When you first meet Walt Goffart, you’re met with a firm handshake, a baritone “Hello,” and a presence that leaves the impression he comes from a long history of leadership roles. Although Walt, a digital print supervisor and 17-year member of the NPC team, notes this is not the case.
After an extensive stint in the construction industry, he joined NPC in 2001 “looking for a change and wanting better for his family.” From the get-go Walt fully immersed himself in the job. He supported team members, learned the machines, and helped out wherever and whenever possible. This enthusiastic engagement led him to land one of three group leader positions, which eventually led him to become team leader of the digital print department. In this leadership role, he has many responsibilities including: people management and evaluations, time/attendance, scheduling, working with other departments, ensuring job order and completion, and constantly asking the question, “are we working on the right things?”
While Walt’s personal drive to improve his and his family’s lives plays a huge role in his success at NPC, he does not discount the role the organization plays. When asked how NPC has allowed him to become the leader he is today, he states, “First, they gave me the opportunity. Then they walked me through the steps. They provided all the materials and tools I needed (books, courses, support to participate in Leadership Blair County, etc.) Lastly, they allowed me to make mistakes.”
“What are characteristics of a good leader?” is a question that will have a different answer for everyone. When tasked with this question Walt states, “You have to have a good temperament, you have to be able to see both sides of the story, you have to be able to put yourself out there and make a decision.” Ultimately, to be a leader, “you have to be the anchor, the rock, when things aren’t going correctly. You have to be the one they can go to and hang on to.”
Tom Daugherty, a digital print team member, appreciates Walt’s direct leadership style. “You always know where you stand with him. He knows when to reprimand and when to give a pat on the back.” Tom particularly respects Walt’s ability to “grab the bull by the horns and get in the trenches” when it’s necessary. “Walt won’t hesitate to help out.”
It’s easy to tell that Walt is not interested with the adulation that accompanies most leadership roles. He wants his team to stay focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it. When the stakes are high and consequences matter, his team knows he will be there to be their anchor if problems or challenges arise. This is the essence of leadership to him.
Being a leader has its challenges and its rewards. Walt believes the biggest challenge and the biggest reward he faces are one in the same: the people. “Making sure my team is getting along, making sure anything they need gets taken care of, handling disputes, adapting to differing individual styles” are some of the biggest challenges Walt faces on a day to day basis. Likewise, “seeing my team succeed, seeing they get to the goals they want to get to, helping my team achieve what they want to achieve is my biggest reward. It works both ways.”
Walt’s story is an example of the potential someone has to improve their standard of living and quality of life within the NPC organization. His willingness to succeed combined with NPC’s ability to foster growth and opportunity helped create a highly effective, prominent leader. Walt’s story is not a singular one; this is happening everyday within NPC. The question is, what will your story be?
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