Pape-Dawson Engineers Reviews

Updated Jul 1, 2020

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3.9
65%
Recommend to a Friend
88%
Approve of CEO
Pape-Dawson Engineers Chief Executive Officer Sam Dawson
Sam Dawson
42 Ratings
Pros
  • "Fast growing company and good benefits(in 6 reviews)

  • "A great company that genuinely cares about their employees and their clients(in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • "The work is fast paced, which might not be a good fit for everyone(in 5 reviews)

  • "It seems that upper management has no real interest in providing opportunities for their CAD technicians to grow their careers(in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Very good workplace"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - CAD Technician 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Friendly people, very helpful and caring about their employees

    Cons

    Can’t think of any yet

  2. "Just ok"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good company with decent benefits, recent changes to benefits are a plus.

    Cons

    Management level and growth is only for the "choosen" ones, very clickish, hypocritical do as I say management style.

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  3. "Imperfect Yet Well Intentioned"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer III 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Committed to being the most respected organization in the region. Generally great benefits. Active in the community.

    Cons

    Old school. Conservative. Behind on maternity/paternity leave philosophy and policy.

  4. "Very terrible company to want to be respectful"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Looks good appearance. This company is very good at advertising itself. Sort of online star company. Very clever at marketing.

    Cons

    The company wants to get respect and fame from others. You know, on-line star just works in website such as Facebook or glassdoor. I couldn't feel any considerations for employee during my work. Their leadership members are very easily firing employee and overissuing reckless promises you can't even keep. Keep in mind. Bad reviews of this company are likely true and good reviews can likely be fake. Because the company encourages employees to write a review in glassdoor website.

  5. "False Promises, low wages"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - GIS Analyst in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Overtime offered - Annual bonus

    Cons

    - Below average wages for non-engineer positions - Not much for career advancement opportunities - Questionable hiring decisions (no input from direct team members) - Headquarters in San Antonio doesn't allow employee friendly policies such as headphones during work hours even though it has been found to increase employee productivity - Upper level management is cheap and not willing to adopt new technology/techniques to set company apart from other Civil Engineer firms (ex. software)

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  6. "Marketing"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Pape-Dawson Engineers

    Pros

    Fast growing company and good benefits.

    Cons

    Marketing Director bullies her subordinates and attempts to micromanage everyone.

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  7. "Great people!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineering Intern in San Antonio, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Awesome learning experience, great people

    Cons

    Cannot think of any cons.

    Pape-Dawson Engineers Response

    February 5, 2020MC

    Thank you for your review. We greatly value your input.

  8. "Mixed feelings"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Engineer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    NOTE: Your experience will vary depending on office. This is a review for the main branch - Good benefits; OT pay (straight hours) for salaried employees and end of year bonus - Involved in the community through outreach and charity; company mission / values - Promotions and career growth available for entry level positions - Some flexibility in working hours off to take time during the week - some great people at this company, and if you have a chance to work with/under them, then your experience can be enjoyable. Your direct manager has a large impact on job satisfaction - overall grateful for the opportunity and experience - a Lot of work available for you, and to work OT, if that is what you want (see CONS)

    Cons

    If you value work-life balance, this is not the best option for employment. Expect to churn out work like a factory, with little to no appreciation of work done. The only time management will comment on your work is when it was not to completed to their expectations, and during annual review. There is more work to do than there are people to do it. Sometimes your manager/supervisor will inflate the urgency of work, which you can complete and then have it sitting on a desk to be reviewed for another two weeks. You'll always feel behind unless you're willing to work 55+ hours a week, and also made to feel like an under-performing employee if you don't put in those hours. There are cars at the office before 6:30AM, cars at the office after 7:30PM, cars at the office on the weekends. Because they pay you when you work OT, they expect you to work OT. - PMs / VPs can be hit or miss; some great engineers do not make great managers - Attitude of upper management can be condescending - there is an open door policy but depending on your boss, you probably won't feel comfortable using it - As others have mentioned, no use of music during work hours. Depending on coworkers in the vicinity, this can be very annoying. There are chatty people, heavy breathers, snackers... - 2 weeks for first 7 years of employment and expect jokes when you actually utilize your vacation time - Can be a pro for some, but very traditional and conservative - Very little formal training for new hires except through videos (to be watched/studied on your own time) and occasional lunch and learns. Expected to learn from asking/watching others, who may or may not have time for you. On the other end of the spectrum, when training others, you are expected to maintain productivity

  9. Helpful (5)

    "Becoming more disappointed with each passing day"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technician III 
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Pape-Dawson Engineers is a solid company with over 50 years of experience and expertise. The company is reputable, has a good benefits package, yearly income adjustments (cost of living raises), and multiple offices in four major markets around Texas. They are heavily involved with charitable work and doing what they can to give back to the community. They do offer some very nice year end bonuses.

    Cons

    It seems that upper management has no real interest in providing opportunities for their CAD technicians to grow their careers. On most teams, even with the title of Designer or Sr. Designer, you will not get many opportunities to do any actual design work, short of laying out some water or sewer lines. Its almost as if there is little to no trust in having non-engineers do any real design. Even if you have years and years of design experience under your belt, 99% of all design is entrusted to engineers. Including 1st year engineers who are still learning the ins and outs of the industry. In short, PD offers no real career path for CAD technicians. There are no job descriptions so don't expect to have any benchmarks to help guide you along the way. You will get no training when you start. So you'll have to rely on asking someone on your team how to do every little thing, which cuts productivity and doesn't always allow the time needed for the information to sink in. Also, you'll be expected to do plats as a technician. So if you thought you'd be coming in, learning about design and strictly working on design projects, think again. Plats will be required, even though I personally feel that plats should be done by survey technicians and be a part of the survey department. Thats where that level of expertise belongs. PD seems to have this "sink or swim" mentality so if you're not a fast learner or absorb a lot of information thrown at you real fast, you're going to struggle to learn the "PD way" of doing things. You cannot wear earbuds and you cannot create a workspace that is your own. In most cases, you'll be told you can't have certain things in your cubicle for whatever reason management seems fit to enforce. There is very little room for self expression. Working 8 to 5 is frowned upon by many project managers. The unwritten rule is you're expected to put in 45 to 50 hours a week. If you stick around during lunch, get ready for your PM to ask you do something. Micro-managing seems to be something that a lot of managers at PD do. And many managers just have no people skills. They might be great at pumping out the jobs, cranking out the numbers and telling their clients "YES!" to every demand they have, but simply do not know how to manage people effectively. Some are rude, condescending, and out of touch with their team. Most of the time, no one says hello when you pass them in the hallway. It doesn't feel like a family at all, unless you're in good with upper management or with the right people. Office politics and favoritism exists. Engineers are heavily favored and groomed while technicians are left feeling undervalued and unimportant. One last thing, CAD is full of problems is very slow at times. Makes work very frustrating and difficult. For a company is this size, these problems shouldn't exist.

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    Pape-Dawson Engineers Response

    June 5, 2019MC

    Thank you for your review. We continue to be perfectly imperfect. However, each day we strive to get better and be better; therefore, your input is invaluable. Your comments and recommendations have been reviewed by our senior leadership team, as well as employees. It appears we need to do a much better job of communicating our open door policy which allows employees to come to any of our leaders in any office to share thoughts and concerns. Just because what we have done has worked for over 50 years, does not mean it can or will work for the next 50. We are listening, learning, and adapting.

  10. Helpful (6)

    "Good Fit for Very Few People"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Engineer in San Antonio, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Pape-Dawson Engineers full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Health and 401k benefits are solid. Slightly above industry norm for San Antonio. There are some truly kind and smart people that can teach a lot. This is very team dependent though. Salaried employees get paid straight time overtime. If you are new to the industry and want some place to cut your teeth, or are having trouble finding work elsewhere, this is a good place to start. You'll learn quickly but only in the area of your project manager's "expertise". If you like surface-level "we care for our employees" company events, they have birthday celebrations, a Christmas/Holiday party, and a few other things sprinkled throughout the year. If your self-worth as a human being is directly correlated to how many hours you work or how much money you earn the company then this place is a perfect fit.

    Cons

    Not a place for a long term career. Expect to only learn in one "field" (i.e. commercial, residential, water resources, etc.). It is almost impossible to switch teams and learn new things. This is regardless of your work ethic. It's almost easier to do a bad job and get kicked off on to another team. Expect to put in 45 hours minimum regardless of how efficiently you complete tasks. Realistically expect to be pushed towards 50 hours. If you finish your work in 40 hours, expect to get more work to ensure you have to put in more hours. Be ready to play office politics if you want to progress in any meaningful manner. Even then don't expect promotions based on your work quality and quantity. Promotions are almost exclusively based on years of service, unless you know someone who knows one of the officers or owners. If you don't believe this and end up interviewing there, take a look at all the people with offices vs cubicles and take note of the age gap. To their benefit, titles don't mean anything as you are expected to do anything the PM or VP asks. If your teammate goofs off, you are expected to pick up the their slack. You yearly raise will not reflect much unless you go fight for it or threaten to leave. Your first 2-3 years will be 60% paper work, 40% actual design work at best. This is heavily dependent on the team you are assigned to. Very few teams break from this norm. Very traditional mentality, just to list a few things: no music (even with headphones), phone should not be seen unless during breaks (strictly 10-10:15 and 3-3:15), 8:01 is considered late (they will take note and use it during performance review). I only lasted over 3 years because my own goals (getting a PE) aligned with the working there just long enough for me to tough it out. Now that I am at a new place I realize how much I underestimated the scale of how bad that place is for your overall health. They do a great job of selling you the family oriented persona, but it is only surface deep. At the end of the day profits and deadlines drive everything regardless of the your personal stress. Parting words: Take the positive reviews with a grain of salt. Around mid-2016 they started a glassdoor "review push". Employees were selected in small batches to sporadically post positive reviews with thinly veiled threats of repercussion if they didn't comply. Take a note of the trend of positive reviews, especially those listing no "Cons". The place is either heaven or those reviews were somewhat dishonest, you decide.

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    Pape-Dawson Engineers Response

    April 30, 2019MC

    While these comments are incredibly painful to hear, we are grateful you have shared this feedback with us on your experience. This information has caused us to pause and truly reflect on each of the comments made. Being true to our mission to become the most respected engineering firm in Texas, as well as to honor our core values, starts with how we treat our employees. Their ability to share their view is a critical component in effective communication and impacts our ability to serve them, our clients and the communities we have the privilege to serve. We do want you to know we genuinely appreciate all of your contributions to the success of the team you were a part of - as well as the projects you worked - on while you were here. We respect your decision to share this feedback publicly and would welcome an opportunity to have a discussion with you directly on anything else you believe would be important for us to hear, as well as any suggestions you may have for us. We hope the next step you have taken as a professional engineer provides you with all you need for a rewarding career. From what you have shared with us, it appears we failed to meet those expectations and for that, we apologize.

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