Southwest Research Institute

  www.swri.edu
  www.swri.edu
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Southwest Research Institute Reviews

Updated August 31, 2014
Updated August 31, 2014
55 Reviews
3.6
55 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Southwest Research Institute President and Director J. Dan Bates
J. Dan Bates
33 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • They have great benefits, and if you're a go getter you can make your own way in the company (in 5 reviews)

  • Interesting work when it is available (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • SwRI is not a national company, so a move out of San Antonio would be difficult (in 5 reviews)

  • Everybody is here 8 - 5 except when they aren't, which is quite often (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great company for engineers and other tech types

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • 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 full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great diversity of work, freedom to pursue your own interests, great people, good work/life balance. If you have a technical interest, you can try to get internal research funding to pursue it. On-site fitness center, intramural sports, and an employee-led recreation association that plans social events. Like a college campus, nice and sprawling with deer and other wildlife.

    Cons

    SInce it's contract R&D, you have to keep track of all time billed to projects and other activities, so the spotlight is on you when you aren't busy. Depending on your department, it can be difficult to move up. A little too much focus on numbers and very conservatively managed. That would be okay, except that there always seems to be an excuse to not give better raises.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the entrepreneurial spirit. Continue to broaden employee activities to boost morale and keep people happy. The fitness center was a great addition. Loosen up a bit, you're making plenty of money.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Embaressing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lab Technician  in  San Antonio, TX
    Current Employee - Lab Technician in San Antonio, TX

    I have been working at Southwest Research Institute as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Provides a paycheck and good supervisors.

    Cons

    Basic office environment, low pay & they're infamous for rarely giving a raise- if they do it's about 20 cents per year that you've been there. They pride themselves in their great company that loves their employees but all that translates to is they offer 'great benefits.' They have horrid bathroom/breakroom conditions, a locker to place your belongings and their excuse for the low pay is the fact that your job is most likely going to be boring. Great way to enrich your employees with experience and development opportunities. Several people have had their applications for tuition reimbursement declined, especially if you're seeking a higher degree (MS) or if it doesn't relate to your lab work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It behooves you to actually care more about those technicians below you doing all the grunt work because if they're not satisfied- it will reflect in the work they put out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Stimulating Technology for Engineers and Scientists

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • 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 full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Excellent, very technically professional environment. Campus atmosphere and best is the R&D nature of the work means that the topics of technical study are in depth and change with each project providing a constant variety of work. Nothing stale or routine here.

    Cons

    Contract work means heavy monetary oversight and limitations. Fiscal responsibility is needed but salaries and project work are limited.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Salaries are ok for San Antonio but low for equivalent industry. Be careful about trimming Benefits as these set SwRI apart. Don't rush to 'match' other companies. The Institute is beloved by employees and San Antonio, nurture the culture. Enhance the Tom Slick Vision of a Community of Scientists working towards the betterment of industry, government and people.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    One of the better out of college work experiences I think you could have.

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

    I worked at Southwest Research Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The place is essentially a large research campus, much like a university. It was a very collegial environment with intermural sports and other activities. Professional development was taken seriously and they offered pertinent training regularly.

    Cons

    Slightly embedded old guard (much like a university). Once you make it to a certain number of years here, you don't see much upward mobility.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    A little more close mentoring initiatives would have helped a new grad along a little more.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Great company and great benefits

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

    I worked at Southwest Research Institute

    Pros

    benefits are awesome
    intramural sports are fun
    division 3 is legit

    Cons

    salary is slightly lower than average, overall they do pretty good in most departments

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep doing what you're doing

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great when there is work available

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Southwest Research Institute

    Pros

    Interesting work when it is available.

    Cons

    Professional pay is below average.

  8.  

    Great place to get a huge variety of experience as a young engineer.

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

    I worked at Southwest Research Institute full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Interesting work, great retirement benefits, wonderful on-site sports and activities culture. The best part is the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects. Be sure to check that this is the case because this varies from one group to the next.

    Cons

    A bit "old guard" in that they've been around doing things a certain way for quite some time - this makes them slow to adapt to workplace trends that might benefit both employee and employer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Adapt to workplace trends more readily as it will lead to better recruiting and retention.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good short term, but don't spend your career there

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

    I worked at Southwest Research Institute full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    There is a great diversity of projects so engineers early in careers can get wide exposure to lots of different technologies. Technical sales opportunities exist and are somewhat encouraged, which helps gain contacts in industry and sales experience.

    Cons

    It's time to leave when you have 8-10 years of experience. Careers stagnate after that. Some get lucky and land big government projects around that time and proceed on into management. For those who don't, there is no career growth. In many cases, the only promotional path is to wait for someone to quit. There's just not enough corporate growth or restructuring to generate career options and keep management effective. Management doesn't invest enough in growth, but focuses on billable hours. Expecting engineers to get their own work from outside entities isn't how the world works anymore. All the other big labs have professional sales people who make contacts for work and bring in technical experts for support. Very little commercial focus makes it hard for people to get hired elsewhere outside of government contracting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dramatically restructure more often. Divisions and departments can be very segmented and territorial. Spend money on developing marketable technologies. Hire the lobbyists and connected business development people to generate more government business instead of expecting word of mouth and non-sales staff (engineers) to win new programs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Your mileage may vary

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Antonio, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Antonio, TX

    I worked at Southwest Research Institute full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Depending on the team, opportunity to work on a variety of interesting technical problems. Chance to work in a variety of roles: engineering, promotional, project management. Private offices. Good retirement benefits. Intramural sports teams.

    Cons

    Low pay relative to many other companies. Claim that they "hire the best", but often fail to retain them for very long. Culture often seems like a relic from the past. Onerous intellectual property clause in the employment contract (no moonlighting or open-source contributions).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your employees are your lifeblood. If you want to retain your talent and remain relevant into the 21st century, you need to show them that you value them as people, and not interchangeable cogs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Well balanced company for work-life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Assistant  in  San Antonio, TX
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in San Antonio, TX

    I worked at Southwest Research Institute as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    Work-life balance is very good.

    Cons

    I don't have special comments.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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