A history of service
One sunny morning last month, Tim Horan, president and COO of National Grid Rhode Island, welcomed employees to a special new place within the walls of the Melrose Street facility in Providence. It’s known as the National Grid in Rhode Island “A History of Service” Museum, and it celebrates the evolution of the energy industry in the Ocean State. It features more than 100 objects that tell the story of how the state has kept the lights on and gas flowing for more than 150 years.
Along the timeline of the history of our electricity service is a photo of a young Slater Mott Jr, a third-generation Narragansett Electric employee who spent more than 44 years with the company. In the photo, he is about 20 years old and leaning jauntily on the cab of a 1950-era truck.
One rainy morning this week, Slater took a ride from his RI home to visit the museum and take a walk down memory lane. Accompanying Slater Jr. was his son, Paul, the fourth-generation Mott to work at National Grid.
Slater chuckled when he saw the photo of his younger self. He recalled that he started out as a “bill stuffer” and retired as a first-class meter worker. His father was a scheduler and his grandfather drove a trolley for the company. Paul has held various roles in his 39 years, ultimately following his dad into meter working.
The idea of a museum was sparked by the employee pride in our history that includes legacy companies, legacy families, and a commitment to the local community. For Tim, it’s a way for us to never lose sight of “what it took for us to get here with all the companies and all the hard work of everyone before us.”
Paul revealed that even after retirement, his dad has continued the relationships he built with his National Grid family after four decades on the job. Wintering in Florida, Slater coordinated an annual retirement party for years, in what he referred to as a “little Narragansett Electric Company community.”
The father and son tour of the museum came full circle with a safety story Paul remembered. He had just purchased his first home and his dad was helping him with electricity work. He reminded me, “Only touch one wire at a time, if you touch two, you’ve become a place for the current to go.”
As for the rest of us – how wonderful to learn from a long-time employee and retiree, that our people, our customers, and our communities are timeless subjects in our focus at National Grid.