USRA Reviews | Glassdoor

USRA Reviews

Updated August 14, 2017
38 reviews

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3.2
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Jeffrey A. Isaacson, Ph.D.
12 Ratings

38 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Insufficiently challenging"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Scientist (Junior) in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Scientist (Junior) in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You have flexibility in working hours. You sometimes have the possibility for telecommute.

    Cons

    A relatively large number of managers. Managers make decisions and listen to each other only.Managers are paid to maintain their management positions. Employees are not involved in the way the place is managed. The way the tasks are distributed to the employees are not always appropriate. As an employee, you are often given tasks for which you are overqualified.

    No opportunities for professional growth and no challenging work.

    Not a family friendly place.

    Managers do screen and intercept employees personal emails.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Scientist, Mountain View, CA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Scientist in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Scientist in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Working closely with NASA.
    Flex working hours.

    Cons

    No opportunities for career advancement within the organization. No professional development. Management needs to better communicate with the employees instead of intercepting their emails.

  3. "Significant Misgivings"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working at NASA on an astronomy project is exciting.

    Cons

    The engineering culture is geared to checking the boxes rather than making the system work. Steep personal sacrifices are expected. The President has proposed cancelling the project. The Inspector General's report is very negative. Merit increases this year are minimal. The office mood is very cynical.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "A non-value added company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Scientist in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Scientist in San Jose, CA
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at USRA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Entry to the NASA workplace and the ability to wear a NASA t-shirt and say 'I work with NASA'. Get paid for doing a job you love.

    Cons

    This is NASA's temp agency. Works well if you are a university faculty who is looking for temporary employment at NASA. Otherwise, you are a temporary employee of a governmental organization. What you don't get are a) career growth opportunities, b) scheduled salary increases, c) substantial healthcare benefits, d) any recognition of your efforts. Want a real job? Go work for a real NASA contractor - ie a defense company. USRA takes their lead from NASA management. They have zero interest in your career. If you must work for USRA, do so for 1-2 years and a max of 3. Anything longer and you are on a career track to no where.

    Advice to Management

    Sorry to hear you couldn't make it in academics like other PhDs.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Going down hill"

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

    I have been working at USRA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are better than average.

    Cons

    Senior management has gone down hill. Minimal growth opportunity.

    Advice to Management

    Find a way to have career growth or watch the talent hemorrhage continue.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "No progress being made....HQ is falling apart."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 USRA full-time

    Pros

    USRA used to be a great place to work...now it's just a paycheck.

    Cons

    I have to disagree that progress is being made. It seems that HQ is gradually falling apart. It's a chaotic environment full of blaming and passive aggressive executives. It's really sad...and embarrassing.

    Advice to Management

    Time to clean house from the top down.


  7. Helpful (5)

    ""USRA HR+Management rented a whole building.... for 5 people in Mtn View""

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

    I worked at USRA full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Huh? I was hired by people under UARC, which was a UCSC + NASA thing. UCSC never got in the way of our day-to-day work, whereas USRA screens *personal emails* and makes ridiculous policy punishments. USRA taking over UARC projects has been a very big mistake and a big liability to the current people who transferred from UARC to USRA.

    What pros?

    Cons

    Aside from the management grossly over-estimating their importance to research, expect these people to monitor every facet of your social media, and even your personal emails (gmail) that go through the NASA wifi on whatever research center you're working on.

    I've discovered that research contracting has a lot of conflicts-of-interest, and I would not be surprised if USRA was sued or becomes in engulfed in litigation over the next year.

    I have to give this company *at least a 1 star rating*, even if USRA does not deserve it. I cannot give them a lower rating due to the sites features.

    USRA aren't scientists, they are SUITS. Stay far far way.

    Advice to Management

    Just admit that you're a bunch of patent trolls and a lobbying firm; a political organization, not a scientific one.

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Good exposure to NASA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Moffett Field, CA
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in Moffett Field, CA
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at USRA full-time

    Pros

    Decent benefits for health insurance and retirement
    Close exposure to NASA working environment and program management
    A relaxed academic work environment

    Cons

    Zero opportunity for career growth within the company
    NASA management can be extremely hostile
    No interaction with employees beyond your immediate contract

    Advice to Management

    Company 990's should be available on your web site.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "A body shop for NASA"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Scientist Engineer II in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Research Scientist Engineer II in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    If you want to work at a NASA Center this is probably a good way to do it. A better way is to apply directly for a civil service position. Spending time as a support services contractor is pretty much a dead-end position. The only real way to get ahead is to leave and join another contractor body shop.

    Cons

    As a contractor you are treated as part of the team when it's necessary and excluded on all other occasions. As a way of decreasing the governments commitment for retirement and health care benefits, the civil servant pool has been drastically reduced over the last 30 years. To make up for the shortfall in manpower, a number of bodyshop contracting organizations have been created. This company is one of them. When troubles in NASA rise the typical approaches to blame the contractors. If you're up for this by all means take a position here.

    These companies also serve as a lobbying arm for federal programs. Inherent conflict of interest is that they are lobbying for programs that they benefit from correctly.

    Advice to Management

    This assumes of course that they would even listen.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Heading in the right direction..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Columbia, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Columbia, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at USRA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Beautiful spacious office, nice little gym and a new CEO that will clear out the garbage

    Cons

    The upper management before Jeff was disorganized which made it difficult to support them.


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