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Contractors and Locators Honered for Commitment to Safe Digging

Miss Utility presents Maryland and Washington, D.C. excavators and utility locating technicians
with 2007 Dig Smart Awards and Locator Achievement Awards

HANOVER, Md. – (May 5, 2008) – Miss Utility is proud to announce the winners of its annual Dig Smart Awards and Locator Achievement Awards. These awards honor the crucial people who have gone above and beyond to ensure the underground infrastructure of Maryland and Washington, D.C., remains damage free.

The Miss Utility Maryland/D.C. Damage Prevention Committee established the programs to recognize excavating companies that make strides to ensure workplace safety, and locators who have zero at-fault damages and exemplify outstanding safety practices.

Dig Smart Awards
The 2007 Dig Smart winners are NPL Construction Co. of Maryland and B. Frank Joy of Washington D.C. These two outstanding organizations were chosen from among hundreds of contractors across Maryland and the District of Columbia for these prestigious awards, which are determined after a review of the company’s damage prevention practices by other industry professionals.

NPL Construction Co., a two-time Dig Smart Award winner, specializes in the installation, repair and replacement of gas and underground electric for BGE, and has served the D.C. metro area and suburban Maryland since 1967.

B. Frank Joy specializes in construction maintenance and the rehabilitation of underground infrastructure. B. Frank Joy was the 1999 Washington, D.C., Dig Smart Award winner and has been serving the D.C. area since 1917.

Sunrise Safety Services was the recipient of the first-ever Dig Smart Honorable Mention Award. This young company was founded in 1995 and has already grown to 49 employees. Sunrise Safety Services received this award as a result of its exceptional work in the Maryland area.

The two Dig Smart winning companies were invited to attend an April 17 awards banquet in Columbia with 25 of their employees, and received the Miss Utility “Silver Shovel” Award. The Honorable Mention recipient was invited attend with five of their employees.

Locator Achievement Awards
Winners of the 2007 Locator Achievement Awards were determined from a group of locators, which were nominated by their respective supervisors for being damage-free in 2007. Ballots were sent to the excavating community where one winner was selected from seven different regions in Maryland and Washington D.C. There was a tie in region one this year as a result of both nominees’ exceptional work in this area. The regional winner with the most votes was honored as the 2007 Locator Achievement Awards overall winner.

This year’s winners and their respective coverage areas are:

  • John Jones of Rising Sun, Md. (Region 1: Harford and Cecil counties) – One year of service with UtiliQuest (Baltimore), and a first-time nominee and first-time regional winner.
  • Wayne Sargent of Havre De Grace, Md. (Region 1: Harford and Cecil counties) – One and a half years of service with City of Aberdeen, and a four-time nominee and two-time regional winner and 2004 overall winner.
  • Dave Bronson of Saint Leonard, Md. (Region 2: Washington, D.C.) – Nine years of service as a locating technician with UtiliQuest (Beltsville), a two-time nominee and two-time regional winner.
  • Steve Gibbons of Brooklyn, Md. (Region 3: Montgomery and Prince George’s counties) – Four years of service as a locating technician at UtiliQuest (Baltimore), a three-time nominee and first-time regional winner.
  • Mike Figgins of Prince Frederick, Md. (Region 5: Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties) - Four years of service with OCC Locating Services, four years as a locating technician, a three-time nominee and first-time regional winner.
  • Allen Billman of Hagerstown, Md. (Region 6: Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett and Washington counties) - Thirty-seven years of service at City of Hagerstown Light, a three-time nominee and first-time regional winner.
  • Bob Knight of Glen Burnie, Md. (Region 7: Anne Arundel and Howard counties) - Thirteen years of service as a locating technician with OCC Locating Services, a three-time nominee and first-time regional winner.
  • Darryl “Blue Shoes” Cox of Middle River, Md. (Region 4: Baltimore County and Baltimore City) - Fifteen years of service as a locating technician with OCC Locating Services, a two-time nominee and the 2007 Locator Achievement Awards overall winner.

The grand prize for Darryl Cox, the Locator of the Year, was $500 in cash, a Miss Utility-embroidered heavyweight work jacket and a Miss Utility “Silver Hard Hat” award. The seven other Locator Achievement Awards regional winners received $100 in cash, framed certificates, and Miss Utility-embroidered shirts. Additionally, all 2007 nominees received framed certificates, and repeat nominees received an additional $25 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse.

Awards Night
All of the awards were presented at a dinner banquet at The Sheraton Hotel in Columbia on April 17, 2008 with Khrysanne Kerr, Director of Program Development for the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), providing the keynote address. Ms. Kerr delivered an impassioned speech about this awards program being the best example of positive reinforcement in damage prevention nationwide.

Also at this year’s awards, Alvin C. Collins, Secretary for the Maryland Department of General Services, presented Governor Martin O’Malley’s proclamation of April 13-19, 2008 as Underground Excavation Safety Week. In an effort to promote safe digging practices, the proclamation reminds citizens to contact Miss Utility before starting an outdoor project to prevent damages to underground facilities and property.

“Throughout 2007, all of our winners from both Dig Smart and Locator Achievement have demonstrated exceptional safe digging practices and followed the proper procedures to ensure a safe working environment for their colleagues, as well as residents in their area.” said Wayne Gilmer, Maryland/D.C. Damage Prevention Committee Chairman. “We congratulate these companies and individual locators who have proven themselves as leaders in their field and appreciate all of their efforts in continuing to prevent utility damage.”

Solicitation for 2008 Dig Smart Award and Locator Achievement Award entries will begin this fall.

  • To view photos of the 2007 Locator Achievement Award winners, click here.


  • To view photos of the 2007 Dig Smart Award winners, click here.

  • To view photos of the 2007 Awards Banquet, click here.

  • To view comments about the 2007 Dig Smart and Locator Achievement Awards, click here.
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