Solar Turbines Reviews

Updated September 1, 2015
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3.5
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Solar Turbines Chairman & CEO Caterpillar Inc. Douglas R. Oberhelman
Douglas R. Oberhelman
29 Ratings

Pros
  • Good promotion of work life balance (in 6 reviews)

  • Long time presence in San Diego (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • While giving us lots of room to learn, there is little room to move forward on a career path (in 3 reviews)

  • No one cares about new ideas or innovative solutions (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

61 Employee Reviews

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  1. Credit Analyst

    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Diego, CA
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in San Diego, CA

    I worked at Solar Turbines as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Nice place to work. Great people.

    Cons

    Low paying, never hire permanent


  2. Desktop Support Analyst

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Desktop Support Analyst in San Diego, CA
    Current Contractor - Desktop Support Analyst in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solar Turbines as a contractor (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Relaxed environment, stable company, they treat employees with dignity and respect even contractors.

    Cons

    Working contract for many years in hopes of getting on as a FTE. Low pay as a contractor, no benefits, vacation time, etc.

    Advice to Management

    Hire on contractors that have been working for you more than a couple of years.


  3. Production Scheduler

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Material Scheduler in Vista, CA
    Former Employee - Material Scheduler in Vista, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Solar Turbines (More than a year)

    Pros

    Fact-Paced work environment, with friendly co-workers. Great benefits. Growth opportunities.

    Cons

    Nothing, Solar is a great company hands down


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  5. Great Place to Work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Human Resources in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Human Resources in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solar Turbines full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Opportunity for advancement, great pay, bonus payout every year (unless it's a bad year)

    Cons

    Must be on the fast track to be considered for advancement.


  6. I perform aerodynamic performance and vibrational analysis testing on natural gas compressors.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Quality Test Technician in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Quality Test Technician in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solar Turbines full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The best reason to work here is job security, benefits, and brand recognition of a Fortune 500 company. It is also beneficial to gain exposure in the oil and gas and related industries.

    Cons

    Some of the challenges with working here are the lack of career advancement opportunities and absence of a cutting edge and ambitious culture.

    Advice to Management

    I would advise upper management to devise a plane for professional growth and career advancement.


  7. Engineer (3 yrs following 2yr Rotation Training program)

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mechanical Design Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Mechanical Design Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Solar Turbines full-time

    Pros

    Tasks are delegated to you to work more or less independently, or with your group's teammates as support. The expectation is that you will get all the assistance and support you need without much input from management. The location on the San Diego Harbor is one of the best perks, with access to good food in Little Italy and nearby downtown, and the parks/waterfront across the street.s

    Cons

    Being a subsidiary of CAT means our companies priorities may be affected by macro business cycles. R&D funding is also tighter compared to other similar companies (like GE, Siemens, etc.). The level of inter-organizational dysfunction affects day to day work in frustrating ways such as downtime for operating equipment required to perform job functions. Each group has it's own preferred ways of operating, and the variation in professionalism (outside of Engineering, though Engineering has it's own quirks between groups regarding responsibilities, communication style, and lack of agreed prioritization) can make some interactions awkward in terms of role/responsibilities across pay grades and levels of experience.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate business needs more clearly to give engineers better perspective on the work they are performing and be more proactive to engage with staff on day-to-day work. Don't play the "busier than thou" card to avoid attending meetings where support is needed and stay better organized to allow your team to interact efficiently and avoid feigning interest in reports that you asked for.


  8. Company (KM-San Diego) makes you work through Volt Services

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Consulting Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Former Contractor - Consulting Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Solar Turbines as a contractor

    Pros

    Solid manufacturing company to work in the fields of Mechanical, Electrical, Controls, Assembly, Testing big Engines (Compressors and Power Generators). Pays overtime and technicians can make big salaries, without Engineering/College Degree.

    Cons

    For Engineering responsibilities they make you work via Volt Services (outsourcing) for 6-month periods to test you and do not provide benefits. Wage is half of typical Solar salaries, Volt Services takes a lot from your paycheck and you still work for Solar full-time.

    Advice to Management

    It will be good that you open many more job opportunities for external people with talent/qualifications, not just internally and recycle people in the organization. Permanent employees are aging and you need to replace with new generations to learn from Senior Engineers/Management before they retire.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Group Manager

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Mid-Level Manager in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Mid-Level Manager in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Solar Turbines full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Fun place to work with a fantastic product line in an exciting industry. Living in San Diego is nice and the company engages is moderate philanthropy. Committed to providing equal opportunities.

    Cons

    Executive Management do a poor job of explaining the corporate mission. San Diego is expensive. Managers tend to jump from job to job before they can be productive and "peters principle" is rife.

    Advice to Management

    Embrace change management concepts more effectively.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Overall a great place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Accountant in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Staff Accountant in San Diego, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Solar Turbines full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    There are excellent career opportunities, especially for engineers, a good benefits package, plus annual bonuses (most years ). It is very much a One Team atmosphere, whether you work out on the shop floor or in an office (a few exceptions regarding a few union employees, who sometimes lean toward an adversarial outlook, mainly out of habit). Many employees have spent their entire careers here and have convinced their children to work here as well. Solar Turbines has a deeply ingrained culture of teamwork, family and great customer service.

    Cons

    There can be limited movement within finance for accountants, unless you have a "Sponsor" at a high enough level who actively and consistently speaks up for you when promotions or merit ratings are being negotiated. Many finance employees are tempted to move into operations departments in order to earn higher salaries. The company demands that accountants be certified in order to be considered for promotion. However, there are no higher paying positions available, nor will there be any time within the next few years unless people leave or retire early.

    Advice to Management

    Create more higher grade positions for finance.


  11. Great learning, paid in peanuts.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Solar Turbines full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good people, location and product. Stable in general as a workplace. Only had a layoff period in the late 90's well before I joined. Lots of athletes come out of this place because the jobs are not super demanding. Would recommend if you are a honeybadger.

    Cons

    Management plays musical chairs, there's a lot of nepotism. They tend to hire young engineers for highly specialized jobs and they train them on the "sink or swim" philosophy. They tend to burn out fast. Old mentality, controls are lagging compared to the industry and I wonder if the products will stay competitive in 5+ years, due to the lack of effort in keeping talent and acquiring new tech or simply investing in streamlining their processes. They need people with different opinions and with a lot of knowledge to change their paradigm and I don't think they will go in that direction.

    Advice to Management

    Your online degree is worthless if it's not paired up with people skills, technical expertise and a sound vision for every member in your team and the piece of the product line you support. The lack of foresight most of you have cannot be compensated with good will. You should be able to challenge your employees to achieve their full potential and you should stay in your jobs for more than two years.



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