Piedmont Natural Gas shows pride and patriotism

Courtesy of Piedmont Natural Gas—Courtesy of Piedmont Natural Gas
Senior Master Sergeant Greg Brown

CHARLOTTE — In 1990, Greg Brown was working in Charlotte delivering office furniture to Piedmont Natural Gas when he learned they had a job opening.”The mother of a friend was working in the sales department when I was dropping off furniture. I was looking for a job and asked if the company was hiring,” said Brown.Piedmont Natural Gas, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, offered Brown a job in the service department. Now, 27 years later, he’s still with the company and has worked his way up the ladder to operations management.”When I first started, at the end of the of a two-year apprenticeship, I felt I needed additional training and I always wanted to wear the blue uniform of the Air Force,” Brown said.And wear the blue uniform he did. Brown joined the North Carolina Air National Guard in 1993 and has been diligently dividing his time between serving his country and serving his company.In addition to annual training exercises, Brown has taken time away from his job for three deployments, most recently to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he oversaw several construction projects. All the while, Piedmont Natural Gas held his job for him.”There is an obligation on my part to ensure he is set up for success ­— mentally, financially, personally — while he is away on deployment,” said Keith Napier, director of natural gas operations, for Piedmont Natural Gas.”Piedmont wants to support the military men and women who support our country. We want them to focus on their military duty, feeling strength and readiness, and not worry about the role they had to leave behind,” he added.In addition to North Carolina, Piedmont operates in South Carolina and parts of Tennessee. Of Piedmont’s 1,568 North Carolina employees, 80 are veterans.”I have a team at Piedmont and a team in the guard. We are a close community, so whenever I am away from one group, we are still connected,” said Brown. “Piedmont is a great company for me as their military support programs far exceeds, so I am able to work my way up in the company and in the guard, and be supplied with company mentors and great coworkers.”In the Air National Guard, Brown is the senior master sergeant of the 263rd Combat Community Squadron of the 145th Air Wing. As an operations manager within Piedmont Natural Gas, Brown oversees the Central Zone with a team of approximately 50 working to maintain safe and reliable systems.”I have a lot of patriotism and love for my country. I want to help people and make a difference,” said Brown. “At Piedmont Natural Gas, I’m able to advance within the company, which gives me skills to advance within the guard, which in turn gives me skills to bring back to the company. I’m growing as a person and a leader.”It is Brown’s appreciation for Piedmont, which led his efforts to nominate the company for the “Above and Beyond Award” from the North Carolina Committee for Employer Support of the guard and reserve. Piedmont is one of several companies being honored this Saturday evening at a banquet in Greensboro.”We are very grateful for all Americans who serve, and we are proud to support our Piedmont associates in fulfilling their military service obligations,” said Napier. “We understand that our support and advocacy of employee participation in the military is critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s guard and reserve units.”Piedmont Natural Gas sponsors Fort Bragg’s annual July Fourth event, Operation Celebrate Freedom. In addition, the company also puts veterans to work on pipeline replacement projects to increase employment opportunities for veterans after or between duties.Napier added, “It’s our way of saying ‘thank you.'”