insight on projects and meetings even if at a low level of employment.
    -Very interesting field to work with; can feel good getting publicity and attention from the media.
    -Small company so the potential to advance can happen, but it is done differently than at normal companies.
    -Engage in the entire processes of developing superconductive particle accelerators: including steps from research, design, fabrication, assembly, and all the way to testing.
    -You can say "I design superconductive particle accelerators; what do you do?"
    -If you can work in project management or work into management in a different area you have a potential to make a lot of money and help the business run.
    -Laid back environment with pretty casual dress code and rules.

    Cons

    -The entire business is ran by one man, even though it may no appear that way.
    -Business is ran like a "mom-and-pop" business, even though management will deny it.
    -There is absolutely no management structure and management runs linear in many areas which leads to terrible drama and problems with communication and authority.
    -Your day may be destroyed in one meeting depending on the mood of one individual.
    -Management promises a lot with bonuses, EICP, and potential raises, but it often falls short.
    -Micromanagement is extremely evident in this company, and none of the upper management will stand up against one man; it is always his way or the highway.
    -Although you get to work on complex projects, your ideas will often get shot down and you will be belittled. There is not a lot of opportunity to use your brain, and if you do, you are often punished and told you were "overstepping your boundaries".
    -Management will often target individuals and unfortunately this affects bonuses and reviews every year depending on their opinion of you.
    -The company has hardly any organizational skills. It is not run like a "large business" should. This leads to many problems and a lot of overtime and then twiddling your thumbs (still on overtime) when all the work is gone.
    -There is no Human Resources department and the handbook is extremely gray with it's detail. They do this so that they can alter the definitions often to what they want.
    -The benefits are absolutely terrible. There is a high deductible insurance plan, 401k with no matching (what's the point?), 15 PTO days (piled with sick days), life insurance, bonuses (still makes your take home often low), and EICP (employee incentive compensation plan).
    -When a winter storm hits in 2014 and the company loses power for two days, the company decides to take away two PTO days from all the employees to pay it back, and they also take away a PTO day every year for the day after Thanksgiving.
    -6 paid holidays (the lowest possible)
    -They do not care about your family or your personal life. There is no maternity or paternity leave and no leave of absence.
    -There is an extreme lack of communication between departments which causes most of the company to be on "mandatory" 45-55 hour work weeks without overtime pay (it is promised to be reimbursed from your bonuses).
    -Management likes to pick favorites and will even take away projects from individuals to put their favorites on them because they are "worried" they will not work well. This causes the Pygmalion effect on employees and does not give them a chance to prove themselves.
    -The salaries are often terrible and people's salaries do not correspond with their work or productivity. The only way to get to a decent salary without working there for a long time or going into management is to threaten to quit or tell them you are going to look elsewhere for a job. Some individuals are paid a lot though if they are in certain positions or received counter-offers. Majority of the company is extremely underpaid.
    -Should you decide to leave the company and professionally put in your two weeks (and tell your new employer you can't work for two weeks), a certain individual may agree to put in your two weeks and then have a bad day the following Monday and send someone to tell you that you are to be gone by the end of the week; then you have to call your new employer and hope that they can work you earlier or you lose a week of pay. During this time, the individual who wanted you to leave early will not talk you or present himself in your exit interview.

    Advice to Management

    -Setup a correct management structure and tell employees who their bosses are and who their bosses are, etc..
    -Demote managers if they cannot handle their tasks.
    -Demote/fire a manager if many people have left the company because of him/her.
    -Hire project engineers and manufacturing engineers to oversee the communication and flow between engineering, design, the shop, and assembly.
    -Develop employee development plans and give employees information on how they can earn more money and work their way up. Talk to them. Do not just say, "work hard and put in extra effort and you will be rewarded up to 50% of your salary!"
    -Get a Quality Assurance department. It will save more money in the long run.
    -Get rid of the bonuses and EICP. It does nothing but make you guys look worse.
    -In return of getting rid of those, pay a competitive salary to employees and try to keep them and treat them well.
    -Stop with all of the pointless extra hours. In all my time working there, there was one time for maybe two months where I agreed that overtime was necessary.
    -Hire a successful business man to help management get organized and get the turnover rate to stop being so high and actually listen to him and let him help.
    -Do not let emotion run the business; handle things professionally and take your time with calculating employees' pay when they leave so they don't find multiple mistakes and then get shorted on their last paycheck.
    -Be honest to your employees and setup regular management meetings to keep morale strong and understand what the problems in the company are; and then listen to them!
    -Match 401k or contribute a certain percentage; you will be able to do this after you get rid of bonuses and EICP.
    -Listen to what employees are saying, and have a human resources department that will help employees with problems and they can feel comfortable coming to them.
    -Pay people what they deserve; stop being so ridiculously cheap. If you could afford to give me a 30% raise when I wanted to leave for another company, and then try to counter-offer me again when I actually left, then why wasn't I getting paid that amount before? It is sad knowing what some employees make for the work they do there. Reward them and you will be rewarded more.
    -Stop lying to the media and trying to make everything sound so much better. Employees do not have an average salary of $60,000, and new employees will for sure not be hired in at that salary. It is embarrassing and terribly depressing to your employees when you tell the media that and they all know it isn't true.
    -Stop lying to the neighborhood and fix the building and make an incentive to actually be nice to them. You cannot just say there will always be problems.
    -Stop being so cheap on everything, including safety. Your employees are the company, not management. Remember that when you keep employees, even if you pay them more, you are saving money because they have knowledge and abilities and you do not have to retrain more.
    -Use common sense and learn from the mistakes of your past. Losing employees and having such a high turnover rate is not a good thing. It is not that the employees are "ungrateful", it is that the company sucks! There is obviously a problem and the company will never reach it's fullest potential if you do not try to start fixing the problems.
    -Please stop telling employees to lie on their time sheets and use ethics when contracting and dealing with businesses- especially the government.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Empty promises, lies and deceit for the betterment of the company. Employees are pawns with no value."

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

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

    Pros

    The work here is sometimes interesting. There is a lot of talk regarding exciting future ventures, unfortunately few pan out. Pretty relaxed environment, most coworkers are great people, only a few bad apples usually.

    Cons

    The cons of working for this company greatly outweigh the pros. Employees are taken for granted, treated as pawns in a giant game of chess.

    This company does not believe in following labor laws. Every employee who is hired with a salary is automatically considered a "Salaried Exempt" employee, regardless of the work they do or qualifications they hold. This means Niowave does not pay overtime wages to any employee, not even the janitors.

    Overtime is usually forced regardless of work load available and refusal to work extra hours often entails threats of termination. They do not care about your personal life at all, only about working you as much as they can.

    Bonuses/raises are promised three times a year; spring, summer and fall, depending upon performance (overtime put in) as well as favoritism. The promise of bonuses is essentially the same as "chasing a carrot on a stick". Rather than just tell the employees they can't afford bonuses or raises, the executives will tell employees that they will just get bigger raises/bonuses next time as long as they continue to work extra unpaid hours. It is all empty promises in order to get people to work extra hours for months on end.

    They claim education is important to them, yet do not allow time off at all for classes, even if the time would be made up. It is rare for them to allow an employee to do this.

    Advice to Management

    Try learning how to manage a company. Put more time and effort into showing your employees that they matter and you will stop losing employees left and right.

    I would suggest you stop promising bonuses and raises that you know won't happen. Try offering more immediate incentives for employees to work extra time, and you will have a happier work force.

    The CEO of the company is a very cocky, arrogant man. If he were to avoid communicating with employees all together, I believe employee morale would skyrocket. I do not believe this can happen, so perhaps taking a class or two on how to interact with people in the workplace would benefit you. I know this is your (fathers) company, but treating everyone like they are worthless idiots only hurts YOU when you lose them to better more appreciative companies.

    The work you do here is good and important, but your management needs an overhaul. Thanks for the experience, but I'm glad to be out of there.


  3. Helpful (4)

    "terrible company"

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

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

    Pros

    very high tech. could be a better place to work if management was better! poor cmuniction between management and worker.

    Cons

    bad ventilation and work condiction, and benfits.


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  5. Helpful (5)

    "Smoke and Mirrors"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Accelerator Technician in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Accelerator Technician in Lansing, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    I was at Niowave for 4.5 years. Friendly co-workers, great learning experience, good stepping stone for advancing to your next job.

    Cons

    All it is is a stepping stone. There is no room for advancement, poor pay to begin with, Management reluctantly listens to problems and does little, if anything, for solutions.

    -Health benefits consist of high deductible, catastrophic health plan ($2,500 for single, $5,000 for married) low coverage (no vision/dental/hearing.)

    -Poor working conditions in excessive heat, pleas for relief remain neglected.

    -Hazardous working conditions, improper safety precautions and ventilation for acid etching, excessive heat in acid lab, improper storage and non-existent removal of spent acid.

    -Bonuses and raises are promised, but not delivered, on the principle of "work harder and more frequently for extra pay," 45-60hr work weeks with no overtime pay and little compensation. Company is insistent on handing out shares instead of cash, much like Enron.

    -Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians. Micromanaging is a serious problem.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of your self proclaimed "production manager," and take value in your loyal employees. You will see a substantial boost in morale.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "House of Cards"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Lansing, MI
    Current Employee - Engineer in Lansing, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Niowave full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The small company atmosphere allows you to interact with a diverse set of people. If there was a hierarchy to climb it would seem quick due to the company's size.

    Cons

    No direction from senior management. Talks about growth and prosperity always fall short.
    - No vision or dental
    - 401k, no matching (what's the point?)
    - Work/life balance nonexistent

    Advice to Management

    Take your role more seriously and lead the company, as a whole, forward not into the ground. Instate competitive salaries and benefits to prevent talented employees from leaving.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "No trust, no growth, bad salary, bad benefits. Why work here? Huge employee turnover."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Mechanical Engineer in Lansing, MI
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    As a small business, there are opportunities to experience many different aspects of a business, from hiring to engineering to testing, to project management, etc.

    Cons

    As a small business, everything rests on the owner's mood and whim. He puts his business above everything and expects his employees to do the same. Multiple employees were discouraged to have surgeries, there was no support for life changes such as new babies, there is no FMLA, so an employee expecting a child had to save all of his vacation days. The company expects the employees to pay for everything. The company wants to be closed the day after thanksgiving, so it forces all the employees to take one of their "personal" days off. I once asked the owner why employees should want to work there, other than just to have a job. He had no answer.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your employees. Stop nickel and dime-ing them. Give them better benefits and competitive pay. If you can't keep employees, how can you grow a business?


  8. Helpful (7)

    "Run, don't walk, from this employer."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lansing, MI
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    There is a great variety to the work at Niowave. As a small company, there's almost always an opportunity to try something different. The work environment is casual dress, and there are recreational sports teams subsidized by the company.

    Cons

    This is a company based on micromanagement, a complete lack of trust in the staff, and misinformation. The staff are not treated like they are valued, never empowered, and never given real opportunity for growth. There is constant promise of grand bonuses and raises with overtime, but no follow-through. Catastrophic medical insurance only (high deductible), no vision, no dental, no 401K contributions or matching.

    Advice to Management

    Respect your staff and treat them well; you have great people - empower them. Don't make promises you never intend to deliver. Provide competitive salaries and benefits. Do those things, and your company may still realize its true potential.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "A growing company in an exciting field"

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

    Pros

    Niowave is a leader worldwide in a new market for superconducting accelerators--giving us the opportunity few in private industry have the chance to work on. We just delivered an upgrade for the Large Hadron Collider! The variety of work is exciting--no two days are the same, and we are experiencing growth in all areas--new opportunities, new hires, new facilities, and recent expanded pay & benefits. Being in a smaller company gives me the opportunity to take on many challenges. As I prove myself, I am also given more responsibilities.

    Cons

    Many of the complaints / negativity from last summer (2011) have been addressed by management in the past year. It was a tough time, but people are happier now. It seems to have improved the company & work environment greatly.

    Advice to Management

    Keep pushing the new accelerator opportunities and continue to grow. Continue to hear and address the concerns of the employees