A longtime parent wrestling coach and mentor to young kids in wresting, REC Silicon’s Luciano Hernandez knows how to pin down his opportunities and make the most of them. That’s what the company’s slim rods manager did in 1997 when he made the move from agriculture to Grant County’s industrial sector.
A husband, father of four, and a grandfather, Luciano made a home for himself when his family moved to Moses Lake via Texas many years ago. Luciano began to tighten his ties to Grant County when he met his wife while attending Moses Lake High School. After high school, Luciano decided to stay put and get an education in Automotive Technology at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.
In 1990, Luciano went to work for Midwest Agri-Commodities, a stint that lasted seven years.
“There I worked in many different jobs including material handling, equipment operator, supervision and maintenance. I left the company in 1997 and began my employment with REC as a silane operator. It was very challenging, unlike any work I had ever done before.”
According to Luciano, his decision to exit agriculture was the byproduct of working exceptionally long days in the summer and drastically reduced hours in the winter. Luciano says he chose REC Silicon as his next employer because of its ability to offer medical benefits and year-round employment. Little did he know, Luciano’s career with REC Silicon would continuously blossom as he ascended through the ranks, taking on various roles.
“I became part of the plant Emergency Squad and trained to respond to emergency situations. The Silane Plant was divided into five units; each unit required six months of training and certification before advancement. I received my certification and then transferred to the Poly Reaction department where I also became certified as a Poly Operator. I later became a shift lead and then moved up to Superintendent. As Superintendent, I was responsible for Silane, Poly Reaction, and Process Development Facility operations. During the expansion, I went to work on commissioning the new Fluid Bed Reactors. Shortly after, the new plant was running there was a transfer opportunity to leave rotating shifts and work on days. I applied for and was awarded the Poly Production Specialist position. The production specialist schedules all maintenance and contractor activities as well as sets the requirements and conditions for all Hazardous Work Permits. I later transferred to the Slim Rods Manufacturing as a production specialist and then assumed the manager position.”
As slim rods manager, Luciano oversees all phases of the slim rods processes.
“This includes doping, growth, machining, etching and packaging operations. Slim Rods are used to make electronic grade Polysilicon at the Butte Montana facility.”
‘Reading between the lines,’ Luciano appears to indicate that he couldn’t have succeeded without the great workplace dynamic REC Silicon is known for.
“There is always a new opportunity to learn and new REC family member to meet. It was a bit intimidating when I first came to work here, but everyone made you feel welcome. I remember walking into the Silane unit my first week and one of the operators stood up gave me a hug and said, ‘welcome to the family’”. Over the years, I have worked with a lot of great people who taught me lot about this plant. Many of whom I keep in contact with even though they have since moved on. REC has been a great company most of the Slim Rod department employees have been here 15 – 30 years.”
Due to his found success with REC Silicon, it apparently allowed him to grow, not only professionally, but personally as well. Luciano spent many years coaching and chaperoning local wrestling youth, who would go on to eventually take home the state wrestling title for Moses Lake High School in 2015. In addition, Luciano donates to and volunteers for United Way’s Relay for Life cancer fundraising event and the Columbia Basin Cancer Foundation. He also volunteers for various church functions.
Aside from his love for his local community, Luciano’s favorite aspect of living in Grant County is family.
“I have a lot family ties to this area. My parents moved here from Texas in the mid 1950’s. Many of my siblings still live in the area. I was born and raised in Moses Lake. I first met future my wife while attending Moses Lake High School. Our four children were also raised here. Now two of them are raising their children in Moses Lake.
We have spent a lot of time at local sporting events cheering on our student athletes. Boating, fishing and swimming at the area parks. This town will always be our home.”