Does anyone here work at CSA?

I work at CSA in Cleveland, OH. I have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and 3 years of experience in engineering (all product development before this position).

I'm actually not sure how I came to apply for the job. I'm sure it was a job board, but all of their positions are posted on their website. I was unemployed and had gotten to that desperate stage where I was starting to lose hope so I was using the shotgun technique of applying for anything I remotely qualified for (not the best technique, but it was effective).

As far as engineering goes, there are multiple sides to CSA's business that they keep mostly separate: Standards, Certification, and Performance testing. Standards develops and defines the standards that are needed to deem a particular product safe. Certifications deals directly with manufacturers and finds all applicable standards for a product and then tests the product to the most stringent of those standards. Just as you might expect.

Performance testing is a newer department that is very different from what CSA is probably know for. It works with manufacturers and retailers to develop and perform performance tests that fall outside of safety testing. They test to (for example) provide data for a manufacturer to use to determine what performance claims they might put on the packaging of their product or (another example) compare several brands of a particular product and provide the comparison data to a retail customer so the customer can weight it based on what they think the end customer will care about. So for example, if we are testing a water pump that claims it can reach a maximum flow of X and a maximum head of Y we test to ensure that the product can reach at least those stated claims.

I would say that working here is a ton of fun, but more physical hands-on work than I expected. I hold an engineering position, and there are technicians who work to help set up testing, but most days I come home dirty. I would say the job is about 60% lab work and about 40% desk work (reporting, data analysis, etc) for my particular position. I get a small bit of exposure to outside customers (maybe 6 visits from them a year), but am supposed to get more as I grow into my position.

The culture here (in the Cleveland site) is great. My boss actually does strive to make sure I have a great work/life balance. They host maybe 4 big events through the year for family to come and join in plus 3-4 additional big team building events that are pretty fun. Vacation and sick time go in a bank together, so you can use it as you like, but I get over 100 hours total (more depending on position and time with the company). We don't get as many holidays throughout the year, but that's because all of CSA completely shuts down Christmas Eve through New Years, which is awesome! I got to take two weeks off last xmas to visit family and friends in a state across the country for the holidays and it didn't actually cost me any vacation time because my department had been busier the weeks leading up to my vacation which allowed me to negotiate taking the three extra days off without even using my vacation. The health/dental/vision insurance is pretty decent, although the companies I've worked at previously were horrid so I'm not sure I can make a fair comparison. HR can be a bit slow to get things done because they are a bit understaffed (imo), but they do try.

I'm kind of rambling now, feel free to ask me any questions you might have. I've tried to keep this account blank so I can ask and answer professional questions with fear of it linking back to me personally, but I'll probably be a bit vague on things that might actually allow someone to identify me.

/r/engineering Thread