Dante Valve has a very specific set of core values. They apply to how we do business and how we strengthen our business relationships. These values are reflected in our actions and behaviors at work and at home.
Our core values are true to what we are, as a company. They are embodied in our team and have gotten us where we are today.
The following insights from our team give voice to how we live our core values.
We are constantly striving to improve
What Focus Means to Mason Caldwell, Machine Shop Manager at Dante Valve since 2021
“Our shop mantra is the Japanese phrase “kaizen” which translates to daily small improvements. We are working toward making ourselves more efficient, faster, better. Constantly trying to achieve the zero defects of a perfect product. Every little bit matters.”
In the shop, the team constantly looks at how they might sequence things a little differently to make manufacturing more efficient. They are consistently looking to how they can do better. The team makes a note of things that can be improved and puts it into practice the next time. It’s a constant effort and they must stay focused on that mantra to avoid becoming stagnant or complacent.
This translates into every action on the manufacturing floor, everything is intentional. On a large scale, when they put in new machines, they devote a significant amount of time into the layout, arranging the shop so workflows efficiently. On a small scale, they pay attention to each minute detail – like where they place each part and tool – to add efficiencies into the process.
The shop team has a process in place for each part they make. Once they have everything up and running, they set their baseline cycle times and their baseline scrap rate. Then they take a deep dive into the process to look for ways to improve the cycle time, reduce the scrap rate and the turnaround.
Proof that kaizen is an actionable mentality: a lock nut part that used to take 50 seconds to make now takes 30 seconds, which means a production increase of 40% for just that piece.
Mason applies this mantra to his daily life too. For example, when he’s tinkering on his truck, he looks for ways to improve, to make the job easier in the next iteration.
Our work family inspires a spirit of gratitude
What Gratefulness Means to Hugo Roman, Production Manager at Dante Valve since 1992
“I’m extremely grateful to be working at Dante Valve. I’ve been here for 30 years. I started working here from zero, and Dante provided me with an opportunity to grow. This was my first job and I hope it is my last job. I really love this place.”
Hugo was 18 when he took a temporary job at Dante Valve. It was a three-day cleaning job, and he didn’t speak a word of English. At the end of the three days, he was hired into a permanent position. Every word of English that he learned, he learned on the job. Over the years, the leadership provided him with different opportunities: he’s worked in the shop, he ran machines for 13 years, and today, he’s a manager.
Dante Valve isn’t just a family-owned business; they treat their employees like family. Hugo considers it a point of pride that the Dante family always has their employees at heart. They care about their employees’ education, their salary, how they’re affected by the economy. They care about their employees’ families.
“As a manager, I can see where this company is heading, and they’re bringing everyone along.”
When they see a need within their employees, they answer it. For Hugo, that answer came in the form of job support for his own family. Over the years, Dante Valve has brought on several of Hugo’s relatives.
The Dantes are a close-knit family. It’s a comfortable and compassionate environment. It’s a dynamic that works well for Dante Valve, and Hugo is pleased that he and his family are included.
“I enjoy my family at home, but when I consider my time spent at home and the time I spend here, I have the same feeling at both places.”
Putting the customer first means making a high-quality, long-lasting product
What Commitment Means to Jesse Williams, Product Specialist at Dante Valve since 1985
“When you talk about commitment, you must love what you’re doing, and you have to want to learn more each day. We’re part of something important here – we service the warfighter and that’s something to be proud of. Once you make a commitment to help something succeed, you put everything into it, and that’s what we’ve done here, at Dante Valve. We put everything we have into this company.”
Army veteran Jesse Williams found his way to Dante Valve when his apprenticeship at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard ended. A big portion of his life has been spent at Dante Valve. He’s seen the company grow from six employees, half of which were the Dante family to the 61 employees it has today. The company was still very small when they started selling to the military, but their big heart and commitment to their success has made them a critical valve supplier to the government.
“My commitment to the company is paid back in their commitment to me, and their belief and trust in what I can do for the company. It’s been a team effort to get to this point. They’ve opened a lot of doors for me so I could continue to learn and grow, because when I started, I was just a kid.”
Jesse believes the staff at Dante shows commitment to their clients by making a quality product and by prioritizing client satisfaction. For example, he shares a story of when one of the power company’s transformers caught on fire in the yard, this shut the company down and halted production. A few team members stayed at the plant overnight while the pole was repaired. This allowed the shop to get up and running so they could get production back on schedule.
Dante Valve is customer-oriented in terms of meeting the client’s unique needs. The company goes the extra mile to meet each client’s specifications. They ensure custom parts will fit into really tight areas, such as in limited spaces on ships and submarines.
Their two-year product warranty also shows that commitment. There aren’t many companies that show that much commitment to their product and its constant improvement. Their determination to produce the best valve out there is proven in the longevity of the product.
We lead by example
What Integrity Means to Stephen Tucker, Quality Assurance Manager at Dante Valve since 2020
“Integrity starts with great leadership. It’s in the heartbeat of the leadership team and it trickles down. They’re leading by example.”
In Quality Control, a field Stephen has worked in for 20 years, integrity is demonstrated by producing a high-quality product and presenting it with honesty and transparency. Quality and integrity touch all aspects of what they do at Dante Valve, from sales to reduction and machining to customer service.
Stephen is former military, and he takes integrity seriously. He sees it in his team members, who operate with higher moral principles. They all behave honorably, even when no one is watching. He reflects that the team is honest, respectful, gracious, patient and hard-working. They come together, collectively, as a team.
For Stephen, integrity means holding yourself accountable and being open and honest in your communication. He sets an example for his team and coworkers with his open-door policy. He spreads smiles, compassion and a sense of camaraderie throughout the Norfolk location.
We are blessed by our team
The team expresses that Dante Valve has grown and evolved into something they’re all proud to be part of. They’ve enjoyed the journey and seeing it become what it is today.
Likewise, Dante Valve is grateful for our team’s commitment to our company and our clients. We appreciate their diligence in making a quality product and building efficiencies into our processes. We are blessed to have them as a part of our family.