Live @ Louisiana811 Damage Prevention Summit - Coffee with Jim and James Episode 169

Episode 169 February 05, 2024 01:03:28
Live @ Louisiana811 Damage Prevention Summit - Coffee with Jim and James Episode 169
Coffee With Jim & James
Live @ Louisiana811 Damage Prevention Summit - Coffee with Jim and James Episode 169

Feb 05 2024 | 01:03:28


Hosted By

James Cross Jim Schauer

Show Notes

The Louisiana811 Damage Prevention Summit is here! Listen along as we highlight some of our favorite guests.

Follow along with some of these special guests as they make an impact in our industry.

Brent Saltzman- Louisiana 811

Raymond Sonnier- Atmos

Roger Cox- ACTS Now

Sam Hall- Common Ground Alliance

Molly Smith- Kinder Morgan

Mike Parilac- Planet Underground

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Jamie out to James. [00:00:25] Speaker B: We're missing them this week. We are at the Louisiana eight one one damage prevention summit. That is a mouthful. [00:00:31] Speaker A: It is a mouthful. [00:00:32] Speaker B: And it's absolutely wonderful to be here. James cannot be here, but James is going to be at the amp nace Fort Worth short course, which these short courses are around the United States at times. And those are very interesting. Those in the corrosion world, they are all about that. That. And I know a little bit about that corrosion world. So that brought James there. But you know what, though, Ashley? It's you and I that get to kick off this 2024 season with the first coffee with Jim and James. And sometimes Ashley. [00:01:02] Speaker A: Sometimes Ashley. [00:01:03] Speaker B: Sometimes. [00:01:04] Speaker A: Yeah. I'm excited. It's already been a good day. We've got everything set up. We already had some beignets. [00:01:11] Speaker B: We did have beignets. [00:01:12] Speaker A: I have never had beignets in Louisiana until this morning. [00:01:16] Speaker B: Never. [00:01:17] Speaker A: Never. I mean, it's already a good trip, Jim. [00:01:22] Speaker B: So you've been to New Orleans? [00:01:25] Speaker A: No, I have not. You never been to New Orleans. But I will be going to New Orleans this summer. It's in March. [00:01:35] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. For the global excavation safety conference. Yeah, absolutely. [00:01:40] Speaker A: You'll have to go to. You were talking about. [00:01:43] Speaker B: I was talking about our big LGA 192 195 event in the summer months. [00:01:47] Speaker A: I forgot that was there, too. Okay. Yeah. And I think I'm going to that one, too. [00:01:50] Speaker B: I hope so. [00:01:51] Speaker A: I will go from never have been to New Orleans to twice in one year. [00:01:56] Speaker B: Man, you are going to love it. I've been going to New Orleans since 2008, and I think one year, if I added up all the days, it was almost like two months out of my life that I went there. It was a lot for business and not pleasure. It was business. And so I can give you some tips or tricks, but the big thing, cafe Dumand, down by the market, that's the place to get beignets. [00:02:20] Speaker A: So producing everything on the backside, normally. I saw all of last year's eight one one in New Orleans clips. And you all asking everyone, beignets, gumbo, hurricanes, Pat O'Brien's, all of it. So I feel like I need to taste test all of it. [00:02:42] Speaker B: You do okay. You really do. [00:02:44] Speaker A: Well, you have to make it happen. [00:02:46] Speaker B: Let me see. Beignets. I don't know. You can do those. They're a morning type of item. [00:02:51] Speaker A: Well, we did have them this morning, so we checked that box. [00:02:54] Speaker B: But if you're at Pat o's drinking hurricanes late into the evening, that might be an early morning breakfast. For you. [00:03:02] Speaker A: All right, well, we'll have to see how that goes, but I've got two opportunities this year, potentially, to check the boxes on the rest of it. But we'll. We'll see. [00:03:11] Speaker B: See, it's one of my favorite towns. I've been going there, like I said, for a long time, and it's very rich with culture as well. The whole state of Louisiana, as well as Baton Rouge, or as I like to say, baton Rouge. [00:03:23] Speaker A: I was about to say, and how. [00:03:25] Speaker B: I've been saying it the last couple of days, and it's great to be here for this damage prevention summit. And I have to tell you, I think the word that I'd like to use for this week is immersion. Like, immerse ourselves into this. There is over 350 people here that are passionate about damage prevention. [00:03:42] Speaker A: Sounds like it's going to be a good group. [00:03:44] Speaker B: I think it's going to be a great group. And I think we can learn a lot from these folks and hopefully share a lot, too, because that's a goal that we have with coffee, with Jim and James, and sometimes Ashley, is to share. If we can change one person to do something better, safer, more productive, we've done our job. [00:04:00] Speaker A: I say amen to that. I feel like that was a mic drop moment. [00:04:04] Speaker B: It was. That's it. We're out. [00:04:05] Speaker A: All right, well, got it. I have been to the Texas eight one one a couple of times. [00:04:11] Speaker B: Yes. [00:04:12] Speaker A: I've been to the Arkansas one, but this is my first time here in Baton Rouge. Rouge. You like that? [00:04:18] Speaker B: I did. [00:04:18] Speaker A: Man, that was good. [00:04:20] Speaker C: That was good. [00:04:20] Speaker A: That was good. Can we clip that up? Roger Cox and his team acts now. They always put on a good event, so I'm excited to be here, but like I said, first time here, so I think I might meet some new friends. I already have. You've been introducing me to everyone. It's been great. So thank you. [00:04:37] Speaker B: You're very welcome. That's what I do. Well, connect the dots. [00:04:39] Speaker A: A lot of people asking where James is at. [00:04:41] Speaker B: Yes, they are. Shout out to James. [00:04:43] Speaker A: I'll try my best to fill his shoes fully. [00:04:47] Speaker B: Well, never mind. No, we miss James here. Absolutely. And it is fun to just how well James is known in the arena. People are saying, where is he know? So when we explain, they all understand. They miss him greatly. So he'll be here again. [00:05:06] Speaker A: Yeah. So we just took a stroll downstairs. [00:05:10] Speaker B: We did. [00:05:11] Speaker A: Allegedly, it was popping down there. We did a one walk through the casino. No money was gambled, but we did a walk through. [00:05:19] Speaker B: We did it's a crazy place. [00:05:21] Speaker A: It's high energy down there. [00:05:23] Speaker B: It's loud. [00:05:24] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:05:24] Speaker B: Things are dinging. I mean, slots are winning, and music is blaring everywhere. [00:05:30] Speaker A: And it's not much different than Jim's head. [00:05:34] Speaker B: Yeah. Seven tabs are open, three are frozen. I can't figure out where the music's coming from exactly. [00:05:40] Speaker A: So it's going to be a good one. [00:05:42] Speaker B: No, it really is going to be a good one. It's a fun environment. The neat thing about where it is this year, and I think it was here last year, I missed it last year. But being here at the Le Berge resort and casino, it's kind of like all in one spot. Like, you don't need to go off campus, so to speak. So, I mean, I think people are going to be doing a lot of team building here. A lot of conversations, a lot of knowledge sharing. [00:06:07] Speaker A: Networking. [00:06:08] Speaker B: A lot of networking, yeah, absolutely. When we talk about that, and I just said knowledge sharing, because a lot of times we talk about networking events, and I said to people, I think we should rename those to knowledge sharing events, because really, when you go to the evening, networking events, people are talking about everything, life, what their passions are, what their purposes are. They talk about work, they talk about damage prevention. A lot of these things are. What are our best practices, tips that can be shared and such like that? [00:06:41] Speaker A: Absolutely. Well, I feel like a big part of our industry is knowing a guy, too. Right? So even if you're not talking about what your discipline is, you're at least introducing me to someone that when you decide to depart from the industry, I now know that guy. Right. So I feel like that's important, passing on those connections so that the later generations know a guy who might know another guy. [00:07:05] Speaker B: And that's a good point. I never looked at it because I'm really big into mentorship. I probably have another ten to 15 years in the industry, which will probably, if I'm blessed, will be very good and productive. But we'll probably go quick and we talk about mentorship and the passing of that knowledge, but also the passing of the context. That's a very good perspective. I will keep that in mind when. [00:07:26] Speaker A: I'm in your back pocket. [00:07:28] Speaker B: I like that. [00:07:29] Speaker D: That's really good. [00:07:30] Speaker B: As I normally do. Fingers know that is what I'm going to do. [00:07:35] Speaker A: All right, so we're talking damage prevention. [00:07:37] Speaker B: We are. [00:07:37] Speaker A: This week. [00:07:38] Speaker B: We are. [00:07:39] Speaker A: I see. This is Louisiana eight. [00:07:42] Speaker B: One. [00:07:42] Speaker A: One magnet on our microphones while we're here. [00:07:46] Speaker B: And that is a wonderful. They say sometimes shameless plug. I wouldn't say that's a plug. We want those magnets there. We want to shout this off. I actually got a magnet for my. [00:07:57] Speaker A: Truck that's a good size magnet. [00:07:58] Speaker B: Oh, it's literally a call. Eight one one before you dig. It's probably a ten to twelve inch disc and it's going to go on the truck in Florida when I get back to Florida. [00:08:09] Speaker A: Good stuff. Good stuff. I need to look. I got to go make my rounds because my kids always look for the color coding cards for the markings on the ground. So my son always has one attached to his backpack. And he has told me more than one occasion that he has told his friends at school what all the colors mean and they look for them when they're out on the playground and go places for school, they look for them. That's cool. I need to see. I always try to get a couple and stick them in my pocket because on a backpack they wear out and. [00:08:39] Speaker B: That'S a fun thing to do. Like when you're driving around or whatever, and the first person to shout out a marker, so to speak, and name what it is wins. I don't know. What do you give your kids? [00:08:50] Speaker A: Candy chocolate free iPad time. Not free for content, but time. Free time. [00:09:00] Speaker B: It's important. [00:09:01] Speaker A: I know James takes pictures on his phone when he's out and about of markings and stuff too. He finds it fascinating. [00:09:07] Speaker B: Yeah. I've been with James all over the United States and he is passionate about that and he has a purpose for that. He will do a lot of video clips of markings on the ground. He just finds it fascinating. I found ourselves in everywhere from Montgomery, Alabama to Charlotte, all over the United States where he's doing that and we're talking about it. And I guess again, think about that or anybody that's with us. Again, we're trying to share. Oh, that yellow one there, that's for natural gas. A lot of people don't know. They just see the markings. They don't understand that the paints are color coded and such. [00:09:43] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:09:44] Speaker B: It's a good point. It's great that you're teaching your kids that too. [00:09:46] Speaker A: Never too early to start being aware of what's around you, being aware of your surroundings, what you're seeing, what it means. It's important. [00:09:54] Speaker B: Can you go to your school? I'm going off tangent, but is that something that you could actually go to the school and teach or be a guest person in a classroom to help teach that? [00:10:04] Speaker A: Oh, I'm sure my son actually goes to a STEM academy indicator, and they're all about engineering and all sorts of stuff, so they welcome people from the field coming in and sharing what they do out in the real world. [00:10:17] Speaker B: That's neat. Yeah, that's really neat. [00:10:19] Speaker A: Good times. All right, well, any knowledge you want to share to our friends back home? [00:10:26] Speaker B: No. I think it's important to. I think what I would like to impart, and I think you just brought it up and it's in my mind we weren't talking about this. Everything here is organic, but I think it's really important not to assume that somebody else knows what we may know and then also to make sure we challenge ourselves if we're not completely familiar with something or we have a question, don't sit in silence. Ask somebody. What does that mean? I've seen markers in my neighbor's yard for three weeks. Are they still good to go? Well, there's time limits on that. And I think the more we get out of our echo chamber and talk to people again at the grassroots level, neighbors and such like that, friends and such. I think that's important. [00:11:13] Speaker A: Yeah, that's a good point. Good point. [00:11:15] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:11:15] Speaker A: I have a goal for 2024. [00:11:17] Speaker B: What is that? [00:11:18] Speaker A: To connect some dots in my own brain. Right. Like I told you a little bit earlier, but five years in the industry and not ever knowing anything about our industry before that. Five years, okay. It can be a lot to take in at first, right? [00:11:31] Speaker B: Sure. [00:11:32] Speaker A: So I've been part of a lot of conversations. I've met a lot of people, heard about a lot of disciplines and what their company does, but seeing the big picture of how that all works together sometimes can be difficult for someone who's not new. But, I mean, I haven't been in it a long time. Right. So I want to be intentional with asking the questions and not just sitting back, but saying, okay, can you explain to me how that connects to this? I want to understand and see the big picture. [00:12:01] Speaker B: Sure. And that makes a lot of sense. And I think what you're going to find is that when you start to ask those questions, people are going to. I think sometimes people are afraid to ask questions because they don't want to seem like they don't know. Well, the point of asking a question is, I don't know. I'm not sure about this, so good for you for being brave and doing that. And I think you will find that this industry will bend over backwards to help you to understand that in a very encouraging and supportive way. And that's what this industry is about, encouraging and supportive. You won't find people that will be like, oh, you should know that. Just the opposite. They're like, let me take a few minutes to explain this because it really is. When we're in our homes and we get up in the morning and we turn on that hot water, a lot of us think, well, that's just the water heater. Well, how is the water Heater powered or fueled? Is that a natural gas unit? And then where does that come from? What is that unit on the side of the house? That meter and Reg set? And what does that do? And then what about the line? Where does it go in the ground front? [00:13:04] Speaker A: All the things. [00:13:05] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:13:05] Speaker A: From beginning to end. Sometimes when we sit on our industry relations, shout out to them, Stephen Allen, Brian Dressel, Jeff, Isabel, and all them back home. You guys start deep in. We had one just the other day and y'all were talking about something. I can't remember exactly what it was, but y'all started off on your tangent about what was it Steve was sharing with us. You know this. [00:13:27] Speaker B: Which one was it? That. We go on a lot of tangents. [00:13:29] Speaker A: I know y'all, but I sit back on those meetings sometimes and just try to put the pieces together. And I probably should even be more intentional about stopping you guys and going, okay, wait, time out. [00:13:38] Speaker B: Yeah, you should. Definitely. [00:13:39] Speaker A: Because the amount of years in the industry in that one meeting, but well. [00:13:44] Speaker B: Over 100 years in that one meeting in the industry, when you combine them all, all the people. And we would love to share. I can't remember. And the only reason I'm hesitating is because sometimes we go off on a lot of tangents. Everything from psms to operation to. We were talking about LNG. Reg set. [00:14:02] Speaker A: It was that. [00:14:03] Speaker B: Which one? [00:14:04] Speaker A: Reg set. [00:14:05] Speaker B: Reg set. [00:14:06] Speaker A: Yeah, whatever. We had a conversation the other day before the l ten. We have a lot of meetings. [00:14:12] Speaker B: We have a lot of meetings and we have a lot of discussions. And that's a good point that we have meetings about. Our meetings are very robust and they're very wide spectrum, so to speak. And energy is at the cornerstone of those meetings. [00:14:27] Speaker A: Absolutely. All right. Anything else before we part ways? [00:14:31] Speaker B: No, I think. Go ahead. [00:14:32] Speaker A: I was going to say, ask me. We've seen some friends here already. We have. We have some Louisiana eight one one friends that may be jumping on the show. [00:14:40] Speaker B: Oh, they've already committed. [00:14:41] Speaker A: I've seen Jim Bob Sims. [00:14:43] Speaker B: Oh, Jim Bob Cole. Of course. [00:14:44] Speaker A: Freddie shows. Everybody loves Freddie shows. [00:14:46] Speaker B: We like Freddie. Roger is going to be on too. A lot of the atmos folks have said that they're going to be on EPC. We have a lot of folks that are going to be on. It's interesting, though, that day one, a lot of people are like, let us get on tomorrow. But that's what people are doing right now. They're getting together. [00:15:06] Speaker A: You're right. [00:15:08] Speaker B: They haven't seen each other maybe in a month or two months or whatever, and they're just rekindling. So tomorrow will be a very busy day with recording. [00:15:14] Speaker E: Tonight should be busy. [00:15:16] Speaker A: Oh, that's our cue. [00:15:17] Speaker B: That sounds like the DJ is getting ready to come on. [00:15:21] Speaker A: All right, well, y'all stay tuned. We're going to have some great guests on. [00:15:24] Speaker B: We are going to have some great guests on. Let's go learn something, okay? [00:15:27] Speaker A: Absolutely. All right. [00:15:29] Speaker B: See you soon. [00:15:31] Speaker A: It's going to be great. [00:15:33] Speaker B: Yes, it will. [00:15:34] Speaker A: It's going to be great because Brent is here with us. [00:15:38] Speaker B: Brent is. [00:15:39] Speaker A: This is my first time meeting him, but it is first time. [00:15:44] Speaker F: My pleasure. [00:15:45] Speaker A: I mean, I've seen you producing. I've seen all the production stuff on the backside. But meeting you for the first time, this is the first time. [00:15:51] Speaker B: Okay. [00:15:52] Speaker A: But for those back home, go ahead and introduce yourself. [00:15:54] Speaker F: Brent Salzman, Louisiana eight one, one, executive director. I tell you what it sounds like. [00:16:00] Speaker A: Sounds important. [00:16:01] Speaker F: Big, yeah. Very important position. I'm a servant. [00:16:04] Speaker B: Well, I would honestly say a lot of us had that servant leadership type of attributes that we do want to serve the people that work for us, the people that serve our communities, all that. And I would absolutely applaud you for saying that, because that's a wonderful trait. [00:16:21] Speaker F: Thank you, Jim. [00:16:22] Speaker B: I tell you what, not a lot goes on in the damage prevention world in Louisiana that Brent doesn't know about, is involved with and such like that. He is all over the board, including this event. [00:16:33] Speaker F: That's correct. That's correct. I tell you what, it's probably overused term, but passionate about damage prevention, but we are, we're all about safety. And I tell you what, I don't know if you're like myself, every morning I get up, say my prayers. I say, lord, help me and my family get home safe the end of the day. And I try to convey that to our staff. And they believe in that as well. They bought into it. And so that's what we're all about. Just educating folks on what you should do and what you shouldn't do out there in the excavation. [00:17:03] Speaker B: I agree. And Ashley and I were talking about this today, that not just in the industry, so to speak. And again, when you're using a backhoe or anything, there's a whole lot of other stuff that could go wrong, and we need to be safe before we ground, penetrate, and such like that. But also, even for the homeowners that think, hey, it's not a big deal, I'm just going to plant this tree in the backyard. It'll be probably okay. No, even our neighbors next door, make sure they call eight one one just to make sure. [00:17:33] Speaker F: Absolutely cannot agree with you more. And I tell you what, I have an opportunity to be on radio shows, tv occasionally, and I'd like to share a personal story in relation to that, please. Has to do with damage prevention. Years ago, before I was involved in this organization, I was a homeowner planting a tree in my backyard. Well, I didn't contact eight one one before, and I went down about six inches deep planting that tree, digging the hole, and I hit my Cox line, so it severed that line. And of course, I'm out of my Internet service, my tv service, and my phone service. And of course, I had to pay that organization to come repair my line. But what if that was an electric line? I could have killed myself. [00:18:15] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:18:16] Speaker F: So anyway, I like sharing that, because never assume you know where those facilities are, even on your own property. So important. But that's why we have conferences like this, to try to educate folks on, again, what you should do and what you shouldn't do. [00:18:30] Speaker A: I think it's important that you share that, because I feel like it's easy to sit at home and say, that won't happen to me, or, it's deeper than that. I can't do that. It wouldn't happen if I did that. So I think it's important to hear firsthand from someone that says, no, I did that. Please learn from me and call eight one one. [00:18:49] Speaker F: I was a knucklehead. Don't do that. [00:18:51] Speaker B: Absolutely. Well, it takes a lot to be brave like that. And we were talking about this also today about the industry, is that when we ask questions and we inquire and we want to learn more, our industry embraces that and helps people learn, as opposed to say, oh, well, Brent, you should have known. Know, go away. No, just the opposite. No, we want to make sure Ashley learns, Jim learns, Brent learns as much as we can, because as much as we learn, then we share that, and hopefully those people will share it, and it grows geometrically. And this is a great example, if I'm not mistaken. Isn't there over 350 people in attendance here? [00:19:27] Speaker F: Yes, indeed. And they all share that vision. You're exactly right. We just want to share information with each other, make each other better. [00:19:33] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:19:34] Speaker A: Awesome. [00:19:35] Speaker B: Which is great. Let me ask you a question. Is there any other big events coming up in the horizon that we should be aware of? This is huge. Again, we're at Levaris casino and resort, 350 people. As you can see, it's a record crowd, as we say. But what else is on the horizon for Louisiana? Eight one one this spring? [00:19:57] Speaker F: Well, we happen to be hosting with the host state for the global excavation Safety conference, which that's going to be in New Orleans. We're so happy to be hosting that. Typically that's east coast, west coast, but to have it in Louisiana in our own backyard, it's like we're going to promote that event. So excited to be involved in that organization. So I think that's March 19 through 21st. I think you're absolutely right being memorial convention center, but looking forward to that event right around the corner. [00:20:29] Speaker A: James and I will be there. [00:20:30] Speaker B: Oh, you guys are going to be there. [00:20:32] Speaker A: We were talking about earlier, but I've never been to New Orleans, so it'll be my first global excavation and my first New Orleans. So just going to be good. [00:20:41] Speaker B: You're going to have a great time again. You're going to be with so many friends. I would say most of the people you're seeing here are going to be at that event, too. It carries on. [00:20:49] Speaker F: Correct? Correct. Plus other stakeholders around the country, and it's so neat to share stories with others who are in this industry, but same folks who are passionate about what we're trying to do. [00:21:01] Speaker B: Yep. Last year it was held in Tampa, my home state, and I was there for that. And you're absolutely right. People from, not just around the country, but I do recall some folks actually from out of the country, too, that went to it. [00:21:13] Speaker F: They did from Canada. [00:21:15] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:21:15] Speaker F: Specifically. Maybe others, but I know about Canada specifically. [00:21:20] Speaker B: We could talk all day. Let me just ask you a question. Is there a message that you would like to leave the audience with? Anything in the damage prevention world, in your world? Anything to kind of drive home with them? [00:21:32] Speaker F: Let's see. I tell you what I would say that you alluded to it earlier, Ashley, even if you're a homeowner, we talk about damage prevention as far as excavators. And when people think about excavators, they think of professional excavators. But it's so important to carry that message home as well, because in your own backyard there's ways to prevent damage. But it's, more importantly, not impacting underground facilities and damaging those and making outages. It's about hurting yourself. That's what you really want to avoid. So, anyway, just make sure know what's below. Contact eight one one before you dig. And it's a free call. Why would you not do that? [00:22:12] Speaker A: Exactly. Well, you've heard it here first. Call eight one one. [00:22:17] Speaker F: That's right. [00:22:18] Speaker A: Well, thank you so much for. [00:22:19] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:22:20] Speaker F: Appreciate that. [00:22:21] Speaker B: Thank you. Appreciate it. Absolutely. [00:22:23] Speaker F: You guys are awesome. [00:22:24] Speaker B: We'll be back. Let's get on track. Are we on track? [00:22:28] Speaker A: I think we are on track. We had to pull you out of a conversation. This guy can talk. I don't know if you're aware of. [00:22:36] Speaker B: Social or what's that? Situational awareness. Sometimes I'm in my situation, but I'm not aware of what's going on behind me. You two, how long were you standing there? [00:22:47] Speaker A: We could get this going. Raymond, do you want to introduce yourself to everybody back home who you're with? [00:22:53] Speaker B: Hey, guys. [00:22:54] Speaker G: My name is Raymond Sonya. I work for Atmos Energy. I'm a western region employee, meaning that I work just the west side of Louisiana for damage prevention program. There is now three of us that work in the general area, and that's generally what I do. I generally just try to keep people off my gas pipeline. That's what we like to do. And occasionally we'll think of some new strategies on how to keep people off our pipelines. And sometimes it's just talking to people, communicating, relational. [00:23:33] Speaker B: I would concur with that. And you are a great example here at the Louisiana eight one one damage prevention summit. I have seen you nonstop. We have seen you nonstop for a couple of days now, having conversations, whether they're in the rooms or out here. And everybody is knowledge sharing, and you are passionate about it, and James is passionate about it, too. You guys are just sharing knowledge and taking it in and going back and forth. That's my aspect. But what do you think about the conference? Do you think that's a huge aspect to it, too? [00:24:06] Speaker G: It is, sir. It is all about collaboration. It is all about new innovation, technology, talking through subjects, talking back and forth. If you debate a subject, then you debate the subject, but you're still talking about it. If you're truly listening to a subject, you pick up on things, you hear what's being spoken, you collaborate about the issue, you talk it back and forth, and you possibly learn new things. So it's all about communication. Communication is key in the line of business that we're in. If you're communicating. That's a great thing. [00:24:53] Speaker B: That's a great quote right there. [00:24:55] Speaker A: I'm telling you, on communication, clear is kind. [00:24:58] Speaker B: Clear is kind. Absolutely. And I tell you, sometimes you bring up a good point. When we debate it might be more questioning because maybe our knowledge of it might be different, and maybe that's the avenue to understand both sides of it. And again, if we can expand and learn on that, all the better, especially in this arena when we're talking about damage prevention, because one, it's safety first, it's the safety of lives as well as property and such like that. Two, we don't like outages. Nobody likes outages. And three, it's costly. I mean, we can keep going on that thing, but safety number know. Absolutely. [00:25:35] Speaker A: Speaking of that, James has been singing your praises, shout out to a LinkedIn post about the marker that was down and how receptive you and your team were to that and just ready to jump on it and take action. So that was very cool to see that happen. [00:25:53] Speaker G: So we have a leadership process built into our company where we take action. We have a culture that is different from other companies cultures. We take action with what we're given, even if it's across state lines. We reach out to other folks that we've made relationships with and we try to remedy the situation the best that we can. We're not perfect. Everything doesn't get done immediately. But that's our goal. Our goal is to have good company, culture, take care of people, because in the end, you just don't know what other people are going through. And some things you need to know that you don't know. It's just best to do the right thing. [00:26:42] Speaker B: Yeah, no, it's wonderful. And I'm just going to touch on it real quickly just to bring everybody full speed. James saw marker. Down he goes. Hey, we need to let Raymond know this. You have his number. So James called me. I gave him your number because I had it. He called Raymond. Raymond, then from Louisiana, called back to Texas, to the counterparts. And it's a big circle, but again, that's just a great example of, again, people having the passion and purpose for this, keeping folks safe and the safe delivery, reliability of natural gas. So anyways, I could keep going and going. [00:27:21] Speaker A: Mic drop moment. Right? [00:27:22] Speaker B: I get a little excited. [00:27:24] Speaker A: So much passion. [00:27:25] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:27:26] Speaker A: Well, thank you so much for joining us. It's lunchtime, so we won't keep you much longer. [00:27:32] Speaker B: Thank you very much. [00:27:33] Speaker A: Meet you this week, too. [00:27:34] Speaker B: You too. Thanks, Ray. Appreciate it. We'll be back. [00:27:37] Speaker A: Thanks, everybody. [00:27:38] Speaker H: You just don't think about these things till you get different stakeholders. [00:27:42] Speaker B: Sure. [00:27:42] Speaker H: You get all gas, all telecom people. You talk about the same thing. So not too long ago, Louisiana passed or clarified that all markings were going to be for construction or demolition. Okay, well, Dot does a lot of design work, right? [00:28:03] Speaker B: Sure. [00:28:04] Speaker H: There's a lot of private design work, but Dot does a ton of design work on the. So that meant they couldn't get their stuff local. So they were totally left out because they were never involved in the dot meetings. So once that happened, of course, their higher up folks fix this. So they're here talking about what they need, and it's just a good discussion to get stakeholders together with totally different issues. Both of them are exactly right. No harm was intended, but unintended consequences kill them. [00:28:37] Speaker B: Right. And the awareness factor is the key to it, where both sides are now aware, and then now you can work towards a solution, because other than that, everybody's almost in their echo chamber. It's them. It's them. It's pointing those things, and it's great, this environment. We are at day two of the Louisiana. I'm going to call it day two. Day three. [00:29:01] Speaker H: Day two is good. [00:29:02] Speaker B: I think day two of the Louisiana says the Louisiana eight one one damage prevention summit with our good friend and long term friend. I don't say old friend because we don't use those terms in our genre. Exactly. [00:29:16] Speaker H: Exactly. [00:29:17] Speaker B: Roger Cox. So, Roger, would you say hi to the audience? [00:29:21] Speaker H: We wish you were here, but since you're not, I know you're going to catch these guys on LinkedIn and wherever else you're checking them out. They do an awesome job. You're probably like me. You're waiting till the next podcast comes out. [00:29:34] Speaker B: Well, thank you. We appreciate that. Little shout out, Roger, is this one of our, this Louisiana, you hold, I think, eight or nine state level damage prevention summits. Is that a correct statement? [00:29:47] Speaker H: That is correct. [00:29:48] Speaker B: Okay. [00:29:49] Speaker H: We have been doing this for, our oldest one is 16 years. It doesn't seem possible. And that was Mississippi. [00:29:55] Speaker B: Okay. [00:29:55] Speaker H: Very first one. Not too long after we started the Mississippi damage prevention summit with our friend Sam Johnson, who passed away, unfortunately, we had Texas eight one one attend the show. They wanted us to do it in Texas. That was our second oldest. Our third oldest was this event when Robert Bourne and his entourage showed up in Biloxi, I believe. I'm not sure. And they wanted to know why they couldn't do that here. And we thought, gosh, you can all you gotta do is ask us. We'll be there. We're lousy marketers. We don't try to get business. It just sort of finds us. And we're blessed by that. It's fun. And these guys are awesome. They're all over damage prevention here in Louisiana. Got a great group. Awesome people. [00:30:44] Speaker B: No, they really are. And again, we have over 360 in attendance here. That is a good crowd. I got to be honest with you. I've been coming to your conferences for years and years, as you know that. And I remember some of our early ones in Louisiana. I thought they were like in the 150 range, 160. And let's just say in the last nine to ten years, we've gone double that, which is amazing. [00:31:07] Speaker H: It is. And the credits due to Louisiana eight one one. And their staff for getting the word out or the other utility members that are here, they became excited. They learned something. They met somebody new, and they just started spreading the word. It's less about what we do and more about what they do. We just make it happen behind the scenes. [00:31:28] Speaker A: Well, I'll speak for the whole group when I say thank you for letting us come. Hey, who better though, right? [00:31:35] Speaker B: Nobody better. Nobody better. [00:31:37] Speaker A: But thank you for letting us come. It's been a great event. I've enjoyed it. [00:31:40] Speaker H: Wouldn't have it any other way. We want you to be a part of this, every opportunity you have. I know your schedules are so busy. I do not want to impose on you, but you have a permanent invite to every show. You're welcome. [00:31:52] Speaker B: Well, I tell you what, we're going to take you up on that because we are committed to damage prevention. Energy world net, when we told them they were coming here, they were 120%. I'm going to say that behind us coming here and helping with this, because we understand energy world that understands how important damage prevention is. And from Coleman Sterling, our CEO, all the way down, everybody was like, go do a great job. Go help spread the word. Help knowledge, share, help people connect, help people understand. Bring them together. Do anything we can do. So we are blessed to be able to do that. [00:32:25] Speaker H: Well, thank you. And that's really what it's all about. It's getting folks together. I think we've talked about the damage prevention for a long time. I think it's about time we start trying to create some action plans to put some of it in the big. And if we don't do that, we're going to be right where we are today 20 years from now. And that's unacceptable. [00:32:47] Speaker B: Yeah, no, I think we're committed. [00:32:49] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:32:50] Speaker B: I got Ashley. She has learned so much this week. [00:32:54] Speaker A: It's been a good week. [00:32:55] Speaker B: It's been a really great week. I mean, I've learned so much, too. And Ashley keeps saying, hey, I just learned this and did you know this? And it's wonderful. That's what we need. We need it to spread like that. [00:33:05] Speaker H: And there's no better way of doing it than to hang around a bunch of boudin balls. [00:33:10] Speaker A: Those were good. [00:33:11] Speaker H: They're awesome. [00:33:12] Speaker A: They are good. [00:33:13] Speaker B: Yeah. People are going to be interested in where the next conferences are. Where should they go? Let's remind them of the website because that's probably the easiest. Or what do you recommend people do? [00:33:25] Speaker H: Well, the website is That's our website. [00:33:29] Speaker B: Sure. [00:33:30] Speaker H: On our website we have listed under tabs. Summits is one of the things we have listed. You can click on the summits and see all of our schedule for the entire year. That's the best way to do it. Our next event is a couple of weeks from today. It's in Arkansas. We're looking forward to that. That's home state. Then following that, in March, we're in Tennessee. In June, we're in Kentucky. In September we're in Alabama. October. The first week in October we're in Texas. The last week in October in New Mexico. And the first week in November, we're in Mississippi. And we'll start it all over again. [00:34:04] Speaker A: Busy, busy, busy. [00:34:05] Speaker B: I love it. [00:34:06] Speaker H: Yeah, it's fun. [00:34:08] Speaker B: Thank you, friend. Absolutely, brother. Absolutely. [00:34:12] Speaker H: I appreciate you, Ashley. [00:34:13] Speaker B: You're awesome. We appreciate you, Roger, and everything you do. [00:34:16] Speaker A: If you'll just say it in the camera, though, so my boss will hear it. [00:34:19] Speaker H: Yeah. [00:34:19] Speaker A: Ashley's awesome. [00:34:20] Speaker H: Ashley is more than awesome. She's really awesome. [00:34:24] Speaker A: James, was I excluded Jim, too? [00:34:29] Speaker H: Especially Jim. Yeah, I actually was. Nobody that Jim gotten pictures. [00:34:35] Speaker A: Well, we're going to end it on that note, then. [00:34:38] Speaker B: Thank you all. We'll see you soon. [00:34:41] Speaker A: All right, so we're going to keep this quick because I heard through the grapevine that you might be coming on for a longer session next week. [00:34:48] Speaker D: Next week we do it. [00:34:50] Speaker B: That's wonderful. [00:34:50] Speaker A: What are we talking about? [00:34:51] Speaker D: So excited about it. Yeah, we're going to have a really good conversation, I think, about our conference about all of our major initiatives, and we'll talk about the damage prevention institute a little bit. Really am very much looking forward to sitting down with you all and doing it. [00:35:06] Speaker B: So are we. We really are, Sam. And should we introduce Sam? [00:35:10] Speaker A: Yeah, I guess so. Sam, who are you with? [00:35:13] Speaker D: Should I look into the camera? [00:35:14] Speaker A: You write into the eyes of our followers. [00:35:17] Speaker D: Hi, I'm Sam hall. I'm the vice president of the damage Prevention Institute at the Common Ground Alliance. I joined in 2022. Joined the Common Ground alliance. Prior to that, I spent about 20 years at FEMSA, and during my entire time at FEMSA, I was heavily engaged with the common Ground alliance and have always enjoyed a good relationship with good people there and the many members that we enjoy at the CGA. [00:35:47] Speaker A: Nice. [00:35:47] Speaker B: And that mindset continues through you. You're now at the Louisiana eight one one damage prevention summit. We know you just gave a presentation in there. Thank you for joining this group. There's 360 odd people. 360, not odd. [00:36:01] Speaker A: You're always calling people odd. [00:36:03] Speaker B: 360 ish people here, give or take a few. So a record crowd here. And again, it just really shows the industry and people's commitment to damage prevention and everything. It really does. And thank you for taking the time and energy to come here. That's wonderful. [00:36:19] Speaker D: Yeah, I'm so glad to be here. This is my first Louisiana damage prevention summit. Usually those are covered by Chris Ann Kerr. [00:36:25] Speaker B: Yep. [00:36:26] Speaker D: And I should say these are covered by Chris Ann Kerr. But she had a commitment that kept her away from here, and I had the opportunity to come. I cannot believe the turnout. I'm just so impressed with how many people are here, the level of attention that people were giving me during my presentation on dirt and the 55 initiative we have going on, and how the damage prevention institute can help. It was awesome. I mean, the response was great. I got some really good questions. Everybody's eyes were locked on me. People are here to change things. It's time to make some significant changes in the industry. [00:37:08] Speaker B: Absolutely. And I think, Ashley, I've been talking about it for the last couple of days since we've been here. It seems like a lot of the pieces and cogs are coming together and the technology and the thoughts and the industry and this and that and the other thing are coming together. And again, thank you to the CGA for all you're doing. I know we have been planning about that conference for a while now. That's a huge conference. I mean, it's huge. [00:37:34] Speaker A: We're my first one. I'm excited. [00:37:36] Speaker B: Coffee. Coffee with Jim and James going to be there. We're going to keep spreading and sharing the messages that are so important to our industry, as well as just life. I mean, these are just things that we need throughout the world, not just in the United States, but everywhere. We want everybody to be safe. [00:37:52] Speaker D: Yeah, absolutely. That is the mission. That is the goal. [00:37:55] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:37:55] Speaker D: Our conference is in Colorado Springs this year, April 14 to the 18th at the Broadmoor, which is a very beautiful, lovely venue if you're a golfer. Plenty of that to do. We also have some fun excursions planned. And if you are coming, I know you are. [00:38:12] Speaker B: Yes. [00:38:13] Speaker D: But if others plan to come, they should plan to come right now. Yeah, we are filling up quickly. [00:38:17] Speaker B: I was about to ask very quick. [00:38:19] Speaker A: Registration still? [00:38:20] Speaker D: Registration is booming. [00:38:22] Speaker A: All right. [00:38:23] Speaker D: We have over 600 registered. We are anticipating about 1200 rooms at the hotels are booking up quickly. We have some overflow properties that are absolutely amazing. So if for whatever reason you're not able to get into the main hotel, the Broadmoor, don't worry, there are some amazing properties right around there. We'll have shuttles to get you into the show. This is going to be an amazing. [00:38:51] Speaker B: It's going to be an epic event. I'm excited for you. [00:38:54] Speaker A: Yeah, I'm ready. [00:38:54] Speaker D: It's just weather, right? [00:38:56] Speaker B: Weather. [00:38:56] Speaker D: Please let it be nice because in April it can either be a foot of snow or it can be 70 degrees in Colorado Springs. [00:39:01] Speaker B: We'll have to see, you know what, but no matter what, we will get there. And if we all get there and we're safe there, we're going to have some great collaboration, some great knowledge sharing. And that is the key to it because then the next 360 days after that, we take those items back and we use them, we implement them, we share them. And again, 55 Sarah. I think of that every day. Sarah and Chris Anne, man, lots of. [00:39:27] Speaker A: Shout outs for our CGA friends. [00:39:30] Speaker B: Appreciate that. [00:39:31] Speaker A: Well, thank you for joining us. [00:39:32] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:39:33] Speaker A: Everybody needs to stay tuned for the longer. [00:39:37] Speaker D: Yeah, I think we mean to release that shortly. I can't remember exactly what our timeline. [00:39:42] Speaker B: Yeah, I'd have to refer to our producer. [00:39:45] Speaker A: February ish. [00:39:46] Speaker D: February, I think is when we do plan to get it out. [00:39:48] Speaker A: All right. [00:39:48] Speaker D: Yeah, I'm really excited about that too. Thank you very much for that opportunity. [00:39:51] Speaker A: James will finally get to record with you. Yeah, we'll let him on. All right. Thank you, everybody. [00:39:57] Speaker B: Thank you. It'll be back. Yeah. [00:40:00] Speaker A: So it's been a decade. [00:40:02] Speaker B: Wow. [00:40:03] Speaker A: I think she aged you right there. [00:40:08] Speaker B: A lot of things. Yeah. So we've known each other. Gosh, it's going on twelve years, right? That's amazing. And we followed each other's careers throughout the time. I love that. [00:40:18] Speaker I: Hung out, spent time, interacted, met again. [00:40:22] Speaker A: And here we are. [00:40:23] Speaker B: And here we are. Full circle as we get into it though. Would you just introduce yourself who you are and who you're with now and what you do to the audience, please? [00:40:33] Speaker I: Awesome. My name is Molly Smith. I'm the damage prevention supervisor for Morgan Natural gas pipeline out of South Louisiana. I manage all of the damage prevention efforts for us for South Louisiana. [00:40:43] Speaker A: Nice. Sounds fun. [00:40:45] Speaker B: I'll tell you what, that's a resume right there, isn't it? [00:40:49] Speaker A: Awesome. So do you come to the Louisiana show often? Like many times? [00:40:54] Speaker I: I think this is my 6th or 7th year with this and my other roles and other companies and we love to come here. We do the line locating rodeo every year here. We're running that tomorrow and just get to come out and interact with folks, meet with folks, learn about the new and upcoming things with Department of Natural Resources and Litigation and always looking for new and improved ideas. [00:41:14] Speaker A: Nice. [00:41:15] Speaker B: Let me ask a question. I think you have another question, but real briefly your take on the conference. We have 350 some people here, all damage prevention experts or people that are aspiring to learn it more. Have you already encountered folks that are actually through conversation learning something? I've learned at least two or three things over the last few days here, which is great. Have you encountered that too? [00:41:39] Speaker I: We have. The thing I love about these conferences is getting to meet the small municipalities, the water districts, the forestry folks that don't necessarily do damage prevention every day. But they realize very quickly it's part of their everyday role. That's what they need to be involved in, getting them to ask questions. And they understand distribution, but they don't always understand transmission. And so getting to talk to them about you may not have a transmission line in your city, but if you encounter it somewhere else, this is the impact. [00:42:08] Speaker B: Okay. I love that because that's setting folks up for continuing knowledge gaining. And you never know where you're going to be. You know where you are today, but you never know where you're going to be tomorrow or in a month or in a year. So that's great. That's a great aspect. [00:42:22] Speaker A: So I heard through the grapevine. [00:42:24] Speaker B: Oh wait, is this breaking news? [00:42:26] Speaker A: Maybe. [00:42:27] Speaker B: Okay. [00:42:27] Speaker A: I heard through the grapevine that we might see you again in March. It's March, right? [00:42:32] Speaker I: Yes. [00:42:33] Speaker A: And we might get a little demo. [00:42:35] Speaker I: Yes. So Kendra Morgan historically has done a natural gas and propane safety. We call it our gas firebox or our gas firehouse demo. We've been asked to come do several demonstrations of that at global excavation safety conference in New Orleans. Looking forward to getting to share some magic, as we call it, setting things on fire safely with a firewatch, of course, but really excited to share how natural gas and propane leaks and fire and just the day to day. If you have a leak in your house, it very quickly can be a safety risk. And what to do if you have that leak. [00:43:10] Speaker B: Love it. [00:43:11] Speaker A: We might get to show that on the coffee with Jim and James TikTok. [00:43:14] Speaker B: Oh, really? Okay. So it sounds like a lot of this has been in the works. I might have been privy, I might not allegedly. And that's, I believe, from memory. March 19 through 21st in New Orleans, which is great. The continuation, ongoing of talking about safety, damage prevention each and every day, and making those steps forward to learning more. [00:43:35] Speaker I: And sharing it, and bringing all those people to Louisiana, getting them to experience some great food. It's post Mardi Gras, but we'll still have a pretty good. [00:43:42] Speaker B: Okay, go ahead. [00:43:43] Speaker A: I've never been to New Orleans, so this will be my first time. [00:43:46] Speaker I: We will show you the ropes. I've only been a couple of times. [00:43:49] Speaker A: It's fun. Okay. [00:43:51] Speaker B: I've been there a few times, but I'm not going to make this one. But it's probably better that I'm not there. [00:43:55] Speaker I: Maybe we can't have you on chaperoned for too long. Based on what I've seen on LinkedIn. [00:43:59] Speaker B: Already, we'll just end it with that. [00:44:03] Speaker I: Good to see you, babe. [00:44:04] Speaker B: Thank you. Thank you. [00:44:06] Speaker I: Y'all have a great one. [00:44:07] Speaker A: Thanks. [00:44:07] Speaker B: We'll be back together. I mean, I love. Well, Mike, I gotta ask a question, though. How did you and I meet? Okay, because we met, I'm going to say, within the last three years. And then we had at least one, if not a couple, virtual calls that might have been during COVID time, too. Do you remember where we met? [00:44:27] Speaker C: I don't think we met until last year. It's been within the last year, April, at the CTA. And then our conversation, remotely was after that. [00:44:38] Speaker B: Okay. [00:44:38] Speaker A: All right. [00:44:39] Speaker B: He's got a good mind. Rejogging your eye, boy. Sometimes, like you, when you meet hundreds of people in a month and everything starts to run together, it's the world we live in. But we're blessed because we do know so many different people. [00:44:53] Speaker C: Well, now that I'm retired, this is something I've noticed that I'm sleeping about 10 hours a day, and I remember things a little better. How long that's going to last, I don't know. But I don't really have to worry about a whole lot. [00:45:07] Speaker A: How's your sleep? [00:45:08] Speaker B: Terrible. My sleep is terrible. Terrible. Mike, before we get into. Would you please introduce yourself to the audience and your role that you're currently, what role you're doing, sir? [00:45:21] Speaker C: My name is Mike Parallak. I'm the founder of staking university and Planet underground. We have for the past 20 some odd years, produced a lot of videos for the damage prevention market, and we've also been involved with the training of people using locate instruments. Today I'm trying to do a passion project that I have the time and energy for, and that's locator certification. So that's why I'm down here at the summit in Baton Rouge. [00:45:48] Speaker A: Did you say you were speaking on it today? Yes, presenting. Okay, that's very cool. [00:45:52] Speaker B: Yeah. Okay, dive in a little bit deeper, my friends. The term certification is near and dear to my heart. As you know, energy world net deals with so many compliance areas, oqs, regulatory, et cetera. But we also do a lot in the certification world too, where a manufacturer or an organization says, this is the way that you should or shall do something. And we actually help with education, training, as well as testing and thus certification. Give us a little insight into your world with the certification. What's going on? [00:46:27] Speaker C: Sure. Within the locating world, people want to equate certification with training. They want to combine it. And this has nothing to do with training. I've spent a career doing locator training, and now in my post career, I'm worried about people having the knowledge and skills to do their job. These current skills and knowledge has nothing to do with training. In fact, in my view of certification, people who trained you cannot certify you. People who work in your company cannot certify you. People who work as a competitor to your company can't certify you. So it's completely independent and it's comprised of two parts. An online part, which is a knowledge assessment. You pass that, now you can sign up for a practical exam. And the practical exam is pretty simple. We hand you a work order. In the one call world, we could call it a ticket. If you're not in the one call world, we'd call it a work order. Nobody goes out and locates based on what they feel is the area needed. It's always spelled out. So you get out to this area and you're to locate five utilities, cable tv, phone, water, gas and electric in this geographic area. And you are to do it completely and accurately. And you either do it certified or you don't. Not certified. [00:47:47] Speaker A: Pretty black and white, sounds like. [00:47:49] Speaker C: Yeah, that's the basic outline. But in the ramp up for locator certification I see for the first time the locating industry actually establishing a repository of knowledge an actual knowledge base which doesn't exist today people are very guarded with their material and if you think about the one call world which probably comprises every nine out of ten locators people who make their living holding an instrument in the hand that is a very process driven and necessarily so process driven industry so training takes on processes in my world what I think about is just the instrument how it works and how to use it. That's it. I mean everybody has to do other things but what doesn't exist and hasn't exist forever is some way of saying here's the knowledge you need to be understanding of how the machine works you've demonstrated it from an online test now you actually go out and do it here's your work order define the area, delineate it use your instrument to completely mark any and all of these five utilities within that area and if you do it you've shown that you have the knowledge and the skills to become a certified locator now the repository of information is part of this I think that will develop as a result of people adopting locator certification but what I really hope happens is that locating can be viewed in the future as a trade sure as respectable of a trade as what your gas fitters do, what your gas servicemen do and you brought up OQ earlier OQ today on locating focuses on locating gas but I challenge that a little bit because the fact that your gas line is in the same right of way with other metallic conductors impacts your ability to locate gas. So in my world I don't see you not needing to know how to locate an electric line if you're locating gas how to locate a cable tv because how do you really know that? Your signal, it could be good solid round signal how do you know that's on gas? Well, generally we walk it to visual termination points but with a PE gas system you don't have a lot of visual termination points so how do you determine that it's gas? Because it doesn't go into a pit, a pedestal, a transformer if you don't know this other stuff how can you really be a good gas locator? [00:50:21] Speaker B: Yeah, actually my mind is pinging again too because a few things that I've heard here is again more training, knowledge, skills and ability assessments certification professionality people with career paths and things to strive for and then also the industry saying hey we want x amount of certified locators to be in this location. And when I think about that, I think about that word very carefully that an operator could say, we want eleven certified line locators in this area. For me, I like that whole process. We could talk all day, Mike and I have a question though, for you with a call to action. Is there someplace for all the folks that are listening and watching right now that they could go to to learn a little bit more about this, or is there an avenue that they could explore this more? And if there is, please give that to the audience. [00:51:16] Speaker C: Well, is your gateway to. So once you successfully pass all four online components, then you're in a position to take the online. So there's kind of a roundabout answer to your question. But the Louisiana summit here is the first opportunity I've had to present on this notion to a live audience of any consequence. And what I say is I have the better part of 50 minutes to engage in conversation with people. My understanding is that the board of directors here at Louisiana eight one one, which is hosting the event, are very gung ho for locator certification. My job is to share my vision of locator certification today. And my hope is that they will embrace my vision because I think people have wide ranging understandings of what locator certification could be about. And primarily it's that connection to training. I say there's no connection. Maybe others see it that way. But our world in locating, particularly in the eight one one world, has been this. We self certify as an employer, we self certify because we work for the same company. People get out there, they do their thing, and a lot of people then get poached or plucked because they're good locators. They've demonstrated in front of utilities, contractors, whatnot. And they go on to careers where maybe locating has a little better future. Because they're working for engineering companies or subsurface utility engineering companies. They're working for Contractors as a way they're ensuring safety for the crews based on one call marks. They're checking them, they're verifying depths, they're locating private lines. So they're a very valuable part of construction, which nobody can say locating isn't a valuable part of construction. We just treat it really wackily in this country and have for a long time. So there's other opportunities. But I want to make the certified locator instantly recognizable as somebody that can parachute into any of those situations and do the job accurately and completely. [00:53:24] Speaker B: And again, the website one more time was Mike, thank you so much. Again, everything you've done with staking university and Planet underground, we recognize that, too. So thank you. [00:53:36] Speaker C: Thanks, Jim. Thanks, Ashley. [00:53:37] Speaker A: It was nice to meet you. Oh, man. Jim, I am so glad to see you made it home safely. [00:53:46] Speaker E: Oh, Ashley. Oh, the story I could tell. But as the folks are probably noticing, for our normal outro of an event where we would normally do it, there we took safety first and we were checking the weather and huge storms were rolling through the southern Gulf states. And we did the right thing. We went to the airport. We were there by, what, eight in the morning or whatever. How was your trip home? [00:54:17] Speaker A: You know, Jim, it was so hard. 40 minutes delay was just so rough on me. So hard. It was an interesting experience. I will say that I've never gone to the gate and not been able to find or gone to the terminal and not been able to find what gate I was flying out of. So it was a little touch and go for a minute, but 40 minutes. How was yours? How was yours? [00:54:43] Speaker E: Let me share mine with my first flight being delayed. It was on my app as I diligently checked that I was going to land 10 minutes after the next flight took off. So what did I do? I rebooked. I spent over 7 hours in the Baton Rouge airport, finally flew out, and then tried to land in Atlanta, and the storm had made it over there. And so finally, when we realized we were circling and circling, they said we got about 15, 20 minutes worth of fuel left, but we should be okay. Okay, somebody says that to you? And then about 18 minutes later, they said, we're going to Chattanooga. So we hightailed it to Chattanooga, got some fuel, flew back to Atlanta. I ran from D to A. Now, if anybody knows the Atlanta airport, checking the shuttles along the way, the tram, the train in the bottom, I could do it faster running than I could on that. So I was like the last person my flight and got home, I don't know, 1230 after midnight. [00:55:52] Speaker B: But you know what, though? [00:55:53] Speaker E: Long story short, that's what we deal with. We deal with travel and it's part of the world we live in. But we made it back safe, and that's most important. [00:56:00] Speaker A: It is definitely. Good point. I will say the event was a success, though. We had great guests on the show, the food was chef's kiss. Roger Cox and his team always put on a great event and super grateful to be a part of it. I don't know about you and how you're feeling. [00:56:20] Speaker E: Oh, I'm the same way. I've been going to axe now events for years and years. And Roger, Freddie, Carrie, they put on a great event. Over 350 people were in attendance. And again, they were not just from the state of Louisiana, but I'm going to say, probably regionally would be an understatement. But Gulf states region, tons of collaboration. They had some great guest speakers, everybody from Stephen Giambroni, our good friend Sam hall, another good friend from the CGA. And I can keep going on planet underground. Mike was there. I mean, just a whole bunch of folks. [00:57:00] Speaker A: Molly Smith, we're going to get some exclusive time with her. Kinder? Yes. [00:57:05] Speaker E: Molly Smith from Kinder Morgan, damage prevention supervisor for Louisiana. And we just had a meeting with her today, and you did a great job setting that up. [00:57:15] Speaker B: Thank you. [00:57:15] Speaker E: Kudos to that. But I believe you and James at the global excavation Safety conference are going to highlight some of their safety. They're almost contraptions, aren't they, where they can do control what an actual propane or natural gas leak is like and how they put it out. So you guys are going to be great. I actually have seen this. It goes back years from my involvement in Louisiana, and I've seen some of the stuff in the years past. I mean, years back, seven, eight, nine years. And it's great stuff. And I know Molly said that they've upgraded it, and I think they're giving five or six demos. [00:57:54] Speaker A: Yeah, I'm excited. That's going to be awesome. [00:57:56] Speaker E: It'll be great. [00:57:57] Speaker A: It'll be coffee with Jim and James. James first. [00:58:01] Speaker E: I like it. [00:58:02] Speaker A: Coffee with Jim and James. And sometimes Ashley. [00:58:06] Speaker E: Ashley, we have our graphic that just came out the other day. [00:58:09] Speaker A: I was going to say that. You're reading my mind. [00:58:12] Speaker B: Please. [00:58:12] Speaker A: No, go ahead. I just was going to say I'm excited to see our itineraries finally set. [00:58:18] Speaker E: It's set for 2024. There might be some, who knows the way our world is going, some additions to it, but that'll be great. And there's a little icon on the bottom or a little car, and it looks like James and I, and I hope James is driving. And then there's somebody in the backseat going like this. [00:58:36] Speaker A: Long hair. I don't know who that is. [00:58:39] Speaker E: That's great. [00:58:40] Speaker A: Well, we are back home for the time being, but the word on the street is we don't have long until we take off again. [00:58:49] Speaker E: No, we have some busy time. I believe the three of us will be at a very desirable place soon for the DCA annual conference that's coming up. James and I are traveling to Banff, Canada for the 40th. I think it's the 40th, Ashley. Am I right on that one? [00:59:09] Speaker A: Yes. That's what I hear. [00:59:11] Speaker E: 40Th utility safety Expo. And then we're off to the races in March. I have a huge finga event where we're expanding our spring meeting to include not just committee and board meetings, but also educational sessions. So I'm unfortunately going to miss global excavation, but you and James are going to be there for that. [00:59:31] Speaker A: Yes, absolutely. And then I think in April, we're all together again at the Colorado Spring CGA, right? [00:59:38] Speaker E: Oh, yes. I think that kicks off. And if I'm not mistaken, don't we have aga at the end of that month? [00:59:46] Speaker A: Yes, in Seattle. So we have a lot going on. It's going to be fast and furious, I think. So. I'm excited. [00:59:55] Speaker E: I am know we had a nice little downtime over the holidays into the first part of January. We really did a lot of work behind the scenes. I think a lot of people don't know how much work is behind the scenes, especially. Kudos to you, Ashley. You do so much for us as well as the whole Ewn team. It couldn't be done. Coffee with Jim and James could not be done without the entire ewn team. So energy world at Kudos to everything and your support. Thank you so much. But again, kudos to really, at least with me. You wrangle me in and you keep me focused. [01:00:29] Speaker A: Somebody has to do it, Jim. Somebody has to do it. [01:00:32] Speaker E: I would not want that job. I can't even wrangle myself, let alone think about somebody else wrangling me. But no, I mean being serious. We really have a great year coming up. And as we always say, if we could help one person do one thing better, safer, more productive, then we've done our job. And I think we're doing that. And I'm really looking forward to sharing so many great industry messages this year. I mean, there's so much to go. I haven't told you, but I had a couple of meetings already this morning in regards to some of these events coming up. They saw our itinerary and people are already asking, hey, I'm going to see you folks here. I'm going to see you there. So it's good. [01:01:12] Speaker A: That's awesome. I know we're not going to necessarily give all the plans away on this little recording, but the itinerary is set. But I happen to know that there are some possibly out in the field type of engagements that are in the works, too. So people definitely need to stay tuned because that will be different and new and exciting. So I'm excited to get out there and see the work actually happening, too. [01:01:38] Speaker E: Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. And I think it's a good thing. I think we want to bring some of the new innovations, some of the new operation practices, whatever the case may be, by being on the right of way, being out in the field and recording live and doing some interviews live. And I think that's going to be a great enhancement to 2024. And I think we're going to continue to bring back even more and better things to the audience. So I'm very pleased with that. [01:02:03] Speaker A: All right, Jim. Well, you better get your laundry done and repacked because it's going to be here quick. [01:02:11] Speaker E: That is an understatement. I think as I'm looking at my schedule now, I will be traveling four of the next four weekends, four out of four. But that's okay. We love what we do and it shows and we couldn't be more blessed to do it. But, yeah, we're going to spend a lot of time on the road, but it's important to do that balance, making sure that we take care of ourselves. So safety first, personal safety, health and well being, and then just keep doing the things that we do. [01:02:42] Speaker A: Absolutely. Well, I think that's about it for today. Right? [01:02:48] Speaker E: I think that's good. I think that's great. It was the most unique outro we've had. And again, I'll go back to the beginning. We were looking at safety first and the weather, and we needed to make some decisions. So having that be our reason for this, we're absolutely great to do it this way. So thank you, as always, organizing this, Ashley, keeping me on track. [01:03:11] Speaker A: Absolutely. Well, until next time, everyone. See ya. [01:03:15] Speaker E: Out of the road.

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