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Quarterly Update - Q1 2023

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The 2023 CGA Conference and Expo: Digging into “50 in 5” during National Safe Digging Month  

Author: Sarah Magruder Lyle, CGA President and CEO

Welcome to CGA’s new Quarterly Update! We’ve had a productive start to the year and are looking forward to seeing more than 1,000 of you in Orlando next month for the 2023 CGA Conference & Expo. Please register today if you plan to join us; due to record-setting attendance we will not be offering on-site registration. I also encourage you to download the conference app and begin selecting your educational sessions today.

In this edition of Quarterly Update, we recap the new programs, turnkey tools and data-rich resources that CGA has launched this year. The Damage Prevention Institute moved into the data collection and metrics evaluation phase and has begun issuing letters of accreditation to participants. The Next Practices Initiative published a groundbreaking case study detailing the Minnesota Utilities Mapping Project’s pilot effort providing ticket-level mapping visualizations to excavators, locators and designers. CGA’s newly launched 811 Center Dashboard assembles data collected by the One Call Systems International (OCSI) Data Collection Tool into a convenient interactive platform. We released a new excavator-focused video and toolkit promoting 811 system efficiency.

Recently CGA issued a bold challenge to the industry to reduce damages by 50% over the next 5 years. The “50 in 5” call-to-action concentrates damage prevention advocates on three focus areas that are driving most damages to critical infrastructure. One of those focus areas is consistent and effective use of 811 among excavators, and our new 811 campaign tagline and animations drive those messages home.

With National Safe Digging Month beginning this weekend, there are several opportunities to begin digging into the outreach and initiatives that will bring us closer to our “50 in 5” goal. I encourage you to  download the media, graphics and proclamation tools from our 2023 NSDM Toolkit. To support our expanded contractor membership, new this year is our Excavator Toolkit, which speaks directly to this key stakeholder group about their critical role in damage prevention.

I am looking forward to celebrating NSDM alongside many of you during our week of collaboration, education and networking next month at the 2023 CGA Conference & Expo. We are confident that you will have an unforgettable experience engaging with the more than 1,000 attendees who will be rolling up their sleeves to chart our path to “50 in 5.”

Wishing you a happy and safe spring,

Sarah K. Magruder Lyle

P.S.: CGA Quarterly Update submission guidelines can be found here. We encourage members to share campaigns and concepts on Engage in between editions of CGA Update.

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From backyards to backhoes to flowers and patios: Spreading the 811 message where it counts!

Author: Mary Patricia Kindt, Indiana 811

Indiana 811 is delighted to once again be the presenting sponsor at the 65th annual Indiana Flower + Patio Show, which took place March 11-19 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Indiana Flower + Patio Show offered a stellar opportunity to present to both homeowners and landscapers and educate them on the importance of contacting 811 before beginning any project that requires digging, regardless of the size and scope. At the show, which had a projected attendance of nearly 80,000, Indiana 811 featured its eye-catching branding campaign that was also showcased at the 2022 Indiana State Fair and appeals to both homeowners and professionals, reminding them of the universal importance of having underground lines located before moving dirt. Attendees enjoyed discounted tickets with promo code 811, which reinforced the safe digging message ahead of the event.

However, the main event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds was the Great Indiana State Fair, and every year Indiana 811 in conjunction with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, blankets the fair with the 811 message, including special promotions for 8-11 Day. This year’s fair theme focused on basketball, with a tagline of “The State That Grew the Game,” an ode to the sport’s history and roots in Indiana. Indiana 811 treasures this close partnership with the largest multi-day event of the year in Indiana, taking place July 28-Aug. 20, 2023 and expecting a turnout of more than 800,000 Hoosiers.

We are proud to share the 811 Before You Dig message with the thousands of attendees at both of these events held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in the heart of the Circle City!


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Charles Pittman receives the Ray Killough Award for contributions to damage prevention

Author: Louis Panzer, North Carolina 811

Charles Pittman, board member of North Carolina 811 (NC811) for 14 years, was honored during the board meeting on Jan. 20 as the latest recipient of the Ray B. Killough Distinguished Service Award.

The Ray B. Killough Distinguished Service Award recognizes that safety and damage prevention is a shared responsibility between utilities, facility locators and excavators and honors those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the 811 center and to the reduction of facility damages in North Carolina in the same spirit and superior service that distinguished Ray B. Killough throughout his tenure as a board member.

Although retired in 2009, Charles Pittman, former assistant city manager for the city of Wilson, continued to remain the League of Municipalities’ choice to represent the interest of the cities and counties in North Carolina. During his 14 years of service to NC811, Charles served on every committee at one point or another and was witness to and a participant in many changes at NC 811, including a move to assessment-based billing of membership, choosing a successor for George Glenn in 2011, the investment in Norfield and the purchase of the new office complex in Greensboro.

Louis Panzer, NC811 executive director, stated, “Mr. Pittman exemplifies outstanding commitment to North Carolina and damage prevention, providing direction and leadership while representing the League of Municipalities through 14 years of service. It has been an honor to work with him through my time and his voice of reason and experience will be missed on the Board.”


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CenterPoint Energy recognizes Vannguard Utility Partners for top performance in 2022 at Annual Locate Partner Summit

Author: Jamie Billings, CenterPoint Energy

CenterPoint Energy hosted its second annual Contract Locator Vendor Summit in Houston. The event brought together key leaders from each of CenterPoint’s locating vendors from across all regions. The vendors met with CenterPoint team members to discuss policy, procedures, and metrics in place to strengthen quality line locating, excavator education, and overall performance to keep our communities safe.

Shane Alexander, director of damage prevention, public awareness and meter reading, opened with CenterPoint’s Damage Prevention mission and goals for 2023. By analyzing data trends, CenterPoint plans to identify risks and create plans to mitigate those risks as we meet the increasing demands of line locating.

The 2022 Locate Vendor of the Year was awarded to the Vannguard Utility Partners team for their outstanding performance of all the locate partners for that year. CNP has specific metrics in place to highlight damage prevention efforts across the communities we serve.  "Our locate partners are key ambassadors in our damage prevention efforts, and we are happy to recognize those that excel,” said Alexander. 

"Our customers value quality, on time performance and the team at Vannguard is honored to be recognized as the top performer," said Randy Bern, President & CEO of Vannguard. "CNP has established an industry standard for damage prevention that enables us to manage and maintain quality locates."

How the West was won: A look back at the 2022 MWDPTC

Author: Mary Patricia Kindt, Indiana 811

The 10th anniversary Midwest Damage Prevention Training Conference was a smashing success! We celebrated “10 Years on the Range” with the most damage prevention stakeholders, the most sessions, the most networking, the most vehicles on display, and the most fun to date. Want to reminisce about your time at the 2022 MWDPTC or see what all the buzz was about if you couldn’t go? We invite you to check out our fabulous photos and Old West recap video from this year’s conference on the Indiana 811 Facebook page. You do not need a Facebook account to access these materials! You can also view the video on our MWDPTC YouTube Channel.

The value our industry places on the MWDPTC is evident in our survey results garnered from 2022 attendees. This year, we were pleased to find that our breakout sessions received very positive feedback, with every session receiving a majority ranking of either “excellent” or “good.” In addition, attendees were very satisfied with the number of sessions provided, as more than 86% of respondents reported that the amount of sessions at the conference was just right. Our attendees also voiced their appreciation of the ample networking opportunities the conference affords them. We were thrilled to see that we have an increasing number of repeat attendees, with over 60% of respondents having been to two or more MWDPTCs and more than 90% reporting that they plan to attend the 2023 MWDPTC.

Save the date for the 2023 MWDPTC, being held the week of Nov. 13 at the historic French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind. See you in November!

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CGA unveils new national 811 tagline and animation ahead of National Safe Digging Month

Author: Kelly Cahill, CGA Communications Director and Press Secretary

CGA has developed a new 811 tagline to reflect the ongoing evolution of the damage prevention industry, and reinforce the importance of consistent use of 811 for every project.

An Educational Programs & Marketing Committee task team launched an 811 Revamp Task Team last year, which has been working on shifting from an 811 strategy focused on awareness to one focused on behavioral change. The updated 811 tagline emphasizes the fundamental relationship between 811 and safety, while also promoting the need for consistency and contacting 811 for every project, regardless of its size and scope.

The new tagline is relevant to both professionals and homeowners and instills a sense of responsibility and accountability in the individual who is digging.

CGA has also released a new animation for the 811 logo on its own and paired with the new tagline to help members make their 811 messaging more eye-catching across a variety of media. The new tagline and animation can be accessed in a variety of file types here. (Prior to downloading you will need to sign the 811 logo terms of use. Upon signing you will be redirected to the downloads page.) Please note that the original 811 tagline will remain available for member use.

We encourage you to include the new animation and tagline in your upcoming National Safe Digging Month (NSDM) activations and outreach through your social media, website, presentations, promotions and more to spread the word about this exciting new chapter for the 811 brand.

For more NSDM resources, check out CGA’s National Safe Digging Month toolkit, which includes new infographics, social media post examples, proclamations, case studies featuring creative initiatives and more. CGA also recently published its new excavator-focused NSDM toolkit, which offers tools to more effectively reach the excavator audience with key messages related to excavator-specific damage prevention practices. Please post your NSDM activities to Engage and fill out our brief form here.

Data & Technology Data & Technology Icon

2022 DIRT Data Due Today*

Author: Steven Blaney, CGA Data Reporting and Industry Analysis Manager

As the only database of its kind, CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) is the backbone of our industry’s efforts to reduce damages and create safer jobsites and communities. The annual DIRT Report’s analysis of how, when and why damages occur has created the framework for our “50 in 5” challenge to reduce damages by 50% over the next five yearsand we need your quality damage and near-miss data to drive important damage prevention insights.

Please be sure to submit all of your 2022 near-miss and damage data to DIRT TODAY. *If you are a new Damage Prevention Institute (DPI) participant, please disregard this message and continue to submit your 2023 damage data to DPI DIRT on a monthly basis.

Whether you’re submitting a bulk upload or individual reports, the DIRT website provides many useful resources to help your organization prepare your data submission, including data-entry tutorials, FAQs and past DIRT Report analyses. Visit www.cga-dirt.com to complete your submission or to create a new DIRT account if not already registered. If you are experiencing difficulties with loading your data and need to request an extension for technical support, please fill out this brief form.

*New DPI participants: Please disregard this message and continue to submit your 2023 damage data to DPI DIRT on a monthly basis.

Case study: GIS pilot in Minnesota lays the groundwork for the future of underground utilities mapping

Author: Erika Lee, CGA Vice President

CGA’s Next Practices Initiative recently published a new living case study that details how CGA member Gopher State One Call (GSOC) partnered with the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council to improve the 811 process through ticket-level visualizations of underground facilities.

The case study, titled “PILOT: Improving Efficiency and Reducing Damages by Providing Ticket-Level Visualizations of Underground Facilities to Designers, Locators and Excavators,” highlights the efforts of the Minnesota Utilities Mapping Project (MUMP). Led by GSOC and the Minnesota Geospatial Advisory Council and in partnership with key facility owner/operators, locators, software providers and other stakeholders, the MUMP sought to produce a first-of-its-kind tool that revolutionizes underground utility mapping for damage prevention stakeholders by leveraging widely accessible technology.

The newly developed GIS-based platform has the potential to drastically decrease the chances of a dig-in by making real-time, ticket-level mapped visualizations available to 811 system end users. The pilot program utilizes an open-source software solution that connects to GSOC’s ticket system to capture relevant ticket information – namely the geographic area of the ticket – and returns a digital report of the area. The visualization of buried facility data produced by the software is available to accredited end users for the duration of the 811 ticket. By providing increased visibility of buried infrastructure, the platform will enable design engineers to plan future projects more efficiently, locators to perform their job more accurately and contractors to excavate more safely. Read the case study today and share it with your colleagues.

NEW Tech Case Study: Protecting high voltage underground assets through monitoring and real-time alerts

Author: Steve Light, CGA Programs and Committees Manager

On the technology front, CGA also shared a new case study detailing how member TransGrid, an Australian electricity network, implemented FiberSense DigitalAsset™ technology to enhance the safety of a high voltage underground cable. The case study, titled “FiberSense - DigitalAsset: Protecting High Voltage Underground Assets,” highlights how TransGrid leveraged this technology’s accurate, real-time monitoring of underground assets to enhance its threat detection capabilities and improve workforce efficiency.

TransGrid’s network extends thousands of miles and forms the backbone of the Australian National Energy Market. With many of the organization’s underground cables buried beneath roadways and  adjacent to other critical infrastructure including water, gas and telecoms, they are highly susceptible to interference and damages. To replace its costly, time-consuming daily patrols to inspect assets, TransGrid implemented FiberSense’s DigitalAsset™ service on a critical 330kV underground cable.

Within the case study, TransGrid outlines the benefits of implementing the FiberSense DigitalAsset™ service and how it has proven instrumental in protecting vital underground cables through its patented acoustic sensing to detect threats such as unauthorized digging and tampering. The threat detection service now provides TransGrid with 24/7 cable monitoring and immediate cable fault location, resulting in significant cost savings, increased operational efficiency and more. The case study also details the logistics of the service and its unique capabilities, including its ability to classify threats by severity and nature and provide a GPS mapped view of monitored assets. Read the full case study here.

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CGA welcomes Kelly Cahill and Sierra Tireman

Author: Erika Lee, CGA Vice President

In January, CGA announced our hiring of Kelly Cahill, who joined us as Communications Director and Press Secretary. Cahill brings not only her background in strategic communications, messaging, media relations and marketing to her new role at CGA, but also more than a decade of experience working with a range of damage prevention stakeholders – including 811 centers (one call centers), facility owner/operators and for CGA itself.

We were also excited to welcome Sierra Tireman, who joined us as Program and Administrative Coordinator earlier this month. In her role at CGA, Sierra provides support to current and potential members. She serves as a key resource for participants in CGA’s Damage Prevention Institute, assisting with onboarding and data reporting.

Brooke Konopacki is here to help you become an accredited DPI member

Author: Sam Hall, CGA Vice President (Damage Prevention Institute)

As you get to know CGA’s newest arm, the Damage Prevention Institute (DPI), we want to introduce you to one of your greatest resources at the DPI, Brooke Konopacki. In her role as Senior Director of Program Participation and Compliance, Brooke works closely with organizations to help them through the DPI accreditation process and better understand the DPI’s role in reducing damages to underground infrastructure. If your organization is interested in participating in the DPI, she is your go-to source as you take on this active role in the damage prevention industry.

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