Growth at Solo: The Story of Luis Fiallos

“I’ve always loved printing. There is a sort of artistry to it and certainly what I do love is that it never becomes monotonous. Technology always keeps evolving so you have to learn something new.”  

Luis Fiallos, Prepress Manager

Luis Fiallos is the Prepress Manager at Solo Printing. This position is an integral part of the pre-print production portion of what we do. This step is vital to our clients because it ensures the highest quality color and vibrancy available for their print projects.   

Our team of trained prepress technicians are experienced in all desktop publishing software, ensuring that the project you envision will be the product we deliver. Our staff ensures that your projects meet the highest standards of color, vibrancy, quality, and customer satisfaction. Solo Printing combines a fully electronic G7 Master Certified Workflow with high speed digital prepress, digital proofing and direct-to-plate imaging. 

A week ago, we sat down with Luis to talk to him about his time here at Solo, how he has grown, and how he has seen our company and the print industry grow over the past decade. 

As a Prepress Manager, it’s Luis’ responsibility to delegate and manage the setup of all print projects. He and his team ensure that from receiving our clients’ files, the project will print exactly how it needs to be printed and then folded exactly how they need to fold. It’s vital to Solo’s overall business operation that everything in this step is done properly and according to our clients! 

Luis, How Did You Get into Printing?  

“When I got out of college I was doing freelance design – I loved it. But would go from one project to another, so there were always a lapse as a freelancer. I thought wait a minute – let’s look at a printing company! People are always going to need printing and they can use my skills. It wasn’t easy to get into. Back then, printers did not provide all services in house. There were service bureaus which would be vendored out for help with generating film so that plates could be made, bindery services, coiling services, and so much more. So, back then, when first starting, I got into the prepress position at a service bureau. This entailed making sure all the specs were good and set up properly.” 

Starting At Solo  

Luis began working at Solo Printing as a prepress operator on second shift back in 2001.  In this role, he set up and checked client files which included checking client resolution, doing all the preflight steps, and setting up the images to make film for the press plates.  

“I came here on recommendation because one of Solo’s clients liked me from another company. He liked how I retouched and color corrected his photos. I interviewed with Manny and the rest is history. That was about 22 years ago.” 

As a prepress manager now, Luis delegates to his prepress team. He remembers feeling uneasy about the new position upon his promotion which came 2-3 years after starting here. “Manny and Jorge really helped me at that time – they supported me and stood behind me. I knew I could do my job because they believed in me.” 

What Did Solo Look Like When You Started? 

“When I started here we had a 2up (two 8.5×11 spread you can print) image setter which basically meant everything was set up as a four page and then manually stripped on the table. It would be put on a laminate and the pages would be put together like how they would go onto press so that then bindery could fold it. Then, each piece of film had the color information for that specific channel. You had Cyan, Magenta, Yellow…it was like layers. Someone would manually strip that. Then, eventually we kept growing and purchased an 8up film, where film was already set up and they just needed to expose the plate by placing the film over it – the light hits it and exposes the film and then you process the plate which took off excess emulsion.” 

As Luis remembers, things were very different at Solo back in the early 2000s. Solo only had its main building (today, we have over 180,000 sq.ft. And have expanded both our main building and purchased a warehouse across the street!) 

Luis recalls that back then we only had three small printing presses. A sheetfed Akiyama 28×40 and a Heidelberg sheetfed press. Back then, Solo only had one web press and it was a half web that could only run 17.5 by 22 pages as its largest measurement.  
“We only had one person for customer service. Nowhere near what we have today. Most of the clients then were small, local companies.”  
Today, we’re proud to maintain 150 members on staff and serve fortune 1000 companies across the nation.  

How Have You Seen Solo Grow Since You’ve Been Here?  

“We’ve gone from horse and buggy to a rocketship. Our continuous reinvestments in technology and keeping up with the times has made all the difference. If you’ve seen half the stuff I’ve seen, you’d be surprised with how different it’s been since I started here. From printing two pages at a time on a little image setter and using a darkroom for film to the technology we have now! We’ve evolved in so many ways – not just how we print and process, but our operations. We’ve gone from an actual magnetic office board for scheduling to running all operations on our digital EFI systems.” 

Progress is so important in the success as a print provider in an ever-changing industry. We are grateful to have the tools and the team to be able to get things done the right way. We believe in continuous reinvestment in technology, team, certifications, and so much more. We want to be the best we can be for our clients.  

What is Something You Love About Solo?  

“What I love about Solo is the owners – they have always been approachable and encouraging when it comes to growth. They are visionaries and have a lot of guts. Because when most people are retreating, they move forward. I give that a lot of credence as to why this company has done so well, and also, we have a great team here. They have been loyal to the team and so in turn the team has been loyal to them.” 

Such kind words, Luis. We are so grateful to have you on our team. 

What is Something You Love Specifically About Your Job and the Print Industry?  

I’ve always loved printing. There is a sort of artistry to it and certainly what I do love is that it never becomes monotonous. Technology always keeps evolving so you have to learn something new. By the time I think things may be getting boring, there’s always something new for me to master.  

Day to day, you wear many hats. You need to be able to foresee problems, there are many different factors – paper, ink, all sorts of variables. Most of it is just experience that will help you foresee issues so you can avoid them. 

What is Something You Love Outside of Work? How Do You Spend Your Weekends? 

Luis is a big fan of vintage cars. He’s currently restoring a few classic collectors! On the weekends, he enjoys going to car shows and every Thanksgiving weekend he heads down to Daytona for the Turkey Rod Run. “I have a 1976 Corvette Stingray, 1979 Camaro which was my first car, and I will have to be buried in it & a 1956 Chevy Bel-Air, “ says Luis.  

He also enjoys the outdoors and has created a sanctuary at his own home – it includes a beautifully made pond (almost the size of a swimming pool) with a variety of koi fish. He’s known as the Koi Fish guy at Solo!  

Looking to the Future 

Over time a lot of local companies are no longer around, and I think the reason that Solo has been able to sustain is because of the love and faith that everyone has in this company. We feel supported so we push on and do everything that needs to be done. No matter what…we adapt, improvise, and overcome. There’s always a way ahead…even if the path may be blurry. I would put all my money that even though printing is changing, Solo will still be here for years to come and succeeding! All because of the quality we produce. We have the combined experience of so many employees (more than 100 years all together) who have been here for over a decade or two – we know that we can always get things done.” 

Thank you, Luis, for all you do to help Solo Printing run smoothly. And thank you for over two decades of hard work and dedication! 

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