A change-agent product and machine-design firm recently opened its doors in Wichita. As a business owner and community champion, I couldn’t be happier. Solid Design Solutions develops concepts and brings ideas to life through smart innovation, creativity, machine design and expertise in delivering products to market. Watch for great things.

Solid CEO and President Pete Gustaf launched the new branch office of the Minnesota-based company for several reasons. Mainly because he feels it is such a good fit for the Air Capital. This visionary business leader has called Wichita home long enough to recognize our community is full of roll-up-the-sleeves engineering types. People who know how to move ideas from concept to production.

It’s difficult to not get excited about what Gustaf’s bringing to town. He talks so passionately about the products and the possibilities of uniting Solid and an engineering hub such as Wichita. He has every confidence that the local office will help clients solve complex product and production challenges. As you listen to him, you become a believer, too. After all, Solid has done it before, partnering with companies such as Honeywell, 3M, Bose, Boston Scientific, Medtronics and Fastenal.

Gustaf thinks outside the box. While others doggedly journey on a prescribed path, Gustaf blazes his way, zigging and zagging if need be, and bounds ahead. I like that.

When Gustaf became president of Wichita Area Technical College back in 2007, he transformed the institution from a low-tech vo-tech school housed in dated buildings scattered around the city to high-tech, industry-backed programs housed on a state-of-the-art campus in northeast Wichita. Working directly with Wichita businesses he helped fill their pipeline with educated and capable employees.

Solid Design Solutions Open House
City County Member James Clendenin offers remarks during Solid Design Solutions’ open house event in late January.

Solid Design Solutions team
Solid Design Solutions team members cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the Wichita office.

When the city was proposing how to bring new vibrancy to our downtown library, Gustaf talked with local leaders and encouraged them to consider moving beyond a mere update. His words spurred fresh, new thinking. And, as a result, the Advanced Learning Library that will open next year on the Arkansas River isn’t so much a library as it is a spark for intellectual stimulation and exploration.

Wichita City Council Member James Clendenin said as much when he spoke at Solid Design Solutions’ open house on Jan. 26.

“Without you, Pete, we wouldn’t be building the modern library that’s rising now,” Clendenin said. “You were the catalyst.”

Here’s to Gustaf’s next journey. Wichita is fortunate he likes moving forward – and that he wants to bring the community along. We’re with you, Pete.