Personal service. That’s what we promise our clients. But what does that mean? At Orion, it means people who are matched specifically to each of our clients to meet their challenging and changing project needs. We invest many of our resources to the person in personal service. It’s high-performing project and task managers and staff who drive projects to the finish. Because we set high standards for each person on our staff, it’s our job to create a dynamic and supportive work environment that continuously energizes each person to serve our clients and move their projects forward.
Recruiting and training
At Orion, we recruit and, most importantly, train and retain well-rounded individuals with the right mix of education, experience, and abilities as well as diverse backgrounds. Half of Orion’s staff are women and over half represent varied ethnicities. Several employees are fluent in other languages, including Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Portuguese.
Our technical employees hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil/environmental engineering, geology, environmental science, biology, and marine science. Our administrative employees have degrees in English, philosophy, sociology, and journalism. A couple of employees also earned master’s of business administration degrees.
As a California-focused company with offices in Long Beach, Burbank, and Berkeley, Orion often hires alumni/alumnae from the University of California, California State University, California Polytechnic University, and other local universities. (A core group received graduate degrees from Texas A&M University.) However, more important than the college they attended is that graduates demonstrate their innate intelligence, interest, integrity, initiative, interconnection, and individuality.
For all technical team members, Orion prioritizes becoming proficient in and performing field work at project sites as an essential foundation for staff development. Orion’s engineers, geologists, and scientists continually build on this bedrock of training to become stronger and better task and project managers for our clients. They also establish long-lasting relationships with the many subcontractors and vendors who work in the environmental field.
Achieving professional registrations
With Orion’s support and sponsorship, many of our engineers and geologists are using their strong educational foundation and work experience to qualify for and pass difficult professional registration exams in California, including the Engineer-in-Training (E.I.T.), Professional Engineer (P.E.), Geologist-in-Training (G.I.T.), and Professional Geologist (P.G.).
In addition to California, Orion engineers also hold P.E. registrations in Colorado, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Texas.
As much as we emphasize the education, training, and mentoring of our staff, we sometimes take inspiration from unlikely sources.
Attention to details, organization, creativity in problem-solving (MacGyver-type), and mechanical knowledge are essential as are strong writing, communication, and computer skills…”
Since 1995, we’ve included this list of sought-after abilities in every recruitment ad that we’ve placed for an entry-level staff position. Why MacGyver? Why a fictional character from a television series that originally ran from 1985 to 1992, before many of our recent job applicants were born? Because MacGyver is a super problem-solver and relevant, albeit fictional, role model. Lessons learned: Never give up, innovate but apply solid scientific knowledge and principles to your solutions, meet impossible and often life-and-death deadlines, complete your clients’ missions, bring your colleagues and friends home safely. Lessons that can be applied to life as well as to environmental consulting work.
“What is best in life?”
This exchange from the 1982 “Conan the Barbarian” film shows the importance of good employer-employee communication.
Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.”
Extrapolating from the Mongol General’s question, we asked our employees: What is best in your work life?
Here are their answers…