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Decades of Dedication: Don Noonan’s 63-Year Retirement Milestone

February 20, 2024, will mark just over 63 years since Don Noonan joined the District. Noonan started his career at M.U.D. in 1960 as a meter reader, Meter Services, after he served in the Marine Corps. He wanted to veer away from the unreliable, seasonal construction jobs he had been working and seek out something more permanent. Eventually, Noonan found M.U.D. through an employment agency and was drawn to the company for its “financial stability, opportunity for advancement and history of minimal layoffs.”

After a few years, the first computers were introduced to the District and Noonan was asked to compare paper meter reading records with those of the computer for accuracy. This great opportunity led to him transferring into the role of new service clerk, Contractor Services, in 1972. Noonan advanced to a variety of other positions including chief clerk-new services in 1985 as well as customer service clerk IV in 1988. In 1995, he was promoted to customer service clerk V, which is the position he will hold until retirement.

During his career at the District, Noonan witnessed change throughout the company. When he first started as a meter reader he recalls, “the crew would carpool in one truck to read their routes. However, due to safety issues, that protocol changed, and meter readers now drive their own District vehicles.”

Furthermore, Noonan watched the new technological era begin at M.U.D. “The new means of communication was one of the most significant milestones I witnessed in my career here,” he said. “Having access to things like cell phones, computers, emails and video calls vastly improved the way people could communicate with each other. In the past, it was very difficult and took a long time to get a message to people working out in the field, but now it is easier than ever.”

Along with the evolution of technology, Noonan observed many other company culture changes as well. “When I first started working at M.U.D. mainly men worked in the offices, but now it is much more diverse in many ways.” M.U.D. has changed a lot for the better over the last six decades.

In addition to these changes Noonan has witnessed throughout the last 63 years, he has also had time to reflect. “If I knew back then what I know now, I would have taken advantage of the college and educational opportunities that the company had available to help with schooling,” Noonan states. “Over the years I have had a lot of people ask if M.U.D. was a great place to work, and to that I say yes.” He explains how when a person first thinks of the ‘gas and water company’ they may not think there is much to it, but highly encourages the younger generations to give it a chance as there is “so much more opportunity here than meets the eye.”

“The benefits, opportunity for advancement and wide range of departments to choose from make M.U.D. a wonderful place to start a career,” said Noonan.

He recalls his proudest moments at M.U.D. “Being able to help people get through the different issues they are facing is one of my proudest contributions I have made during my time here at M.U.D.,” Noonan states. “The good feeling of helping others is enough for me to enjoy each day I am at work.”

Another accomplishment Noonan achieved was when he received the Water Industry Service Award from the Nebraska Section American Water Works Association in 2006 for more than 45 years of service to the water industry.

“I have had many significant mentors and colleagues during my time here at M.U.D.,” he said. “Gene Jensen was one of my first bosses and I value and respect how much he helped me in the past.”

Those who know Noonan know he is an avid Cornhusker fan. He says he will enjoy the newfound opportunities to watch many sports events with his wife, Dee, in his free time. During his retirement, Noonan plans to remain in Omaha to be close to his family. He also plans on spending lots of time at various sporting events with his grandchildren and participating in the church men’s club where he helps with fish fries, chicken dinners and Husker football nights.

While Noonan’s chapter at the District is coming to a close, we wish him well for the next chapter of his life to unfold.