SERA Architects Reviews | Glassdoor

Find your next job here

SERA Architects Reviews

Updated January 31, 2018
15 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

4.3
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
SERA Architects Managing Principal, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB Joe Pinzone
Joe Pinzone
8 Ratings

15 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

  1. "Entrepreneurial Spirit, Commitment to Community"

    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 SERA Architects full-time

    Pros

    Good place to grow as a junior designer. Flat organizationally (best idea culture). Innovative work. Dedicated to sustainability.

    Cons

    Larger firm means you may not meet everyone, or it will take longer.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Interior Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Interior Designer in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Interior Designer in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    SERA creates an egalitarian environment where all voices, ideas and input are heard. Very supportive upper management encourages flexible schedules that help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. Upper management really cares about employees personal and professional development and strives to help employees navigate a path to successfully reach their goals.

    Cons

    On the flip side, protracted decision making is common at SERA because everyone’s voice is considered.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to listen, be supportive and engaged in employees welfare and development.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Supportive, Autonomous Environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    No palpable hierarchy, incredibly talented people, ability to create your own workday, HR is proactive and supportive, great work/life balance, employee owned with great benefits

    Cons

    Management could implement a stronger path to success based on individual skills and company needs, ESOP buy-in could be shorter (6 years to be fully vested)


  4. "One big family...."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Specification Writer/Architect in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Specification Writer/Architect in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    SERA is employee owned, which makes you feel as though you are a part of the whole process of making SERA a success. Everyone is friendly, motivated and eager to learn and improve which makes SERA a fun place to work. Like one big family...

    Cons

    Nothing I can thing of at the moment, but I guess I have to put in 20 words so that I can move on....

    Advice to Management

    Good management group, very transparent with the success of the firm. Approachable group, concerned about employee happiness, and career advancement.


  5. "Collaborative and engaging environment"

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

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Employees and leaders at SERA are passionate about the impact we have on our environment, community, and each other. Inspired and proud to be a part of what we do here.

    Cons

    Our culture encourages a high level of involvement / collaboration which is very positive, but can also be challenging to move initiatives forward at times. People have to be comfortable with that.

    Advice to Management

    Keep being flexible with staff, advocating for work/life balance, focused on career development opportunities for all staff.


  6. "Housing Studio"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Job Captain in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Job Captain in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Employee owned (ESOP program in place).
    Large architecture firm with resources (different project times, great software, frequent lunch & learns), LEED and specifications support.
    Positive co-workers, general interest in sustainability across the board, encouragement of bicycling to work, personal/professional growth, social activities.
    Immediately provided continuing education classes in REVIT.
    Approachable Project Managers, Principles.
    Community based architecture and business practices.
    Kegerator in the office.

    Cons

    Time to vest in ESOP program is 6 years at roughly 20% per year, this could be shorter for more senior level employees.
    In house support for LEED and/or CSI training programs could be more organized, or include additional resources like video, small group classes.

    Advice to Management

    Experiment more with alternative materials.


  7. "Job"

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

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time

    Pros

    The work environment is really fun, there are lots of "extra-curricular" activities (charettes, etc) and the people are nice. Management wants to help you become what you want and help you you hone your interests within the company.

    Cons

    The job is not very enriching itself, there is a very regimented way of designing things. The mentality is just to push things through Design Review by using the formula that works, without exploring design options or examining the social and economic implications on the neighborhoods the projects will affect.

    There is also a lot of kowtow to developers, which is sad. I think it undermines the profession and leads to lower quality work.

    Advice to Management

    Allow young people to have more of a contribution to the entire process! I think because SERA has grown so quickly in such a short amount of time, the organization and hierarchy of the studios has gone a little awry. I think it is important to talk to new people and get their impressions of the functionality of the firm, they might have valuable initial impressions.

    Also, assess the quality of the projects we are producing! One or two people producing all of the projects in a studio (especially the housing studio) does not allow for diversity of ideas. There is no checks and balances system to ensure that we are always producing the highest quality work, and it often seems like the lead architects are too busy to invest time in the consideration of every aspect of a project. Divvy up the work more proportionally, and let others play a hand. That would make me feel more invested in SERA.

  8. "Great company with strong commitment to sustainable design"

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

    I have been working at SERA Architects full-time

    Pros

    SERA has a rich culture and does thoughtful, high quality work. There are opportunities to work on many different project types and sizes, and there is a strong commitment to professional growth. SERA continues to be known for its sustainable design.

    Cons

    As the firm grows, there is an ongoing struggle with balancing the desire for an entrepreneurial culture and bureaucracy. With multiple studios and two office locations, there is the danger of feeling siloed.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure to communicate your direction and intentions to staff on a regular basis so that they feel informed and engaged.


  9. "Design at it's Best"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Studio Assist in San Mateo, CA
    Current Employee - Studio Assist in San Mateo, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    SERA sincerely cares about the well-being of their employees. They encourage free thinking and allow us to make decisions that help make it an even better workplace.

    Their commitment to the environment is outstanding and evident throughout the studios.

    Cons

    None that come to mind.

    Advice to Management

    Continue with the status quo.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting Projects, Great People, Solid Business !"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Portland, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    The people at SERA are great; they are smart, share a passion for sustainability, and strive for excellent work consistently. The firm's work is diverse which gives staff opportunities to work with various types of clients / project types if they want to. The firm is doing more high quality projects such as the EGWW Federal Bldg, UO's student union, the Nine's Hotel and we just opened an office in the Silicon Valley, so the marketing & business side of the firm seems to be well run. Even with all the growth, management has done a good job of hiring new staff who fit well with our culture. Management encourages staff to plan and lead office wide activities. We just had our ownership celebration (SERA is employee owned) and the summer picnic with families is fun too.

    Cons

    With all the growth, senior staff are having to do more mentoring - a challenge to find the time but a good thing too. And as a bigger firm it is harder to keep that "family" atmosphere across the entire company, but management listens to staff for opportunities to share and enhance the culture.

    Advice to Management

    Keep a diverse marketing plan so that staff can work on various project types; even though Multi-family Housing is super busy don't loose sight of other big opportunities too.


Showing 15 of 15 reviews
Reset Filters