The Nestlé bottling facility in Red Boiling Springs has a new Plant Manager as of February 1, 2013. Eric Solomon, out of Florida, replaces Tony Dexter as the new head man at one of Macon County’s largest employers.
Dexter accepted a position in Ontario, California, where he will be using his expertise to help turn around another Nestlé plant. Solomon came on board just a week before Dexter’s leave date, and was able to spend some time onsite learning the ropes from his predecessor.
Solomon has worked with Nestlé since 1998. He worked as an Operations and Technical Manager for over 10 years at two different FL plants, and spent one year working in the corporate Nestlé world.
Having been on both the plant floor and the corporate circuit, Solomon now finds himself with a larger set of responsibilities, encompassing both.
And there’s another, new factor, Solomon says: “The added piece to this role is the community here. The added piece is being able to manage and deal with relationships outside of the walls of the plant.”
Solomon is moving to the area with his wife, Denise, and 13-year-old son, Chase. He says that his wife, who is “the social butterfly… a very hard worker, and very excited about moving here,” will be able to assist him with some of the community leadership aspects of the job… like throwing a fantastic party.
“It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks; I feel like a celebrity. You don’t usually have interviews with newspapers. You don’t go around and meet the mayors in all the cities. It’s a different world, and it’s pretty neat. It’s hard to explain to some of the other plant managers at bigger places because they’re not doing the kinds of things that I’ve been doing the first few days on the job.”
Solomon is now in charge of quite a number of employees—there are as many as 68 working each shift at the plant during the height of the summer production season. He says that safety is one of his main concerns on the plant floor.
“My first weeks here, I’m just going around on the floor talking to people… when we go out there and ask how’s it going to today, one of the first things we want to hear about is safety. Not just productivity and numbers—but we want to hear where there are risks, how everyone’s doing. Because part of my job too is making sure everyone goes home the same way they came in. I do not want to make phone calls at 2 o’clock in the afternoon to tell someone that someone they love has been hurt.”
Nestlé Waters in Red Boiling Springs produces only Nestlé Pure Life bottled water, in one bottle size. In addition to serving a specific region of the Southeast, the RBS plant is a support plant, especially in the summer months, to areas all over the US.