Talkin’ Shop with Mike Naylor

Today, we want to shine a light on one of HGC’s most critical groups… our in-house Shop & Fleet team! This group manages the upkeep and movement from site-to-site of HGC’s equipment fleet of over 600 machines. We sat down with long-time Shop & Equipment Manager Mike Naylor to discuss his story, as well as how this group has evolved into what they are today!

Q: How long have you been at HGC?

A: 15.5 years! Over 10 in my current position as Shop & Equipment Manager.

Q: What has been your path to your current role?

A: Right after high school, I went to diesel school. I went to Nashville Auto-Diesel College in Tennessee and ended up coming to Charlotte when I graduated. I got a job here working on over-the-road trucks and refrigeration units. I did that for right around 15 years before that company was bought out. When that happened, I went over to another grading contractor in Charlotte where I worked on dump trucks and eventually some other heavy equipment too. After that, I made my way to HGC and turned wrenches for six to seven years. At that point, Brian McManus and Larry Hoopaugh offered my current position to me to take over the shop. Since then, we’ve experienced a lot of growth and along the way, I went to night class at UNC-Charlotte and received a degree in Business Management!

Mike talks with another one of HGC’s longest tenured employees, Field Manager Eddie Rollings. These two have combined for over 30 years at HGC!

Q: What groups do you oversee?

A: I oversee the logistics team, water trucks, fuel trucks, and the mechanics. We have over 40 teammates in our group, including three managers here that I couldn’t do this job without!

Q: What do you think is the biggest strength of the Shop & Fleet group?

A: This group is extremely well-rounded. We have a lot of people who specialize in different things and in the end, I think that makes for a good team because there is so much experience in every facet. There are a few people that are good at just about everything. This team also has a lot of young people coming up that are good at certain things, and it’s good to have teammates that are very well-rounded to work with them to help them grow and progress.

I’ve got a good bunch of folks who work really well together. It’s not a me thing here, it’s a we thing. There’s a great team here with minimal turnover. They make me look good!

Q: What makes this team unique… at HGC and across the industry?

A: Honestly, both pieces correlate together. We try to do almost everything in-house. The team we have assembled is a mixture of HGC teammates and some block-time guys from Caterpillar & Volvo. There’s four here from Carolina Cat & one from Volvo, but they spend each and every day here as if they were employed by HGC. This blend on our team is unique at HGC and sets us up apart among other grading companies. Other companies have equipment downtime that can last weeks while they wait for mechanics to come work on the equipment. We don’t have that downtime; I can send someone within a couple of hours to repair a piece of equipment. Those block-time guys are also some of our best teachers. They’re always willing to work with someone to teach them and nurture them along the way. Their abilities complement the team and make us an even more well-rounded & high-quality group.

Q: What has changed the most since you’ve been at HGC?

A: It’s grown a lot! When I came here our group was only three mechanics, one fuel truck, and one oil-changing truck, maybe 10 people in the whole department… now, there’s over 40! We have over 600 pieces of equipment now too… which blows my mind!

Q: What are you looking forward to?

A: There’s always going to be good days and bad days, but I look forward to seeing how we grow and improve. It’s gratifying to look back at where we were to where we are now… and where we will be, especially as these young teammates grow and mature. When you can come to work and see the camaraderie and that this group is having fun while working, the level of work will continue to be the best.

Mike Naylor checks out a piece of equipment as a younger teammate, Dalton Mackey, looks on.