Following Opportunity: Leroy Rowland

NPL’s history is full of employees who have seized opportunities, even when they required wearing a new hat or moving to a new place. Leroy Rowland, Area Manager for Operations in Pennsylvania, is one of those employees.

Leroy began his career with NPL in 1978 as a foreman in St. Paul, Minnesota. Capitalizing on former experience as a fitter, Leroy manned a Ford fitter’s truck heaped with tools and an air compressor for the service work there. A year later when work slowed down, he took an opportunity in Phoenix working on gas work bids. Traveling from Phoenix to Sun City, Tucson and Flagstaff, he worked his way to general foreman during his 11 years in the area. (Below: Leroy and crew connect services in Phoenix in 1990.)

 

 

 

 

Mains and services work in Kansas City called Leroy back east. Running a nine-man crew during six-day work weeks, he oversaw the installation of 65-70 services each week. Overall, NPL was installing 30,000 services per year on top of miles of main line in that area. Work took him to Wichita, Kansas, and eventually St. Joseph, Missouri. (Below: Leroy takes part in accepting the Golden Shovel award for the Heartland area for no lost time accidents in 1992. Pictured left to right are Bob King, Mike Kemper, Bill Wambach, Terry Hefta, Bill Peck, Jeff Green and Leroy Rowland.)

 

 

 

 

After nearly ten years in the “Heartland,” Leroy moved yet again, further east this time to Gaithersburg, Maryland, for NPL’s early work with Washington Gas. In one year, he advanced from general foreman to general superintendent. With projects ranging from gas to cable to electric and steel, work took him all over the East Coast. But he wasn’t done moving yet. Opportunities with Columbia Gas brought Leroy to Washington, Pennsylvania. There, he settled in to help operations grow there to the tens of millions in revenue.

Being versatile and opportunistic are key characteristics of the long-time employees who have contributed greatly to NPL’s success. For Leroy, it’s about “keeping hands moving” and “making the most of what you have.” Whether steel, plastic, electric, cable and phone, Leroy didn’t balk at new opportunities. Sometimes this involved being a bit creative in lean times. When worked slowed down in Phoenix, Leroy’s crew used boom trucks and flatbeds to plant palm trees in new developments. His wife pitched in at times too, flying to Las Vegas to hand deliver bids packets on a few occasions.

For Leroy, NPL’s greatest strength is simple: the people. “NPL has changed in size, but the mentality has stayed the same. We’re family-oriented,” he says. “Through long days of working hard together, the people you work with become your family. That’s what made us grow. New people become new family. We haven’t lost that mentality, and it’s something we strive to keep.”