Solar Turbines Reviews | Glassdoor

Solar Turbines Reviews

Updated March 23, 2017
13 reviews

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Solar Turbines Chairman & CEO Caterpillar Inc. Douglas R. Oberhelman
Douglas R. Oberhelman
4 Ratings

13 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Flexible with schedule, good work life balance (in 16 reviews)

  • Solid Performing Company / Diversity Rich / Many Career Paths / Still has Decent Pay & Bonus Plan / Home Based in San Diego with great location (in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • Oil and Gas Industry that is facing headwinds (in 10 reviews)

  • Bad parking, little to zero chance of career advancement for some positions (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (10)

    "Sr. Manager At Solar Turbines"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good work/life balance. Still a place where people can spend their entire career at (if you're OK with the constantly worsening compensation package)

    Cons

    Culture promotes cohesion over everything. This means that nearly identical raises are given to people who do the absolute minimum and the highest performers. This is done to keep everyone "happy". Company states that it pays in the 75th percentile (without sharing any of the data with its employees) and deceptively includes "at risk" pay (incentive compensation) as part of this baseline. Executive management have tied managers' hands from giving out large raises to high performers, and made it so that most new employees are unable to advance in the salary grade and are constantly near the bottom of their salary grade. Company is slow to adapt to market opportunities, and is conservative to a fault. Most of the highest performers have left for better opportunities, as the pay structure is a give and take (in order to give more to one employee, you are required to take from another employee). In order to keep everyone happy (which is the most important Solar value), despite discouraging high potential/higher performer employees, managers tend to give nearly identical raises to all their direct reports regardless of ability and potential.

    Advice to Management

    Look at your pay practices. There is a reason why more high performers have left in the last year than in the previous 15 years. In a time where promotions are capped at a 5% pay raise, no raises were given in 2016, there was no/insignificant bonus in 2016 and 2017, and merit percentages are dictated by corporate to ensure that everyone gets the same amount of money, it is no surprise why so many of us have left or have plans to leave in the next year.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Bad employer from HR to Supervisor"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Team Lead in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Team Lead in San Diego, CA

    Pros

    Nothing good at this time

    Cons

    They don't care employees , only punishment like warning , bad review , no raise at review , push on production , no over time , benefits bad , health insurance cost too much deductible , share employees information to other people without their permission , hourly working hard while salary people take their time

    Advice to Management

    get out of A/C office to see employee working hard and reward them not just give warning and don't give raise at review , take class at college to know how to treat employees , show respect to employees work hard for you


  3. Helpful (10)

    "In times of crisis, the president will dress as Batman!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineering in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Engineering in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    Pros

    Not many anymore....Used to be great pay, benefits and the chance to grow. Today, not so much anymore. Jump ship before it sinks completely. It actually used to be a great place to work, with pensions and good benefits. Then it transitioned into the sunset retirement for people hired between 1996 and the 2000's, and now is just 401K if you are permanent. But mostly now the place is now staffed with temps, who still have a spark in their eye thinking they joined a great company. Pay is average/OK, but mediocre when you take into account it is a hazardous environment.

    Cons

    Since last year with the oil prices down this company has been dramatically reducing staff and where needed, added temps with no real benefits through a staffing agency. In light of massive layoffs and a lack of real product innovation, the president will dress as Batman (yes, that is right) as Batman, to address factory employees and dispense advice to employees that are on the brink of losing their jobs. He will talk about how to face the challenges ahead and some personal stories that do not relate. Some directors who have recently left Solar had it right when they saw the downfall coming and left that once glorious organization. Before, Solar was riding on this prosperous windfall of high oil prices, but now that oil is down to $30 a barrel, all the ineptitude starting from the top and cascading down to middle management is going to really suffer from a lack of business acumen. If you are fresh out of college, don't think that this is the organization your parents joined. It is a sad remnant. If you are employed there, you already know it is a matter of time before this old technology company implodes with all the regulations and cost cutting pressures enhanced by its mediocre performing Caterpillar parent implodes. At a recent meeting, one of the directors for O&G was asked what the incentives to stay were for younger engineers. He replied that he did not know, since he was already very close to retirement and that "it was a different environment now" Amazing, that coming from the leadership. What a lack of it! The problems at Solar are compounded by Cat's troubles. Google this, it's public information: they bought Bucyrus and Siwei. Bucyrus purchased in 2010 has not turned a profit yet and Siwei was a Chinese deal were they cooked the books. So again, if you are a bright young fella, don't join here. You will just grow frustrated. Do your research based on the above listed facts, add to the mix that only families and nepotism rule, and you will soon realize its better to leave this company to rot.

    Advice to Management

    Jump ship while you can if you have really transferable skills. If you are just pushing the agenda from the top, just wait for the company's natural demise. As for myself, preparing my exit parachute


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  5. "Company Review"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Pipe Fitter in Channelview, TX
    Former Employee - Pipe Fitter in Channelview, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Was stead work and plenty of overtime

    Cons

    Hiring practices were substandard, made offers of pay then once hired on pay was lower than offered

    Advice to Management

    Do what you say, don't promise something till you get a body in the door and then claim you never made any promises


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Contract"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Information Technology in San Diego, CA
    Former Contractor - Information Technology in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good company to have on the resume

    Cons

    Company doesn't value IT department. They will trim the IT department down

    Advice to Management

    TOP HEAVY!!! Incompetent Managers that do little work if any at all.


  7. "A potentially good company run into the ground by Caterpillar"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - All IT Titles Are Political and Not Descriptive in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - All IT Titles Are Political and Not Descriptive in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Solar Turbines full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    It's in San Diego, on the bay.

    Cons

    Very political; management is scared of their own shadow, always walking on eggshells. No confident, skilled, management. Company doesn't value skills, talent, or knowledge. Employees know only what management wants them to know. Not an open, sharing, caring, environment. Employees are generally bitter, sarcastic, and scared. Older workers just want to fly under the radar until retired.

    Advice to Management

    Wake up! The company will not last long if Caterpillar runs the company the way that they have been. Create an environment where the employees feel that they have a say or ownership of the direction of the company. Not scared sheep.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Worst Place I Ever Worked"

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

    I worked at Solar Turbines full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Harbor Drive Facility is right on the bay and it's in San Diego!

    Cons

    Old buildings full of old people that do nothing but make it difficult for people trying to make changes. All of management is in place due to brown-nosing, nepotism, seniority, or a combination of the three; it has NOTHING to do with performance or skills. The buildings are from the turn of the century and it shows. Bathrooms are dated, old, and stuffy. The cubes are packed really close together and small, the whole building shakes when walking. You feel like your working in a trailer home. I had to leave I just couldn't take it anymore.

    Advice to Management

    You really need to figure out what Solar's mission is. Not what Caterpillar thinks Solar's mission is but what is SOLAR's MISSION. Then you need to build the company that you envision. There is no sense in keeping a mission if you don't follow through with what it states. Unless you take drastic measures, you will not be in San Diego much longer. I'll give you 10 years tops before the competition consumes you or you waste away from the lack of direction and leadership. You either need to communicate your needs accurately and honestly to Caterpillar in Peoria or suffer the aforementioned consequences due to the lack of doing anything.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Solar is a horrible company to work for"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Project Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    1) Location is Great.. (Its San Diego)
    2) Starting salary for new hire from school is $65,000 with $10,000 sign up bonus for HB facility and $65,000 flat for KM facility which is $5000 more than other companies in San Diego.

    Cons

    1)You have to have a family member in Upper management in order to move up the ladder otherwise you will be spinning your wheels and wasting your time.

    2) 90% Managers are not qualified for their positions. (They either dont have higher degrees or their degrees are from online universities)

    3) They need to hire better HR reps. The director of HR and all her assistance are not qualified for their positions. They need to be sent to school to take more HR related courses.

    4) There is no training and lots of tribal knowledge.

    5) Poor Management

    Advice to Management

    To learn more about leadership and the ones that dont have degrees go back to school and get a degree from an established school not online schools


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Worst Company to work for"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    I have not seen anything nice about this company. Most people who work for SolarTurbines have their family member work there as well and they usually offer the best jobs to their family members.

    SolarTurbines does not care about education and most people and unfortunately Engineers who work for their Kearney Mesa facility do not have degrees or their degrees are from Online Universities such as University of Phoenix ...

    If you are looking for a career opportunity and growth SolarTurbines wont be a place for you. If you just need an experience and dont have enough experience it might be a good place for 2 years just to have an experience ...

    Cons

    1) SolarTurbines employees are mostly families and most management have their family members working for SolarTurbines as well and they only offer the good paying jobs to their family members.
    2) SolarTurbines managers and Engineers mostly dont have degrees and they are mostly been with the company for 20 years and worked their way up. The managers that have degrees have their degrees either from Online Universities or not ranked universities such as SDSU or UCSD

    3) If you are smart and graduated from good universities I would suggests to stay away from this company

    Advice to Management

    Horrible management. Most management ither have their degrees from Online Universities ior None prestigious universities such as SDSU or UCSD

    Most managers have their family members working for SolarTurbines and all good positions are only offered to their family members


  11. "Finance Technician"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good Pay, flexible hours, great entry level place

    Cons

    no training, you have to figure everything out on your own, very slow career growth

    Advice to Management

    learn to train people



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