Algona Plant Manager
As seen in the Tried & True Winter 2022 issue
When you walk onto the floor at the Fratco plant in Algona, Iowa, there’s a chance you’ll see Plant Manager Shane Solberg not in his office, but on the line lending a hand. “I get in trouble with my boss a lot, because I’m a worker. I’ll just go out there and do it” Shane admits with a laugh.
He may be half-joking, but it’s this willingness to do whatever it takes and be a team player that’s characterized Shane’s approach ever since joining the Fratco team just over a year ago. “I’m building a team. I’m building a family. That’s how I live my life, that’s how I run my plant. I’m very connected with my coworkers,” he says of his leadership role.
Starting as a shift supervisor, Shane was tapped to manage plant operations just months into his new job. Beyond his day to day responsibilities of ensuring the plant is running smoothly and managing expectations, his broader directive is crafting a positive work culture. And he’s already seeing the impact of that focus. “My role is clear in creating a good work environment. We’re seeing the results of that with people coming from other plants in town, because they’re hearing that this is a good place to work.”
What makes Fratco such a great place to work? One reason is the opportunity to grow with the company. As Shane puts it, “Fratco’s definitely a place where if you’re willing to put your head down, go to work and learn everything that you can, they’re going to take care of you.” Beyond that, there’s a family atmosphere that makes working there different, and it’s something Shane makes sure is present in his daily conversations with employees. “I’m always checking in, especially if any of my employees have kids that are sick, or have a family member that may have been in the hospital, or just had babies. Whenever I see them I’m checking in to see how their better half is doing or how their kids are doing, things like that.”
That rootedness in family, life and work comes from the top down. It was one of the things that most impressed Shane as he interviewed for the project manager role. After traveling to Indiana to meet with the owner and higher ups he knew he was in the right spot. “Normally that can be very nerve racking, but this company, from the top down, they are as advertised. They’re salt of the earth, down to earth, just good people. There’s a lot of lip service in companies when they say ‘we care about our employees.’ Well, I’ve seen firsthand that Chris and everyone on down cares about everybody in this company.
Clearly the hard work, dedication, and family atmosphere all lead to results with customers. When asked why customers choose Fratco he’s quick to say quality and reputation. “Fratco has gotten itself a reputation of: it’s gonna be the highest quality when it leaves here, but if something’s not right, we’re gonna make it right.”