In January, a new branch of Minneapolis-based Solid Design Solutions is going to open in Wichita.
“We’re convinced that Wichita is … an engineering hub, and we would fit right in,” says Pete Gustaf, president and CEO.
Gustaf, a former president of the Wichita Area Technical College, took his role with Solid Design Solutions in February.
That’s when Global Polymer Industries, a plastics molding company in South Dakota in which he’s a partner, was looking to add engineering at its plant and ran across an engineering company in Minneapolis “doing amazing design work.”
Gustaf says Solid Design Solutions specializes in designing and building specialty machines for start-ups and established companies such as 3M, Honeywell and Bose.
“We have some really, really talented engineers with a lot of experience.”
He says product testing is a big part of what the company does along with product design.
“Their product mix is amazing.”
There are about 30 employees in Minneapolis, and there will be a dozen to start in Wichita. That includes engineers, designers, project managers and clerical workers.
Gustaf says he wanted to make sure what the company offers will be in demand here. He says he’s convinced that it is and that the company can hire a different kind of engineer here than in Minneapolis to round out what it offers.
He says he sees benefits for Wichita engineers who may be tired of, say, working on the same airplane wing for a decade.
“We’re hoping that … there’s a number of those engineers that are going to want to do that variety,” he says. “This should be kind of a natural fit.”
Gustaf has been at Max Cole’s office development at the former Wichita Mall at 3823 E. Harry on and off for six years.
Though he’s been working for out-of-state companies, Gustaf says, “With technology … today, you don’t have to be in the same location.”
However, he says that’s one benefit of Solid Design Solutions expanding into Wichita.
“That was part of the idea.”
The company is taking about 3,000 square feet at Cole’s development.
Gustaf says the office has had a wonderful remodeling job “as only Max can do.”
Solid Design Solutions doesn’t have any clients in Wichita yet, but Gustaf says the company is over capacity in Minneapolis.
“Initially, we have enough work in Minneapolis to keep engineers busy here.”
Interested applicants can apply at www.soliddesignsolutions.com/careers.
Gustaf says the Wichita office’s opportunities for work are limitless.
“If the market is here and we have the design work to do, we’ll be able to do a lot of cool things.”