Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Reviews | Glassdoor

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Reviews

Updated October 2, 2017
17 reviews

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

17 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The employees were very kind and knowledgable, with a very relaxed yet productive work environment (in 7 reviews)

  • Good benefits including medical (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • upper management infatuation with revenues (in 7 reviews)

  • Company needs an effective Board of Directors that truly understands the R&D business (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Culture and research integrity is declining, needs work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Leader in Knoxville, TN
    Current Employee - Senior Technical Leader in Knoxville, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Has a solid set of values and guiding principles, some areas have tremendous member value.

    Cons

    Difficult to move up internally, lack of commitment to employee growth particularly early career hires, lack of alignment with stated values and guiding principles--specifically integrity, issues with proverbial boys club (there's an inside group and if you're not part of it you're at a disadvantage), and research value is secondary to procuring funding.

    Advice to Management

    Embody your values and guiding principles, reevaluate how research value is defined and let that lead funding (instead of funding trumping properly designed research), and train your leaders--managers with technical expertise are not automatically leaders and may need a lot of work to get there.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Fine to good place to work, but experience may vary depending on group"

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

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

    Pros

    There are a lot of smart people at EPRI and it generally has a laid-back atmosphere. If you're getting your work done, nobody will bother you. If you can bring in money, even better. The culture in Knoxville, though not what it used to be, is still quite friendly. While other comments about silos are absolutely true, it's only a few people who are truly bad actors: most are happy to consider working together. Some of the benefits are excellent (10% to 401k automatically) and the pay is good for the region. There are some excellent bosses and mentors.

    Cons

    Management can be very clumsy. Mid-level management varies greatly group to group and some mid-to-upper managers are better than others. The bureaucracy can be quite thick, IT infrastructure has become a bit of a disaster and the building in Knoxville is cheap and unpleasant. On pay, negotiate well, young ones, because annual raises are pretty modest usually and there doesn't seem to be much flexibility for bigger adjustments even if you perform well. They changed the job ladder a few years ago and it was implemented wildly inconsistently boss to boss - some promote quickly, some hardly at all, and skills for the same job title may not align. This seems to be less of a problem recently. For better or worse, they don't fire people often, and in some ways that's a problem - some people are quite complacent, and management is way too tolerant of those who silo, steal work from others, or simply don't carry their share. Management is also very slow to admit or correct mistakes - ask the CEO a direct but not rosy question and you'll think he is running for office, the way he ducks and dodges.

    Advice to Management

    Admit mistakes, hold people accountable, and stop glossing over the bad and saying everything is great. It's ok if something didn't work the way you wanted, just be honest about it and try to fix it. On a positive, continue to embrace the fun quirks of the people.

  3. "Student Employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Student Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Student Employee in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) (More than a year)

    Pros

    Employees are very friendly, easy parking, gym on site

    Cons

    Hard to move up in positions

    Advice to Management

    Give more meaningful work rather than just "intern" work


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Decent company, but a lot of incompetence and pretentiousness"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Intern in Knoxville, TN
    Former Intern - Intern in Knoxville, TN
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Pay for interns is pretty decent for Knoxville. There is lots of free food on most days, free snacks and drinks in the break rooms. Coworkers are pretty nice but also quite pretentious. The work they gave me was kind of boring and not challenging, but other interns did some pretty neat work. There is no fear of speaking your mind. Walking down the hallways you hear this a lot, even if it does involve a lot of cussing! The employees are very passionate about their work.

    Cons

    I didn't feel challenged during my internship. I felt that my contributions were overlooked because I'm just a student and not a manager with 15 years experience and a PhD.

    The IT department is beyond incompetent and not helpful for anything more challenging than resetting your password. I tried to get IT to install a software I needed to do my job for nearly three months. They finally followed up with me 3 days before I left despite multiple calls to the local IT to see what the issue was. They did everything to resist helping me and I ended up having to use my personal computer and my student license of the software to do my work. IT is great at giving excuses that prevents them from doing their jobs and helping people. Maybe its because we are students? Or Maybe not because a lot of regular employees also complained about IT.

    My manager made it very clear that some of the industry's brightest stars worked at the company, but not once was I given an opportunity to meet with these people or learn from their knowledge. Only my manager and their team.

    I never had an opportunity to meet any of the company's officers.

    Advice to Management

    Create some sort of intern mentorship program to help interns find value in the work they do and to help them absorb some of the knowledge and expertise that the company is renowned for.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Some good, some bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Assistant III in Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Technical Assistant III in Charlotte, NC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great benefits, work with a lot of great, smart people

    Cons

    Office politics, culture, disengagement from Senior Leadership

    Advice to Management

    Engage with employees and help them feel valuable.


  6. "Good place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Charlotte, NC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Very unique (in a good way) place to work. Freedom to pursue your own career path and interests.

    Cons

    First line managers are difficult to deal with.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "project manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in Charlotte, NC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    benefits, work life balance, reputation

    Cons

    upper management infatuation with revenues

    Advice to Management

    Get back to core vaues

  8. Helpful (4)

    "A good place for self-motivated project managers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Engineer/Scientist in Knoxville, TN
    Current Employee - Project Engineer/Scientist in Knoxville, TN
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Smart people, some cutting-edge work, good opportunities for advancement in management, well-respected by utility industry. Somewhat flexible; a great place for self-motivated types. Very stable environment.

    Cons

    Offers poor resources for early-career employees to develop technical expertise.

    In a strange middle-ground between academic research and industry--can feel like an ivory tower (disconnected) while still feeling the pressures and corporate culture of industry (focus on productivity squashes creativity).

    Work-life balance can be easily overwhelmed in management roles.

    Conservative culture mirrors some utilities, with few women and minorities in technical roles.

    Advice to Management

    A serious effort needs to be made to foster professional development, especially for early-career employees in technical roles. Educational courses and externships would be highly valuable.

    Employee distrust of management will only increase as the use of corporate buzzwords in company communications increases. Executive absence from offices adds to the perception that they are disconnected from employees.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Terrible corporate culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Honestly none. Compensation is mediocre. Good luck moving up.

    Cons

    It's hard to work when all everyone does is pass the blame to the lower ranking guys

    Advice to Management

    Because you're in upper management doesn't mean you treat them however you please.
    That explains why the "trust" in the company was a 48% in a survey


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Outside experience preferred"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Project Engineer/Scientist in Charlotte, NC
    Former Employee - Senior Project Engineer/Scientist in Charlotte, NC
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Extremely talented technical staff; An opportunity to shape the industry; Good bonus and 401(k) plans; Opportunity to travel frequently if desired.

    Cons

    External experience valued more than internal. Senior leadership can often come across as out-of-touch. Limited upward mobility makes promotions difficult to obtain.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in your staff. Look more at substance rather than style. You have the ability to develop technical talent if you choose to do so.


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