March 30’s post kicked off a series focusing on the potential for building a long-term career with NPL. Nearly 70% of NPL’s management has been with the company for over 15 years, and of that percentage, 12 employees have been with NPL for 35 years or more. This week’s post highlights Regional Manager Steve Dockendorf, who has been with the company 34 years.
Like many, Steve started out as a laborer. A Minnesota native, Steve heard about NPL in 1980 while on the job with another pipeline company. Joining up with a crew in St. Paul, his early work was replacing cast iron main for Northern States Power (now Xcel Energy). In those days, uncovering the pipe under streets required a lot of hard work, jack hammering and digging by hand. By 1984, Steve had become a fuser on a crew working on the CenterPoint Energy blanket. Not long after that, he advanced to Foreman, where he stayed until 1997.
Steve’s story takes a unique turn at this point. After working as a Foreman for 12 years, he accepted a Safety Manager position for the state of Minnesota. In doing so, he became NPL’s first Safety Manager outside of the Central Office. In 2003, Steve returned to the field as a General Superintendent before becoming an Area Manager in 2004. Ten years later, he reached Regional Manager.
NPL’s roots are in Minnesota, and that is something Steve takes pride in. Since 2004, he has been the steward of NPL’s very first customer, Minnesota Energy Resources. Steve’s career exemplifies NPL’s culture for investing in its people and the multiple paths that one can follow. He explains, “NPL has invested in me so much. Whether it was gaining the skills I needed to know to be a Safety Manager or participating in NPL University and the Leadership Institute, NPL has provided the opportunity to grow as an employee and a person. The great thing is that NPL allows you to advance from many different avenues. Just about anyone from any part of NPL has a chance to advance to where they want to be.”