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I worked at Primera Engineers full-time (Less than a year)
I worked in the Lisle office for just under 1 year of time as a Project Manager/Water Resources Engineer. Overall i think this place could be destined for greatness. There is a desire to establish a strong technical leadership and a positive culture. There are many chances for developing your skill sets here, since there is a good variety of work that comes in the doors. That being said, there is no training provided in the front end and certain managers are too busy protecting their own head and blaming junior staff for defunct programs to ever meet their potential.
There exists some dissension between the Lisle and Chicago offices. During my time there i witnessed management in the suburban Lisle office not working along with the Chicago office. There was almost a 'I can do it without you' mentality there that was counterproductive to achieving the mission I believe Primera had set out. This attitude permeates through the organization, so certain managers (from what i witnessed) do not practice communication or clarity, which direly affects employees. Since the Lisle office relies on work from one client (Large Utility in Illinois), when things would go bad, management would take out their frustrations on their staff. These frustrations dealt mostly with promising schedules that were never achievable due to lack of resourcing, not enough work for certain departments and severely underbidding work. This is never the correct environment that will allow for success in technically complex work. I also witnessed 'preferential promotions' where family members were being promoted without any credentials or technical achievements, which demotivated the staff that had worked so hard.
Advice to Management
One of the top managers in Chicago needs to reel in management in Lisle. With the separation of the offices, the executives in Chicago have turned a blind eye to the managers in Lisle who are driving their company into the ground. They are not properly QA/QC'ing the work thats delivered to clients (managers in Lisle had promised schedules that were never achievable). In order to save their own head, they are delivering inferior designs to the client. Also, hire and properly train people so, that in the end, you will have enough staff to properly QAQC the work that is delivered to clients. Management: Follow the guidelines that are written in the employee handbook. You will lose your employees trust if you change the rules within the handbook out of the blue.