Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.

  www.selinc.com
  www.selinc.com

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Reviews

Updated October 23, 2014
Updated October 23, 2014
88 Reviews
3.6
88 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. President Edmund O Schweitzer III
Edmund O Schweitzer III
77 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work-life balance, friendly coworkers , emphasis on learning (in 5 reviews)

  • The company operation is very transparent and it is 100% employee owned company (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • Small town life at its worst (over 90 miles to the nearest "big" city on some of the most boring highways in the nation) (in 5 reviews)

  • The work life balance is usually work over life, especially if you want to advance in the company (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great opportunity!

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

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    great values, great people, great mobility and personal growth

    Cons

    intern training was short, but still good.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    I'm happy to be working and making enough to live a modest lifestyle. I would love it here if innovations were welcome.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineering in Pullman, WA
    Current Employee - Software Engineering in Pullman, WA

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Stable place to work. Low stress community. No traffic jams or long commutes. Pullman has a very low crime rate. If you have little interest in creating great solutions it may be a great place for you to work.

    Cons

    Extremely difficult to create game changing innovation if you are not well connected to management. Ideas are actively suppressed. If you want to make a big difference through innovation, you are unlikely to be able to here. Money is not the most important thing but, from Glass Door we are paid 30% less than the national average. Mid level management where I work displays many psychopathic behaviors. Sycophant behavior is welcome. The HIPPO always has the best ideas. Winters are long in Pullman.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rethink mid-level management. Stop psychopathic personalities from entering the ranks of management, remove existing problem managers. Empower employees to innovate; if you do not believe this is a problem you do not belong in management. You should clearly see this is a problem; it is obvious.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Mixed bag of Chocolate and I do hate coconut and almonds, but love caramel.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Assembler in Pullman, WA
    Current Employee - Assembler in Pullman, WA

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    They are pretty much the biggest employer outside of institutions. There is for a lack of a better word 'two training departments'. There is how we would like to perceive how things are done and how they are actually performed. Office culture: I am a blue collar employee so my perspective is from the standpoint of working in two identical departments on opposite shifts. There seems a lot more comradely on swing shift. But less backstabbing on day shift no matter the department though not to say there are not individuals that will abuse others while they fail to do work or would rather complain that people want to follow best practices or yell at you for 'Do as I say not as I do'.

    Cons

    Some times it feels that they take advantage of being so large for a small area of employment opportunities, but they are getting better especially with some of the newer management they have. Promotions: as long as you work in Custom Encloser, you are under 5 foot blonde, or may be a slight jerk. (Mixing and matching these qualities help). Values: Some days better then others sometimes I feel that assemblers care more about quality AND understand human error better then management. ESOP really reminds me of ENRON or a pyramid scheme.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pretty much try to keep in mind there qualifications, work ethic and attitude on the floor (this does not include CEA as part of the floor). Not all good things come in cute little packages. How well liked is the individual that they work with or will work with using the SEL 5 steps of leadership or something like that.
    Final thoughts congrats to Luis D'Acosta and Leith for promotions. I know SEL is on the right track.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Company Review of one man

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Shipping Receiving Warehouse Clerk Delivery Driver, Assembler in Pullman, WA
    Former Employee - Shipping Receiving Warehouse Clerk Delivery Driver, Assembler in Pullman, WA

    I worked at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Outstanding company that continually identifies, measures, and improves it's processes to make power safer, more reliable, and more economical. An asset to the community as well as continual worldwide innovation. A leader in their industry! They also provide health and dental insurance to all their employees.

    Cons

    During the time I worked in the manufacturing departments, I noticed many people became jaded from the repetitive tasks, and poor involvement of management. First, most of the supervisors were not understanding of people who really needed to use a few sick days, they would usually take them on a guilt trip. Second, I would give an "F" in leadership and delegation to a few individuals in management (of which some no longer work at SEL). They wouldn't get to know their employees enough to make a stronger team. In other words, our improvement was stagnant compared to the potential of what our team could be. Looking for the diamond underneath and polishing it till it shines in the people who have a greater potential in another areas, as well as leadership. It would also stimulate more pride and dignity of work to be offered different positions by supervisors who really get to know their employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Like I stated above, get to know your employees more. Take some necessary risks to scout out those who have the potential for another position even if they don't see it or request it, and polish those diamonds underneath. There are some young, natural leaders out there. It is discouraging to fight a long battle upstream just to get a dream position, even though it can really bring out the character a person. It's all about forming the best team you can, make the most of what you've got!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Good company for a rural area, as long as you end up with the right manager.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Engineer in Pullman, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Engineer in Pullman, WA

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Company has fantastic customer service values and will go the extra mile and then some to insure its customers are taken care of. Nice clean work facilities. ESOP retirement plan. In general most of your fellow employees are good people.

    Cons

    You have a good chance of ending up with a manger here that has very poor people/management skills. The majority of the management team is long term employees who would not be in a similar position in a company of this type in a large metropolitan area. Plan on having to endure a cult like atmosphere without much room for dissent allowed if you want to keep your job. Also plan on working regularly 50+ hours a week without any extra compensation for anything over 40 hours if you are a salaried employee.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try having the same level of commitment to your employees that you do to your customers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Excellent Learning experience- Could use an immigration department which actually likes their jobs

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

    I worked at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    Excellent work environment and values. Learning curve of employees goes sky high in no time.

    Cons

    Poor legal department work force. They know what they are supposed to do, but they don't.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep your promises to the new hires and update your job descriptions.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Small feel, great aspirations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manufacturing Supervisor in Pullman, WA
    Current Employee - Manufacturing Supervisor in Pullman, WA

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Community, values, Friday Lunch, campus life, educational assistance, moral of the story, this company really cares about its employees.

    Cons

    At times there is a difficult Work/life balance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dissemination of information

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    engineer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Engineer in King of Prussia, PA
    Current Employee - Associate Engineer in King of Prussia, PA

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    Very stable company and good benifits .

    Cons

    low salary than us ave

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    good mntg

    give opportinuty for devepment

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    Love the people, not the job

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

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The people that you work with are some of the best people you could ask for in a workplace. This is of course a bit dependent upon where you work within the company.

    There is a lot of room for growth and management responds well to being willing to trying to take on more responsibility.

    Does a great job of delivering great products to an industry that literally has others lives on the line.

    Always willing to go that extra mile for customer needs.

    Small town life at its best (don't really need to lock doors during the summer)

    Free mass prepared Friday Lunch that doubles as a company wide business meeting.

    Cons

    Process paralyzed. Since there is such high risk for what can happen if something goes wrong with our products we have to have a lot of process to ensure our products are the highest quality. The processes used, however, are not always applied in an intelligent manner, and it's hard to get any meaningful change to the process without risking upsetting people above your pay grade.

    The work life balance is usually work over life, especially if you want to advance in the company. Management is more than willing to let you take on a new task, especially if compensation for the additional responsibility can be delayed.

    There's some opaqueness between upper management and the low level workers, some of it is expected, but compared to the message (everything is open) it seems like a complete contradiction between the message and the reality.

    Inflexible work environment. Small accommodations are made based on need, but there's a lot that could be done to make work life more comfortable. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so every little bit of comfort that is invested into that will help make us want to be there. Taking a lesson from some of the silicon valley companies may help.

    Small town life at its worst (over 90 miles to the nearest "big" city on some of the most boring highways in the nation).

    Free mass prepared Friday Lunch that doubles as a company wide business meeting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Not enough trust is given to lower level employees. As we spend a lot of time making sure that we hire the best employees, we should start with trusting them, and only once its lost should we address that individuals abuse of the trust.

    Approach employees with how can SEL make being at work enjoyable instead of what is the bare minimum that the company can do to make sure that employee's don't leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    You are valued as a person, not just a resource

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineering Technician I
    Current Employee - Software Engineering Technician I

    I have been working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Any time I think of the reason I'm still here, I think of the overall value-add services provided by the employer. Any technical industry will have its ups and downs, but what really means a lot is consistent treatment through all of that.

    Our leadership is compassionate but steadfast and no-bull. We have reasonable compensation (made into excellent compensation by the Employee Stock Ownership Program retirement payment), no layoffs, and solid core values and processes which make our customers trust the products we release. Employee Stock Ownership Program keeps all employees linked to the company (and their compensation) at large, so you don't tend to have the problem of "dead-weight" team-members. Work assignments have been varied and interesting. Even as a technician, I have had an opportunity to achieve recognition from experienced power engineers and software engineers here.

    We have an LQ (Life Quality) team, which is something unique. This means, for free, any time, you can email to get advice on health concerns and even sign up for free one-on-one counseling/coaching to work through personal planning/goals. We have also had our health insurance costs remain steady and even go down (perhaps because of the LQ Wellness options/coaching/counseling).

    Cons

    Career growth can be a little challenging for an hourly employee. Many of the things normally considered admirable (doing off the clock study of company educational materials) is restricted by laws outside of our control. That being said, as aforementioned, opportunities to work with (and prove yourself to) higher-up engineers abound.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider the value of a week-long or so opportunity of career shadowing/out-of-the-box studying/working. Make the permissible frequency of such a program reasonable (such as once every two years).

    Our college degrees only take us but so deep into the broad array of subjects. It would mean a lot to be able to shadow a supervisor/senior team member to determine feasibility of a certain future career move (i.e. from SW to HW engineer).

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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