aprilfreestyle
CWJJ Episode 108: April Freestyle
April 1, 2022
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CWJJ Episode 110: Gina Rundo & Keith Ormsby
April 14, 2022

CWJJ Episode 109: Safe Digging Month – M.G. Govia & Tim Teel

safediggingmonth

Thursday, April 7- This week the guys bring attention to April, Safe Digging Month. They cover best practices, how to become an 811 advocate, and more. 

Quick Links:

M.G. Govia on Linkedin
Tim Teel on Linkedin

Episode Transcript

 [0:00] [music]

Jim Schauer:  [0:24] Good morning, everyone. Welcome to this episode of “Coffee with Jim & James.” James, as you can tell, things are different for me today.

James Cross:  [0:30] It’s crowded in here.

Jim:  [0:31] It’s crowded, yes, and I’m in an undisclosed location. It’s not…

[0:38] [crosstalk]

James:  [0:38] In Florida?

Jim:  [0:41] Yeah, I would call it Florida, but it’s good, though. That’s why I’m back to the virtual background, but that’s OK.

James:  [0:49] Low budget. We got two of our good friends here. I don’t know, but I’ve seen these guys too much already.

[0:56] [laughter]

James:  [0:57] In a month’s time, I feel like we’ve seen each other more than ever. Welcome to the show, guys. How are you?

Tim Teel:  [1:05] Doing well. Glad to be here. Thanks for having us.

James:  [1:08] Absolutely. Tim Teel joining us from Summit, and Mr. M.G. Am I going to say it right? That’s the question. Govia?

M.G. Govia:  [1:17] Govia, yeah. You second‑guess yourself…

James:  [1:23] I question myself every time.

Jim:  [1:24] Every time you do this.

James:  [1:26] It’s not that hard.

Jim:  [1:27] I got it the first time. We were out in Phoenix at a Global Excavation meeting. I got it to the T, said, “You’re the first one to ever get my name right off the bat.”

M.G.:  [1:40] I said that. I did.

Jim:  [1:41] Something like that maybe.

James:  [1:42] First person ever.

M.G.:  [1:43] I tell everybody that.

James:  [1:46] Guys, it is great to see y’all. Like I said, saw y’all just the other day at the OKIE event out there. What is it, the longest name ever, M.G., that you…

M.G.:  [1:57] Yeah.

James:  [1:58] Global? No, I’m sorry.

M.G.:  [2:00] In our defense, the word Oklahoma is already a long word…

Jim:  [2:03] Fair.

M.G.:  [2:04] excavation is kind of a long word, and whatever the next word is.

Tim:  [2:11] Safety.

M.G.:  [2:11] Safety.

M.G.:  [2:12] Then, of course, we have an expo. We don’t say exposition.

James:  [2:17] You might as well.

M.G.:  [2:18] Might as well…

M.G.:  [2:18] with all those other words.

James:  [2:19] available.

M.G.:  [2:22] Nobody can spell it. I get it. I can’t spell it. It was a great event. We appreciated Energy Worldnet coming down and being a part of it as well. We had…

James:  [2:32] That’s cool.

M.G.:  [2:33] Well attended, well received. Energy Worldnet’s participation was huge. Appreciate you guys.

James:  [2:39] We are blessed. Yeah, we were blessed to get to…He noted the annual meeting, right?

M.G.:  [2:44] Mm‑hmm.

James:  [2:45] Like lunch there? And then I had a breakout session. Had a lot of fun. Tim, you had a breakout session.

M.G.:  [2:51] Yep. Yep.

James:  [2:52] Yeah, with Kelsey. I was on the annual meeting at lunch, Kelsey and I did that one on safety culture, and then I had a breakout on culture. Kick‑starting Your Culture, which I enjoy that one. Tim, what was yours on?

Tim:  [3:10] Damage reporting and damage investigation.

M.G.:  [3:16] Before we dive into the other stuff, I do want to do just a shameless plug. Anybody listening that’s planning to come to Oklahoma next year for it, mark your calendars March 22nd and 23rd of 2023, it’ll be there. 

[3:30] Save the date. Talk to Tim and I if you’re planning on coming up, and more than likely these Energy Worldnet guys will be there, too. There we go.

Jim:  [3:40] In some form or fashion. I had a dream last night, guys. Can I share my dream with you?

Jim:  [3:45] It’s OK.

James:  [3:46] I don’t know.

Jim:  [3:47] I had a dream…

M.G.:  [3:49] You’re going to tell us, anyway.

Jim:  [3:51] You know me, Tim, there’s no stopping me. But I had the dream that I had eight shovels, one backhoe, and one excavator. Eight shovels, one backhoe, and one excavator.

James:  [4:05] Mm, that’s where it is right now.

Jim:  [4:08] And then I’m like thinking, “Gosh, you know, I need to…” I felt the need to be safe. What does that dream mean? What do you guys put together on that? Anyone? Bueller?

Tim:  [4:18] Yeah, I think we’re onto something. Tim, do you want first stab, or you want me to go?

M.G.:  [4:22] Man, my Internet connection was slow, so I did not hear any of that.

James:  [4:27] Oh, good.

James:  [4:28] You’re so smart, tactical, strategic.

M.G.:  [4:33] If that happens again, I’ll going to call you out on it, Tim.

James:  [4:37] He’s like, “I’m breaking up. I’m breaking up.”

M.G.:  [4:39] Tim froze like this, and I heard none of it.

Jim:  [4:41] Tim, we were giving allusions, or talking about 811 and what April is. Who would like to talk about what April is for us folks?

Tim:  [4:51] Well, obviously, April is National Safe Digging Month, in case you didn’t know, FYI. 811 is the national number to call before you dig to have underground utilities buried.

[5:07] As much as we in the industry think people know about 811, there’s a lot of people that don’t. And so we’ve got a dedicated April as the month to educating and sharing national safe‑digging and safe‑digging practices. And you know, just getting the word out there and promoting safe digging.

M.G.:  [5:31] Yeah. As an 811 center, all your states, no matter where you are, we’re all going to be promoting national safety month. It’s a grander promotion than just your local state. We all understand that April is that time of year where excavation projects are picking up, getting more and more.

[5:48] It’s not just the professionals either. We have not only our construction like here in Oklahoma is an oil gas state. We have all that going on. Then we have our fiber going in everywhere. Fiber communications.

[6:01] The projects are there, but we also want to remind those homeowners here getting ready to plant that tree, or do some landscaping or fencing, hey, it’s for you too. We want you to be safe around those underground facilities.

Tim:  [6:14] They centered around April I think, heavily, because one spring season folks are coming out of winter and yard cleanup and those projects, but also on the commercial side, professional excavators, that’s the kickoff of digging season, especially in our northern states where the excavation could be more difficult.

[6:37] That’s why April is designated as a kickoff for safe digging.

Jim:  [6:44] It’s a lot of awareness. I think this is really good because I think a lot of people may think that 811 and digging safely involves those or them over there. People like in the streets, people jackhammering asphalt, but it really is everybody. Everybody needs to do it especially…

James:  [7:06] Guys, I’m going to put you on the spot because y’all are professionals. We’re going off script. Remember that script I made?

Tim:  [7:13] Yes.

James:  [7:13] Throw it out.

M.G.:  [7:14] We’re doing.

[7:15] Jimmy: Throw it out.

James:  [7:15] Give me some examples, and I mean all examples, that means professionals and non‑professionals, give us some things that fall into the bucket that maybe you would or wouldn’t think, because I think we have two people in our audience.

[7:30] I think we have industry folks that are very familiar and we see them all the time and they’re very well educated, maybe three. 

[7:38] Then we have another group of folks that maybe are not from our industry, like my mom for instance. Just as fast as you all want to throw them out, just give us some.

Tim:  [7:52] Obviously contractors that are in it day in and day out, running a bore machine, running a track machine, contracting either for a utility or Municipal. Those guys are really pretty good about having tickets. What happens after that sometimes is a little different story, but they’re great about getting those tickets in.

[8:13] But there’s a lot of things that people just don’t think about. I think about like above‑ground demolition. So a demo company is going to tear house down. Some state laws…I know in Oklahoma, demolition is kind of considered in that excavation. But you don’t think about it, because you’re not really necessarily digging, per se, but there are buried utilities.

[8:36] With, then, ripping up a structure, you could potentially damage an underground facility. So demolition of structures is one that always comes to mind, as far as professionals. And then like homeowners, tree planting.

[8:53] People are always like, the wife says, “I want a tree right there,” and the husband just goes out because that’s the spot. She picked it, and he just starts hammering away with a shovel. Lo and behold, there was a fiber‑optic, drop line, or telephone line, or gas line right there, right underneath where she designated to have that tree planted.

[9:13] So those are two, right off the top of my head, from both spectrums. M.G., you got any?

M.G.:  [9:19] Yeah, along those lines, as 811, we just remind everybody, if earth is being moved, then an 811 ticket needs to be put in. That’s going to help you eliminate things. because the way most laws…State laws, very different from state to state. But overall, there’s a repercussion of when damages occur. The repercussion is, hey, did you give these utility companies an opportunity to protect their lines or not?

[9:50] If you gave an opportunity to protect their lines, and then there was an error in doing that, then you have something to stand on. If you never gave them an opportunity to protect their lines and something happens, you have no leg to stand on, and hopefully you didn’t lose a leg. 

[10:03] We try to stress the importance of making that call, making that 811, no matter how small the project may sound.

[10:11] If you can limit the scope of it and give them good information, if you’re putting in a mailbox, we don’t need to locate the backyard. The efficiency of the locator request is going to help you in getting that project done as quickly as necessary but also protect you as a whole.

Jim:  [10:27] How much does it cost to call 811?

M.G.:  [10:31] Internationally, zero. No matter what state you’re in, or country for that matter, if 811 is the service that they have, it is a free service. Here in Oklahoma, 75 percent of our locator requests are done online. We would love it if you would be part of that 75 percent or make it 80.

[10:48] If a phone call is necessary, you can dial 811. You’ll be contacted with that state’s 811 center.

James:  [10:54] Do we talk to you directly, M.G.?

M.G.:  [10:56] Unfortunately, no.

James:  [10:58] Oh, man.

James:  [11:00] Can we get a direct number? Can you put in our tickets?

M.G.:  [11:03] No. Our damage prevention agents are a lot more skilled than me when it comes to using the computer. I’m more of a PowerPoint guy than a ticket entry guy.

James:  [11:14] I’ve heard that.

M.G.:  [11:15] You definitely want to talk to those people.

Jim:  [11:17] I think that’s good to know, though, that you can either call or the younger generation right now, with apps and everything…

James:  [11:25] Me.

Jim:  [11:27] Yeah, James.

James:  [11:28] I’m so young, guys.

Jim:  [11:29] online and all that.

Jim:  [11:33] I ask those questions like softball questions, but it also makes me think. The perception is that we in the industry know it A to Z, everything about it and everything to do with it.

[11:48] Do you think that’s a true statement, that we, being in the energy industry and energy industry professionals, know everything about 811 and Dig Safe and all that, or do you think…

Tim:  [11:57] No, no. You would be really surprised of the people that are associated within our industry, whether, you know, maybe a call center rep or somebody working in dispatch or, you know, somebody that’s not directly tied to the pipe or a facility, they are not as aware as you would think.

[12:15] I’ve been a part of some other companies and they’ve done some polling. Just, you know, “Do you know what 811 is?” And it’s pretty, pretty astounding just to know that you’re working for utility company and you don’t know what 811 means.

M.G.:  [12:30] [laughs] Yeah.

Tim:  [12:30] I’ll share a personal story. I was involved in a committee‑type deal around things. We had representation from all parts of the company. A girl that was brought in, she worked with Claims, and we obviously talked 811 in that.

[12:52] We had a follow‑up meeting like a month or two later, and she told the story about, she looked out her window and saw her neighbor had some post holes and was putting in a fence. 

[13:03] She looked and did not see any flags, so she went downstairs and went across the street and asked the neighbor if he had a One‑Call ticket and he did not. And she educated and informed him right there ‑‑she was in Texas ‑‑ that in the State of Texas it’s required to have a One‑Call and he stopped digging and called in a ticket.

[13:21] That’s a direct effect that you can have, educating your own people on 811 and Safe Digging. That’s my story.

M.G.:  [13:32] [laughs] Along the same lines, there’s a lot of people who have the 825 knowledge, right? When they put on that company hat or that company shirt, yeah, they know about 811. It’s probably on their truck that they’re driving around, right?

[13:46] There’s a lot of people who had that 825, but then they got home and they’re doing a honey‑do. And they’re like, “Man, I don’t need to call 811. I’m not installing a pipeline right now. I’m just putting in a tree or doing some landscaping.” 

[13:56] So there’s the 825‑ers that have general knowledge, but they don’t realize it’s also there for them in their personal lives. And as an education and outreach liaison, right, I’m always worried about that outreach. That’s the part where I can help educate the ones who already know.

[14:12] Like I’m going to help professional contractors sketch. Beyond just calling in the ticket, I want to help them with safe excavation, all this other stuff. But like when I’m working a booth, like the State Fair, and someone comes by on mine, “Hey, do you know who OKIE811 is?” And I’m like, “Yeah, we love that radio station.”

[14:27] [laughter]

M.G.:  [14:28] There’s days that happen like that and you’re like, “Man, I’m just missing the mark on the outreach, right?” Those are the people that we’re reaching out to, and trying to stress the importance of it. That’s one of the beauties of National Safe Digging Month, is that we can reach new audiences with this message.

James:  [14:44] That’s awesome. Guys, we’re going to take quick break. We’ll be right back.

Jim:  [14:47] Don’t mess up, anybody, OK?

James:  [14:50] Coming in hot. Jimmy, coming in hot.

Jim:  [14:54] James, we are coming in hot right now. It’s been a busy day. And when I saw Scott Brooks pop on the screen, I knew it was important, and it’s going to be a subject that is actually a little bit near and dear to my heart. We’ll get to that in a second. James?

James:  [15:08] It’s EWNCON season, without a doubt. This is where we cheer and there’s claps and all that stuff. Scott, there’s only one reason you’re here. It’s April. To me, there’s only one thing going on in our world.

[15:21] Scott Brooks: Yeah. It’s constant, all day every day, morning, noon, night. EWNCONs…

James:  [15:28] Late night, early morning.

James:  [15:30] I’ve been there. This is the third one since I’ve been involved and they get bigger each year…

Jim:  [15:36] Yup.

James:  [15:36] better content. Scott, you know, it’s a hard thing to top the year or the previous conference, and I feel like we loaded it up again. We’re on track to have another pretty awesome event.

[15:52] Scott: Yeah, we did with a new location from the last two. We’ve moved into “Texas Live.” So we’re going to be right there in the heart of Arlington where the Texas Rangers play and the Dallas Cowboys play and…

James:  [16:05] I’m in, right, not the cover?

[16:07] Scott: Just, now it’s a new facility.

James:  [16:10] Mm‑hmm.

Jim:  [16:07] Entertainment District, I think it may be referred to us.

[16:11] Scott: Yeah.

James:  [16:12] I don’t know. That sounds fancy.

[16:13] Scott: Everyone knows we take care of our clients and we enjoy, you know, our time with them and fellowship with them. So, we’re actually, you know…I know everyone uses the generic term networking, but we make it easy because we’d help everyone have a really good time and create that environment.

James:  [16:29] Absolutely.

Jim:  [16:30] Scott, let me just play something with you. Pretend that I’m hearing about this, and I need to convince my boss, he or she, that I should attend EWNCON. And I may have been a pro at this in the past, but I’m not going to confirm or deny that right now. But Scott, what am I going to tell my boss why I really need to attend EWNCON? What would be the benefits?

[16:53] Scott: I can tell you that this is like the biggest revamp of our training summit that we’ve ever had. So, you’ve seen some of the list of classes. It’s on our website. Jerry can sent that over to you.

James:  [17:07] Man, there’s a ton and I’ve got a kind of hot off the press a little bit. Now, I’ll share, I’ll high‑point a few.

Jim:  [17:12] Weeks.

James:  [17:13] We’re going to have quite a bit of EWN folks paired up and teaching some brand new classes and some…I’m excited. I’m telling you from a conference standpoint, I love the training that I get every time. Let me high‑point a few of these for you.

[17:31] So, I’m blessed. I’m going to be teaching and leading people, not like you, with Veronica Mars, our very own Ashley, Jessica, and Scott. You teaching folks about social media.

Jim:  [17:45] Yeah.

James:  [17:46] Brian Dresel’s got a few different ones. We’ve got Steve Allen and Kelsey talking about real‑life examples of SMS. We’ve got some VR sessions. We’ve got a TRACER session that’s pretty important. I hear the speaker on that one’s a pretty big deal.

Jim:  [18:05] It’s going to be dynamic. It’ll be entertaining.

James:  [18:09] We’ve got people evaluating your evaluator. We’ve got EWN’s approach to AOCs. I’m telling you, I’ve done these. I’ve been a part of them. This is our absolutely loaded agenda.

[18:22] I agree, Scott. If I’m the boss man and someone says, “Look at all this training,” I’m in.

[18:28] Scott:  We specifically put together a PDF that highlights the training stuff involved with this. If you need to get something to someone for approval and you want to just hit the highlights of that training as your reason, then we’ve got the stuff for that.

Jim:  [18:47] Scott, besides training, networking, fellowship, best practices, I would come if only I could get my Master Evaluator Certificate. That’s where I’m at.

[18:59] Scott:  We met with our education team just yesterday, and leadership, and we got approval to offer MECP, our Master Evaluator Certificate Program at EWNCON for only $499. That’s the lowest that we’ve ever offered that since way back when, when it cost that. [laughs]

James:  [19:23] Scott, I was a part of that meeting. I’ll tell you, this is the little nugget I think that’s so valuable. Our education team, I jokingly say we negotiated this aggressively to get this deal, but honestly, they know how important it is to get people back in person, especially our learners.

[19:44] They said, “You know what? If it’ll get people there, it’s the best way to learn, let’s make it happen,” so great point. What’s that code again?

[19:52] Scott:  It’s just on there for $499…

James:  [19:56] Oh, it’s straight up. You don’t even have to have a code. I like it.

[19:59] Scott:  It’s on there for $499.

James:  [20:00] That’s a heck of a deal. Scott, I know you’re busy, man. What’s the website? Where can they go? What if they’ve got questions? What if they want to sponsor? What if they want to be an exhibitor? What’s the scoop?

[20:11] Scott:  We’re loaded with sponsors and exhibitors as well. Literally at this point, we don’t ever want to tell anyone no, but we’ll get them in there. We are loaded right now.

[20:25] If you go to ewncon.com, that take you to anything else that you need to. Has a link to go to sponsorship stuff. Has a link to go to registration. The whole agenda is now on there.

James:  [20:36] All right. Man, I know you’re busy. You got to get back on that conference. If you got questions, you know, Scott, reach out to him. Our whole team, reach out to them. It’s an exciting time of year, Scott Brooks.

[20:50] Scott: It is.

James:  [20:51] We’ll see you, brother. You better go now before somebody catches you.

Jim:  [20:54] While you got the chance.

James:  [20:55] We’ll see you, everybody.

[20:56] Scott: All right. Bye.

James:  [20:57] Hey guys, we’re back. I wanted to talk about something. It might be a little more common than we think, especially because you all brought it up, makes me think you all go around screaming this from the rooftops.

[21:19] Some people think, “OK, I make the call, the 811 call and do my job. Thank you very much.” That’s the end [laughs] of it, right? Found, not found, answered, not answered. I did my job.

[21:34] You all were talking a little bit about that. I don’t know who wants to jump all over it. You can talk a little bit about it not stopping just to that 811 call?

M.G.:  [21:46] Tim, if I may, let me take it from the 811 center and get it out to Tim, and Tim will take it from there. We want those calls, we want those web tickets put in.

[21:57] We want the opportunity to notify the member companies that are in your area where escalation is going to take place to be notified and get that opportunity to protect them.

[22:06] That opportunity to protect it, is going to be that approximate paint flags of the horizontal location of it. Here in Oklahoma, they have a two‑foot leeway either side of the paint or markings to show you where that should be found below.

[22:20] Those member companies are doing that to help protect you. With Tim’s roll, with Summit, he goes out and he sees these markings all the time. We always say that, safe digging doesn’t stop with just paint on the ground.

[22:35] It also involves being conscious and making sure that you’re doing safe digging practices. Over 61 percent of root causes of damages, isn’t because there wasn’t a one call put it, it isn’t because the locator made a mistake, it’s actually the excavator making the mistake even after those two things happen.

Jim:  [22:53] M.G., hit a little bit more on the two‑foot that you mentioned. Explain that in a little bit more detailed if you would, please?

M.G.:  [22:59] Yeah, certainly. When the locator goes out, whether it’s a third‑party locator or member company locator, when they go out, they’re going to mark their approximate location of underground facility.

[23:11] Since Tim’s on this podcast with us, we’re going to talk about natural gas. They’re going to throw down that yellow paint or flags. They have an interval. Each company has a different policy, but usually it’s within like six feet. Every time there’s going to be more markings to show where the direction of that line is, and so they’re going to throw down paint.

[23:32] As you’re digging, hand digging, with hand tools or hydrovacing to discover that underground facility, you should find that within two feet either side of those yellow markings.

Jim:  [23:44] OK.

Tim:  [23:46] What he’s referring to is the tolerance zone. Now they do vary from state to state. I think a lot of them around the 18‑inch mark. Some, like Oklahoma, we’ve got 24 inches, but give or take, you know, you’re within two feet either side of the marks there.

M.G.:  [24:02] Exactly. That’s where it’s going to come out. They’re going to see the markings that Summit or any other utility company put down. What does those excavators need to know to keep being safe from there, Tim?

Tim:  [24:15] Well, you know, I’ll go back to the story with the wife asking you to plant a tree. So say you do call in a ticket, and now you see where those markings are at. So sometimes once the markings are on the ground, it may allow you the opportunity to change your job or the scope of your job.

[24:32] Now, that spot where you thought you were going to plant the tree, and it’s got a gas line and a telephone line and a buried electric line within, you know, five‑foot of each other, maybe now you’d change the location of it.

[24:45] That, right off the bat, if you can change to stay as far away from those marks as possible and get the work done that you needed to, that’s the best way to avoid a damage at all, is just stay away from them.

[24:57] But sometimes, that’s not an option. You do have to dig or excavate where those marks are at. First of all, you want to respect those marks. We talked, and M.G. talked about the tolerant zone. Each state differs, but there are tolerant zones figured in. And we know, or I say that, there we go, assuming in the industry.

James:  [25:18] I know, right?

Tim:  [25:18] Underground line locating is not an exact science. They’re putting the approximate location, that it works off of old radio detection. 

[25:28] You’re putting a frequency on either a tracer wire or metal pipe, and you’re putting marks based upon that. So it’s not an exact science, but it’s a good reference to where that location is at.

[25:39] With that being said, you want to try to do the best you can to locate those facilities safely by hand digging, hydro excavation, and find the facility first. Once you’ve got it found, then you know where it’s at and you can work around it from there.

[25:55] I’d also mention, you know, the ones you do haven’t found it, doesn’t mean just be as reckless, because hey, I’ve called in a ticket. Now I’ve found where the facilities at. I’m just going to blow and go.

[26:08] No, I mean that you want to make sure that you protect the facilities all the way through the project, even as far as backfilling. You don’t want to just dump concrete or broken rocks back into the hole because even then, you can still damage things. So, it’s a full process.

[26:23] Safe Digging doesn’t just stop with calling in the ticket. It’s planning around the ticket, trying to stay as far away from facility as you can, but it’s not always possible. Then finding the location of the facilities, and once you found them, taking those extra steps to protect them all the way through your projects, as far as backfilling and finishing up.

James:  [26:45] Mm‑hmm.

Jim:  [26:47] That’s interesting. It strikes a point with me. Tim and I are ex CenterPoint. Now, Tim’s with Summit, but back in the heyday I know so many people were in charge of looking at maps and maps that had underground structures, “pipes” and such.

[27:04] And when new pipes was going to go in the ground, they spent a lot of time planning that because they wanted to make sure…I mean, it just makes sense to put it up front. So you have that spectrum.

[27:14] You even alluded to the honey‑do list on the weekend, planting the tree. It almost makes me think of somebody who really wants to be proactive, and they’re going to be putting in things and wherever to maybe have the 811 call ticket generated, come out, so you know what you’re planning to.

[27:31] Because if you’re planning on four trees go into this area, and you have power. You have fiber. You have gas, etc., but over here you don’t, might help you a little bit because it could that, you know…I guess it goes back to the whole pre‑planning.

[27:45] And utilities like CenterPoint Energy, and Summit, and others, ONE Gas, etc., I mean, they all spend a lot of time planning that out. Thoughts about that, any recommendations?

[28:00] Again, I liked before what you said about the 811 ambassadors, that everybody can own this, your neighbor across the street that saw the fence post being put in. I got a question about that. What did they learn? Was that person close to hitting something or not?

Tim:  [28:15] I don’t know if they were potentially close or not. I feel like the impact was made.

[28:24] During COVID, we wore masks, and I had an 811 mask that I wore everywhere. I had a routine check‑up at a doctor’s office. The lady taking my blood pressure and all that stuff they stick on your finger and everything, she says, “What is 811?” I said, “You don’t know what 811 is?” I said, “It’s 811.” She had no idea.

[28:47] I hit it home all the time. I’m a damage prevention professional, but there’s one of me in Oklahoma for Summit Utilities.

[28:57] I encourage all of our service technicians and C&M construction guys. “You’re out there with the public day in and day out. You can share those messaging right then and right there. If you’re driving by and you see something, stop and say something.”

[29:15] We all use social media. I’m a big proponent of it. If you look at my Facebook or my LinkedIn, it is 811 all over the place, and especially this month. I’m hitting it heavy.

[29:26] I encourage guys to follow your local One‑Call center, social medias. Share those with your friends and your family, homeowners’ associations, all those kinds of things.

James:  [29:40] I’ll say this, Tim, too, and I know M.G., you’ll back me up here. But for those two that maybe have a deeper calling for it or want to get more involved, you know, and they understand that advocacy part and how important it is. OKIE811 being one of those organizations. There are events. There are committees. There are a lot of things.

[30:07] I know here in Texas we have the Damage Prevention Council here. I’m sure there’s regions everywhere, where you want to look, but here’s some good news. And I’m going to be very bold here and say, there’s a seat available for you.

[30:19] [laughter]

James:  [30:19] I promise you nobody will fight you over. And I would be more than happy to get you involved and, you know, get to work on this because some of us that just have a spot for that, we don’t get paid for that part. That’s that good will on that ambassador side. So, am I wrong M.G.? If somebody wants to sit at the table, there’s probably a spot?

M.G.:  [30:45] Right, exactly. And if not, we’ll make room, right?

James:  [30:48] Sit with them.

M.G.:  [30:48] One of the good things that just recently happened with our event, we had that Expo. And Tim was on the committee helping me plan that out, and it became successful. And I’m really proud of the hard work that we did to do that.

[31:01] One aspect of my committee is I kind of made a blanket plea to our member companies. And I was like, “Hey, who wants to help me put this on?”

[31:09] We got two individuals from a Long Gas Company. They were relatively new to the company and they actually showed up saying, “Yeah, I want to, I want to do this and help you out.” They’re in the admin roles, right? They’re not in the field. They’re not digging. They’re not doing any of that.

[31:23] First meeting was like, “So, exactly what is OKIE811?” And we’re like, “Wow, you came to the committee and [laughs] didn’t know who we were?” but they turned out to be somehow the greatest help because it gave us that person’s perspective to…

James:  [31:39] [inaudible].

M.G.:  [31:42] It helped us with our marketing and our promotion, stuff like that. The roles are limitless. If you want to help out your community, your neighbor, your state stay safe, you 811 center is going to be a great place to reach out to and see if there’s any roles that they can give you to help out with that.

James:  [32:03] Love it.

Jim:  [32:05] That’s fun. What I think about that, you welcoming those people in there. Then when they say, they don’t even know about you, it almost gives you a mindset to say, “You know what, I can’t assume they know everything because they just told me they know nothing.”

James:  [32:17] Absolutely.

Jim:  [32:17] We’re going to start from ground zero and work our way up. I think that’s important, that we can’t assume anything these days. It’s a very bad thing to assume and always assume that maybe somebody needs to be educated or informed.

James:  [32:32] Guys, we are getting very close to having to wrap this show up, which makes me sad. We do something at the end where we give you the mic, give you the floor one more time. Tim, before we head out, anything you’d like to leave our audience with?

Tim:  [32:53] Safe Digging, safety is at the heart of it. Public protecting your personal live property. Things like that. I know with CenterPoint and still with Summit, we always want to talk about bringing safety home.

[33:13] The things you practice at work, [laughs] they don’t leave and you don’t leave them in your work truck. You don’t leave them at the office. Having the right mindset can translate if you’re practicing things safe at work and you’re taking a moment.

[33:29] If you’re practicing things safe at home, you can take them to work. It’s really about that mindset and having that mentality.

[33:35] My kids, my family, they all know damage prevention is my passion. I mean, I tell stories all the time. Like I was sitting in my office a week or two ago, and my wife texts me and says, “Hey, I just drove by this intersection and there’s a track out there, and I didn’t see any flags.” [laughs] So I jumped in the car and I go by and have a conversation with the excavator.

[33:57] Or, it’s my kids telling me that, you know…My 11‑year‑old told me a story that she was in school, and one of the kids was talking about picking up flags and waving them around in the yard. And she told the kid that, you know, no, you need to leave those flags in the ground. It’s very important to leave them there.

Jim:  [34:13] Wonderful.

Tim:  [34:13] You know, so, I mean…

Jim:  [34:15] That’s great.

James:  [34:15] That’s what I’m talking.

Tim:  [34:16] And it’s not that, you know, I’m putting a PowerPoint presentation on for my family about it.

James:  [34:22] I know you really every other Friday night.

Tim:  [34:25] but it’s, you know, talking about those things with them. Like I said, sharing with your neighbors, share with HOA, you know, share things on with your family members. You know, if you got a father‑in‑law that’s a big DIY‑er. You know, share those things with him. So, it’s very important to me that everyone dig safe and goes home safe, and keeps up their family safe.

Jim:  [34:49] Amen to that. Amen to that, absolutely.

James:  [34:49] I like that, Jimmy. It sounds very akin. We talk about all the time at Energy Worldnet Week. We really want to instill values that allow people to not have to take a hat off and on when they come to work and leave work because it’s exhausting, right?

Jim:  [35:05] Yeah.

James:  [35:06] And I love that, like being able to…Really that mindset of safety and bringing that home, that’s awesome. M.G.?

M.G.:  [35:15] Yeah, I just want to echo, Tim. Me, in my role, like I said earlier, it’s education and outreach. I’m going to go out and I’m going to talk about safe digging. I’m going to talk to professional excavators. I’m going to talk to the homeowners. And I can tell you three good reasons to dig safe.

[35:31] Number one, number one, me. I want to be able to take a shower and watch a football game. If you interrupt my services, I can’t do either one of those, right? Number one, me. I want to be able to take a shower and watch a football game. If you interrupt my services, I can’t do either one of those, so number one, me.

[35:43] Number two, the vulnerable in our communities. They’re somebody who needs that heat and air to make it through the night. They’re somebody who needs the ability to call 911 if they have a fall. They’re somebody who needs that. That vulnerability is huge. Interrupting their services could cause serious consequences.

Tim:  [35:59] Don’t interrupt my Netflix. [laughs]

M.G.:  [36:01] That too.

James:  [36:02] What if we were recording a show right now and somebody’s putting a fence out my window.

M.G.:  [36:08] Exactly. On the personal level, on the individual’s level, there’s that. Then there’s interrupting the services for someone who’s more vulnerable.

[36:19] Third, Tim is part of one of the member companies of OKIE811. Those member companies, they have a bottom line. The interruption of their services causes them to have expenses that they weren’t planning on, and I want the success of those companies to be a part of that.

[36:35] No secrets, those member companies help this nonprofit keep going, so number three. Those are three really, really solid reasons for always digging safe, but none of those three reasons compare to our excavators.

[36:48] Honestly, if you interrupt my football game, it’s OK if you get to go to back to work tomorrow.

[36:56] The excavator who’s out there, who’s taking that risk, who’s putting that shovel in the ground around these underground facilities, whether it’s oil, or gas, or electricity, or telecom, or whatever’s underneath the ground, more important than me, my neighbor, or the member company is that excavator and making sure that excavator stays safe and comes back to work the next day.

[37:19] That’s why National Safe Digging Month is so important to me.

Jim:  [37:21] Beautiful.

James:  [37:21] Wow.

Jim:  [37:22] That was good.

James:  [37:25] quite a tangent. I feel like you…

Tim:  [37:27] [laughs]

James:  [37:27] rehearsed that.

M.G.:  [37:27] [laughs] I may have.

James:  [37:29] does that.

Tim:  [37:29] May have done it once or twice.

James:  [37:31] That’s his equivalent to the PowerPoint that you do on Wednesday nights at your house, Tim.

[37:36] Guys, it’s been a treat…

James:  [37:39] like I said, seeing y’all in person here this past month of time a couple of times was awesome. Getting to spin this episode with you and sharing the gospel of 811, if you will, during Safe Digging Month, we appreciate that. I’m sure we’ll have you back on.

[38:00] M.G., twice, man, that’s a big deal. One time, we don’t know any better.

M.G.:  [38:05] [laughs]

James:  [38:05] When you get asked back, that means you’re something.

M.G.:  [38:11] I appreciate it.

Jim:  [38:11] Yeah, and Tim’s already got it. So he’s already teed up for another episode. I could see…

James:  [38:16] We’re not even.

Jim:  [38:17] You know, one of our break sessions with Tim in it, I can see it. And M.G., both.

James:  [38:22] Yeah. All right guys, we appreciate you all.

Jim:  [38:25] Thanks guys.

James:  [38:26] We’ll see you next time.

Jim:  [38:28] Have a great day.

[38:28] [background music]

Jim:  [38:28] Everybody, stay safe.

James:  [38:29] Stay safe.

Tim:  [38:31] Thanks, guys.

James:  [38:31] This is where you dance out.

[38:33] [music]   

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