Communication, relationship building run deep for these Locator Excellence winners

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Locating underground facilities is a difficult job. But it's also a satisfying job. Just ask the four winners of Sunshine 811's Locator Excellence Award. Throughout June, they were presented their awards in front of their peers.

 (L to R)Troy Daniel, City of Bartow; Kathy Thrash, Sunshine 811 Damage Prevention Liaison. 

(L to R)Troy Daniel, City of Bartow; Kathy Thrash, Sunshine 811 Damage Prevention Liaison. 

Troy Daniel, City of Bartow

Safety is a lifestyle. Troy Daniel lives it.

Troy Daniel, City of Bartow, locates the city's underground facilities and he does it well. So well that he was one of four Sunshine 811 Locator Excellence Award winners. 

Kathy Thrash, Sunshine 811 liaison, had the honor of presenting Daniel with his award during their 811 safety meeting. 

"The city employees were honored to have one of their own get an award," she fondly recalls. “It was one of the most rewarding days on the job.”

Daniel has many responsibilities beyond locating. When asked what he enjoys most about his work he said, "the whole team helps each other."

But his goal at the end of the day is for communication to be on point, with attention to detail. 

"We have to make sure everybody's on the same page," Daniel explains. "We have good practices in place."

Savannah Anderson, Mid Florida Utilities, who nominated Troy appreciates his detail and accuracy. 

"Troy is awesome at communication and is always very prompt getting with you on the status of tickets," Anderson writes. "Any time you have any questions he is easily accessible and will meet you onsite very promptly when needed. There are never any issues with having his utility marked. He makes the job much easier!"

 (L to R) Brian Dean, Sunshine 811 damage prevention liaison; Alvin Hurskin (M), City of Sarasota; Tim Hill, City of Sarasota.

(L to R) Brian Dean, Sunshine 811 damage prevention liaison; Alvin Hurskin (M), City of Sarasota; Tim Hill, City of Sarasota.

Alvin Hurskin, City of Sarasota

Alvin Hurskin, City of Sarasota, was presented with the Locator Excellence Award 

When asked what he likes move about his job, Hurskin said he loves locating and meeting people all over the City. 

Nathan Anderson J.W. Harris Contractors, Inc., who nominated Hurskin, says you can see he loves his job. 

"He is always available by phone if we have a question regarding a locate and will make sure to follow up with an answer for us regarding those locate questions even if the ticket we call about happens to be outside of his assigned work area, Anderson explains."

Sometimes, locating the city's infrastructure can be difficult. It's a common practice for Hurskin to use every resource available to accurately mark those lines. And Anderson appreciates that attention to detail and open communication.

"Alvin consistently demonstrates professionalism and pride in his work by not only promptly responding to all of our locate ticket requests," he states, "But also by calling or stopping by our job sites to communicate any special circumstances he may encounter regarding a locate ticket we have."

Communication and relationships. It's what makes Sunshine 811's Locator Excellence Program.

Anderson sums it up with, "Alvin is a joy to work with and he is a great representative of the City of Sarasota."

 (L to R) Kenny Melland, USIC; Brad Martin, Sunshine 811 damage prevention liaison. 

(L to R) Kenny Melland, USIC; Brad Martin, Sunshine 811 damage prevention liaison. 

Kenny Melland, USIC

This is not a job, it’s an adventure because you don’t know what you’re getting into.

That's how Kenny Melland, USIC's winner of the Sunshine 811 Locator Excellence Award, explains a locator's job. 

And he takes his job seriously. "When you check your prints, check one cable at a time," Melland explains. "Then go to one utility, then the next. Don't leave the job until it’s done. Double check your prints. There is never a more important job than the one you are on."

Melland makes sure everyone from the office to the field understand the locate process. They've even got a nickname for him, Kenny Locate. 

Cindy Wood, Big Bend Water Authority, Melland's nominator, says Kenny Locate has been a wonderful help to the office and guys in the field. 

"He makes sure we have entered our information correctly, for us and for him" Wood explains. " Kenny has a wonderful work ethic, is cooperative, committed and communicates well with anyone he comes in contact with. I am sure that USIC is proud to have him as part of their team."

How did he get that work ethic? He acts like he owns the utilities that he's protecting. 

"I’ve worked in 5 different power company areas, 3 telephone companies and 2 cable TV companies," Melland states. "But every line that I’m marking is very serious."

Jeff Plemmons, Melland's supervisor thinks his work ethic is something too. 

"In the 23 years I've been here, (Kenny) is the only locator that will not leave a job with an unprotected facility," Plemmons says. "He knows where everything is and the contractors know they can count on him!"

Melland regularly works with contractors so they understand the marks.

"And contractors know they can count on him to go the extra mile," Plemmons emphasizes. "He's going to make sure that all of the facilities are protected and the contractor can do the job in an efficient manner without losing money."

 (L to R) Brad Ivey, Find It First; Brian Dean, Sunshine 811 damage prevention liaison.

(L to R) Brad Ivey, Find It First; Brian Dean, Sunshine 811 damage prevention liaison.

Brad Ivey, Find It First

"Don't be complacent. Don't assume anything."

Those are the words of Brad Ivey, Find It First's winner of the Sunshine 811 Locator Excellence Award. 

"Locating is a process," Ivey explains. "You always need to be thinking 29 steps ahead and checking and rechecking your work."

With 20 years of locating experience, Ivey attributes much of his success to his father for business training and Find It First for the training and experience.

Ivey has a solid reputation and he works to keep it. He understands the delicate balance required to meet the customer's needs.

"Sometimes, the way a customer wants to be treated may be different from how I would like to be treated," he explains. "Communication is key."

Travis Cromwell, D.B.I. Services, who nominated Ivey, says, "I can't say enough how he's got our backs. Brad is always ready to help us out usually at a moments notice. Brad usually fits us in even when he already has a full schedule. Brad is someone we have came to rely on that always is there for our needs. He is a professional and top notch in his field. "

Ivey had another nomination from Greg Jacobs with Piper Fire Protection. 

"We are a fire protection company that is constantly on a fast timeline. Brad and Find It First locating always come through to help us make critical life safety equipment repairs. Very professional and they don't miss deadlines."