Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Reviews | Glassdoor

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Reviews

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Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) President & CEO Michael W. Howard
Michael W. Howard
16 Ratings

20 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • This is a great place for your first internship and it has certainly opened many doors for a lot of the students who come into EPRI (in 7 reviews)

  • You can pretty much do whatever you want whenever you want, leave, go workout, work from home etc (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Very poor involvement and understanding by the Board of Directors (in 4 reviews)

  • upper management infatuation with revenues (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Basically a broker for technical research in the industry. If you like to review and are in that place in your life where you want to manager those who do the research, this is the place for you.

    Cons

    Talk a lot about work and life balancing of time, but then proceed to demand extra hours regardless of workload.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your staff better - and take a loot at the areas that are having huge turnovers - SEE who is causing it and open your eyes.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Challenging work, but horrible management and apathetic support overhead departments"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Knoxville, TN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Knoxville, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Considered by many to be a well respected organization by our members although this opinion is starting to change. Working hours are very flexible and employees can come and go as they want as long as they put at least 41 hours on their timecards so they do not get audited. A lot of free food and drinks in the break rooms. Most coworkers are pleasant to be around. Pay is slightly below average for the region even with the low cost of living in Tennessee, but bonuses make up this discrepancy. We are constantly advised to not expect our bonuses as part of our salaries, but if we didn't get our bonuses so many people would leave the company en mass. Most years bonuses are around 15% of our annual salaries. Benefits are good, although our insurance switched from Blue Cross to Cigna, which isn't as good but still better than most. You can't really complain about free health insurance these days.

    The work is challenging, and most of the time you have enough work to keep you busy more than 90% of the time. The onsite lab makes it nice and quick to be able to have experiments done without having to sub the work out to other entities. Most employees are really laid back and willing to help out and offer advice when requested. It is rare to see any senior executives in the office since many of them moved to Charlotte a few years ago.

    Cons

    The organization has made drastic attempts over the past several years to become a leaner company with less overhead to make up for decreased membership funding. However these overhead departments are changing in such a way that their value is greatly diminished and are borderline worthless. Our HR department was renamed to People and Performance, but really it should be just Performance since the People aspect went away years ago. Our HR reps do not care about knowing the employees they are supposed to support and only care about making sure that we check off our goals at the end of the year so it looks like employees have developmental growth and so it looks good to our board of directors. It is good for our careers to grow and the company acts like they care, but at the same time our performance review systems are greatly flawed and people managers are directed to not give out above average employee evaluation scores. The local offices HR is not trained to resolve employee conflicts and rarely make themselves available to speak with employees in person. The personal aspect of HR has gone away completely.

    The IT department is also plagued with underpaid support staff who like HR, try to push responsibilities off of their own plate in an attempt to minimize the amount of meaningful work they have to do. IT changed from a customer satisfaction model to a metric driven model, so their primary goal is to close as many support tickets as quickly as they can regardless if the problem is resolved. If the problem is not resolved then the employees will submit another ticket for the same issue which incorrectly shows that IT is great at solving problems quickly. There is a lot of turnover at all levels of this department and sadly its the less knowledgeable staff that tends to remain. Both IT and HR refuse to recognize that their positions exist because of the R&D work done by the technical staff and the low morale among technical staff is compounded by the supreme apathy among these support departments.

    People in Palo Alto and Charlotte seem to think that Knoxville employees are less educated and less valuable than the other offices. This mentality is reflected not only in senior management but also in other departments. The office building is years behind the other offices with regards to conferencing equipment and is overdue for a renovation. Charlotte and Palo Alto campuses have character, whereas Knoxville is blandly decorated with no frills. The company refuses to spend a single penny more than they have to on Knoxville whereas Charlotte gets a nature trail and Palo Alto has employee gardens and outdoor use patios with tables and benches. The largest conference room is not even large enough to accommodate the office for all employee meetings. Company wide, support staff without a traditional college education are not allowed to be salaried, and instead are hourly employees. This segregates the workforce and creates massive barriers designed to prevent hourly employees from advancing to salaried and higher paid technical positions. Hourly employees also receive much lower annual bonus rates, which further promotes the ideologies of a segregated workforce. HR gave me a verbal warning in March for talking about the bonus rates with an hourly employee. The company does a poor job of promoting from within and much prefers to hire external candidates instead.

    Advice to Management

    Take a serious look at the inefficiencies in your overhead departments such as IT and HR. Throwing absurd amounts of money at the problem or hiring additional staff for these support departments is not necessarily the correct approach. Eliminate the separation between hourly and salary staff by making everyone salary. Overtime is highly frowned upon anyways so there is no real difference between hourly and salary anyways except for inflating the egos of our technical staff. Employee morale is very low right now. Small changes can resonate loudly through the organization and can make this a great company to work for again.


  3. Helpful (4)

    "Quickly forgetting employees are people, disregard for safety"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Knoxville, TN
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Knoxville, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Overall a great company with good benefits but recent changes in HR and other policies makes the company less attractive to work for.

    Cons

    New policies and HR changes are causing the company to forget that employees are people, and generally have disregard for employee safety despite a huge push for increasing company safety. Nobody knows who to call or what the procedures are when emergency happens or employee needs to go to hospital. During a recent snow and ice storm in Jan 2016 the Knoxville office remained open when most of other businesses in the area were closed and the parking lot and sidewalks were very slippery... A coworker fell while walking to their car and badly bruised their hip and lower back. Employees are afraid to report accidents because the entire workforce gets punished for accidents that require medical attention by taking away part of our bonuses.

    Advice to Management

    Don't forget that the company is nothing without employees. Also if corporate decides to keep the office open during snowey and icey weather at least keep the facility clean so employees can safely move around the facility or get to their cars. The big increase in safety policy should not apply to employees but should also apply to the entire company including managers and executives.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Good but short experience working with this company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Project Manager/Business Analyst in Charlotte, NC
    Current Contractor - Project Manager/Business Analyst in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good team, Friendly atmosphere, a good working environment

    Cons

    Lack of directions, lack of transparency, high turn over for the position i am holding etc.

    Advice to Management

    Should have KT sessions more often w.r.t the business history.
    Should give better directions to the employee with a transparency of assessment


  5. Helpful (6)

    "Not a good experience overall...."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Charlotte, NC
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The compensation is average but high for a non-profit. Benefits are good. The company itself is pretty good but the cons listed below overshadow the admirable mission and good points.

    Cons

    Where do I begin? Culture is brutal. At the lower levels it is a pretty friendly collaborative culture but the bullying from the director level has gotten way out of hand. In spite of poor survey results, lost talent and feedback on the issues nothing really ever changes. If these issues were dealt with the company would be a great place to work. However, don't hold your breath. Leadership is rather out of touch so that may contribute to the management dysfunction that paralyzes the organization.

    Advice to Management

    You can't reach your potential if you don't have the right people. The company needs leadership. Stop assuming that just because they were hired or promoted they are the best fit for EPRI. Deal with your hard management decisions and let the company move forward. One bad manager is not worth your entire talent pool.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "No direction"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer/Scientist in Lenox, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer/Scientist in Lenox, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Challenging and interesting projects. Ok work and life balance. Good place to start or end your career if you are in the right EPRI circle. Not much advancement in the long run.

    Cons

    The management matrix is failing. The management is constantly reorganizing itself. I've seen a lot of good, very intelligent folks leave good paying positions due to poor management.

    Salary is stagnant for most while the upper management receives incredible bonuses for a non profit organization.

    Advice to Management

    Stop promoting caustic bullies to the director level. Realize the talented engineers and researchers that are carrying the organization.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Failing Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Project Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Palo Alto is a great place to work, but very expensive
    Charlotte maybe is a good place to work, but that's stretching it
    Knoxville has cheap living, but not sure what else
    Will let you work from home anywhere, so nobody sees what you are doing
    Excellent work life balance

    Cons

    CEO not held accountable for his failed, grandiose ERP initiative. Blaming lower level people
    Higher level management is English language challenged
    Absentee Management : work from home or hide out in Knoxville or Phoenix
    Most PM work is now simply paper pushing
    Management wants innovation but employees allowed to work from home and company library was eliminated with no viable substitute implemented
    Membership funding decreasing
    Company losing personnel widely respected in their fields
    Company needs an effective Board of Directors that truly understands the R&D business
    Most of management has never performed company's PM work
    Promotion is based on buddy system
    Glass ceiling is apparent
    Not a Silicon Valley type of company

    Advice to Management

    Instead of flying around the world on so called company business with your wives, maybe its time you stay in the office and focus on managing effectively the company


  8. Helpful (2)

    "A starting point, but not great for long term."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good place to start your career.

    Cons

    Budget cuts have led the company to be frugal on research symposiums, corporate benefits, and ERP implementation, while upper management receives quiet bonuses. Promotions and salary awarded on seniority, not on accomplishments.

    Advice to Management

    Outdated principles and policies do little to compete with other Silicon Valley opportunities.


  9. "Utility Industry Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    This company was founded to provide research and direction to USA utilities. They have been on the forefront of project management in research and development of power delivery in the USA. They are well respected within the utility industry and is a great place to work for engineers and scientists who want to be valued for their input and provide valuable input and discovery into the utility industry of the USA and the world.

    Cons

    Management doesn't care for non-engineer staff. If you are not a member of the engineering staff, you are not valuable. Seems to be a constant struggle for upper management and budget dollars.

    Advice to Management

    Listen when administrative staff informs you of issues. You have lost many good employees by listening to the wrong people who had motives other than what was best for the company.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "A once-proud industry icon being dragged under by management hubris and incompetence"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Knoxville, TN
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Knoxville, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    -- Focus by most staff on research and benefit to the industry
    -- Great people willing to help when you need it
    -- Generous salary and benefits
    -- Nice offices; good facilities

    Cons

    -- New senior managers are convinced they are the smartest guys in the room, but pet projects have run WAY over budget and they are now cutting loose critical talent to balance the budget
    -- Overall intellectual arrogance is part of corporate culture
    -- Too much focus on selling R&D to funders disillusions researchers, who must spend time selling instead of R&D
    -- Most career paths are dead ends with no opportunity for advancement
    -- Management favorites can go years without producing significant results while award-winning researchers are laid off due to budget overruns
    -- Senior staff assumes good researchers are good project and people managers and don't need training for these critical skills. The results have been some spectacular and expensive project failures
    -- Senior VP in charge of current ERP project is determined it will launch on deadline despite systems development far behind schedule. Result is staff is being trained on systems that will change before they ever get to use them.

    Advice to Management

    Slow down, take a breath. Quit trying to show everyone how smart you are by gutting improvements made by predecessors and setting unrealistic deadlines. Stop getting rid of key people you don't like in the name of budgets. Stop demanding time-consuming consistency in the many, many cases where it gains the organization nothing and actually creates more work. Don't make people managers unless/until they have demonstrated management skills.


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