We are a group of individuals who have pooled our breadth of experience and skills into a business that demands perfection.
In 2019, Todd Dauphinais of Clavis Capital Partners brought me into Solair Group to realize the vision and mission of the business: To be the trusted partner our customers rely on for manufacturing and distributing tools and GSE they need to keep planes safely in the air.
A Title Doesn’t Make a Leader
When I stepped into the role of president at Solair Group, I walked into a company that had an established team with extensive experience. They had created connections with each other and our customers and were used to doing things a certain way.
The team at Solair knew things were about to change because a new leader always shifts the dynamics in a company, they just didn’t know how, and I didn’t either. It reminded me of an experience I had as president of Duke’s Aerospace, when I took on the role of president in 2014.
From 2006 to 2014, I had been working at B/E Aerospace, Inc., where I held several positions in the company from Director of OEM Sales to Vice President & General Manager. In 2014, the time had come for me to make a change, which is the reason I entertained and then finally decided to accept the offer of president at a division TransDigm Group, Inc.
When I accepted the position of president at Duke’s Aerospace, the company and its management team had already been a part of TransDigm for four years, so I thought they would be on-board with updating and changing their techniques and production work.
I figured that I would step in and run the business much like I had done in my previous position at B/E Aerospace as VP & General Manager of one of its divisions. B/E Aerospace had learned to work as a fairly efficient organization, handling production like a well-oiled corporate machine.
After about six weeks at Duke’s Aerospace trying to transform the organization and culture–doing my best to implement procedures and production principles that I had found to work for my previous position–I felt like I was 22 again working on a boat in 15’ swells with a storm just blowing us around in the Gulf of Mexico.
I was holding on for dear life, though I was acting cool, when I noticed our captain. He was as steady as the swells that lashed our boat. He knew his crew and what they were capable of, just as he knew his boat. He wasn’t worried about the storm.
I remember talking with him as the bow pitched straight down into the ocean. He must have seen the look on my face because he said, “I’ve seen worse than this. We’ll make it through just fine.” His sense of purpose coupled with his resolute attitude toward the storm assured me that we would all be OK, and we were, just like he said.
So after six weeks of acting like a boss, I called a meeting of senior management at Duke’s Aerospace. I looked at my team and said, “I came here thinking I could begin where I left off with B/E Aerospace. I realize everyone is probably really angry with me, and I apologize. I didn’t consider all the work you had done getting the procedures and processes right for the orders produced at Duke’s. Why don’t we start over again? And this time, I’ll listen to you and how you run things. Then together, we’ll use our combined knowledge and experience to help our team restructure and organize the changes that will work for Duke’s Aerospace to make us a fully efficient team.
Being a leader isn’t about being the person who hands down orders and expects everyone to carry them out. It’s about knowing how to pay attention and listen to the mechanics of a company: its processes, organization, quirks, and the team’s questions and concerns. As the president, my job is to listen to our leadership team and provide a safe space for them to share their expertise, so everyone has a hand in developing new procedures to bolster our company and make our offerings the solution to our customers’ problems.
I’m Scott Cummings. I’m the president of Solair Group. I’m here to listen to our customers’ needs and meet their expectations beforehand. How can I help you today?
The Story Money Tells
A CFO is the financial storyteller of a business. As the CFO, when I look at the numbers, I see the story interwoven in the financials, and I share that story with my team. The story the numbers tell is reflected in the actions and planning of the business.
While financial statements share how well business is doing, as well the areas that need improving, extracting the entire picture is not as simple as reviewing black and white numbers in an income statement. If it were, my computer screen wouldn’t look like the cockpit of a plane.
Some businesses handle their marketing and financial strategy by creating a strict plan and sticking to it. They may have the size and financial strength to do so. Other companies create a plan and see how well it works and quickly adapt. Things that are working are re-enforced and those that are not and re-strategized or tossed aside . These are two different business models and both work, depending on the company and the personnel. I’ve been fortunate to work for companies where both styles have won great market share and profitability.
My experience as a regional CFO for divisions of Fortune 100 companies and for small entrepreneurships have taught me one thing: always have a plan and constantly adapt it based on the results. All business eventually have to face a bad storm. Finding the right plan and having the wherewithal to change the strategy is the beginning of the future success.
In 2020 at Solair Group, as the industry entered uncharted territory at the start of the pandemic, some indicators were showing a trend before the actual problem was fully evident . The story the numbers foretold gave our team the lead time to understand the difficulties we were about to face. Quick reaction, preparation, and support from our Board of Directors and stakeholders provided us with enough time to review our strategy and made critical changes to our plans. This allowed our operation to continue while we handled the volatility of the market. Having a plan with the flexibility to roll with changing circumstances gave us the maneuverability we needed to remain stable and continue serving our customers.
When you’re looking for a company to support your business when it’s time to roll with the punches, call Solair Group. We have the options and flexibility to see your changing circumstances through.
I’m Marcos Alonso, and I’m the CFO of Solair Group. Is your company ready for a partner who looks ahead for the story the numbers tell and can react quickly to your needs?
Vice-President of Sales
The Path Less Traveled
I’m a bit of a maverick. My career after college has been an adventure, considering I’ve held multiple positions in different industries, while also living and working in both North and South America. I’ve journeyed in and out of business ownership, management positions, traveling sales representative jobs, as well as vice president positions. In every company, I’ve had the opportunity to fully realize the connection that holds customers to companies, and it’s not what you might think.
Though I grew up in Honduras, I went to university in the States, graduating from LSU with a degree in engineering. After a year of working as an engineer, I went back to school and received my MBA at Tulane Business School. When I graduated from Tulane, I had a choice to once again work for NCR, but then fate intervened.
On a chance meeting, a friend of mine asked me a question that continues to influence how I look at work and customer service to this day: Why do you want to sit behind a desk? He was working for a small, family-owned business as a manufacturing rep in the aviation industry, traveling and meeting customers. Being a sales representative looked like my next step, so I spent several years working as a manufacturing rep for the business too. I met customers where they worked, and learned how they operated, and where my company’s products and services fit into their scope of business.
After living and working in the U.S. for many years, I wanted a change. Hurricane Mitch finalized my decision to return to Honduras. My family offered me an opportunity to go into business owning a banana plantation. We did sell the plantation, and I began working in a very successful restaurant franchise, eventually leaving, and owning several businesses of my own. During the years I spent living and working in Honduras, I met my wife, and we started a family.
In 2011, my wife, children and I returned to the U.S. It wasn’t easy leaving a place and family I loved, but I knew my wife had a point about the changes our lives needed to take. For the next several years, I worked in multiple positions in the aviation industry, finding ways to fully serve our customers in the positions I worked in.
While working at a landing gear MRO, my first position was as Director of Sales for Latin America where I landed accounts in Brazil and the Caribbean. About a year later, I was asked to take over managing the North American team. A couple of years after that, my position turned into managing the global outside sales team. At last, I thought I was going in the best direction for my career.
Then I noticed an upcoming curve, which turned out to be a fork in the road. One path offered a great job, where I could stay but growth was not guaranteed. The other path appeared when Scott and Solair Group asked if I would be interested in the position of Vice President of Sales.
I chose the path less traveled and joined Solair Group in 2021. At Solair, we understand what I have learned in my many years of customer service: Customers want to be put first; to be treated as a partner and not a transaction. Our customers’ priorities are our priorities, and they appreciate our efforts when we call and check in on how they’re doing.
I’m Ricardo Sierra, Vice President of Sales, and I’m your partner at Solair. How may my team put you first today?
Director of Operations
Trusting the Inevitability of Change
In my first manufacturing job at Hayes Lemmerz, I was given an opportunity to run the plant. I had been promoted several times, and then my supervisor noticed my inquiries regarding how the plant was managed. Knowing my determination and realizing my efforts, he offered me the opportunity to run the plant, a group of 600 people. The company liked how I worked and managed the plant so well that they sent me to university. I received my bachelor’s degree in business management because my supervisor saw my potential.
Once I received my degree, another challenge appeared. I had to leave Hayes Lemmerz if I wanted to further my career. The employer I had worked for more than eighteen and a half years, and had been promoted three times, the same company that had supported me while I got my degree, explained to me that there was no more room to grow with the company. If I wanted to learn and do more, then my talent would be better suited moving on to another place of employment.
Chance and opportunity aren’t always easy to see. For example, I wouldn’t have found the opportunity to work at Hayes Lemmerz, if I hadn’t been living in California. My parents had asked me to finish my last years of high school in Los Angeles, so I moved from Nicaruagua and went to school in California, finding employment in a metal shop, which I really enjoyed. Chance and opportunity find you when you are willing to focus on doing a good job and are open to learning new things. Having a good attitude helps too.
I didn’t recognize chance again at the end of my tenure with Hayes Lemmerz. It was my wife who suggested I look in Florida for work instead of California. Upon doing so, I found a company who had an open position for a plant manager, and I applied for it.
A week later, I found myself in Miami, Florida interviewing with Siemens Energy and Automation. The company offered me such an incredible package that I had to take the opportunity. My family and I moved to Miami. Had my wife not suggested it, I wouldn’t have looked in Florida for work. Had I not looked in Florida, the work experiences that I have had would not have happened, and I might have missed the chance to work with Solair Group.
After Siemens, I’ve had the chance to work as the Director of Materials and Supply Chain at Bertram Yacht. My next position was at Innovida as the VP of operations. After the changes at Innovida, I worked for a small company, The Protective Group, as the Materials Manager. The company fabricated vests and other items for military applications. We grew so much so fast that our revenue went from a few hundred thousand to 100 million in just a few years. I was promoted several times, until I was asked to take over the VP of Operations.
Each time one door closed, another one opened, and I followed the opportunities. When Scott and Solair Group offered me the position of VP of Operations, I knew it would be a challenge, but the facility had incredible people, top notch machines, and Scott and Marcos had a plan for the future. They wanted someone who had the flexibility and experience my past jobs had provided me, so I accepted the opportunity.
It’s amazing what happens when you trust in chance, so many incredible offers become available. In taking chances, looking at work as an experience that leads to the next opportunity, I have been able to provide opportunities to people on my teams who I have worked with. My team knows that I am open to giving them the chance to grow and develop their talents.
I’m Sergio Molina, VP of Operations at Solair Group. We appreciate the opportunity to show you just how much we can do for you and your team.
YOUR TRUSTED PARTNER
Solair Group is your steadfast, dependable tooling and GSE resource in the aerospace industry. We are dedicated to being the responsive partner you have come to depend on to bring you the tools and GSE that makes doing your job easier.
We’re ready to help. Please let us know how we can.