Engineer (Current Employee) – San Antonio, TX – July 2, 2018
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is essentially structured as several small businesses (divisions) competing/cooperating to win projects.Each division is different, and even within divisions, departments can be drastically different. As such, my experience is not representative of SwRI as a whole.
A lot of managers are engineers who received some management training and are thrust into management positions. As such, the management can be poor at times.
If you are passionate about what you are working on, then you probably won't mind not making as much money as you could if you were at a different company. This was not exactly the case for me. I did not appreciate doing software development for a mechanical department and getting paid a mechanical engineer's salary. Especially since there was not much room for advancement in my skillset. Excelling in software development did not help me get a raise. Bringing in projects is what they really valued.
If you are a PhD who is passionate about his work and able to bring in lots of projects, you will probably enjoy this place.
SwRI employs a lot of smart people and has an awesome intramural sports program. A lot of cool work is also being done. However, it's not for everyone.
Information Systems Department Manager (Former Employee) – San Antonio, TX – July 20, 2018
My work at this company was at a remote site where family could not be. I was gone 8 weeks at a time. The nature of the job was also configured to eventually work assigned employees out of a job (job ended when project completed).
Engineer (Quality Systems) (Former Employee) – San Antonio, TX – July 16, 2018
High stress in finding project work with no real reliable resources to do so. Very good tuition reimbursement policy. Constantly pressured to log 'project time' and when work is slow, layoffs are threatened.
Senior Research Scientist (Former Employee) – San Antonio, TX – May 25, 2018
Ok place to work as long as your funding is secure. If your contract funding runs out or is lost, the institute management does nothing to help retain you within the organization. Pay is commensurate for your position. Vacation time/compensation is terrible.
Senior Research Analyst (Former Employee) – San Antonio, TX – May 14, 2018
Broad range of projects good facilities and equipment lots of smart people private offices you can do want you want as long as you can win the proposal best part - internal research and development program
Fabricator/welder/maintenance (Current Employee) – San Antonio, TX – April 17, 2018
in my opinion the do not pay well, it is hard to get any where when you have a family. they do not promote very much. and the just give you more and more responsibility but do not pay you for it, and the raises are not good at all.
Electronics Technician (Former Employee) – San Antonio, TX – March 27, 2018
Its a good place to work and you meet very interesting people that are very resourceful and candid. I would like to get contracted again by them, I also like the environment and professionals you work with.
Contract Editor (Current Employee) – San Antonio, TX – January 22, 2018
My contract editing job at SwRI is wonderful. I love reading and editing, and they give me a good bit of work every year. I work from home. I read mainly nuclear waste storage research documents. The writers I edit for don't always have English as their first language, so I know how to work with that, as well.
Sr. Specialist (Current Employee) – San Antonio, TX – January 12, 2018
SwRI is a great company to work for with great benefits. My management has been good to work for and understands that my family comes first. I had many opportunities provided to me that I took advantage of during my time there.
Software Engineer (Current Employee) – San Antonio, TX – January 11, 2018
This place is a joke for being a Research Institute. Most of the practices and management are antiquated to say the least, the manager of the R&D Department (my supervisor), had no clue what agile was, very little bug tracking, and just recently adopted "version control" (serious, he used quotes to describe it).
They do have some interesting departments including the space and science division, but for the most part people get hired here and stay until they die or retire or leave for greener pastures. This is lifer central and most of the upper management is well entrenched, they are not going to be adopting any modern software practices any time soon.
On the plus side, the atmosphere is pretty lax and if you can deal with the old school good old boy hierarchy its not bad if you don't want any real challenges.
Team Lead (Former Employee) – Umatilla, OR – December 24, 2017
This was the best company I have ever worked for. The pay was great. Benefits were equivalent to the military. Retirement was paid in even if you paid nothing. Overtime was available if you wanted it, but as far as I remember only mandatory for regular schedule. It was a rotating shift. One week required 48 hours. The next was just 36. So it balanced out.
Technical Staff Member (Former Employee) – San Antonio, TX – November 15, 2017
SwRI operates as a caste culture. The senior staff receive lavish salaries and bonuses, and some include in their contract the benefit to fly business class on their extreme travel schedule. All this while junior salaries are kept low to maintain the benefits awarded to the senior staff. Furthermore, the environment is openly hostile to women. One division had five women on the technical staff leave the company in just three months, and no one stopped to ask what was going on.