The Kleinfelder Group

  www.kleinfelder.com
  www.kleinfelder.com
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The Kleinfelder Group Reviews

Updated September 7, 2014
Updated September 7, 2014
65 Reviews
3.1
65 Reviews
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The Kleinfelder Group President and CEO Bill Siegel
Bill Siegel
48 Ratings

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)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place for a challenging career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer  in  San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at The Kleinfelder Group full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great 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.

    Cons

    The 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 ManagementAdvice

    Let's work with the systems we have rather than pursue more internal restructuring.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Extremely poorly run company with inexperienced senior management

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

    I worked at The Kleinfelder Group full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Gain entry level experience and take this experience to a better run company
    Regional strengths but very inconsistent across the firm

    Cons

    1. Senior management cannot decide on how to organize and run company, changes every year
    2. Stuck in 1990's way of doing business with no overarching strategy of how to grow
    3. Vision to be a multi-faceted engineering design firm cannot happen with current senior and mid-levelmanagement who are long term Kleinfelder employees focused on geotechnical engineering and lab services
    4. Cultural is very parochial and focused on local office capabilities and not team work, offices often compete for the same project against each other
    5. Management's actions do not follow their words

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Need to bring in new blood that have managed nationwide design firms and shed employees who are not buying into concept of being a prime consultant
    2. Change makeup of Board of Directors to include Directors with experience doing what you want to do in the future and not a bunch of long term Kleinfelder managers

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

    Great starting job, but not for the long term.

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

    I worked at The Kleinfelder Group full-time

    Pros

    Work-life balance was very good. Young employees are given the opportunity to manage projects right off the bat.

    Cons

    401k match is very low. Benefits are lacking. Opportunities difficult to get across the company. Bonus program is a joke. The lack of marketing has left some offices with a bleak outlook. Can't say I ever saw the "bright people or right solutions."

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward your employees for good work. Need to diversify regions/offices in different types of work/clients.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Ok

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

    I have been working at The Kleinfelder Group

    Pros

    Different project types and work loads

    Cons

    Insiders or money-makers advancement opportunities

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    promote from within, quit paying big bucks to outsiders and alienating current employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Think twice.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Accountant  in  Sacramento, CA
    Current Employee - Project Accountant in Sacramento, CA

    I have been working at The Kleinfelder Group full-time

    Pros

    Flexible schedules and benefits are adequate

    Cons

    Within my department- Unprofessioanl management, unbalanced work load, too many restricitons to get work done, not enough staff to properly service clients and almost feels like working in a frat house!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay more attention to what the employees are telling you. You should have a review of management by employees. The exit interviews are done for a reason.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Professional I  in  Sacramento, CA
    Former Employee - Staff Professional I in Sacramento, CA

    I worked at The Kleinfelder Group full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    give priority in keeping people with good experience and technical background instead of replacing them with less experienced

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good Company But Politics can be hard to handle

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Technician  in  Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Technician in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at The Kleinfelder Group full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Great 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.

    Cons

    Upper 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Place to work and tons of Opportunities

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

    I have been working at The Kleinfelder Group full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

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

    Cons

    cannot 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

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

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

    I worked at The Kleinfelder Group full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Lame, 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 ManagementAdvice

    Allow 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 13 people found this helpful  

    I missed Kleinfelder's heyday

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

    I worked at The Kleinfelder Group full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    Kleinfelder 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 ManagementAdvice

    Hire 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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