High praise for Rodney Penney

By Domenick Graziani

(l-r) Jim Baldwin, A- Foreman and Rodney Penney, Lead gas supervisor

(l-r) Jim Baldwin, A- Foreman and Rodney Penney, Lead gas supervisor

Lead gas supervisor on Long Island recognized by customer

Three and a half years later, customers are still feeling the effects of Superstorm Sandy. Perhaps no one knows this better than 29-year company veteran Rodney Penney. The Lead Supervisor for Gas was right in the thick of the largest gas restoration in U.S. history back in the days, weeks and months after the October 2012 storm hit. And when he heard about a customer in Amityville Harbor’s ongoing plight he simply said: “You’ve been through enough down there. I’m going to take care of you.”

‘He has re-instilled my faith in people…’

And take care of the customer and his family is exactly what Rodney did. The letter [excerpts below] the customer wrote after dealing with Rodney and his team says it all …

Three and half years ago my house was flooded by Sandy and I had to move out my wife, my 3 month old triplet boys, and myself for 8 months. During these past 3 years, we have been dealing with NY Rising, insurance companies, mortgage companies, town governments, etc. Each one of them giving demands, hoops to jump through, changing policies, and basically treating us like we are a bother to them and there is nothing they can do for because, “It’s out of my hands”. Fast forward to March of 2016 and we are finally just about to elevate our home and I am starting the final process of having utilities disconnected, so I start dealing with a large conglomerate known as National Grid.

 … I get a call from a field supervisor. I only know his first name is Rod. He gave me his cell phone and said to call him when we are ready and he will be there the next day. I said what’s the catch, it can’t be that easy? He said, “You’ve been through enough down there. I’m going to take care of you”. Wow. First time I have ever heard this. It was amazing. Such a relief to know that I finally had someone who cared. A contact in a giant organization who understands what we are going through and is not going to just regurgitate policy and procedures to us.

For the past 3.5 years it’s been nothing from anyone other than their job, and in most cases that was not even done or done poorly. Then when my gas still got turned off yesterday because I canceled one thing but not the other I figured let me take a shot since I had no heat or hot water and it was a chilly day. Calling the service number I was told we can either come within the next 24 hours or we can come between 7am-1pm tomorrow. I hung up and called Rod. Even though it was after hours for him he had a crew there in less than 2 hours and I had heat and hot water by 8:30pm.

I have written more letters in the past 3.5 years to companies, agencies, government offices, politicians, etc. All of them not good. Mainly because they make it so the only way to get something done is to complain and I hate it. That’s not me. It really makes me happy to be able to write this letter. Rod is a guy. A good guy. He cares. I wish there were a lot more people like him working in all of these other bureaucratic organizations and in positions to help because he cares. He may not think what he has done for us is that big a deal or that he is just doing his job but we need more people like him out there just doing their job. It’s the fact that he has re-instilled my faith in people that means a lot. I’m not sure what you can do to recognize him and the job he does but I could not let it go without informing you of what Rod has done for my family and for my impression of your organization.

 Internal recognition, too

Rodney’s work ethic has also been a source of pride and respect from his colleagues, including his supervisor, Phil Echevarrio, Manager, Long Island East Gas Field Operations. “Rod is a driven leader who gets things done,” he says. “He ensures all our customer and stakeholder needs are met each and every day.”

“Rod is so respected within National Grid operations,” adds Mitch Hoffman, Manager, Customer Fulfillment. “I personally have been working with Rod for over 20 years and learned much from him.”

For his efforts, Rodney received a Gold Appreciate Award.

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