The Kleinfelder Group

  www.kleinfelder.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

The Kleinfelder Group Reviews

Updated Jul 16, 2014

Be The First To
Add Photos

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.9 61 reviews

53% Approve of the CEO

The Kleinfelder Group President and CEO Bill Siegel

Bill Siegel

(45 ratings)

53% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Some flexibility in roles and for technical staff there are many avenues to enhance career(in 4 reviews)

  • Great opportunity if you are motivated to take it(in 3 reviews)


Cons
  • Upper management turns a blind eye to the chaos, only to dismiss logical suggestions for improvement from their staff(in 6 reviews)

  • This is also an 'old boys' network and politics and favoritism is how you move up in the firm, not necessarily your good work(in 6 reviews)

61 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    People fun to work with and a lot of opportunities to learn

    Staff Professional I (Former Employee) Sacramento, CA

    ProsLots of training and opportunities to learn, opportunity to work on prestigious projects with experienced people from different technical backgrounds.

    ConsCompensation is decent, frequent "restructuring" and over-hiring for big projects and then layoffs once the projects are completed.

    Advice to Senior Managementgive priority in keeping people with good experience and technical background instead of replacing them with less experienced

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great place for a challenging career

    Principal Engineer (Current Employee) San Diego, CA

    ProsGreat range of projects, including large and technically challenging ones that really allow employees to expand their capabilities and grow as professionals. There are some great people that are really enjoyable to work with. Excellent senior technical staff which provide great mentorship opportunities. The company recognizes and invests in its technical staff and capabilities. Based on my observations, advancement in the company is merit based, not a "good-old-boys" mentality or "political" as some reviewers have suggested.

    ConsThe company has undergone a lot of growth and in recent years the growth has focused on diversifying services lines. At the same time, there has been ongoing internal restructuring efforts. All of this change has come with some growing pains, but has positioned the company very well for the future. Those that are not adept at change and evolution in their work place have experienced difficulties. Large firm-type administrative bureaucracy is sometimes cumbersome.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLet's work with the systems we have rather than pursue more internal restructuring.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good Company But Politics can be hard to handle

    Senior Technician (Current Employee) Los Angeles, CA

    ProsGreat co-workers. Made some great friends along the way. Good starter company if you are looking on pursuing a career in construction management/inspection services.

    ConsUpper Management. The politics you have to deal with are a bit stressful. Very underminding individuals, who use placing fear into their employees as a way to continue practising managment the way that they do without interuptions. They are not for the entry level employees whatsoever, the only people that matter to this company are upper management. Anyone else, they are just a number. They use your utilization against you, when at times it is not your fault that you have no billing hours. You can never get a hold of any supervisors cause they are "too busy". This place is not what it used to be that is a fact.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to your employees. Treat them with respect and courtesy, they are people too. Reward those who work hard, and stop playing favoritism! Its BS.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Insanity is going the same things over and over, but expecting different results

    Professional (Former Employee)

    ProsOpportunities for young, junior staff to get exposed to diverse work opportunities.

    ConsLame, inexperienced, and arrogant leadership - likely low emotional intelligence. Favoritism, politics, and "good ole boy" company - white men. No diversity or accountability of the "favored" leaders of the company. Failure and sharp decline in morale and stock value are blamed on outstanding DSO, disgruntled junior staff, Obamacare, and the poor economy, never the leadership - but other competitors are doing great! It is cheap labor, long hours, and no compensation that are being used to increase profit - metric focused. Senior, qualified personnel are used in proposals to win work. But when the work arrives, inexperienced, junior staff are used - with little training, supervision, or oversight - to increase profit. Cutting corners, poorly executed or planned work, and low morale are rampant. If not part of the "favored" group, chances or opportunities for success will be minimal. Too much drama, high turnover, and immature politics at play - have to know who to saddle up to or be left to work significantly harder to get a chance with little recognition or compensation. The company used to be fun, great team work, fair compensation, and challenging work. Today, it is not "bright people, right solutions", except maybe in small pockets or acquired companies, and very little international experience in leadership. No "one company" - no team or loyalty at all. It is fear-driven, demeaning, and oppressive. And, will bet that leadership will blame these negative reviews on disgruntled employees. In reality, it is long-term, smart, or ambitious people that are leaving (or terminated) due to frustration, the lack of strong leadership, vision, and innovation. Keep trying the same approach for all disciplines/work/projects, same excuses, and expecting staff to believe....they soon find out all is smoke and mirrors at Kleinfelder. It is profit before people. Sad to see such a great company decline as it has.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAllow the smart, talented people to help make it great again! Get stronger and more qualified managers with international experience who can do transitional leadership, empower the employees and diversify! Positive reinforcement - compensation and rewarding - will bring positive change, engaged and willing employees, and quality work product.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great Place to work and tons of Opportunities

    Staff Professional (Current Employee)

    ProsLots of interesting and challenging project and get hand on experience with all sorts of projects

    Conscannot retain good management peoples, have seen a lot of technical people leaving. Management only looks at your utilization. One proposal a week would destroy your utilization down to like 80% which is like 15% away from your goal.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to what others say, be patience, do not get personal when engineer did wrong or do not listen to you.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    8 people found this helpful  

    I missed Kleinfelder's heyday

    Senior Engineer (Former Employee) Sacramento, CA

    ProsThe company has an aggressive, ambitious international growth strategy that creates opportunities for entrepreneurial professionals who have design firm experience, nation-wide and world-wide market exposure, and who are recognized, world-class technical leaders. The professional environment is fast-paced, outwardly-focused, and continually changing. The company is privately-held. Management frequently asserts that the company will remain privately-held. The company is entirely focused on shareholder value, so the potential exists for highly-compensated individuals to become enriched as direct owners of significant equity.

    ConsKleinfelder was well known for its commitment to its employees. It was a respected geotechnical and environmental engineering firm with a strong presence in the Western US and long-term relationships with local clients. The company ambitiously expanded operations nationwide through growth and acquisition, with reasonable success. The company could boast of its remarkably low turnover rate and the longevity of its employees. Many, many individuals had been with the firm for ten, twenty, even thirty years. I knew several people who had never worked for another firm. These are the reasons I joined Kleinfelder.

    Notice that all the verbs are in the past tense. Around 2008, the company changed its leadership and its strategic direction. The company's stated goal became to multiply revenue by a factor of five, to a billion dollars a year. This was to be accomplished within five years by morphing into an engineering design firm, and would be implemented by re-branding, strategic hires, reorganization, organic growth, aggressive acquisition, entry into unfamiliar markets, and new relationships with clients that represented potential multimillion dollar annual revenues.

    Kleinfelder made the conscious decision to forego the opportunities in the local markets that had been its bread and butter, in preference for huge national and international customers. There was no safety net, no Plan B. In fairness, the company succeeded in winning an impressive number of contracts with very large clients. However, the revenues represented by these wins did not offset the loss of revenue from the company's customary work in local markets. Backlog disappeared and the layoffs commenced. Too late, the company realized that transition from a well-respected firm that was "local everywhere" to a nationally-recognized design firm didn't work out as expected. Management decided to pour large amounts of capital into local marketing efforts to recapture clients who had been neglected for the preceding five years. It didn't work very well.

    The core of the company is gone. Employees who had been with the firm for twenty years and more were fired or allowed to leave (or encouraged to leave). Good customers were lost. What's left is a "me too" design firm with world-wide aspirations and no name recognition, that is led by management that has never accomplished anything remotely like the firm's stated goals, and doesn't know how.

    Despite assertions to the contrary, employees are no longer valued. Loyalty is no longer valued. Only shareholder equity matters, although the organization is curiously inefficient. While the company boasts of a "flat structure", the fact is that this company of 1800 employees has not only a CEO, a COO, and a CFO, but also a chief technical officer (CTO), a chief information officer (CIO), a chief counsel, and dozens of vice presidents and direct owners. To support all this management bloat, utilization goals of 95 percent are the norm. Management spins the condition of the firm as a result of a bad economy, and that the firm's competitors are operating the same way, with similar results. It's unclear whether management actually believes this, but the rank-and-file certainly don't.

    The various personality flaws of individual managers won't be discussed, but one anecdote will illustrate the cultural issues at the top of the organization. One manager, during the keynote address at a company-wide technical gathering (attended by nearly 1000 employees), displayed incredible insensitivity when he likened the company's new strategic vision to the Spaniards' conquest of the New World. He stated that the Conquistadors' success could be attributed to Cortez' decision to "burn the boats", which was intended to signify that there would be no going back to Kleinfelder's old business model. I could only imagine what employees of Native American heritage felt at that moment. Unbelievably, the same manager reprised the "burn the boats" comment at the same gathering one year later.

    Kleinfelder was once a wonderful place to work in a genuine family atmosphere. Now it is just another engineering company that wishes to be a juggernaut, but bears more resemblance to the Titanic.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHire competent management that has already been where you want to go. Your focus is become a world-class design firm. That's admirable; however, your management lacks the experience and expertise to accomplish your ambitious goals. Consequently, the results are predictably amateurish. Your company brand entirely fails to project the image of a competent design firm, much less a nationwide or worldwide leader. You would greatly enhance the value of your equity if you retain skilled leadership and then get out of the way.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    OK

    Engineer (Current Employee) Boston, MA

    ProsOpportunity to grow your career

    ConsSome weeks require long hours

    Advice to Senior ManagementNone

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Used to be a good company, and still has potential if major changes happen

    Senior Engineer (Former Employee) Pleasanton, CA

    ProsI worked at Kleinfelder for many years and since the early days it was a people oriented company. That has changed now, but if you are entrepreneurial then you may still do well there. The people at the firm are great, at least the ones you work with day to day, and there is some potential for career growth if you play your cards right.

    ConsAbout 3 years ago there was a decision to remake Kleinfelder into a design firm. Almost none of senior managment had ever worked at at a good design firm. Progress to that goal is very slow, and company growth has really only been by buying other companies, while the core company experiences layoffs. There has been a major exodus of many of the most talented people, particularly in the senior ranks of the firm, a number of whom have been there 20 years or more. Everytime a key person leaves most of what we hear is why it is good they are gone, not anything about the reasons they left and how there may be something to pay attention to and changes to be made.

    The core of the firm has been basically left to molder and the result is the firm is no longer people oriented like it used to be. What was a great people-oriented culture going back to the 1960s has been pretty much destroyed in just a few years. Employees are treated like lines on a spread sheet, nothing more, certainly not like professionals. Pay and benefits are quite poor. Senior managment will even admit this off the record, but are doing essentially nothing about it. The CEO just continually gives out the excuse about how the economy is just not that strong, but other firms are doing very well and their stock prices are shooting up. When it comes to medical benefits, which continually erode adn get more expensive, they keep blaming Obamacare. There is no 401(k) match and the ESOP, so called profit sharing plan, pays at best a paltry sum to emplyees accounts when it pays at all. When I left my compensation went up in every way at a different firm.

    Basically what this company needs desparately is a change in senior managment, before the company value drops any more, like the massive drop a year ago. The CEO turned the reins of the company over to the COO and seems to like running around giving speeches outside the company. I really think he is over his head, or just too lazy to do what he should and actually pay attention to running and growing the company. The COO has made the company very bureaucratic and sticking to processes are more important than actually doing the work. Everything has to be tracked and put in the right category or bucket. Employees are no longer treated respectively. Senior managment do not listen to ideas from employees, when what they are doing so obviously does not work, as evidenced by the significant drop in stock value. The Board of Directors is stacked by the COO and CEO so they won't do anything to change things either. It is really too bad to see such a good company sink down, but I guess it is not the first to do so.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to the employees and start treating them like the smart professonals they are. Then get a new CEO and COO, probably from outside the firm. If they truly cared about he company and its employees something will happen, but I doubt it will.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    If you can drive your career - great place to work

    Project Management (Current Employee)

    Prosleadership manages healthy balance between profit and employee satisfaction; if willing to relo, willing to work hard - GREAT place to work longterm

    Consit's a consulting job .... not a government job.... there are highs and lows

    Advice to Senior Managementmore stability needed, too many changes too quickly

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Good company, opportunity, worked here for 3 years

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat opportunity if you are motivated to take it

    ConsToo much emphasis on hard data rather than human experience and other intangible factors

    Advice to Senior ManagementRemember that not all your technical employees are engineers....

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

Worked for The Kleinfelder Group? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.