Environmental Resources Management - Culture is changing. Beware of lowered potential for advancement. | Glassdoor
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"Culture is changing. Beware of lowered potential for advancement."

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Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX
Doesn't Recommend

Pros

Undoubtedly, the very best reason to work at ERM (Houston, Texas) is to learn technical and practical excellence in the environmental sciences. But that resource may not be there much longer.

Cons

These comments are specifically for ERM-Southwest as the author has had no perceivable contact with corporate management. This is the Business Unit headquartered out of Houston, Texas with offices in Austin, El Paso (1 staff member), Beaumont, Baton Rouge (La), New Orleans (La), and Mobile (Al). Suffice to say, this is a company that had a distinguished history but appears to be quickly losing professional and ethical eminence in its market. There seem to be two diametrically opposed groups of employees (which count in their ranks both management and staff). One is you might call "the Old Guard." These are geologists and engineers and others that have been with the office anywhere from 15 to 20 years or more. The scientists in this group have spent significant portions of their careers actually in the field with hands-on experience in environmental investigation and remediation. As a whole, I found this group to be exceptionally intelligent, highly scrupulous, and passionately dedicated to good science at a good price. They are not generally aggressive or ambitious. Then there appear to be the "Next Generation" which have a completely different appearance. They are ALSO highly intelligent. However, they are also extremely savvy players and suave salesmen & women. They are highly ambitious. They generally (there are exceptions) have little or insignificant field experience (having quickly moved up to management and/or having no real skill in these areas). They tend to specialize in areas of the business including construction management, sustainability, social impacts, ecological assessments, etc. As a GROUP, my perception of the "Next Generation" is that they have questionable ethics (with regard to project budgeting) and seat-of-the-pants project management styles. Their projects commonly go wildly over budget. This group owns the bulk of the business and organizational savvy and the management of the company in ERM-Southwest has almost completely passed from the Old Guard to the Next Generation. If it were not for a couple of factors, this would not necessarily be a problem (and might even be good for the Company). Unfortunately, there are at least two negative aspects: 1) The Next Generation (and actual age is somewhat irrelevant in this grouping), again, AS A GROUP, appears to have a lower ethical standard than the Old Guard and 2. The activities of the Next Generation, from what I have seen, are steadily corroding the satisfaction and dedication of the Old Guard personnel, who's scientific resources are still the basis of the Company's work. Conversely, the Next Generation seems to find the Old Guard to be necessary but stodgy, stubborn, and vaguely contemptible, if management's treatment is any indication. The recent downturn economy has only sharpened these dynamics. Newcomers to this company are then faced with two options based on their personality: align with the Next Generation and advance in the Company or align with the Old Guard and become a technical expert in your field. From this author's perspective, most young talent took the second path and learned as much as they could before exiting the company within 3 years or 3.5 years.

Advice to Management

Good luck. I sincerely hope you can cultivate the best of both groups and resolve the differences to maintain and/or rebuild the Company's reputation.

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