Hey, Coach, What About Solar?

Jan 08, 2018
Byers Solar - Ernie Flores - Byers Solar Operations Manager

Meet Ernie Flores

Byers Solar Operations Manager

Ernie Flores brings decades of leadership and business acumen to Byers Solar. A seasoned professional who built and sold several companies of his own before lending his expertise to other growing industries, Flores specializes in developing systems and building teams that work for the greater good. Flores is a perfect fit for a company like Byers Enterprises which prides itself on following their mantra, “Do the right thing.”

When Byers took up the task of building a solar division, they knew they needed to start at the top with a systematic approach. Flores years of experience in a variety of industries taught him the best practices for bringing consistency to manufacturing and he used that experience to assemble not only systems that work, but a team that works together as well. “Each member of the team plays an important role in delivering the final product, “Flores says. “From the bidding and selling process to assembly, delivery and follow up, the entire team needs to buy in. That is my job. When that happens, we have real success and that is what separates our team from the other solar companies out there.”

After moving to Nevada County in the late ’80s, Flores built a business working with local manufacturers to fulfill the needs of several Bay Area disk drive businesses. He then diversified into the medical field, developing a semi-automated manufacturing delivery system for Boston Scientific building stints that could scale and maintain critical tolerances. “This was very challenging. At the time we did it, robotics in early 2000 was just beginning. We did many things that were cutting edge. We brought a team of fifteen engineers together and a multitude of manufacturing people. We created localized division design centers to effectively address issues on site—no one was really thinking that way then. It was very exciting and it worked.” describes Flores. “I sold that company in 2004 and then spent a decade as a C.E.O for hire.”

“One of the nice things about working at Byers is it gives me the opportunity to work in my own community again. The “do the right thing” philosophy matches my own beliefs. I was ready for an opportunity to not only work locally but to work in an ethical environment without the cut-throat, high competition focus of the Bay Area.” comments Flores.

In addition to running a variety of businesses, Flores spends a majority of his time mentoring Nevada County youth as a long-time football coach. As a father of five boys, Flores first became involved in the Bear River Jr Bruins programs as a way to be active with his sons. Before long he was invited to coach running backs for the Nevada Union Varsity squad which he continues to enjoy to this day.   The same principals of hard work, integrity, and teamwork carry over from the workplace to the football field.   Flores counts himself more coach than a manager, more mentor than a boss.   “I never ask any of my players or my team members to do anything I would not do myself.” Flores says, “When I was a kid, I not only wanted to play football, I wanted to excel. I was competitive and a good football player, but I’m not very big. There were many times and many situations where I could have folded but I didn’t. I learned how to be mentally tough and thrived. This is what I strive to instill in my teams, both here at Byers Solar and on the field at Nevada Union. I pride myself on going the extra mile. I have been an endurance runner since I was in my twenty’s and I know what it is to push. I love coaching and running. It’s part of the joy I feel to push boundaries and by doing this for myself, I’m in a better position to encourage others to do the same — both in the work arena and on the field.”

Coach Flores is especially grateful that he took the time to go to college, albeit, later in life. “My value was always on the accomplishing goals, never pausing to savor the experience of what it feels like to actually accomplish a goal. When I went to school, I had to take a deep breath, slow down and force myself to write and reflect in a critical manner. This transformed my management style. My management style twenty years ago was very hard-nosed. Today, my management style is more holistic — I allow other people to contribute in their own manner and guide their contribution to the good of the entire team. I see this as actually leveraging team member’s experience into something that combined, makes a greater whole. I have one of the strongest teams I’ve ever worked with here at Byers Solar, in my professional life or football. So first off, each day I want to enjoy this and then also to make sure everybody gets that same great experience that I am having. A successful program is one that the community can identify with and gets involved. This is rare and we have it here at Byers Solar. I feel very blessed.”

Ernie Flores is busy by nature. When not at work, you might find him running a marathon, coaching or playing classical piano, something he has done since he was seven years old. He lives in Grass Valley with his wife of sixteen years.