Spotlight on 35-Year Employee Todd Davisson

In 1982, Todd Davisson moved to Arizona looking to make a change. He was originally reluctant toward of the idea of working in construction, but when a friend who worked for NPL asked if he wanted fill in for an injured crew member, Todd didn’t turn him down. His attitude toward construction quickly changed. “I was the greenest of green laborers. I knew almost nothing about construction at all,” he said. “It was hard work learning the ropes, but I loved my time in the field.” (Left: Todd locates an underground gas line in Arizona, 1988.)

 

As he learned more about NPL’s business from his different roles in the field – laborer, pipe fitter, lead man, supervisor – Todd knew that his true worth would be realized at the corporate office. A fleet and warehouse manager position in Kansas City was his first step down that career path. His three years managing the supply and fleet needs of operations in Kansas City, Joplin, Topeka and Wichita led to his first position at NPL’s corporate office in Phoenix. By this time, 1994, NPL had mostly moved beyond buying used fleet equipment. To keep up a pace of modernization and to minimize the downtime of maintaining older equipment, NPL was buying a lot of new equipment. The purchasing, licensing, titling and delivery of that equipment came through Todd’s department at the corporate office. “Our philosophy then was that the fleet has to be up and running,” he said. “We didn’t employ mechanics. We instead turned equipment before catastrophic failure that would cause downtime.” (Left: Todd driving one of NPL’s compressed natural gas vehicles in Kansas City, 1993.)

By 2007, NPL’s fleet and geographic footprint had grown too large to handle the licensing and titling in-house. Along with outsourcing those functions, the inception of a formal fleet department provided a platform for strategic improvements across the organization. Efforts have been focused on idle reduction, enhanced maintenance tracking, DOT compliance, overall cost of ownership and a host of other items.

(Left: The big push to modernize NPL’s fleet started in the late 80s. These two photos show some of the older equipment in service before then. Todd remembers his red and white utility truck, “It had holes in the floorboard, and you prayed for red lights to turn green before you got fumigated.” The red trucks in the second photo were driven down to Arizona from Minnesota. “I made that trip twice, and you just hoped the truck would make it.”)

Todd is now the Director of Procurement & Assets for Centuri. In August, he had his 35th employee anniversary. “I have enjoyed being part of growing the company to what it is today and have had the pleasure of working with a lot of great people. That, along with knowing the company genuinely cares about its employees, are reasons I have stuck with NPL/Centuri through the years.”

(Left: According to Todd, horizontal directional drills, compact excavators and vacuum excavators are a few of the most influential advancements in technology that changed the way NPL did its work. The first photo shows NPL’s first directional boring system from 1989. The Ditch Witch P-80 was a hydraulic rod pusher with a slanted anvil-shaped boring head that could be steered. The boring head contained a battery-powered transmitter that enabled the operator to track its location and depth with a receiver similar to that of a pipe locator. The photo to the right shows an early mini-excavator. The top of this post shows one of NPL’s first internally designed vacuum excavator trucks. Todd was highly influential in its custom design.)