A. Epstein and Sons

  www.epsteinglobal.com
  www.epsteinglobal.com

A. Epstein and Sons Reviews

Updated October 20, 2014
Updated October 20, 2014
10 Reviews
3.3
10 Reviews
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Mike Damore
4 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great engineering team! Best place to work in MEP industry!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Engineer in Chicago, IL

    I worked at A. Epstein and Sons

    Pros

    The managers and the MEP team are probably the best you will find in Chicago. They put employees first before anything. They take care of the employees very well by providing flexible schedule and great input into design. The culture is laid back, hard working and very easy going. Same can't be said about other disciplines in the firm. The MEP managers will protect the engineers from all the BS from other disciplines. They have good projects and you will be given a lot of responsibility and chance to work in other disciplines within MEP.

    List of Pros
    * Great managers
    * Diverse projects
    * Diverse people and smart group
    * High flexibility in schedule and work
    * Friday half days, 4 day long weekends, and 2 weeks Christmas break
    * You, your life, and your happiness comes first for engineering managers (Try finding that elsewhere!) and in return people work hard to meet the deadlines and expectations.
    * You design, draft and run the project on your own if you show that you can handle it.
    * There is no CAD team so you do your own drafting (Some may hate it but it is what it is)
    * If you don't enjoy politics and a genuine nice person, this place is for you, if you are a political genius, the team will kick you out
    * Overall the firm is very good in terms of flexibility

    Cons

    Epstein has a name for being cheap and the company will go above and beyond to maintain their symbol. Never complain! The more you complain the quicker you get fired!

    * Decent salaries for engineers but horrible for Architects.
    * 2% raises every year
    * High turnover, the firm is trying to get rid of the name of hire/fire workshop but they still do depending on how busy they are. (May be fire people who are making the work flow slower by not bringing enough work!)
    * They make you share a workstation with adobe and other softwares by providing one machine for every 70 employees or so. Good luck getting a software you need to do your job faster.
    * You have to bring your own coffee cup, glass and they don't have a sink so you have to use restroom to wash your dishes. You will be warned not to touch the office coffee cups and glasses!
    * $20 chairs to massage your back! No kidding, the chairs has to be from 80s, they can hold your weight so works for Epstein
    * Outdated computers
    * Very political management and decisions are made by people who are stuck up and disconnected with employees. In other words, they are nonsocial people trying to run the show

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop being so cheap and please update your carpet, conference rooms and computers. Don't watch every penny an employee spends. You won't save much by questioning every penny. Earn money by promoting smart people who can actually bring good projects to the company. You can achieve that with an open mind and accepting people and ideas that are different from your closed circle. Firing people who question you is only putting you in a bad spot

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good Company, Not Good Pay

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Design Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Design Engineer in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at A. Epstein and Sons full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    - The people are great here, and there is a good mix of old and young.
    - Potential to gain a lot of experience.
    - A well respected company in the Chicago market.
    - A good size company with a small company feel.
    - 100% ESOP with 100% vesting after 6 years.
    - They hire recent graduates, which is pretty hard to come by.
    - The hours are great (M-Th 8.75hrs & Fr 5hrs) and they are very flexible.

    Cons

    - The company is very top heavy....the executives, VP's, HR people, and people that have been there long enough to be in "The Club" make a lot of money where everyone else, especially the production people (engineers, architects) are very underpaid.
    - The company penny pinches a lot.
    - The 8th floor (where all the engineers are) looks like it hasn't been updated in 50 years.
    - The benefits are not very good...Health insurance is expensive and the 401k match is not very good.
    - Can have the feel of being political.
    - There really is no responsibility differentiation between several positions, i.e. a Design Engineer and a Senior Design Engineer do the same thing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Re-evaluate the pay scales.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Had potential but...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I worked at A. Epstein and Sons full-time

    Pros

    Chicago office and leadership much better and accessible to staff.

    Cons

    Supervisor, project management, commute. Poor overall culture and empty promises.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of dead weight running the offices

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Abusive Overtime

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at A. Epstein and Sons full-time

    Pros

    A lot of potential, but it all falls short in reality.

    Cons

    Overtime in excess of 150% after stating minimal overtime in the interview, no recognition for all the hard work, and when it is over, they start letting people go. I got out before they could come for me.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    It's a good solid firm in which to learn and grow in to the profession.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Arch III in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Arch III in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at A. Epstein and Sons full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I like the work environment and the benefits. Half day Fridays are particularly nice. Also the fact that the firm is interdisciplinary gives a lot of opportunity to learn about all aspects of the profession and opens up the possibility for greater coordination.

    Cons

    Design often falls by the wayside with many clients and dealing with upper management can be frustrating at times. Additionally, standards are oftentimes not well defined which can lead to a lot of time being wasted.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Good company with interesting jobs and company doing a good job caring about employees and work life balance.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at A. Epstein and Sons

    Pros

    Interesting projects, good work/life balance, good teamwork, half day Fridays.

    Cons

    Some red tape at times, some difficult deadlines related to time

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Add some better building amenities.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Opportunities of a large firm with a small firm culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Structural Engineer
    Former Employee - Structural Engineer

    I worked at A. Epstein and Sons full-time

    Pros

    Diverse markets. Opportunity for individual growth and development with the ability to express interest in and pursue projects of particular interest. A workplace culture that promotes a team atmosphere.

    Cons

    Overal corporate goals can get lost in the filter down to division operations.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    Epstein: A full service design firm

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I worked at A. Epstein and Sons

    Pros

    When the economy is decent, this firm gets a nice share of large interesting projects.

    Friday afternoons off (if no meetings or deadlines)

    The staff is friendly and knowledgeable.

    This is a full service design firm from planning and logistics consulting to Architecture, Civil, Structural, & MEP Engineering, Interior Design, and Graphics/Way Finding.

    All disciplines are in one location and many projects are a complete A/E team effort.

    Cons

    Pay is almost fair, but benefits (healthcare plans and 401k contributions) are horrible! Instead of matching contributions, staff is given shares of the ESOP. ESOP! Yeah that's been a good substitute for your retirement savings. If only the company's stock (and most other design firm's stock) hadn't sunk so drastically.

    Because of their poor balance between public-private clients and the large one-of-a-kind projects and having several "bread & butter" projects, they tend to "ramp up" staffing to complete the work and then cut positions when projects are complete.

    Project staffing motto is "lean to the bone, do more with less," unless the client complains.

    Poor staff resource management and development of less experienced staff (i.e.: no structured mentoring)

    Poor unity between the 3 managing directors and their company leadership for the various disciplines.

    Disastrous attempt at being a General Contractor due to lack of strong leadership to get CMs and A/Es to work as one team (partly because each discipline is responsible for its own profitability).

    Directors travel to Mexican resort to discuss internal company policy and then return to begin layoffs later in the year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Avoid the hiring/firing swings. You're getting a reputation and it takes time and $$ to overcome that reputation.

    Develop and mentor staff so there are more qualified individuals to market and work on the various project types.

    Build on the strength of the staff and don't blow $$ on efforts that are just not the company's strong points (such as Annex 5).

    Ditch the divisive practice of evaluating disciplines individually by profitability. You can't have harmony, camaraderie, and a common goal if everyone is out to cover their own ass.

    Decide on one leader from the 3 managing directors and make that person responsible for the entire company's direction.

    No opinion of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Opportunity, but at what cost?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at A. Epstein and Sons

    Pros

    Half-day Fridays; Flexibility; Growth Opportunity

    Cons

    Benefits; Senior Management; Lack in Mentoring & Leadership

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve benefits; Incentive based bonuses

    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at A. Epstein and Sons

    Pros

    Epstein values working together as a team and respecting every employee.

    Cons

    Concerned with focusing on a central goal as opposed to individual departments.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work toward finding the right balance between departmental goals and the overall corporate goal.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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