Unavco Reviews | Glassdoor

Unavco Reviews

Updated May 9, 2017
11 reviews

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3.0
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Meghan Miller
5 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "I worked at UNAVCO as a Geo-Launchpad intern over the summer of 2016 and I had a really great experience."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Geo-Launchpad Summer in Boulder, CO
    Former Intern - Geo-Launchpad Summer in Boulder, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Unavco as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing staff from field engineers to office professionals.
    Very supportive environment.
    They recycle and compost as much as possible.
    Very interesting field work.
    They are forward thinking and progressive in many ways.

    Cons

    There may be some internal tensions but I had no first hand experience with that. I think any office environment where a large group of people are working together daily will experience some struggles. This isn't unique to UNAVCO.

    Advice to Management

    You could strengthen your whole team by having small team building exercises similar to the exercises you had GLP do. They were very helpful.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "An engaging, positive experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Ece Specialist in Boulder, CO
    Current Employee - Ece Specialist in Boulder, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Unavco part-time

    Pros

    I was really surprised to see negative reviews for UNAVCO, but sometimes I think that's how these sites work. No one has an opinion until they've had a bad experience (which can happen to anyone, anywhere). I felt compelled to state my very positive experience, which I strongly believe matches the majority of my colleagues' experiences with UNAVCO.

    I work in the Education and Community Engagement (ECE) department part-time and have had a wonderful experience at UNAVCO. The department (and entire organization in general) are very team-oriented, which is hard to find in larger companies. For the most part, all of the directors and project managers across the board are friendly and engaging. Of course there are a few bad apples here and there, but that is to be expected out of any organization. The ECE director and staff work really well together and have common goals and directions on advancing UNAVCO's educational resources and support. Many of the staff in the building have been working for UNAVCO 5-10+ years which I think says a lot of about an organization.

    They also offer three different levels of internships (during the summer) and opportunities for early career professionals.

    There can be a downside to working for a non-profit in terms of funding, but this is a facility whose majority of funding is provided by the National Science Foundation with awards that last many years.

    Pros:
    Relaxed environment
    Friendly, intelligent staff
    A great president
    Opportunities for advancement
    Strong networking within the science community
    Excellent starting salaries
    Outstanding benefits - lots of PTO, health insurance, retirement plans, free EcoPass...etc
    A broad array of scientists, engineers, and professionals to learn from
    Located in one of the largest science/tech towns in the U.S.
    And how can I not add that this facility is located directly across the street from Avery Brewing!? One of the best in Colorado!

    Every day I work with people who do amazing things as part of major projects all over the world. It is easily the most rewarding organization I've ever worked for. I highly recommend watching the UNAVCO intro video for more information on the science UNAVCO supports.

    Cons

    A few 'catty' women, typical of any office environment, but manageable.

    Advice to Management

    Continue engaging your staff and creating rewarding experiences.

  3. Helpful (4)

    "Supporting cutting edge science in a small organization."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boulder, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boulder, CO

    Pros

    UNAVCO is very well respected by the science community. The science areas supported by UNAVCO are cutting edge and are growing. The environment is more academic then business, providing a more relaxed working environment. Jobs seem to be fairly stable since funding is in 5 year cycles. Benefits are very competitive, while compensation is a bit lower than similar types of science supported Government funded organizations. A good way stop in one's path toward a PhD.

    Cons

    External appearances are misleading. Management is old styled and non-supportive of current management practices (collaboration, transparency, inclusiveness, communication). With the new president some of these issues are being addressed; time will tell. The organization is fairly flat which also means career opportunities (promotions) are limited (so this is a positive and negative). HR is rudimentary and not always competent.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage and support collaboration, transparency, inclusiveness, and communication within the company and provide structure for the community and staff to get to know each other better.


  4. "Good place, but could improve on several fronts"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    For the most part, co-workers are excellent; knowledgeable, hard-working and dedicated to the company's mission. They are there for each other - caring and supportive co-worker community. Most have a positive attitude.
    Relaxed environment with flexible hours and approachable staff.
    Pleasant day-to-day environment.
    Very good benefits; good health care, good amount of paid time off, flexible hours (for most groups).
    Good location in Gunbarrel tech center.
    For motivated employees, opportunities to learn through formal avenues or from co-workers exist. Company is supportive of employee professional development, even if funding for development is very limited.
    Most employees are awarded a good amount of autonomy from their managers.
    Retention of staff in certain departments such as middle management and field engineering is high (>5 years).
    Manages successful internship programs for college students provide scientific experiences to underrepresented demographics in STEM.

    Cons

    Upper management does not have true formal management experience or education, except for on-the-job experience; they are flying by the seat of their pants, with varying results. Most have participated in external training, paid for by the company, but are later in their careers as managers, well after habits - good or bad - have formed.
    President is "outward looking" (her own words). Does not engage with lower level staff, despite being aware of staff wanting more interaction. Lack of engagement means she does not always appear to “go to bat” for lower-level employees.
    Poor top-down communication across company.
    Lack of transparency from President causes rumors to spread and generally builds an atmosphere of mistrust around President.
    Pay is not competitive for Boulder County - though benefits are very good, better than most companies.
    Increasing "corporate" environment throughout the years.
    Raises are minimal (between 1-3% company-wide average per year). Some years there are no raises.
    Flat funding from main funding source
    Little vertical mobility or promotion opportunity.
    Information across groups is not shared well - no adequate system in place for this. Groups often re-invent the wheel, or develop their own methods or systems independently from what others may be doing.
    Lack of proper centralized project management software or infrastructure; lots of different "islands" of systems or databases related to different aspects of projects.
    Retention of staff is poor in some areas such as HR and computer-based fields (software engineering, IT, etc.).
    Lack of diversity, even for Boulder.


  5. "Great company with some great people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Unavco as an intern

    Pros

    Company really cared for the interns, and had projects well organized before arriving. Most people were very interested in getting to know the interns. UNAVCO is located in Boulder, CO; one of the most beautiful places!

    Cons

    Typical office drama, some people with inflated egos. Some internships were somewhat 'left behind' compared to others (i.e. other interns were not invited to events with the other interns or not offered the same benefits like conference travel, etc.)


  6. "Everything Is Siloed"

    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
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Retirement matching and time off are generous. Likewise, the work schedule is pretty relaxed for a fair bit of the staff. This is, after all, an academic setting.

    The "why" behind the work is important and meaningful. The education outreach group does a great job making the earth sciences exciting, and are often around to remind you of this when you're having a humdrum day in the office (which is every day).

    A lot of people are very interesting here, even though the environment is oftentimes not conducive to you realizing that.

    Cons

    Actual medical benefits are, despite what people like to say, somewhere between barely helpful and absolutely terrible unless you fork over a substantial sum of money above and beyond the stipend you're given per month.

    Unfortunately, the culture in the office is a disaster. Mostly everyone operates with a siloed mindset and cross-group collaboration is smacked down because it's "not the way we do business here." The staff sadly perpetuates an environment where cliquish behavior is the norm; where the opinions of those with unrelated PhDs are held in much greater esteem than the opinions of people who have professional experience in the given department; and where personal attacks are standard, accepted practice. It's an astoundingly unprofessional environment touting itself as something quite opposite and it takes a toll on the morale of every single employee.

    Advice to Management

    The services UNAVCO provides are critical to scientists and various organizations but cannot be maintained long term with the present way the staff operates. Respect goes a long way in the workplace. If you hire someone to handle something you do not have expertise in, respect that they have knowledge you do not, and truly value their input. UNAVCO is a business, and the contributions of EVERY employee need to be valued and known or you will continue to see the attrition of your brightest minds and the lowest quality replacements coming in behind them. If there are truly common goals for the company then work together to achieve them! Not just on paper, but face to face with respect and positive attitudes.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Systems Administrator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Unavco full-time

    Pros

    Some excellent people at office and in the field.
    Interesting programmatic/research projects
    Excellent student outreach program
    Health-care benefits

    Cons

    Limited advancement opportunity
    Well below market compensation for salary
    At the time, resistant to upgrading to new and current datacenter technologies.
    Dependent upon grants for funding

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your people... they are your greatest resource.

  8. "The Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    It is an extremely rewarding career choice.

    Cons

    There is no upward mobility.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Ok but could be better."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Unavco full-time

    Pros

    Awesome mission with a great relaxed culture. Tons of funding.

    Cons

    Poor management and no clear career path to follow. Upper managers are not managers they just have seniority, so they really don't know how to make a company perform. The cost of living in Boulder is far too high for what Unavco pays most of its employees. Wasteful spending at times.

    Advice to Management

    Having a PHD in Science does not make you a good manager.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "The leadership tries, but is isolated, hierarchical, and critical."

    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

    I have been working at Unavco full-time

    Pros

    Location, benefits, good co-workers, flexibility.

    Cons

    The President does not manage upper managers effectively. UNAVCO has an increasingly disconnected senior management that lacks vision, values process over content, and looks down on and finds fault with staff. Company has a very high rate of vacancy, but this is seen as simply a retention problem and a matter of people not conforming. Culture has changed for the worse.