ASEC’s Onboarding Process for New Hires
One of the more overlooked qualities of finding a new company to work for is their onboarding process.
For many prospective employees, the job hunt is about salary, growth opportunities, and location. While those are all important aspects, the onboarding process is truly the foundation for job and career success.
When it comes to being set up for success, a strong onboarding process allows employees to learn about their company, get up to speed on its internal processes and systems, and flourish from day one.
Less wasted time and more confidence helps employees feel more comfortable and better integrated – faster.
Setting up a great new hire onboarding is not always as simple as it sounds. To shed some light on the process, we’re going to take a look at seven ways onboarding can lead to employee success, and then share the step-by-step process ASEC takes with all of its new hires.
Best Practices For Onboarding New Employees
The onboarding process can be unique to every organization and every company. However, great onboarding processes are all going to have a few key elements in common.
Let’s take a look at the seven suggestions the Harvard Business Review has for best practices for onboarding new employees:
- Understand their challenges – Recognize that onboarding can be a challenging transition for new hires.
- Accelerate their learning – Provide relevant information and identify individuals who can impart important lessons.
- Make them part of the team – Facilitate early introductions and encourage team members to support the new colleague’s acclimation.
- Connect them with key stakeholders – Introduce new hires to these stakeholders and explain the importance of their connections.
- Give them direction – Communicate the organization’s vision and help new hires understand their role in achieving it.
- Help them get early wins – Encourage early wins to build confidence and credibility.
- Coach them for success – Schedule regular check-ins to monitor progress and address any challenges.
Now, it’s one thing to talk about onboarding new hires in theory.
How does it work in practice? Let’s look at how we handle onboarding here at ASEC.
How ASEC Sets Up Their Employees For Success
To get a detailed understanding of ASEC’s onboarding process, we had the chance to sit down and chat with Madison Bohrer, ASEC’s Human Resources Coordinator.
We have broken down her interview and the onboarding process into the following three phases:
- The period between being hired and the first day
- The first day at ASEC
- What new hires can expect during their first few months at ASEC
Before Your First Day
At ASEC, onboarding begins as soon as you receive your offer letter.
Who You’ll Hear From First
“After a successful interview process, they’ll receive an offer from our talent team, along with a benefit guide kind of giving them an idea of what we have as benefits – including our ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).
I then start my process by sending an email and welcoming them to ASEC. I introduce myself and get some of their personal information, while also sharing things like their start date, the department they’re in, their title, and things of that nature.
In addition to that onboarding paperwork, they also receive an email from Paylocity, our HR & payroll system. I provide them with all their login information for that as well.
Once they finish all their onboarding paperwork for me on their end, they are officially hired. From there, we send their new hire care package and let them know we’ll see them for orientation!
What To Expect From Your New Hire Swag Box
“So currently in our box each new hire is provided an ASEC coffee mug, a water bottle, a pen, a notebook, and a small portfolio. Men receive a polo shirt, and women have the choice between an ASEC polo shirt or women’s cardigan. They also have a little card that welcomes them to ASEC, letting them know that we’re happy to have them, and it also provides an email address to reach out to any of us.”
The First Day With ASEC
“I start orientation by introducing myself again and welcoming them to ASEC. If their supervisors are also located here, they will come in and say hello and welcome them to the company, too. Before and during the orientation our new hires are offered coffee, water, juice, and soda, too.
Typically after that first introduction one of our IT personnel — usually our help desk technician Amaya — comes in and she does the IT presentation about expectations involving IT acceptable use, helpful tips, and things of that nature.
Then I dive right in. I go over our core values, expectations and policies to familiarize our new hires with what it’s like working at ASEC, what our culture is like, our core values really to home in on our culture as well as our motto and purpose.
Our motto is doing what’s right for the warfighter and we take that to heart here, ASEC and we like to let our new hires know at the very beginning of the process that while they are working for us here ASEC, at the end of the day, it is to help our warfighters protect the nation. And so we ask that they keep that in mind while they work for us.
I also go over our benefits packages, we discuss medical and dental as well as vision, voluntary benefits such as life insurance, will preparation, and pet insurance. We do offer a TRICARE supplemental plan for those who are retired military personnel.
We also like to talk about our different locations and the way our organization is set up. We introduce who all the Board of Directors are and where they’re located. We have an organizational chart that I pull up and I show them where they fall in the organizational chart of the company. That way if they were to have any questions or concerns, perhaps their supervisors not available, they know exactly what department they fall under and who they can contact next if needed.”
The Office Tour
“After orientation, I take our new hires around the office and I give them a tour of the facility and introduce them to other staff members. That way they can start to form a relationship and have an understanding of where the different departments are that way they would need to have, you know, need help and they need to come in.
It’s a nice opportunity because a lot of our new hires don’t actually work in the corporate office. A lot of them do support our base. It’s nice on their first day to give them that opportunity to interact and see faces that they might be interacting with regularly but not might not actually get to see in-person on a daily basis.”
Lunch With The Board of Directors
“Once the tour is over, I bring them back up to the front where we first started our orientation process. From there they are picked up by our Board of Directors and their supervisors and they’re taken out for a complimentary lunch, where they’ll get to spend about an hour and a half getting to know their supervisor as well as our executive team that’s located here in Maryland. They’ll have the opportunity to kind of ask any other questions they may have about their job, too.”
Meeting With Team
“For new hires after their lunch, it’s really up to the supervisors. I think it’s really more so dependent on where they’re located, what’s easiest for them. If they’re located on base instead of with us in the office, they’ll go to lunch with their supervisor after the orientation and then go meet with their team.”
“Even if I’ve already given them a tour, a lot of supervisors like to take their employees around again and give them a tour that is more specific to what their job duties are. For instance, if you’re in IT, I don’t necessarily know the ends and outs of what you’re doing every single day. Their supervisor will take them around, show them where the other equipment is located, and introduce them to the people that they might need to have a better relationship with.”
How Our Remote Onboardings Are Handled
“Since we do have bases and employees around the country, I also handle the remote orientation. I often have sessions with remote hires that I do over Teams. I will go over the whole process with them the same I would if they were in person. The only difference is that they’re seeing me through a computer screen.
From then on out for the remainder of their day, if they’re remote, it’s up to their supervisor. A lot of times they do go on to base and meet their supervisor and interact with them and meet new people. Otherwise, they’re just asked to continue to work from home the remainder of the day. And then they go in the next day and meet their supervisor.”
Onboarding doesn’t just include the time before your first day and the orientation. There are still plenty of opportunities to help our new hires feel comfortable and integrated into the ASEC team.
Reminders and Check-ins
“After their first day, they’ll receive a few reminders, including one that shares the benefits, and how to choose or waive the ones they’re interested in.
I also send another email that has additional information on items to complete, including mandatory training. We do annual reviews of them as well, but as a new hire, you do have about three weeks to complete that training on your own.
Through it all, we let them know that if they have any questions or concerns, just please stop by, see one of us in HR, give us a call. We try to make it as easy of a transition as possible for them.”
Monthly Events With ASEC
“We also have company meetings each month that we encourage all of our employees to join, whether it be in person or via team. So they do have those opportunities to kind of gather and get to know people every month and also introduce themselves to new hires that are newer than themselves.”
“We do have quite a few company events that are just scattered throughout the year for those local to our main offices. Our receptionist will send out an email saying, hey, this Friday we have an ice cream social. If you are in the area, if you are working remotely, if you are in the office, please stop by. Come join us for a little social get to know new employees. We do have quite a lot of events like that.”
Find Out What Makes ASEC One Of The Best Defense Contractors To Work For
From the interview process through onboarding and your eventual career at ASEC, we endeavor to create a workplace that allows you to do your best work – and be a part of our mission to do what’s right for the Warfighter.
To join the team at ASEC and see what makes us one of the best defense contractors to work for, head to our Careers page to browse our job openings.
Why ASEC Might Be The Right Work Environment For You
Looking for a new job is often just about the job: we want to know what the job’s pay will be, what the job’s responsibilities are, and where the job will be located. These are the high-level details available on any job post.
Those are important details, of course, but anyone who’s ever worked in an office and with a team knows there’s more to a job than just what’s written on the post.
Even with companies that describe what it’s like to work with them, candidates know it takes a bit more effort to learn about a company’s working environment. These are details that can come out in the research we do about a company and the interview process, or we might not find out about them until a few weeks (or months!) into the job itself.
Finding out about the working environment at the company you’re applying to shouldn’t take months. With the right preparation, you should be able to get enough information to make a smart decision much sooner.
As ASEC is an employee-owned company, we take a special interest in making sure that the people we hire – our future employees and co-workers – are a good fit for us, and that they feel they fit well, too.
Part of making that process successful is knowing what you’re looking for in a workplace. To help with that, we’re sharing a few questions you can ask yourself to ensure a good workplace fit for your new job, as well as insights into what working at ASEC is like.
7 Questions To Ask Yourself When Looking For A New Work Environment
When we’re looking for a new job, the filters we set up can be fairly straightforward. How much do I want to make? Where do I want to work? What title am I looking for? Job portals can then lead us toward the openings we’re looking for.
However, finding the right work environment can be a trickier process. One good place to start is with a little bit of introspection. We’ve put together the seven questions below as a good place to start when looking for your next job in the defense contracting industry.
- How important is autonomy to me?
Having a sense of independence and control over one’s work can be a significant factor in job satisfaction. It is essential to understand how much autonomy you desire in your work and whether the company you are considering can provide you with that level of autonomy.
Once you have your answer – and you can support it with the times in past jobs where you felt the most satisfied – you’ll be well-equipped to bring up the topic in an interview.
- How do I feel about working in teams?
Most jobs in the defense contracting industry require collaboration. Therefore, it is essential to assess your ability to work with others, your communication skills, and how much you enjoy collaboration.
If there are types of collaboration or communication you prefer, note these down. Being conscious of how and where you work best will also help hiring managers make the right decision.
- What are my long-term career goals?
It is important to determine what you want to achieve in your career and whether the company you are considering can provide opportunities for advancement, professional development, and learning.
When considering how a company fits in with your goals, two good indicators to consider are longevity – how long people stay at the company, and how long the company has been around – as well as growth prospects. Is the company growing, taking on new contracts, and establishing new projects, or are they maintaining and staying even-keeled? ASEC hired over 120 new employees in 2022, so we are definitely looking to grow.
- How much does the company invest in its people?
The amount a company invests in its people can be an indicator of how much they value their employees. It is important to consider the training and development programs, benefits, and support the company provides to its employees.
One example of this is ASEC’s employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. It’s a way of valuing employee contributions with increased ownership in the company. This means as the company grows and succeeds, the employee has a direct stake in that growth. As another way of investing in our employees’ growth\, ASEC also offers tuition reimbursement for both undergraduate and some graduate-level classes.
- What kind of work environment do I thrive in?
Every person has their own work environment preferences. Some people prefer a quiet, solo work environment, while others thrive in a bustling, collaborative atmosphere. It is essential to determine what kind of work environment suits you best.
As Dan Bishop, an ASEC Systems Engineer and Program Manager, shared in a recent interview, the work environment at ASEC is focused on the quality of the work.
“There’s not a lot of focus on competition or personal evaluation. It’s expected that you’re going to do your job well, it’s expected that you’re going to be honest and follow through and keep the customer’s needs in focus. The aim of the company is to support you in that and help you succeed. To put you in a position where your client allows you to do your work and lets you succeed without worrying about other items.”
- How much work-life balance do I need?
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to one’s well-being. Consider how much flexibility you need to accommodate personal obligations and hobbies outside of work and whether the company you are considering can accommodate those needs.
Being open about this helps to ensure that you find the right company, but also that the company understands your needs. ASEC’s Director of Talent Acquisition Stephanie St. Peter shared how she works to understand each candidate’s values from the very first steps of the interview process:
“I try to find out what environments they find the most rewarding and successful. I never look at a candidate as a “butt in a seat”, but as a person with a life, a family, friends, and unique goals and aspirations.”
- How important is company culture to me?
Company culture is the shared values, beliefs, and practices that influence the behavior of the organization’s employees. It is essential to determine how much the company culture aligns with your values and whether you would enjoy working in that environment.
In some instances, company culture has to be experienced from the inside. Having the chance to speak to current employees will also illuminate more about how the company treats its employees. Here are two recent examples from ASEC:
“Above all, I love working for a company that is deeply committed to our nation’s Warfighter. I [also] feel very supported by our executive leadership team. They have allowed me the opportunity to build a Talent Acquisition department and implement recruiting processes that did not exist here before me.” – Stephanie St. Peter, Director of Talent Acquisition
“We’ve got very open lines of communication across multiple teams and that helps us. It’s really nice to sit in on meetings, it’s gratifying to see where decisions are being made and problems are being solved because there are multiple ASEC personnel involved on multiple teams. It gives you a sense of pride that we have a lot of quality folks that are trusted by the client to help solve problems.” Dan Bishop, Systems Engineer & Program Manager
Interested In Careers At ASEC? See What We Have Available
Finding the right workplace fit is crucial when searching for a job, and it’s our hope that in sharing some pointers, we can help you understand better if ASEC is the right fit for you.
If you’d like to work at an employee-owned company that values diversity, collaboration, and innovation, then we encourage you to visit our job listings here and to consider applying.
How ASEC Empowers Its Employees To Succeed
At ASEC, we believe in creating a work environment that celebrates seeking out and taking on challenges.
In a recent interview with ASEC Programs Manager and Systems Engineer Dan Bishop, one anecdote speaks to how we create an environment in which our employees can succeed.
Dan spoke about a junior Systems Specialist’s search for additional responsibilities, and in doing so, touched on a number of the ways we are actively using challenges to help our employees thrive at ASEC.
Using that story as a jumping-off point, today we’re highlighting four of the ways a well-utilized challenge allows our teams to grow.
4 Ways Challenges Help ASEC Employees Succeed
We pride ourselves on the quality of the work we do, and we know that continuing to deliver on this quality requires a system that encourages employees to want to do their best work. So when we talk about empowering our employees, we mean it in the sense of giving them the chance to rise up to the occasion and to grow professionally.
As an employee-owned company, the growth that leads to engaged employees who are satisfied with their jobs benefits us all.
In our experience, challenges serve a key role in keeping our employees engaged and motivated in their work. More than just providing employees with a never-ending stream of challenges, though, it’s about having senior staff that recognize the team members that are ready for growth – and the direction in which they want to grow.
This dual approach – having employees who seek challenges and having managers and leaders who can assign them appropriately – helps us foster a culture of innovation, learning, and growth.
In addition to those benefits for the company overall, we believe challenges also serve the following purposes:
As Dan mentioned in the interview, this junior Systems Engineer was focused mainly on procedural work, including tracking meetings, action items, coordinating and exchanging information. This is especially critical when dealing with foreign customers, but it can begin to feel a bit rote once you have more experience.
With the right challenges, we can inspire creativity and encourage our teams to find innovative solutions to problems. This can lead to a sense of fulfillment and pride in their work.
In this specific case, it meant broadening this employee’s approach and purview, along with giving her internal challenges that pushed her toward leadership.
In addition to finding creative solutions, new challenges help us to develop new skills and knowledge.
Given how often learning and development opportunities are cited as a key factor in employee engagement, this is an essential part to our talent development process.
For this Systems Engineer who wanted more leadership options, there were necessary skills to learn to get to that point. Those skills were then developed in lower stakes internal situations to allow them to boost their confidence before moving onto client-facing opportunities.
There’s nothing like a challenge to get us motivated. Whether we’re taking on a marathon or trying to aim for a promotion, the specific tasks connected with overcoming a challenge trigger a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
In ASEC, we find that regularly putting our employees in a position where they are challenged helps to improve morale and engagement.
This is just as true for experienced staff like Dan – who expressed the challenges of identifying solutions where technological upgrades are needed and staying current with ever-updating mandates – as it is for younger employees who are looking to pick up new responsibilities.
When we don’t challenge ourselves, we don’t grow.
By supporting this younger employee with others on the team and within ASEC to help with questions, guidance, mentorship, we were able to make sure they had challenging tasks that pushed them to grow and develop.
Get Ready For Your Next Challenge With A Career At ASEC
From creativity and learning to motivation and career growth, we are committed to providing our team members with an engaging work environment.
Through the strategic use of challenges and a staff that’s committed to supporting each other’s success, we’re able to retain and reward an incredible team. To learn more about opportunities at ASEC – and to apply for our open positions – you can view our careers page here.
Interview With ASEC Systems Engineer & Program Manager: Dan Bishop
At ASEC, we are incredibly proud of the work we do in support of the nation’s Warfighter. That work is possible thanks to the efforts of our dedicated, talented staff.
To highlight their efforts and pull the curtain back on what it’s like to work at ASEC, we are starting a regular interview series to profile our different team members. These interviews will include both experienced and entry-level employees from a variety of backgrounds.
We are honored to start with Dan Bishop, a Systems Engineer and Program Manager for ASEC. Read on to learn more about his day-to-day work with ASEC, the supportive working environment, and what makes ASEC an ideal place to start and grow in technical, engineering, and management roles.
Interview With Dan Bishop
Please introduce yourself and share a little about yourself and what you do for ASEC.
My name is Dan Bishop. I am a retired naval officer. I was in the Navy for 21 years. I also flew for airlines for a number of years. I’ve been working as a Systems Engineer on the PA program for 19 years now.
What I do for my client is I manage avionics integrations tests and certification. I help the fleet handle problems or issues that they find with those avionics systems in order to help them complete their mission effectively.
Additionally, I’m a Program Manager for one of our largest contracts. I oversee a contract that has 103 people on it. I’m also a Quality Engineer. I oversee the ISO 9001 quality management system. I ensure that we seek quality improvement and employee risk based thinking and put our customers first.
You wear a number of hats with ASEC – Systems Engineer, Program Manager – that let you bring in a lot of what you’ve done throughout your career. How would you describe the working environment at ASEC?
I really enjoy it. It’s the second engineering company that I’ve worked for. In the previous one, I did much of the same things for the client, but the environment at ASEC is outstanding. It’s as close as I’ve seen to the sort of closeness and commonality of purpose and focus on the fleet that I saw when I was in the Navy.
For those that served, it’s like a squadron or a work unit. We get along great. We are given the opportunity to succeed and expected to, we’re not micromanaged. The company seems to share a common set of values. They focus on our main customer, which are the sailors and the officers who end up using the equipment we help the government field.
For any prospective employees who don’t have the experience of being in a squadron, like you’ve mentioned, how would you describe that for a civilian?
There’s not a lot of focus on competition or personal evaluation. It’s expected that you’re going to do your job well, it’s expected that you’re going to be honest and follow through and keep the customer’s needs in focus.
The aim of the company is to support you in that and help you succeed. To put you in a position where your client allows you to do your work and lets you succeed without worrying about other items.
We’ve got very open lines of communication across multiple teams and that helps us. It’s really nice to sit in on meetings, it’s gratifying to see where decisions are being made and problems are being solved because there are multiple ASEC personnel involved on multiple teams. It gives you a sense of pride that we have a lot of quality folks that are trusted by the client to help solve problems.
It seems like a pure work environment where you get to focus on the problem at hand or the project at hand and not on some of the distractions that might come with a typical workplace.
What we try to tell our folks is that we want them to focus on our client. We just want them to be the best that they can be. We’ll handle the other issues that arise with contract efforts. Our focus is on the client and the way you best do that is to support your people. They’re not going to treat your client any better than you treat them.
Up to the senior levels of leadership, we all share the same focus. We’ve got a motto, “Do what’s right by the warfighter,” that is what we want to do. We’re willing and empowered to tell the client that their idea is not best for the fleet and we can focus them on that. It’s rewarding. It’s comforting that you’ve got the support of the senior leadership to do that.
Are there any projects that you can share that you’re working on, or more broadly challenges that are exciting and motivating you into this new year?
What I work on is the P-8A, which is an aircraft the Navy uses for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare and a few other mission areas.
I spend a lot of time identifying solutions where technological upgrades need to be made, then integrating those new components into the aircraft so that they can continue operating the fleet so they can do their job. In doing that, I get to work with the engineers who design, test, and collect data to make sure that all updates meet the Navy airworthiness and the FAA’s airworthiness requirements.
I also get to work with the air crew that flies the P-8. It’s nice when you get to see not only the product when you get into the details, the engineering details, but you also get to deal with the end user. And it’s a community that I worked with for 17 years, so it’s nice to stay connected to my roots.
I get to engage with people and get honest feedback on the product from a variety of them, and have the power to feed that back to the supplier and our aircraft manufacturers to improve product integration, instructions we give the fleet, and the like.
It must be gratifying to have your personal connection and history with the Navy as well as being able to connect with the people involved today.
It’s nice in the job to focus on design documents, requirements on how you test and meet them, and reports, but if we were pigeonholed in doing that, that might get rather tiresome.
On any day, I might be doing that, or I might be out on the airplane, or with people installing equipment, or looking up test gear and looking at the results and the data. Resolving problems. It’s nice to not just be in an office or in a lab but to have multiple environments, multiple ways, and multiple responsibilities.
How have you seen ASEC supporting the education and growth of its employees?
From what I have seen, aside from what you’d typically see with education assistance and opportunities to conduct training and get additional degrees, we routinely sit down with folks and ask them where they want to be and in what areas they want to grow.
We’re lucky right now that we’re experiencing some growth. There are opportunities for people to grow into different roles, to learn different aspects of engineering and technical support of aircraft. A lot of what we do when we identify that is we’ll make others available to that employee so they can learn their roles. We challenge people in their roles to pick up new responsibilities.
One example is that we have a fairly junior Systems Specialist who is supporting a foreign military sales customer. A lot of what she was doing had to do with tracking meetings, action items, coordinating and exchanging information. There are a lot of procedural steps when you want to get information to a foreign customer.
She wanted to get more into technical work. She also wanted a little bit more of a leadership role. So we embraced that, we want people to grow in that. We challenged her internally with some leadership projects. We also worked with her in her customer role to make sure she was aligned on a team, and the team was willing to give her more of a leadership role and an active role in their team’s work.
All the while, making sure she has support from others on the team and within ASEC to help with questions, guidance, mentorship.
That’s happened several times with numerous employees. You want to make sure you take care of your customer but we’ve also had situations where one of our employees wasn’t having the success in their current role and they had learned additional skills, not only in systems engineering realm, so we saw that other position that allowed them to grow into what they wanted to do. Their new customer is enjoying the support that they’re getting.
For someone in the first 5 years of their career looking to start at ASEC, what are some of the appealing challenges they’ll get to take on?
It’s a great time. We’ve had a good deal of success in the last 4 years in winning contracts. That means a couple of things. We’ve got a breadth of contracts, there’s security in that you’re not tied to one that expires and then you’ve got nothing else to do. It also offers a variety of technical, engineering, management, and test opportunities. So if you’ve been working as a Software Engineer or Junior Engineer and you want to learn more about systems engineering and how engineering tasks are built and how they’re traced through, we’ve got those opportunities.
We’ve got contracts and programs that span the acquisition lifecycle. Some that are in new development. You get to see the groundwork of how a system is fielded. Then we’ve got programs like mine that offer the opportunity to learn about replacing obsolete components or helping the reliability, maintainability, and availability of products.
It gives you the opportunity to work from an engineering and technical perspective, but also to step out of that and to work with the end user, the operational squadrons, to see how what you do is used and how it makes a difference for the Warfighter. It’s very gratifying.
Find Your Next Role With ASEC
Before we wrap up, we’d like to extend our thanks to Dan for taking the time to sit down with us and share about his background and his experience with ASEC.
If you’d like to be a part of the ASEC team and work with team members like Dan, then head to our career page to learn more about our locations, opportunities, and what it’s like to work at an employee-owned company.
What Is An ESOP? An Inside Look At What It Means To Be An Employee Owner
Have you ever wondered what it means when companies call themselves employee-owned? Or maybe you’ve heard of an ESOP, but you’re not really sure how it works?
If you’re ready to take more control over your career and work for a company that values your contributions, then it’s time we took a deep dive into the world of ESOPs.
So grab your swimsuit and nose plugs because we’re about to take a dip!
How An ESOP Works For The Company
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) act as an employee benefit plan. They allow a company’s employees to become owners of that company.
By regularly giving shares of the company to its employees, a company should see a number of benefits, such as increased employee productivity, stronger retention, and improved job satisfaction. In turn, a company may experience higher profitability, lower turnover, and is more able to recover from economic downturns.
At ASEC, we are an employee-owned small business. We are proud to be able to offer our employees an employee stock option plan and all the benefits it entails. Our mission is to make sure everyone who works at ASEC has a sense of ownership in the success of the company.
How An ESOP Benefits Employees
Since an ESOP is a company-funded retirement plan (similar to 401K and profit-sharing plans) that provides tax deferred investments for employees, it is an investment in its employees’ futures.
What does this mean for the employee-owner? And what about for the company?
As an employee, you will accumulate capital for your future retirement at no cost to you whatsoever, while the company gets the benefit of ensuring that their interest and the employee’s interest stays aligned.
At this point you may be thinking that it sounds like being a part of an ESOP gets you free money.
Every year ASEC contributes a percentage of your salary to a trust in your name. The specific amount of that percentage is determined after an independent audit is done from the previous year.
The annual profit and growth of the company, which are a direct result of your hard work as an employee during the year, will generally affect the value of the shares of company stock that get allocated to your personal account.
Contributions will vary from year to year, but as an employee owner you could expect to see amounts ranging from 2% to 4% of your annual salary.
Instead of other retirement plans where you’re donating a portion of your paycheck, your only contribution to this plan is your dedication to the company, your career, and to our mission of supporting our nation’s warfighter.
The Tax Benefits Of An ESOP
With an Employee Stock Option Plan, a company’s employees don’t pay tax when their shares are contributed to the ESOP. Instead, those taxes come with the distribution, at a rate that is favorable to them.
What’s more, these distributions are allowed to be rolled into an IRA (or comparable retirement plan) while they accumulate gains, meaning they can be taxed as capital gains later.
The Disadvantages Of An ESOP
Now that you’ve heard your hard work at ASEC is rewarded with both a paycheck and shares of the company you’re supporting, you must be wondering what the drawbacks to an ESOP are.
You know, what’s the fine print?
There really isn’t any. We promise! You are eligible to receive a distribution of the vested plan benefit allocated to your accounts beginning at a certain period after your separation from employment with ASEC.
For example, if you retire at the age of 65, you’d receive your ESOP distribution starting the following year in up to 5 equal annual installments; amounts below $10,000 would be paid in a lump sum.
Join ASEC, And Be A Part Of Our ESOP
We hope we’ve piqued your interest in ESOPs and what it means to be an employee-owner. This plan is yet another way ASEC rewards its employees for their hard work and commitment to the organization. If you’d like to be a part of an employee-owned company, we encourage youto learn more about ASEC here, then view our open job opportunities here.
Why Information Security Is Mission Critical, And How To Get Involved
If you’re wondering just how important information security is becoming, we have an alarming statistic for you: recently, Cisco reported that more than 85% of organizations have had a user interact with a phishing site.
As digital technologies become a more central part of our personal and professional lives, it’s unfortunate that threats like phishing, ransomware, trojans, DNS attacks, and more will only increase.
No one is immune to these threats; not you, not me, not even the biggest corporations in the world. This is why the demand for information security professionals continues to rise.
In fact, we could see the number of information security and cyber security jobs grow by 33% by 2030, with average salaries falling between $88,325 to $164,861 per year, according to Simplilearn.
It’s one thing to know that these kinds of jobs are on the rise and that they are well-compensated. If you really want to pursue these fields, it’s important to fully understand what they entail.
The Importance of Information Security
Let’s start by making sure we’re on the same page with what information security is. Then we can break down a few of the jobs in the field.
At its most fundamental level, information security is centered on the tools and processes an organization uses to keep its information safe and secure.
Occasionally referred to as InfoSec, this can also cover any sort of policy setting used to keep unauthorized personnel from accessing information, be it personal or professional.
Now, that sounds broad, and it’s true. In this modern age of data, information is connected to nearly everything we do online. Because of that expansiveness, InfoSec is an ever-evolving field that includes many other sectors, like infrastructure security, network security, testing, auditing, and more.
The Goal of Information Security
We want to keep critical data safe and private. That includes customer account details, financial information, and IP. Information security is how we go about protecting all of that sensitive data from any sort of tampering, which might include modifying, recording, stealing, or destroying that data.
Should any of those security incidents come to pass, the costs can be high. From real financial costs to harder-to-pin-down costs like damage to your personal or professional reputation, information security’s digital purview has real-world implications.
Two Information Security Careers You Need to Know About
Now that you have a sense of the importance of information security to our modern world, let’s discuss some tangible ways you can get involved in the sector.
Below are two information security careers offered at ASEC. These positions typically support critical DoD/Navy programs and will require a government security clearance of Secret or Top Secret.
1. Information Systems Security Manager (ISSM)
The Information Systems Security Manager is responsible for establishing policies and procedures to protect computer systems and networks. To perform their job, this IT professional will select, install, and use security softwares like data encryption programs and firewalls.
In addition to these duties, they will monitor, document, and look up security breaches in order to improve system security. They will also be in charge of setting up emergency plans for lockdown and/or the recovery of sensitive information.
In terms of the security team, ISSMs may manage Information Systems Security Officers (ISSOs), Network Administrators, and System Administrators.
2. Information Systems Security Officer (ISSO)
At ASEC, the Information Systems Security Officer supports classified computing environments, ensures adherence to our relevant Risk Management Framework (RMF) or Joint Special Access Program Implementation Guide (JSIG) policies.
They also typically serve as the principal advisor to the ISSM on all matters, technical and otherwise, involving an information system’s security.
Continuing Your Career In Information Security
As ASEC, we are passionate about supporting the mission-critical needs of our government customers. One of the most powerful ways we can support those needs going forward is through information security.
If you are ready for the next challenge in your InfoSec career, we want to hear from you.
To find out more about our career opportunities in this exciting field, please visit our Job Openings page today.
History of ASEC
Aviation Systems Engineering Company (ASEC) began as a humble concept, and when we say humble, we mean it! It all began in 2003 in a Denny’s restaurant in Waldorf, MD – booth #9 to be exact. We still affectionately refer to this as our first ASEC corporate office. In booth #9 sat: Vin Bellezza, David Bennett, Doug Desrochers, and “JB” Hollyer; the foursome put their heads together to develop our five-year business plan (which happened to be eclipsed in year two) and our strategy to hire the BEST employees to start and build the company. We decided early on that our focus would always be on treating our employees (and their families) well, giving them semi-autonomous responsibility, and providing them with great benefits. Our motto became “Doing what’s right for the Warfighter.” In 2004, Navy Test Pilot School pilot and flight instructor Denny Roderick joined the team; Denny was instrumental in our strategy to provide direct aircraft flight support services to our flying test community.
Since our formation in 2003, we have grown into a successful, employee-owned business with a talented workforce spread throughout the nation. We proudly employee a veteran workforce of more than 75%. Today, twenty years later, ASEC has 400 dedicated employees applying their expertise in in the areas of engineering, test & evaluation, training, logistics, advanced technologies, flight services, and program management support. Through this growth we’ve made a conscious effort to always remember the values we started with.
We acquired our first official office space in Lexington Park, MD in 2004. The office’s proximity to Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River made this a prime spot for ASEC to thrive; NAS Patuxent River is home to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and many United States Navy aviation programs and activities.
ASEC purchased and modified our first airplane, the Navion, in 2005, followed by a DHC-6-300 Twin Otter being leased as the second aircraft for our fleet in 2008. This was the beginning of our strategy of providing the Navy with affordable air platforms for testing developmental sensors and avionics with an experienced cadre of former USN test pilots and aircrew.
In 2009, ASEC opened our second corporate office in Jacksonville, FL. This office sits across the street from Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville – the nation’s third-largest Navy base, where military personnel and allied forces specialize in anti-submarine warfare and training the best aviators in the world. In 2016, the Jacksonville ASEC office was recognized by the Jacksonville Business Journal as Jacksonville’s “Best Place to Work.”
Continuing to grow and strive for success at every level, ASEC began the process of creating an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 2011 so that ASEC could become beneficially employee-owned. We wanted to reward our employees that helped us build and grow the company. We always felt that we were a family-like business and that it was the right thing to do. That process was completed in 2018, enabling all employees to contribute to and share in the success of ASEC through the ESOP. Today, every employee’s growth in ASEC is also rewarded by additional retirement financial security.
Beyond growing in expertise and serving the military through the life cycle of acquisitions programs from requirements, defense, and design to testing and engineering and logistics work, ASEC launched a new initiative with the development of interactive electronic technical manuals (IETMs) for NAVAIR, and into the development of a small deployable “Lockblade” UAV. These are two examples of projects initiated by ASEC employees which have grown into major company focal areas. You too can take the initiative, turn an idea into a project, and lead a team!
ASEC continues to build upon our legacy of quality and excellence; we remain committed to our goal of providing a highly qualified, dedicated workforce to meet our customers’ requirements. At ASEC, we recognize that our people are truly the key to our success. We hire and retain the best in the business and treat them with the highest degree of respect.
We’d love to sit down and talk with you, maybe not in Denny’s booth #9, but in either of our corporate locations or by phone – maybe you will be the next person to help us continue building the ASEC legacy. We welcome you to contact us at email@example.com.
EMPLOYEES NOW OWN LOCAL ENGINEERING COMPANY
Lexington Park, MD – On Aug. 7, Aviation Systems Engineering Company (ASEC) announced that the company has become 100 percent owned by the ASEC Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Trust. Vincent Bellezza, ASEC CEO, said “the cornerstone of our success has always been our employees. When it came time make a decision to sell the company, we knew that the only group that the owners could sell to would be the people that we trust the most, our employees! Over 14 years, as a net-worked and synergistic team we have grown the company from the three original owners to over 200 professionals. We have always invested in our employees and this ESOP transition now allows them to financially participate directly in the growth of the company.”
ASEC is an award winning, employee-owned small business that focuses on providing value and innovation in the areas of engineering, training, and flight services. ASEC specializes systems engineering and acquisition, including advanced concepts, requirements, integration and test, flight test, training, and support for the military and civilian aviation communities.
St Mary’s County 08/14/2018 By Press Release
ASEC Participates in Christmas in April
ASEC employees participated in the annual Christmas in April event, coordinated by Christmas in April® St. Mary’s County. This event rehabilitates the homes of low-income homeowners. Employees assisted in stripping and replacing the roof and gutters, painting the exterior, and interior of the house including kitchen cabinets. ASEC employees also helped with electrical work, plumbing, masonry, and landscaping.
Christmas in April® St. Mary’s County is a local chapter of Rebuilding Together, a national volunteer organization that works in partnership with the community. With the help of this organization the homes of low-income homeowners, particularly the elderly and disabled, are rehabilitated so their owners may live in warmth, safety, and independence. For more information, visit http://www.christmasinaprilsmc.org/.
ASEC Develops Quadcopter Curriculum for High School Program
More than 75 students, coaches, mentors, and parents from the tri-county area gathered at the Pax River Naval Air Museum on Dec. 4, to learn about a new quadcopter program being offered to students in Southern Maryland. The session was the first in a series of three training segments designed to introduce high school students to safety and flight principles associated with quadcopters and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).
Initiated by The Patuxent Partnership (TPP) through a STEM-for-All grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the quadcopter initiative is designed to address the educational components and theories of UAS operations and flight … specifically quadcopters. The program is open to all high school students/teams interested in learning about quadcopters and developing skills associated with the building and flight of these systems.
The training sessions, approximately three hours in length, are instructor-led overviews of curriculum areas such as flight safety, principles and physics of flight, basic piloting skills and maneuverability, programming skills, sensors and functionality, payloads, and advanced flying skills.
The final element of the program is a student-designed skills demonstration scheduled for April 2017. Teams will develop a skills demonstration of their choice and present their topic during an end-of-season expo. Because the expo is not “competition based”, teams are not required to have specific quadcopters or advanced sensor packages, thus allowing teams of all levels and skills to participate regardless of resources.
“Our hope is to generate increased student interest in unmanned systems, eventually leading students to pursue careers in STEM fields associated with UAS operations,” said Bonnie Green, TPP Executive Director. “Future Workforce Development is a key element to sustainable operations. Having students in the educational pipeline now ensures a qualified workforce will be available to meet the demands five to 10 years from now.”
The three-year ONR grant was awarded to TPP for the purpose of developing educational programs supporting future Navy and Department of Defense workforce requirements. The quadcopter program is one of several initiatives covered by the STEM-for-All grant.
ASEC, an industry leader in commercial UAS operations, training, and certification, developed the quadcopter curriculum specifically for this program. Certified instructors present the material in group training sessions. Coaches and students are then able to access computer-based training modules to further explore the topic areas in a self-paced environment.
The Naval Air Warfare Center – Aircraft Division’s Education Outreach Office provides UAS subject matter experts to serve as mentors, assisting teams with building, flying, and skills development throughout the program. Program mentors are highly skilled and most are Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) members certified in UAS operations and an essential component of the program. The mentors also ensure that safety protocols are followed during flight operations and that the Federal Aviation Administration regulations are adhered to.
“We are very excited to introduce this STEM-for-All initiative to the students of Southern Maryland,” said Barbara Ives, TPP Grant Manager. “Our vision is to create a quadcopter program that can expand to include every high school student interested in participating while being financially sustainable long after the grant has ended. We believe focusing on an educationally-based program not only meets the grant objectives but complements existing programs such as AMA’s UAS4STEM competition” stated Ives.
To learn more about the quadcopter training program, visit http://www.stem-link.org/uas-quadcopter-initiative/.