Southwest Research Institute

www.swri.edu
There are newer employer reviews for Southwest Research Institute

1 person found this helpful  

Stable, most well-respected company in town

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Research Analyst in San Antonio, TX
Current Employee - Research Analyst in San Antonio, TX

I have been working at Southwest Research Institute

Pros

Offices for salaried professional employees are nearly non-existent in this day and age, yet they are the norm at SwRI. Stability and multitude of opportunities within the field of science and engineering are unmatched. The size of the campus allows for easy parking and opportunity to get in a workout during lunch. Close association with academic institutions encourage research and pursuit of advanced degrees including tuition assistance for career-related degrees.

Cons

Bonuses do not exist due to not-for-profit status. Campus is located in the southwest side of town - makes it more difficult to live in certain areas of town while maintaining a short commute. SwRI is not a national company, so a move out of San Antonio would be difficult.

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59 Other Employee Reviews for Southwest Research Institute (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    The place is an interesting one to work - you never know what's going to be around the corner

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst in San Antonio, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst in San Antonio, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Research Institute

    Pros

    Interesting - There is always something really cool being researched/tested that you get to learn about.
    People - Great fellow employees
    Environment - Relaxed, and you usually have your own office

    Cons

    Management - Some management is short-sighted, and led astray by satisfying customer requests rather than managing them.
    Promotions - Similar to a university, you get kudos for doing independent research and white papers. Most of the time it's not an issue with reviews, but the unspoken word is that it IS...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't let the management satisfy the customer - manage the customer's expectations. Too many projects have failed because of this.
    Employee benefits need to be upgraded to match other employers

    Approves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Your mileage may vary - SwRI is what you make of it

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Research Engineer in San Antonio, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Research Engineer in San Antonio, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Research Institute

    Pros

    With so many loosely affiliated divisions comprising SwRI, other experiences may be very different from mine, but I would say that SwRI is an engineer's paradise. At SwRI, the engineer is the project manager is the technical writer is the business developer...etc. It is similar to working in a small business in that you do a little bit of everything and have to constantly promote your business area and maintain business relationships to stay relevant, but unlike a startup you get a steady paycheck and excellent benefits. Other people have complained about lack of promotion opportunity, but the best way to get promoted as an engineer or scientist here is to pursue your own work, write your own proposals, bring in contracts, build a team, and hire more people to work under you. This requires both technical competence and the ability to sell your ideas internally and externally. This is not for everyone, and non-technical staff may not have this same flexibility. If you just want to be a tinkerer in a lab, there are still plenty of opportunities to do fun and amazing things at SwRI, but don't expect to move up the ladder as quickly. If you don't take the lead, you will have to follow someone else's vision.

    Cons

    There is a reputation for lower pay, but it's probably more like "average" pay. Yes, you can make more money elsewhere, but the work here tends to be fulfilling, challenging, and unique. There is occasionally some rivalry as multiple groups inadvertently pursue the same customers or business areas.
    It's hard to get hired on but even harder to get fired, so some employees get a little too comfortable and grow less productive after several years on the job. Status is sometimes rewarded over competence. There are many highly intelligent and hard-working people here who do not have college degrees, and they are limited in their ability to advance, but they also get to do all the really fun work because they cost less to a project if they don't have the "engineer" title. None of these cons are really unique to SwRI.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trim the fat and cut back the non-technical internal services. The technical staff grows and shrinks with the tides of business. Admin only grows faster or slower. The administrative megalith is very conscientious about monitoring expentitures for paper and printer toner, but they appear to find new reasons to hire non-revenue employees with impunity. Cut the number of support employees and give them more freedom to buy low-cost items as needed so they can do their jobs more efficiently. I personally bypass many of the internal services because outside companies are less expensive and more responsive, yet those internal services that I don't use will still take a cut out of my contracts to pay for electricity and facilities (at the very least). The rising overhead means that "us engineers" can do less work for our customers for a given contract dollar amount.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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