10 Questions for Dusty Solis
September 15—October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to recognize the extraordinary impact and achievements of Hispanic and Latino individuals in America and beyond. This month, we’re sharing interviews with Hispanic team members at Northwest Pipe Company, discussing their career journeys and celebrating their culture. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!
10 Questions for Dusty Solis
In his role as Sr. Lean Coordinator, Dusty works with plant leadership, Production, Safety, and Quality teams to help implement lean principles across all stages of the manufacturing process. His days involve communicating with production floor team members, observing processes to evaluate performance, and identifying any abnormalities or constraints. Dusty shares his findings with supervisors and managers, offering ideas and suggestions on how to solve problems and improve processes. Along with continuous improvement, Dusty values continuous learning and takes advantage of every opportunity he gets to learn something new.
1. What is your job title and how long have you been with Northwest Pipe?
My job title is Sr. Lean Coordinator and I have been a part of the NWP family for five years.
2. Describe the journey leading to your current position?
My career started with my first job where I worked at a major auto parts store for around 10 years. There, I grew from a part time sales clerk to a full time store manager. During this time I started my family and also attended college. In 2006, I made the decision to enter the oil and gas field working for a drill bit manufacturer. Then, as time would have it, I was laid off in 2016 and began working with NWP in 2017.
3. What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
The most exciting thing about my job is that I get to help people and work with all areas of the business. Looking back from where we started our lean journey in Saginaw to where we are now, it excites me to see all of our progress. But, it equally excites me to know we really have only scratched the surface when it comes to our continuous improvement potential.
4. Name two things that always brighten your day— one at work and one outside of work?
One thing that always brightens my day at work is the people I work with. Seeing the people I work with succeed and having the ability to help them succeed is very fulfilling to me. The one thing that brightens my day away from work is coming home to my beautiful wife and our two crazy dogs!
5. Which of the Northwest Pipe ACT Values (Accountability, Commitment, and Teamwork) resonates most for you in your role and why?
To be complicated, I don’t know that one holds any more value than the other. Honestly, how can you be accountable without being committed? To be a team, shouldn’t we ALL be committed to holding each other accountable? Like the saying goes, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people”. So, my answer is that all three values resonate with me and I feel each should hold an equal value into what we do daily.
6. Which current or historical figure of Hispanic Heritage do you admire most for their leadership, contributions, or service to others and why?
If I had to pick one Hispanic person that I admire the most, it would probably be Cesar Estrada Chavez for his dedication and lifelong work to improve the working conditions, treatment, and pay for farmworkers. This resonates with me because my family in Mexico established their lives as farmers.
7. Name someone in your life who inspires you and why?
I like to find myself surrounded by inspiring people, and I’m thankful I have so many. Here at work, I get bits of inspiration from the workforce, supervisors, managers, and my boss. All in different ways, of course, but we really try to uplift and inspire each other daily because you never really know who may need it. Outside of work, I have my wife and a business mentor that helps keep me focused and grounded.
8. What advice do you have for individuals entering your profession?
For someone looking to get into a lean role, I would advise them that it may very well be the most difficult, challenging, but rewarding thing they ever do. To be in this profession, you can’t be fearful; you must be steadfast, honest, and persistent. You must hold on to your integrity and humbleness even in the most difficult of situations. And, just remember to always celebrate the small victories along the way while you make your way to the larger ones.
9. Are there any family traditions significant to you in celebrating your heritage?
As far as family traditions go, we celebrate Mexican Independence Day (September 16th) and Good Friday.
10. What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage month, to me, is just a time to self-reflect on where I came from. It’s a way to remind me of all the trials that my father and his family had to go through to provide the future with a better way of life.