Product Drop Down

February 2nd, 2015
Our Values & Philosophy

The values we stand for are important at General Plasma. Three we aspire to are honesty, fair play and striving for product perfection. 

Honesty means being truthful with ourselves, our co-workers and our customers. The greatest gift we can give each other is honesty. Honesty builds trust and long term relationships. As everyone knows, being honest isn’t always easy and isn’t always received well. On the other hand, dishonesty or spinning the truth, has an even greater cost. We value honesty highly at General Plasma.

Fair play is about being ethical in our business dealings and considerate of our co-workers, vendors and others. Its the Golden Rule put into action.

Product perfection is in the eye of the customer! It is such a fantastic challenge – to build something, to agonize over every aspect and in the end have no say in its success. There is nothing like it though when a customer says “Wow!” It's what we live for at General Plasma.


September 16, 2015

Glassdoor Reviews of General Plasma

​​​I’ve hesitated to respond to the reviews on Glassdoor for a long time.  I had heard about a group of ex-Engineers (the ‘Alumni Club’) and their contributions to internet reviews of General Plasma, but I felt responding would lend credence to them.  I thought with time going by (years) they would move on.  In the last few months, several terrible reviews have been posted and I realize a response is needed – and probably should have been made earlier.

As a small company (30 people), with less turnover than the reviews suggest, we pretty much know who could be behind an anonymous review.  In one recent case, when a harsh review appeared, we contacted the only Engineer who had left in several months and he said he had not posted a review.  This fit with the fact that the review didn’t reflect his personality or style.  Glassdoor’s response to my request that the review be removed was that ‘the review fit within their standards and would not be removed’. 

I’d imagine anyone reading the reviews on Glassdoor would be shocked at the tone and content.  We certainly are and hope readers, before drawing conclusions, will consider the anonymous source, the lack of any constructive criticism and the repetitive personality of the bad reviews.  To put our side of the story out there and share about General Plasma, I’ve put together my own list of Pros and Cons (completely unbiased of course!).  Since the bad reviews are from Engineers – and engineering is a core competency of our company, these are from an engineering prospective.

  • General Plasma is a great place to develop engineering knowledge and skill.  Our products and systems involve a wide range engineering disciplines:  Big metal vacuum chambers, water, gas and vacuum piping systems, automated conveyor systems and high voltage plasma sources.  For the right Engineer, it’s a dream job.
  • Many highly skilled and experienced Engineers and Technicians, to work with and learn from.  Contrary to reviews, two thirds of General Plasma’s employees have been with the company over 5 years with several 10+ year veterans.  
  • Good benefits reflecting the value placed in employees by management.  The company pays 100% of the monthly health benefit premium of individual employee.  The plan is a Blue Cross PPO.  Employees immediately start accruing 17 days per year paid time off plus there are 8 paid holidays.  Other benefits include 401K with company match up to 3% of annual salary and dental and vision benefits.  Based upon company performance, significant, merit based bonuses are paid out with some employees receiving in excess of their annual salary.
  • An open, flat management structure that rewards achievement, not politics.  Phong and I run the business together.  We know all the employees and they know us.  They know they can walk into our office anytime with a concern or question – without fear of reprisal.  Creating a secure, enjoyable work environment is not only more pleasant, but it makes good business sense.  Our 100% retention of key employees over the years would not have been possible in an arbitrary and/or contentious atmosphere.


  • General Plasma is a challenging place to work.  We’d like to think it’s challenging because we’re determined to make great products.  We have survived and thrived delivering innovative products that really solve customer problems.  To develop and engineer such products takes supreme effort and team work.  Our approach is to ‘be the customer’ and question every aspect of a design.  This is done through design reviews and problem solving meetings.  In theory the process is hard on ideas and easy on the messenger.  Some Engineers love this technical back and forth process as ideas are put out – and shot down or moved along - in rapid fire.  Others experience it as a personal attack as their thought processes are questioned and their ideas challenged. 
  • The time and effort commitment expected of Engineers is likely greater than many companies.  As we all know, things take longer than planned.  Changing the brake pads on a car takes 6 hours instead of 2 as bolts are stuck and we don’t have the right tools.  This situation is exaggerated when designing a new product.  To deliver a truly great product takes far more time and effort than an acceptable delivery date can encompass.  I’ve never found a way around this and I’m not sure others have either.  There is some consolation seeing the effort it took Steve Jobs and his team to make such incredible products at Apple.
  • One last ‘con’ (that long time employees consider a ‘pro’).  There is nowhere to hide at General Plasma.  The President and Vice President are the principle Engineers and the flat structure insures that everyone’s contribution is known and acknowledged.  Our ‘A’ players love the feedback and the relief from political or uninformed decision making.  Unfortunately, some find this to be a less than optimal work environment.    

This is our side of the story and I hope it resonates with you.  It's disheartening that the current state of the internet is such that what amounts to libelous statements can be prominently published anonymously with seeming impunity.

Vice President

Phong Ngo

​​In 2000, General Plasma began developing plasma sources to enable plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) for in-line large area application. Today, General Plasma is the world leader in this coating technology with proven deposition sources, developed processes and strong intellectual property.

President & Founder

John Madocks

President's blog

By John Madocks

OUR History

Tucson Arizona based General Plasma was founded in 1997 by President John Madocks and has become a leading supplier and innovator in the field of vacuum thin film coating. John started his career at Airco Temescal in 1982 and never left the vacuum coating industry. General Plasma’s Vice President, Phong Ngo, started as an intern at the company in 2006 and quickly became an indispensable asset.  Today Phong is a partner and owner in the business. In addition to John and Phong, General Plasma is lucky to have many long term ‘A’ employees. Over half our employees have been at the company longer than 5 years with several past the 10 and 15 year marks.