At Freese and Nichols, Inc., 97 percent of employees say their workplace is great.

EMPLOYEE RATINGS

     

This review is based on 380 employee surveys, with a 90% confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.71. It was published on Mar 30, 2017. 1215 Visitors

What Employees Say

Management is honest and ethical in its business practices.
98%
 
Management trusts people to do a good job without watching over their shoulders.
98%
 
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
97%
 
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
97%
 
Management is competent at running the business.
97%
 

What They Do

We asked Freese and Nichols, Inc. to explain what they do. Here is what they had to say.

We are a professional consulting firm serving clients across the Southwest and Southeast. With sustainability in mind, we help clients through every stage of infrastructure projects: planning, design, program management, funding procurement, regulatory compliance, construction management, and operations/maintenance.

About this Company

Website: www.freese.com Industry: Professional Services
US Headquarters: Fort Worth, Texas, 76109 US Sites: 17
Major Locations: Raleigh, North Carolina, 27408; Atlanta Metro, Georgia, 30144; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73112; Austin, Texas, 78759; Dallas, Texas, 75204; Houston-Pearland, Texas, 77024; San Antonio, Texas, 78209; Greensboro, North Carolina, 27408; Lubbock, Texas, 79423; Corpus Christi, Texas, 78401 US Employees: 640
US Revenues: $129.7 million Worldwide Revenues: $129.7 million
Corporate Structure: Private Founded: 1894

Freese and Nichols, Inc. has been awarded:

Best Workplaces for Millennials 2017 (ranked 42)


The Oklahoma City team honed their teamwork skills with whitewater rafting.

Perks and Programs

We asked Freese and Nichols, Inc. to share a few programs they feel really capture what's unique about their workplace. Here is what they had to say.

  • Celebrate Together: Weddings, babies, vacations: In the past three years, our intranet news has featured employee reports of 176 vacations, 76 engagements and weddings, and 248 babies. Typically, engagements, weddings and baby announcements are preceded by showers and luncheons. The (prospective) spouses/parents (and sometimes siblings & new in-laws) join the activities. We are close to one another. When one of our Austin employees got married in Lima, Peru, not long ago, seven of his 44 co-workers joined the wedding festivities. Tellingly, there have been only 7 retirements in the past three years. Very few employees retire from Freese and Nichols: the market for talented engineers, architects, planners and scientists is very competitive, and skilled professionals are highly valued. One structural engineer has been with FNI 53 years.
  • Talent Development: From Day 1: Freese and Nichols University(FNU) offers more than 100 classes to employees and, often, clients. Many classes prepare for professional certifications. For new employees, a buddy system and new employee orientation help newcomers settle in. FNU offers programs in professional ethics, technical seminars, management, leadership development, communication and teamwork, and technology and software. Foundation courses foster interpersonal relationships, goal setting and career development, with assessment tools, including MBTI, StrengthsFinder, DiSC, Profile XT, 360 and others. For qualifying employees, these courses lead to a highly successful leadership development track, with six multi-course programs. These courses – Assistant Project Manager, Project Manager, Group Manager, Leader, Senior Leader, Client Rep – equip employees to assume leadership roles within their groups and the organization. These courses require manager approval and outside reading/assignments/presentations.
  • Talent Development: Mentoring, Coaching: Mentoring is open to all employees at Freese and Nichols. Mentoring is personalized, flexible, and transcends geography, disciplines and service length. Mentor training is provided, and mentees and mentors set schedules together. All candidates for our CEO position that was filled officially in January 2017 have served as mentors and have been mentored. In March, 2017, there are 243 mentor partnerships and one hundred percent of our full-time shareholders participate. Technical coaching includes training in new techniques, tools and processes. It is not unusual to see groups conducting lunch-and-learns at which members demonstrate a tool or technique to team members. Similarly, employees returning from professional conferences/workshops generally brief their co-workers and share materials.
  • Wellness -- With snacks: We pay 94 percent of employee health insurance, repay most of the deductible, conduct annual “Know Your Numbers” assessments, and reimburse $25 for fitness expenditures. We support the national Blue Zones program, promoting fitness, and encouraging Moais. Lunch programs include cooking demonstrations, medical topics and fitness workshops and demonstrations. We stock our breakrooms with fresh fruit and healthy snacks every Wednesday. All offices have refrigerators for employees to store their own snacks/lunches. All offices have lactation rooms; there’s even one at the holiday party! FNI supports walks/runs and other community fitness events throughout our service areas. We also sponsor community gardens and benefits for events related to specific conditions, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Movember for Men’s Health.
  • Team Bonus: In addition to annual reviews and performance bonuses, FNI distributes an annual Team Bonus. For 2016, all eligible employees received a bonus of $1,750, paid partially in December and the balance in January, 2017. The bonus is based on our annual performance in both profit and growth, and the bonus amounts are detailed in our Employee Information Manual, available on our intranet. All eligible employees share equally in the Team Bonus; part-time employees and those who worked less than a full year receive pro-rated amounts. In addition, our 401K plan provides an additional match, based on company performance, paid to participating employees' accounts in the first quarter of the following year.
  • Hedgehogs! -- Client Focus: Our hedgehog concept, taken from Jim Collins' book Good to Great, is to be the very best at client service, resulting in long-term mutually beneficial relationships. Hence the stuffed hedgehogs, which we give to employees at new employee orientation and use as mascot and inspiration. During our United Way campaign, company leaders get ambushed by hedgehog takeovers; they are released by a donation. Client panels convened for employee programs reinforce the importance of our relationships, with statements like, “You’re still the ones I’d call in an emergency,” and “There’s no company culture like yours.” Eighty-five percent of our business comes from existing clients.
  • Community Service: Consistent with our Guiding Principle of giving back to our communities, we support community service, funding community events through our funding committee, to which any employee may apply. We accommodate employee schedules for workday board and committee meetings, and make meeting rooms available for organizations in which employees participate. Every office reflects local commitments with posters, collection boxes and donation cans for rehabilitation centers, food banks, shelters, clean water projects and more. We recognize community service with a $100 donation to the favorite charities of employees who give 100 hours. Since 2004, employees have volunteered more than 92,700 hours — equal to nearly 45 years of 40-hour workweeks. 2016 United Way program contributed $215,000 to campaigns throughout our service areas, including $93,000 in matching corporate funds.
  • Innovation Program, Awards: Our employees embrace meaningful, challenging projects that affect public infrastructure throughout our communities. One key to successful accomplishments is the ability to produce innovative, practicable solutions in collaborative settings with teams comprising planners, designers, engineers, scientists, client staff, elected officials and stakeholders. We have a 12-person innovation team that presents companywide programs embracing innovative work and we reward innovative work with annual Innovation Awards that include cash prizes and public recognition. The Innovation Page on our intranet includes publications, presentations and information about corporate R&D funding applications for staff development of new ideas and processes. Employee project achievements and innovations are featured on our website, at companywide lunches and in our annual Innovation Report.
  • Sustainability. And Bingo: Our 20-person Sustainability Committee oversees a program that reaches employees in their work and their communities. In 2016, the Committee kicked off Earth Day with Sustainability Bingo, a four-month competition that had employees walking and biking to work, eschewing paper plates and saving water. Lunchtime presentations (did we mention there is always food?) included employee presentations about their home practices, and our news page featured stories about employees’ landscaping, energy-saving designs and even raising chickens. Professionally, FNI provides training and underwrites fees for employees seeking professional accreditations for LEED, Envision and other professional certifications. We support employees who have pursued certifications for projects and groundbreaking work in developing program components for national sustainability initiatives.
  • Access: More than an open door: Our doors are open, and so are our business plans and performance reports! If you’d like to speak directly with someone in our C-suite, you can reach them by email, phone, or, if you’re in the area, by dropping in. Our principals host small group lunches throughout the year to give employees time to visit with company owners. Our business operations reports, including revenue, negative variance and other financial data, are circulated monthly and posted in every breakroom, even though, as a privately owned company, there is no obligation to share this information. Our CEO has committed to visiting all our offices on a regular basis to share meals and open dialogue about employee concerns and company plans.

COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS

$61,295 Average salary and additional cash compensation for CADD Technician $101,079 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Civil Engineer
100% Match of employee’s 401(k)/403b contribution up to 1% of salary94% Company-paid health coverage for employees
71% Company-paid health coverage for dependents (for 71% covers children; 69% covers spouse; 60% covers family.) 94% Company-paid health coverage for part-timers
20 hours Weekly hours required for part-timers to receive health insurance $15,000 Maximum Tuition Reimbursement
Engineer Jessica Brown demonstrates fundamentals of water storage and distribution.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS

17 days Paid time off after one year of full-time employment 6 days Paid sick days after one year of full-time employment
7 Days Paid time off as of first day of full-time employment

WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS

  • Flexible schedule
  • Subsidized On- or Off-site Fitness (52% have access)
  • Onsite Amenities (We provide fresh fruit at all offices to make healthy snacks available. Fitness classes offered afterhours in Headquarters. Annual flu shot clinics are provided at majority of offices. Annual biometric health screenings and corporate chair massages. Many of our offices are adjacent to playing fields for impromptu soccer, volleyball, kickball matches. Some offices have foosball, ping pong, other game tables.)

FAMILY CARE BY THE NUMBERS

60 days Job-protected maternity leave (including FMLA/STD) 55 days Average length of maternity leave new mothers take
60 days Job-protected paternity leave (including FMLA)5 days Average length of paternity leave new fathers take
60 days Job-protected parental leave for adoptive parents (including FMLA)*

FAMILY CARE PROGRAMS

  • Lactation room(s)
  • Paid sick leave to care for a child or relative

HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS

  • Mental health care
  • Alternative treatments (such as acupuncture, homeopathy, or chiropractic)
  • Fertility treatments

Community and Environmental Impact

$252,000 Philanthropic donations in last year $93,000 Total company-matched employee donations in last year
Group Manager, Firm Principal Leads environmental impact team Yes Sustainable commuting program
Yes Recycling program Yes Locally-sourced food program

Diversity

  • Human Resources Director is responsible for the success of formal recruiting and retention diversity goals
  • Written policy prohibits discrimination based on (at a minimum) age, disability, race/ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender and sexual orientation
  • Non-birth parents in same-sex relationships can take parental leave

Leadership Diversity

 

Workforce Diversity

 
Engineers Stephanie Cecil and Charlie Erwin were part of the team that designed and managed construction of a fast-tracked, 48-mile, 120 million-gallons-a-day raw water pipeline to combat zebra mussel contamination in North Texas.

DEMOGRAPHICS

 
Planner Chelsea Irby completed her master’s degree with the help of our tuition reimbursement program. Along the way, she recruited fellow student Corry McClellan to join the Urban Planning & Design team.

How to Get Hired

We asked Freese and Nichols, Inc. for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.

What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?

We look at three key characteristics:
Understanding client needs.
Technical expertise.
Ability to act as a trusted advisor for our clients.  We like to see a record of client service and the ability to work on a team. We are interested in how dedicated a candidate would be to identifying our client's needs and then exceeding them. We require a high level of technical proficiency and a demonstration of interest in maintaining and expanding expertise and developing interpersonal and leadership abilities. Commitment: We are looking for candidates interested in careers. We hire employees with the intention that they will be part of our team until (and sometimes beyond!) retirement. Curiosity, problem solving: About Freese and Nichols, the communities we serve, and how to make things -- processes, tools, team performance, our environment -- better. Ethics: How they have solved ethical challenges. This underlies all of the above.

What can prospective employees do to get your attention?

Students and new graduates can talk with our recruiters at campus career fairs and explore intern opporutunities. Experienced engineers, scientists and construction managers can join us in professional organizations such as NSPE and CMAA chapters. Another good way to meet our team is to participate in the community events we sponsor, serving on committees and other volunteer activities. We encourage our employees to author papers and present to professional groups. Members of those local chapters and national organizations can follow our work there and engage with authors at professional conferences. In crafting resumes, candidates should link their experience to the criteria presented in the listing for the position.

Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?

We are particularly interested in meeting with experienced project managers who are engineers, planners, environmental scientists, construction managers, architects and program managers with a demonstrated record of successful client relationships and project accomplishments. Our key question: Would our clients enjoy working with you? For entry level candidates we seek people interested in the career progression. For example, for engineers, it would be:
Intern
EIT (Engineer-in-Training)
P.E.(Professional Engineer)
Project Manager As we expand geographically, we are particularly interested in candidates who want to work and live in Oklahoma, North Carolina and Georgia.

What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?

Visit our website to see what kind of work we do, what our culture is like and what positions we have open. Follow us on social media to see where our employees are volunteering in our communities and presenting/publishing about technical topics. Join us in professional and community activities to understand our culture. Get to know us: 42% of our new hires come from employee referrals.

hiring Outlook

150 Forecasted positions to fill in coming year 14% Job Growth
27 Average applicants per opening 6,304 Total job applicants
40% New hires by employee referrals 5% Openings filled by current employees
41 Recent graduates hired 5% Voluntary turnover for full-time employees
4% Voluntary turnover for part-time employees
* All figures refer to 12-month period prior to reporting, unless otherwise noted.

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