Lay-up Technician (Former Employee) – Grand Forks, ND – April 26, 2016
Shift starts early morning, coworkers are helpful, safety is important, if you meet quota work week is 4 days instead of 5. Wage is low, wasn't there long enough to use benefits. Listen to music and chat with coworkers while completing tasks. Plenty of breaks and group exercise.
Relaxed job, management cares about safety, start early get off early
Cirrus is a good place to work as you have a lot of freedom to design new aircraft parts. The work schedule is very lenient and family oriented. Full time personnel have the capability to get their pilot's license with the flying club which is great benefit and you will be flying a $800K aircraft!!!
Subpar People and subpar job satisfaction, but still a good company to launch your career at
Experimental (Current Employee) – Duluth, MN – March 6, 2015
I can safely say Cirrus has a very long way to go to become an employer of choice. I will start with overall company issues then breakdown some ones for general areas.
Overall: The majority of the "old guard" is very resistant to process improvement, and afraid of new, young, dedicated employees to the point they will do all they can to keep them from advancing, or having their voice heard. This of course gives very little room for advancement. If you notice a major mistake they have been making for years and bring it up to your supervisor (usually the one that made that mistake for years) you can basically guarantee you won't get an opportunity to climb the ladder. I can not count the amount of times a week I hear "I don't care if it is wrong/inefficient/wasteful/not per our approved process we have been doing it this way for a long time and it seems to work fine. The pay is extremely below industry average and below regional average. You get very limited vacation time. 40 hours a year for the first two years then slow small jumps till at 15 years you max out at 90 hours a year. Very few people in the company have a passion for aviation. Lots and lots of fighting between departments on who is the worst/most incompetent/at fault with no one wanting to take responsibility and fix the issue. Work life balance very limited. Most of the "jet" program employees worked 50 hour minimum weeks for a year and a half. Very toxic corporate culture that encourages unprofessionalism and arguing. Owned by a parent company that makes long term employment not a sure bet.
Engineering: Typicallymore... inexperienced engineers are hired right out of school due to their willingness to accept the subpar pay. Of course with young talent lots and lots of issues and errors arise as they are still learning. There is no process in place to correct and catch these errors such as major drawing errors and they trickle down the line causing more and more waste ($$$) than if they were caught before the drawing was released. Seeing that the powers that be figured the proper solution was to throw more inexperienced engineers at the problem. This of course just multiplied the waste and causes frustration and issues to every department that has to deal with what they worked on.
Quality Assurance: Unreliable and often improper training. This is mostly due to the "old guard" and the fact QA is actually there just to look good for the end customer therefore resources are very limited. Management and supervisors not really qualified for their positions and aware they have very little power to change any issues they are the people they supervise find.
Manufacturing: Management and supervisors are not really qualified for their position and it shows. On top of that they are extremely burned out as manufacturing is always a day away from failing. They just don't have desire or drive to do anything except barely keep manufacturing going. Many of the technicians do not take their job seriously and do not realize lives are at stake if they do their job incorrectly. Contributing to this might be the low pay and lack of care by their supervisors and management. Many know nothing about the aircraft they are building and have no desire to learn.
As you can see by now there are a load of issues at Cirrus, but the company isn't all bad. Cirrus is a great place to start your career and learn some skills before you move on to a big boy company. You can learn and get all the bugs out of your system, so you can be very good at your task at your next company. You will also meet many other people just starting off their careers that you can build lifelong friendships with that can help you get your dream job through networking once they move on. Even if you have limited skills and experience Cirrus is willing to give you a chance in hopes that you can contribute to their company. There are also quite a few celebrities you get to meet while employed there. The flying club is the #1 greatest benefit at the company where you can learn to fly and fly for extremely cheap. If you love aviation it will cover up some of the issues the company has. With all that said I suggest anyone starting out fresh from college or somewhere else to apply here and possibly start out your career at Cirrus. I would strongly suggest though, that you stay at Cirrus no longer than a year or you will become burned out, feel stuck, and give in to their toxic corporate culture that will very much hurt you in the future.less
celebrity meet and greets, christmas bonus, good career starting point, large amount of company improvement options
short breaks, very low amount of vacation time, fighting between departments, old guard very resistant to improvement
Pros: -Great co-workers, some of the easiest to get along with and more genuine people I've worked with. -The town, Duluth is a great outdoorsy city (but you better like winter, like nine consecutive months of it with long stints of sub zero weather). -Small company atmosphere where young engineers can get great, hands on experience and ownership/responsibility (probably too much).
Cons: -Benefits: I know it's general aviation, but pay is severely low and the COL of Duluth is actually not that low (which is somewhat ironic considering the price point of the planes they build), 401k matching takes an entire year to kick in, vacation is comical (40 hours total for your first TWO years - if you're allowed to take any).
-Life/work balance: the jet program is in survival mode after the program was scrapped for several years, only a handful of the original engineers were kept on and then they re-started the program and hired the entire jet dpt. after they were bought up by a Chinese company (who's ownership and long term plans are not the most transparent to say the least). With customers deposits still in place the new team has had to keep up the original timeline with a bulk of the new employees being fresh out of school or laid off from other industries with very limited aircraft experience overall (very low budget operation). The jet program is kind of like a start-up without the fun, perks, or talent. Weekends are very common and 6-10's are very common in crunch time for several consecutive weeks (which is unfortunate bc most employees are young parents). Don't be surprisedmore... if you work a lot of 60-70 hour weeks until the jet is fully certified.
-Employee development: there is absolutely no training and it is sink or swim, you will likely not even get an annual review, and if you do what you say will not matter as you will be placed where the company needs you not where your interests lie. There is no career/employee development plans, and if you get ahead on your project you will placed on random assignments not remotely related to your background. Very limited opportunities to move around within the company, so you better enjoy your dpt. for years.
-Culture: Rather contentious - there seems to be some bad blood left from the large lay-offs several years ago still lingering in the air. Some of the techs are really hard to work with (probably a result of being worked like dogs for too long). Not many people are really into the company or product, just there for a paycheck it seems or if they're really into aviation. Communication and teamwork across design groups is severely lacking and dysfunctional - it's usually who gets there first wins, not necessarily the best design bc of the time crunch everyone's working under. Engineering management can be very difficult to work with, would recommend working with the airframe structure groups as their leads are more hands on and provide better guidance. There is seldom praise for a job well done from engineering management, and a weird amount of overly-critical feedback for such a inexperienced team (you'd be surprised how a positive/fun work environment can influence ppl's work quality). Employees are skittish about potential lay-offs if Caiga milestones are not met or after the jet program is completed.
-Process: There is large lack of oversight in the engineering and design process, and young engineers are thrown to the wolves and have to make engineering calls that could be very detrimental long-term. Unsafe design practices are not uncommon and a majority of employees would probably not feel safe flying in this aircraft. Very much a cowboy-shooting from the hip environment.
Re-cap: if you're fresh out of school or really into aviation this could get a good start to get some experience, and then move on to a company that treats their employees better.
Advice to Sr. Mgmt: Life/jobs are full of challenges, it's how you react to these and how you treat your employees on a day to day basis that differentiate your company from the rest, retain talent, and inspire people to create great products.less
typical day at work would be sitting under a jet looking at blue prints for parts to go in the jet. and were somehow messed up from a engineer. That means i had nothing to do all day but stand there with my thumb in a place.
Systems Manufacturing Engineer (Current Employee) – Duluth, MN – August 24, 2014
A typical day as a systems manufacturing engineer would include solid modeling using CAD software, tool design and analysis, manufacturing sequence development, and work instruction creation.
While working at Cirrus Aircraft I have learned about design for manufacturability and assembly, product design using composite materials, composites manufacturing methods, systems design and integration, and product reliability.
One of the more challenging parts of the job is also the most enjoyable. One of my core responsibilities is finding the most efficient and cost effective methods of bringing designs from prototype into production.
Cirrus was started by aviation enthusiasts with little business experience. Their product was years ahead of its competition so the company grew quickly. In 2008 sales slumped be 2/3 and over half the company was let go. Those remaining are skeptical of company intensions.