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. It’s clear that working at NPL can be much more than just a job. It’s a career. This week’s post highlights Matt Godfrey, NPL’s regional manager for Arizona who has been with the company almost 39 years.
Matt started with NPL in 1978. He had just finished high school and was working as a delivery truck driver in northern Minnesota when his new neighbor, Jim Loehr, approached him about a job. Matt started as a laborer. A year later, he added truck driver and fitter to his list of roles. In those days, Matt’s crew worked on the blanket contract for Inter-City Gas (NPL’s first customer, now Minnesota Energy Resources). They worked four, ten-hour days, moving from town to town for any gas work from abandoning old pipe to installing new services. His crew’s service area was so large that they spent the nights of their work weeks in motels. When work slowed down in the early 1980s, there wasn’t much opportunity. Many of the Minnesota crews were already made up of all foremen who wanted to keep their jobs. Opportunity presented itself, though, when NPL secured tv cable work in Phoenix. Matt took a chance and relocated with several other Minnesota natives. That group was the beginning of NPL’s Southwest division.
Once NPL got its first gas blanket contract from Arizona Public Service in 1983, Matt became a lead foreman for service line replacement and moved to Yuma, Arizona. The next year he returned to Minnesota to lead crews on a huge one-year contract to replace several thousand services for Minnegasco. This project was a milestone for the company that not only put NPL on the map for replacement work, but more than doubled NPL’s revenue. Though it wasn’t a competition, Matt’s crew replaced more service lines than any other NPL crew on the project. Later in 1989, Matt was promoted to superintendent. By 1993, he became the general superintendent/area manager for Minnesota, reporting directly to NPL’s president.
Matt came back to Arizona in 1996 as a superintendent. From there, he worked his way back up to area manager in 2002, and then to regional manager in 2013. This August marks Matt’s 39th anniversary with NPL. His career is a shining example of the opportunities that NPL can provide to those who work hard. “NPL takes care of its people. I wouldn’t have stayed here as long if they didn’t. Employees are of the utmost importance, and that’s not just a saying,” Matt says. Reflecting on NPL’s changes and growth over nearly four decades, Matt cites NPL’s strong culture of safety and quality as something he’s most proud of. In an industry traditionally dominated by whoever could put pipe in the ground the fastest, NPL led the way in doing it safe, and doing it right. “We know that if you can’t do it safe, you don’t get the work. Our customers know our culture of safety and quality, and we’re the company that our competitors try to copy. That’s one of the best things about NPL.”