Nave Newell Wordle 2020 Refresh

The Nave Newell Way: From Core Values to a Company Culture

Written by Laura Kepner, Director of Fun (NN employee since 1994)

Nave Newell opened for business in 1992. Two years later, I walked in the door and now over 25 years have passed – wow! From day one, it just felt right. Within the first few hours, I could tell that the owners cared about our success and us. Greg Newell’s passion for his work, his family and enjoying life were key indicators to me that this company was a right fit. The phrase I have always used to describe Nave Newell is “good people trying to do the right thing.”

Creation of the Nave Newell Way

Seven years ago, Greg Newell heard David Friedman speak about his Fundamentally Different program. It seemed like the perfect framework to share Nave Newell’s core values. With David’s help, we created our own fundamentals called the Nave Newell Way. 

We have been working hard on our fundamentals for over six years. Are we perfect at them – no and we never will be, but we keep trying. As David Friedman says, the best that we can hope for is to practice them well “almost always.”  

Then along came Julie Ann Sullivan, a wonderful culture coach, who taught us the power of the word “Pause” that connects perfectly with our Nave Newell Way. When we speak straight, submit our work, or practice blameless problem-solving, “Pause” comes in handy. Those few extra seconds reminds us to think about what we want to say, to recheck our work, and focus on solutions, rather than pointing fingers when problems arise.  

Focus on Continuous Improvement

So, what’s it take to be better? David Friedman talked about this at his latest Summit. Changes/improvements take time and a desire to change. It’s like a New Year’s resolution. We do it for a while and then have a tendency to fall back to our old ways, especially when we get overwhelmed. Our fundamentals and team members are there to remind us how to get back on course in a positive, forward moving way.

Impact of the Nave Newell Way Culture

When I’m asked what impact the Nave Newell Way has on our company, I like to share examples. Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. When a new hire chooses us because of our Nave Newell Way. A recent hire, Sam Guarnieri, printed out the fundamentals, highlighted his favorites and brought them to the interview to discuss. Amazing!
  2. When staff who are quiet by nature, follow our Speak Straight fundamental so that instead of being internally frustrated, we create a better work environment together. 
  3. When Dave Nester shares his stories of how calling sales (Wawa staff especially) and restaurant staff by their first names can really brighten someone’s day. Hello Everyone!
  4. When a potential business development meeting turns out to be a conversation solely about culture. Oh yea!
  5. When staff start every meeting talking about our fundamental of the week. Now that’s called a Ritual!
  6. When I’m encouraged to go live with my mother for a month in NC before her passing because we Keep Family First. Big hearts!
  7. When we discover other companies also practicing being Fundamentally Different and we share ideas. Let’s connect!
  8. When we all work together to make blankets for Cure for Cam or hold a food drive for F4 to Make A Difference. 

Hear What Our Employees Have to Say

Our fundamentals give us a foundation. They give us a common language.

They remind us that even though all of us are different (passions, strengths, personalities, etc.), we are good people just trying to do the right thing. Here are some great examples of that:

  • #3 – Do The Right Thing, Always – Connor Shivetts, EIT – Senior Staff Engineer

“Generally, I think most people have the moral compass to know what the right decision is in most situations and it is easy to make this decision when everyone is watching. But it takes a whole new level of discipline to do the right thing consistently when you know nobody will thank you or when the decision will be met with harsh criticism.”

  • #10 – Be Relentless About Improvement – Brian Kelly – Landscape Designer

“I think this FD is my favorite because often we can get comfortable/complacent and do things because they work, not necessarily because they are the best. It is our job to continually search for bigger and better ways to efficiently and effectively accomplish our goals and find the solutions that we are looking for!”

  • #11 – Be For Each Other – Nolan Maier, EIT – Staff Engineer

“My favorite fundamental is Be For Each Other. I started playing sports when I was very young which made me appreciate teamwork. It is basically impossible to win a baseball game alone and the engineering field is similar in many ways. When problems arise, I know I can look to my coworkers for help and guidance, so I can become a better engineer. It also translates to our project managers designating different tasks to senior and staff engineers to knockout projects. I enjoy having a team mentality because it also means that my coworkers want me to succeed, just as I want the same for them. It simply makes work easier. “

  • #25 – Assume Positive Intent – John Hogan, PE – Senior Project Engineer

“Assuming Positive Intent is becoming one of the most important Nave Newell Way points that I always find myself thinking about – even in my personal life. As strange as it may seem, it allows you to assume someone had a harmless reason for doing something that might be considered a “not so positive” act. Keeping this in mind, helps keep things from getting to me and driving me crazy!”

  • #30 – Keep Things Fun – John Eckman, EIT – Senior Staff Engineer

“My favorite fundamental is Keep Things Fun. Our line of work can be stressful at times when it comes to meeting deadlines, so it is nice to be able to take a break and do a fun activity every now and then. It is also nice to be able to laugh and joke with the people that you work with.”

Our Doors are Always Open

We welcome anyone to visit with us to learn more about what we do and our Nave Newell Way culture. When you visit, hopefully, you too will get the same feeling I did many years ago when you walk in our doors. Our bowl of Nave Newell Way cards is waiting for you to take one or more. 

It’s going to be a positive year of growth for each of us and we wish the same for you.

Happy New Year!

New Year – New Career at Nave Newell

Like the sound of things? Now that you heard about our culture, see what opportunities we might have for you. We’re hiring civil engineers at various levels of experience.