Page 6 - Tennessee 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 1
P. 6

By Jason Kouba
Damage Prevention Liaison Tennessee811
Mark Dicus, Paris Board of Public Utilities
When we look at damage prevention and all the entities involved to have
a successful excavation, one of the least recognized but maybe the most important people involved
is the utility locator. Utility locators, whether working for a contract locate company or a representative of the utility company itself, are the first line of defense against damages on a job site. The utility locator has the responsibility of accurately marking existing buried utilities on your jobsite and are responsible for thousands of locates each day in our communities. Without their diligent work, contractors would be digging blindly and have a much higher risk of damaging underground facilities.
Cole Edwards, Director of Engineering and Metering for Paris Board of Public Utilities (Paris BPU) reached out to me and wanted to recognize their locator for his efforts in damage prevention. We couldn’t be happier to give some well- deserved recognition, so in this issue
I’d like to introduce you to Mark Dicus, Underground Locator for Paris BPU in Paris, TN. Paris BPU was started in 1938 and they provide electric service to all
Mark Dicus, Paris PBU
of Henry County with approximately 22,500 electric customers and 200 miles of underground electric cable. They also provide water and wastewater service
to the City of Paris with around 5,000 customers.
Paris BPU is an active member
of Tennessee 811 and wants their customers to know that they can
have their facilities located by simply calling 811 prior to excavation. Prior
to becoming a member of Tennessee 811, Paris BPU counted on customers calling them directly when they were going to be doing excavation work around their facilities. Cole says they quickly realized that the cost involved in receiving notifications from the one-call service and using an in-house locator to respond to those tickets was a better option that not marking their buried utilities and racking up work orders for repairs. In the process of joining the one-call service, Paris BPU opened a position for an underground utility locator and Mark, who was the warehouse janitor at the time, applied for the position and was selected to become their first in-house locator.
On average, Mark is responsible for 25- 30 locate requests each day covering all
of Henry County. With fiber projects going on in the area that number
can climb to near 100 tickets to be marked. Mark is the sole locator for the electric side of their operation but does receive help from others within the department as needed when his ticket load spikes. He’s greatly appreciative
of his coworkers for stepping up to help get the tickets marked. In Mark’s time as locator for Paris BPU, Cole struggles to recall any damages because of inaccurate or incomplete locates. Cole describes Mark as being a team player, self-sufficient and someone that does his work without asking for help. He states that Mark has a great attitude and gets his work completed without question.
When asked about the biggest challenges he faces in locating, Mark’s response was one that fellow locators will know all too well: knowing he’s on his target utility. It can be difficult to recognize and avoid bleed off, so
he makes a point of unbonding any utilities that may be sharing a ground at the house to help isolate his target utility while keeping an eye on the depth as he performs the locate. Balance is important in life, so I asked
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