Page 9 - Tennessee 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 2
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plan for all their employees. They
also observe safe digging laws and pay attention to all utilities while providing quality work for the utility owner.
West Tennessee is lucky to have an underground contractor who lives and works in the communities they provide construction service to while having the knowledge of a seasoned utility worker.” After speaking with Sammy, I had the opportunity to meet and interview two brothers, Lynn and Cody Dotson. Lynn is the owner of Natural Gas Piping Company and his brother Cody is the crew foreman.
Natural Gas Piping Company was started in the mid-1950s by John Waldron. The company performs underground work for sewer, water, and natural gas utilities in Tennessee and Kentucky. Don Dotson, Cody and Lynn’s father, started working for the company at the young age of 17 in 1963. Don became business partners with John and two others in 1970, and there were four partners until 1971 when one of the partners got bought out. Lynn started working for Natural Gas Piping in 1982 during his summer breaks from school. Then in 2000, Don and Lynn bought Mr. Waldron out. Lynn and Cody told me that Don was one of the best equipment operators in West Tennessee, a claim supported by other excavators and utilities in the area. In the last year, Natural Gas Piping has installed 16 miles of 2” & 4” steel gas lines in Trenton.
Lynn told me, “In the early days we would call the local phone company
or local utility to have the lines marked.” This was, of course, prior to the founding of Tennessee One-Call
in 1983. These days when Natural Gas Piping Company calls in locate requests to Tennessee811, they provide very specific work information to the Locate Request Agents. Cody tells me, “Ticket accuracy matters. It’s important to give good information to the call taker that way the utilities and locators have
good work information. On the back side, it will only help, because if we provide good information it will help prevent delays and we as a company can focus on safety and production.” Lynn also reiterated what Cody said, “We will spend more time on the front end by doing prep work so we can
get the productivity we want while avoiding costly delays.” Lynn says, “Sometimes it’s challenging when you
are entering a locate request in a new development and the agent may not show that particular road or street on their computer. Sometimes we must use unnamed roads and that is why it is important for us to have very good distance and directions on each ticket. We do whatever we can to make sure we have accurate information on locate tickets.”
Lynn told me, “The number one goal of Natural Gas Piping Company is for our folks to get back home safely.” In pursuit of that goal, Lynn says they call in locate requests for every job, pothole utilities to safely expose the lines,
and white line every job, big or small. That doesn’t mean every job is smooth sailing, though. In West Tennessee, the ground does not have all the rock or limestone that Middle and East Tennessee have. Sometimes that loose soil collapses and makes it difficult
to work in those conditions. Another challenge many in the industry face
is that there are some lines that have been in the ground a long time and are hard to locate. Lynn tells me, “We spend more time potholing and looking for
the unmarked lines than most of the other excavators do. It’s important to not damage those utility lines. We like to stay on good terms with all entities involved. Cody says, “If we hit a line, we reach out to the utility operator, we take pictures and videos of the locating and the line hit. We use a tape measure for reference.”
After speaking to Sammy, Lynn,
and Cody, it’s my opinion that West Tennessee is lucky to have an excavator like Natural Gas Piping Company. Like Sammy from GCUD mentioned, Lynn and Cody Dotson put a priority on having good working relationships with all the stakeholders through effective communication. I asked Lynn what has made Natural Gas Piping so successful and he replied, “It’s important to do things the right way the first time and to establish good working relationships. It takes everyone working together to achieve our goals.”
To Lynn, Cody, and the rest of the team at Natural Gas Piping Company, than you for being our Safe Digging Partners. We’re proud to recognize you as this quarter’s Damage Prevention MVPs.
If you know a Damage Prevention MVP who deserves recognition, send an email to
Remembering Jerry Snodgrass (1961-2021)
In February we lost a knowledgeable partner in the industry, a passionate spokesman for damage prevention, and an all-around incredible guy. If you never met Jerry Snodgrass, Gas Manager for the City of Lebanon, you missed out on a memorable smile and some great conversation. Jerry worked for the City of Lebanon for more than 22 years and served as the city’s gas manager for more than 15 years. He was a past-president
of the Tennessee Gas Association and was known as an advocate for natural gas in Tennessee. He was also a strong supporter of Tennessee 811 and the PIPE Liaison Program.
We can’t begin to imagine the weight
of this loss on Jerry’s family and coworkers. We’ll miss seeing Jerry at events and when we visit Lebanon’s Gas Department, but we’ll cherish the time we had with him and we’re extremely grateful for his service.
2021, Issue 2 Tennessee811 • 7

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