Monthly Update - May 2021

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CGA hosts Conference Preview online  

Author: Sarah Magruder Lyle, CGA President and CEO

Last month, CGA hosted nearly 350 members and potential new members during the virtual Conference Preview of the 2021 CGA Conference & Expo, which will be taking place in-person on Oct. 12-15 in Orlando, Florida. The free, two-day event featured highlights from the more than 50 educational sessions planned for the conference this fall, including session previews for each of the five educational tracks: Innovation; Stakeholder Engagement & Communication; Damage Prevention Process; Workplace Performance & Culture; and Legislative & Regulatory Outlook – Industry Impacts.

Keynote speaker Elaine B. Bittner opened the event with a presentation about leading employee engagement in a post-COVID environment. Day one included presentations from Louis Panzer, Executive Director of North Carolina 811, and Sandra Holmes, Executive Director of Arizona 811, who previewed their damage prevention case study and Roger Sampson, Executive Director of New York 811, gave a sneak peek of the VR-X-SIM Mobile, a state-of-the-art training simulator for excavators. To close out the day, attendees enjoyed an exciting and competitive virtual trivia game hosted by Ryan Budds, President of Trivia with Budds. Thanks to CGA Corporate Member and networking hour sponsor Urbint, participants had the chance to win some great prize giveaways, including UBER Eats® and Amazon® digital gift cards!

During the second and final day, the Next Practices Advisory Committee provided insights into the progress they have made, followed by a focus on the important role data will make in the future of damage prevention featuring an updates from Darby Miller, Program Manager at IURC, and Deanna Centurion, Principal at Cyera Strategies. Jason Kohll, CEO of Professional Sports Partnerships, discussed the return to sports and the impacts on event sponsorships, and attendees also heard a brief legislative update pertaining to the damage prevention industry from Alan Mayberry, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety at PHMSA, and Eben Wyman Principal at Wyman Associates

I would like personally thank all of our presenters and attendees for participating in such a lively and engaging event. We look forward to seeing everyone in-person for the 2021 CGA Conference & Expo this October! Registration is open, so make sure to book now at cgaconference.com.

New member spotlight: 4M Analytics

Author: Khrysanne Kerr, VP of Marketing and Outreach  

4M Analytics is a subsurface-infrastructure geo-data company that uses a combination of AI and satellite imagery, to provide a comprehensive geo-database for any subsurface utility worldwide. The company was founded by satellite and subsurface engineering experts with the vision of giving humanity unprecedented access to what is happening underneath the surface.

Committed to providing high accuracy mapping data in a very short timeframe, 4M Analytics is helping to change the way subsurface mapping can be leveraged in a variety of sectors, from agriculture to utilities, engineering and even defense. The company has developed an AI-powered mapping platform that uses sophisticated algorithms applied to aerial images and satellite data to produce computer-generated mapping database of existing subsurface structures and utilities. This database is the foundation for creating applications based on that data.

One of the first tools developed by 4M Analytics was 4Map, a smart mapping system designed to produce high-accuracy subsurface maps. 4Map can cover very large areas, and compile a reliable and accurate computer-generated copy of the subsurface in a very short time. The advantages of using 4Map are not limited to specific project stages as having an accurate map of the subsurface benefits efforts to reduce accidents and can cut costs incurred from changes to the project planning. Another innovative tool by 4M Analytics is the 4Dig mobile app, integrating live GPS data with the mapping platform to offer accurate mapping and the real-time location of any excavation crew. 4Dig was designed to help in preventing accidental strikes during excavation and other engineering works, and minimize costs and damages, as well as guarantee workers’ safety and allow better control throughout the project lifecycle.

Earlier this year, 4M Analytics was named a finalist in the first-ever national Subsurface Infrastructure Locating and Mapping Challenge by Netivei Israel - The National Transport Infrastructure Company, after providing highly accurate results within the short timeframe set as part of the challenge.

Please help in welcoming 4M Analytics as new CGA members. We look forward to working together on our shared goal of achieving zero damages.

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Exactix launches in Indiana and Kentucky

Author: Mary Patricia Kindt, Indiana 811 & Kentucky 811

Indiana 811 and Kentucky 811 are proud to announce the successful launch of their new ticketing software, Exactix, by 4iQ Solutions. Exactix launched in both states on March 31, 2021. This new ticketing platform offers the core benefits of online ticketing, with the added value of a world-class geocoding engine to define safe and accurate excavation notification areas.

In the weeks leading up to the software launch, Indiana 811 and Kentucky 811 effectively educated existing web account holders, as well as the general public, to prepare them for the new ticketing platform. This was executed through marketing efforts, including website updates, email campaigns and social media, as well as the tireless dedication of the Operations team. 

It’s now easier than ever to Call 811 Before You Dig in Indiana and Kentucky! To learn more about Exactix in Indiana and Kentucky, please visit www.indiana811.org and www.kentucky811.org.

JULIE, Inc.’s computer operations director set to retire

Author: Kevin Chmura, Julie, Inc.

JULIE, Inc. (JULIE) recently announced Greg Fisch, Director of Computer Operations, plans to retire this summer after 30 years of service to the organization.

Since joining the JULIE team in 1991, Greg has helped guide the organization through many monumental transitions. Among them are multiple locate request processing and telephone switch platforms, several Illinois damage prevention law changes, the introduction of the internet and email, support for a growing call center staff, call center agent and management team telecommuting, multiple self-service ticket entry options and pandemic adjustments. He departs leaving a strong and cross-trained staff overseeing a solid and redundant IT environment.

Greg said working for JULIE has been and incredible opportunity for him, having worked and interacted with many great people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, interests and specialties who were all passionate about the common goal of underground utility facility damage prevention. Greg and his wife Teri are looking forward to the start of their retirement years together, which includes plans to travel abroad and spending time with their first grandchild.

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National Safe Digging Month toolkit useful year-round

Author: Khrysanne Kerr, VP of Marketing and Outreach  

While National Safe Digging Month (NSDM) has come to an end, the CGA toolkit can still be a great resource throughout the spring and summer, a busy time for outdoor home improvement projects. With nearly 2 in 5 homeowners planning to dig without calling 811 (according to CGA’s 2021 omnibus study), it is critical that we continue to promote the safe digging message year-round. The NSDM toolkit includes social media infographics, member case studies and materials for kids, as well as resources related to the 2021 results of CGA’s annual omnibus national survey. Click here to access the toolkit.

CGA releases Next Practices Report to the Industry one-pager

Author:  Erika Lee, CGA Vice President

CGA recently released the Next Practices Report to the Industry one-pager to condense major takeaways from the full Report and share key data points that informed the analysis. The one-pager breaks down three critical issues identified by the Next Practices Initiative, as well as the opportunities for the systemic improvement likely to have the greatest return on investment for the damage prevention industry.

We encourage members to share the one-pager with your organization and networks to help refocus the industry on the advancement of new and innovative solutions that address the most critical damage prevention challenges. You can also discuss with your peers on the Engage platform.

The Next Practices Initiative is currently focused on gathering information to inform the implementation of systemic improvements, and will be reaching out to damage prevention stakeholders to share their case studies and other data. Attendees of the 2021 CGA Conference & Expo will have the opportunity to attend panel discussions focused on this initiative and the  Pathways to Improving U.S. Damage Prevention report to be published in October 2021.

For questions, contact Erika Lee at erikaa@commongroundalliance.com.

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Learn about CGA’s new DIRT Authorized Integrator Program

Author: Steve Blaney, DIRT Program Manager

In an effort to increase the quantity and quality of submissions into CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) and tell the full story of damage prevention in the U.S., we created a new DIRT Authorized Integrator Program to make submitting and managing damage reports easier than ever. 

The program makes it possible for third-party software applications to seamlessly and securely submit their damage and near miss reports into DIRT. Whether you are a utility, excavator, locator, one call center or software provider, you can become an Authorized DIRT Integrator and take advantage of REST API endpoints to allow users to submit DIRT data directly through your own software applications. In turn, the DIRT Authorized Integrator Program will enable more stakeholders to submit their damage and near miss data, broadening the industry’s perspective on achieving our goal of zero damages.

To learn more about CGA’s DIRT Authorized Integrator Program and REST API, and to complete a short form to schedule a meeting about getting started, visit CGA’s website. For questions, contact Steve Blaney at stevenb@commongroundalliance.com.

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Kentucky Derby partnership generates national awareness for Call 811

Author: Khrysanne Kerr, VP of Marketing and Outreach   

Call 811 was back in the saddle at the 147th Kentucky Derby thanks to a collaborative partnership with jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr. aboard the horse O Besos. CGA teamed up with USA North 811 and additional members to raise call-before-you-dig awareness among millions of viewers of the first jewel in the Triple Crown.

As a first-time participant at the Derby, Marcelino received ample pre-race coverage driving awareness for Call 811, championing the safe digging message. Though O Besos didn’t make it to the Winner’s Circle, the incredible exposure was a big win for the damage prevention industry.

CGA would like to thank our member-sponsors whose participation made this incredible partnership possible, including  Pennsylvania 811Southern California Gas CompanyAlabama 811Buckeye PartnersJULIE, Inc.Oklahoma One-Call/OKIE811TECO Peoples Gas4iQ SolutionsNorth Carolina 811, and UGI Utilities. We are also grateful to the many members who helped spread awareness about the event on social media using CGA’s Kentucky Derby toolkit.

Register for CGA’s Sponsorship Summit webinar

Author: Khrysanne Kerr, VP of Marketing and Outreach   

Join us for the CGA Sponsorship Summit webinar being held on Monday, May 17 at 1 p.m. EST Attendees will learn about exciting sponsorship opportunities to get your brand in front of CGA’s 1,800 members, including the 2021 CGA Conference & Expo, Food for Thought webinar series, CGAlert e-newsletter advertising, and more! Click here to register. For questions, contact Khrysanne Kerr at kerr@commongroundalliance.com.

Another successful NSDM for damage prevention industry

Author: Khrysanne Kerr, VP of Marketing and Outreach   

This past April marked another successful National Safe Digging Month (NSDM) for the damage prevention industry, full of great media coverage and creative campaigns that raised awareness of 811 and the safe digging message among homeowners and professionals.

In addition to many proclamations secured last month, below are examples of the attention-grabbing NSDM campaigns created by our members:

  • USA North 811 promoted 811 and its new education platform, 811 PRO, as the official sponsor of KNBR's 2021 Draft Central, a site that draws football fans as a hub of San Francisco 49er draft news, updates and analysis.
  • CenterPoint Energy held a contest where employees were challenged to complete tasks as 811 ambassadors to stakeholders in their areas. Over 1,870 employees participated across eight states to drive safe digging awareness.
  • Pennsylvania 811 hosted a Virtual Safety Day on April 21, joined by training partners OSHA, PennDOT LTAP, United Rentals and Paradigm. The virtual event, which covered three different training tracks focused on digging safety, drew over 600 attendees and 39 sponsors.
  • Wisconsin’s one call center Diggers Hotline partnered with Milwaukee's New Barons Brewing Co-op to create a new beer, No Shock Bock, that emphasizes the importance of safe digging to avoid shocks and other risks. At the unveiling event, Diggers Hotline representatives were able to raise awareness about NSDM and the importance of contacting 811 before digging.
  • #Georgia811CookieDrop: Every week, Georgia 811 liaisons visited excavation crews out in the field to drop off 811 cookies and spread a little cheer this Safe Digging Month. The visits were featured on social media.
  • New York 811 celebrated with a scavenger hunt contest for participants to guess the location of the new VR-X-SIM hidden among well-known landmarks in New York City and Long Island. Clues were given over their social media channels.
  • Indiana 811 and Kentucky 811 focused heavily on social media outreach, including new "Holey Moley Says" and "Straight from the Horse's Mouth" cartoons that will live on well after NSDM.
  • Louisiana 811 partnered with CenterPoint Energy, Atmos Energy, DEMCO and the City of Denham Springs Gas Department to host safe digging events at two local Bass Pro Shop locations on April 24, which coincided with the heart of fishing season.

Read more about member efforts on Engage, and be sure to share your organization’s campaigns with your industry peers. CGA thanks you for supporting the safe digging message during NSDM and all year round!

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