Top Workplaces 2016

WaveStrike

Anne and Mike Wagner had worked at several companies serving the U.S. intelligence community but never quite found the right fit. So they and three other founding partners they brought in set off to create the right fit.

WaveStrike, which opened its doors in 2010, develops software for systems that protect national security.

“We took the lessons we learned from each experience to create the ideal business we’d want to work for,” said Anne Wagner, president and CEO of the Annapolis Junction-based company. “We wanted to create a culture based on the professional and personal goals that we know software engineers are looking for.”

What they created — and improved with some tweaks along the way — is more than just a company that offers employees satisfying work and provides them with adequate compensation for performing it. WaveStrike’s particular allure lies in the variety of available work opportunities, and in the generous and enjoyable perks available to members of the team.

“They have great benefits,” said Samantha Porcelli, a systems administrator who has been with WaveStrike for three years. “They are also really flexible with different positions offered in the company, which keeps people interested in up-and-coming technologies.”

Employees get up to 25 paid days off per year, including sick leave. That doesn’t include an additional six paid scheduled holidays and four floating holidays, plus the paid day off everyone receives on their birthday.

WaveStrike automatically contributes 10 percent of an employee’s pay to a 401(k) plan, which vests immediately for new employees. There is also profit sharing, with bonuses based on company goals and employee performance. Referring a new hire brings an employee an award of $5,000 after the recruit works for six months and another $5,000 after the one-year mark. And a program for matching charitable contributions was added in 2016.

In addition, the WaveStrike arranges events such as happy hours and activities based on employee suggestions such as curling, laser tag and navigating ropes courses for team-building exercises and fun.

“You have your project and your project team, and that’s your day-in-and-day-out, but it’s nice to get to know other people in your company,” said Kurt Vangraefschepe, a software engineer who has been at WaveStrike for more than two years. “That was another thing that attracted me. They try to make a company feeling, even though we don’t all work out of the same office.”

The leadership team, including Anne Wagner, the firm’s president and CEO, also strives to be approachable. Employees are welcome to stop by their offices to talk, and the conversations can continue downstairs in one of two conveniently located lunch spots.

“They know your name. They know your interests. They treat you as an individual, not just one of many,” Porcelli said. “WaveStrike continues to grow, but they’re still able to maintain that small feeling. It makes you happy and excited about your job. It makes you want to get up and go to work every day.”

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