Farnsworth Group Inc Reviews | Glassdoor

Farnsworth Group Inc Reviews

Updated May 23, 2017
25 reviews

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2.8
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Karen M. Jensen, PE
13 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "Oil and Gas Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time

    Pros

    At Farnsworth group, there is flexibility, a friendly work environment, sufficient training opportunities, limited opportunities for overtime compensation, and supportive leadership.

    Cons

    Salaries are at the low end of salary range and there is limited room for advancement. Promotions are based only on time with company and not performance.

    Advice to Management

    Base promotions on performance reviews not just time with company. Be more open with employees about company policy, salary ranges, and career paths.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "So much potential, sabotaged by ignorance and incompetence."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    For the most part the people were nice. There are some very talented folks that work at Farnsworth, and they will support most of your desires for professional development, and will pay the associated fees that go along with certifications, registrations, exams, etc.

    The office was nice, you get as much free coffee as you want, and get lunch bought for you frequently for lunch and learns.

    The health insurance and other benefits were pretty decent.

    Cons

    There are quite a few cons, unfortunately.

    First and foremost, the pay is low compared to industry standard. I negotiated a little higher salary than the initial offer, but ultimately accepted because I was sold a good line and I thought there was a lot of potential there. Unfortunately it turned out to be a bill of goods. Not a single promise that was made to me was kept. From project types that I would be working on, massively underpaid bonuses, and career advancement opportunities that never materialized, everything I was told when interviewing turned out to be false.

    Second, the politics are out of control. You have grown men in leadership positions that act like children, but because they are stockholders, have mid level staff up to Senior Project Managers acting like mindless sycophants in a high school clique who eat up every word as if it were gospel. If you aren't a part of that clique, you aren't allowed to have an opinion, and if you dare challenge one of the many ignorant opinions of the ego-maniacal primadonna who is supposed to be setting the example to follow, you are effectively shunned and will get blackballed from any project that has even a minor degree of appeal to it.

    Third, fees. Wow...just...wow. I can see why Farnsworth gets projects...they will write agreements for 2% of total construction cost, which INCLUDES consultant fees, and consider it a "good fee". Then, when the project inevitably goes over budget, the blame is placed on production staff who have been working 60 hour weeks and weekends trying to hit the ridiculous schedules that are set. Not to mention, the product that goes to permit and to construction is garbage, and you spend more time answering RFI's in CA than you did producing the CD's in the first place because you didn't have time to put together a quality set.

    Last (well, I'm calling it last because I'm tired of writing), the adoption of technology and level of competence within the company is pathetic. For a multidisciplinary firm trying to play with the big firms (unsuccessfully), they should at least TRY to get some level of standardization into effect. Unfortunately they don't want to budget anything for training, and upper management is so out of touch with current technology trends that they still hold on to software that had it's heyday 20-30 years ago, and make zero effort to get with the times and learn something new.

    Advice to Management

    1. Listen to ALL your employees, not just the chosen few. I realize that most principals are pretty much checked out and just biding their time and coasting along with the "that's the way we've always done it" mentality until retirement, but if you want a legacy, bring the firm into the modern era of technology, stop listening to loud mouthed narcissistic hacks and realize that there are a lot of people whose skills are being ignored.

    2. Pay your employees market rate, for Gods sake.

    3. Stop selling a bill of goods to potential employees.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great Company Culture Won't Help Me Pay My Student Loans"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Engineer
    Current Employee - Project Engineer
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Farnsworth Group strives to be the very best at what they do. You'll have strong engineering managers who are technical geniuses and who want to help you learn. You'll learn entirely by doing--it's sink or swim, so be ready to hit the ground running. And they staff lean, so there's no room for deadweight.

    You will gain a ton of experience in a hurry and quickly become an expert in your niche field.

    The company culture is great - most offices are absolutely zero drama. For being a profession stereotypically full of nerds, they do a great job of selecting for personable employees. Have fun, do your work, everybody gets along.

    Work/life balance is pretty good; you'll be busy, but there's enough flexibility to work in whatever you need to get done, as long as you come back and finish your assigned work.

    If you get a shareholder position then I'm sure that's a pretty good gig, the company makes BANK for its shareholders. Senior managers only.

    If you happen to live in Central Illinois near the company's headquarters, your pay is market value and right in line with your cost of living.

    Cons

    If, however, you live in Chicago, LA, or Colorado, you will not be compensated anywhere NEAR your market worth. They pay the exact same wages company-wide and have apparently never heard of cost of living adjustments.

    It's worse if you're entry level. Your offer will come in low. Raises are consistently under 3% a year. Promotions help you catch up but don't come until you've been doing that job description for a couple of years already. It takes a lot of time to move up.

    That really good company culture is apparently worth 20% of your potential salary.

    Upper management's really big into the double-talk. They'll post 18% profits for six straight quarters and then talk about how they're drowning. They'll way underbid projects just to get them and then blame you for the overruns. One quarter they'll emphasize billing all your hours; the next quarter they'll emphasize saving project budgets, then it flips, every, single, quarter. Nobody's ever thought to just adjust the billing rates.

    They're a medium-sized company trying to play in big-city markets with small-town sensibilities. I've watched the growing pains, things have gotten better but there's still more growing to do, and still more pain to come.

    High demand for hours, the 40-hour week is rare, but that's a consulting gig for you.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your people. You think we aren't aware? You pursued a self-congratulatory award for being a Great Place To Work but consistently pay in the bottom quarter of your industry. Please.


  4. "Farnsworth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Farnsworth offers a wide range of experience and projects, keeping the workplace dynamic. It's size is the perfect blend of small enough to not get lost, but large enough to get plenty of opportunities for growth. In some locations, the flexible schedule helps greatly for those with families. There are also amazing people I truly enjoy working with - in many ways we are a family. Plenty of laughter and jokes.

    Cons

    The biggest downfall is the amount of overtime that is expected. While this is offset somewhat by allowing for flexible time, it is still a real problem for work/life balance. I cannot say whether this is any worse than other comparable firms.

    Advice to Management

    Keeping salary ranges a secret and disallowing employees to discuss their salaries breeds distrust, as it makes it seem there is something to hide. It goes against everything else FGI stands for, and I highly recommend the ranges being made public.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Downward Spiraling Reputation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Technician in Normal, IL
    Current Employee - Technician in Normal, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you like to work long days and lots of hours (weekends too) with little acknowledgment or compensation, then this is the place for you.

    Cons

    For all that extra time and effort you put in, you are rewarded with a paranoid manager that thinks nothing about disparaging you or your co-workers. Recently, a number of experienced, long-term employees have left, leaving less experienced staff to pick up the pieces. What a mess for those that remain and the clients. Have spoken with a few of the departed employees and was shocked to hear similar accounts of reasons that lead to their leaving. I will likely be leaving too before being "asked" to leave.

    Advice to Management

    Show a little appreciation for your employees, especially those that put in those long hours and work weeks, otherwise your clients may start to ask questions about the services that they are receiving.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Engineering Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineering Intern in Peoria, IL
    Current Employee - Engineering Intern in Peoria, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Wonderful people. Farnsworth does a great job of hiring the right personalities to fit in the work place as well as keeping things fun to keep that culture alive.

    Employees do alot of volunteer work for the community and it feels great to be a part of that. It really does feel like a little family here

    Cons

    Salaries are on the lower end of the spectrum. Not alot of room for growth for young engineers.

    Advice to Management

    Take care of developing young talent. Invest in their futures!


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Surveyor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Surveyor in Saint Louis, MO
    Former Employee - Surveyor in Saint Louis, MO

    I worked at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I negotiated for a high wage in the interview. Only to find out I was being paid far more than multi-year employees. Benefits are good. They give you a years worth of everything from the start. Most companies don't do this. And no 90 day period. But that's probably because of their high turnover rate. They realized offering this as an incentive would keep people.

    Cons

    Travel... they'll say 80%, that really means 100% or as I call it, my entire life. The company continually wants you to pay for expenses that will be reimbursed at a later time. In all honesty I thought it was some sort of a ponzi scheme at the start. Rarely do employers ask me for my own personal cash? I spent a grand, made 3 grand, then quit. I feel sorry for those who didn't do it in the manner I did. They probably lost out. Hotel rooms, food, gas, shipping cost all at your own expense. While being lectured why aren't you willing to pay? Whats wrong with you? Don't you care about our company? Enjoy your overtime by the way. 65 hours is mandatory. If you don't you'll be fired, or forced into quitting.

    Advice to Management

    Lose weight, you do nothing and make the company nothing, while those of us in the field are battling to make cash.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Not horrible, but expect a sink or swim environment."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Commissioning Technician in Madison, WI
    Current Employee - Commissioning Technician in Madison, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some nice people to work with depending on which office you're located in. Decent pay. Good free coffee. That's about it.

    Cons

    Horrible benefits and very little incentives. A lot of travel. A lot of extra hours that you'll get no credit for.

    Advice to Management

    Start genuinely caring about the people at the bottom and build them up and maybe they'd enjoy staying.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Solid Employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Saint Louis, MO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Saint Louis, MO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Farnsworth Group Inc full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    If you are a performer, you will be compensated well and allowed plenty of freedom to progress in your career and take on additional responsibilities.

    Cons

    You may get lost in the shuffle if you don't differentiate yourself from your peers. Most management will encourage progress though.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great place to work at

    Cons

    Not enough pay, but fun

    Advice to Management

    Love being manager


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