Season 1, Session 5: NC811’s East Coast–West Coast Hip Hop Rivalry with Louis Panzer & DigBy Marks!


Louis Panzer, Executive Director of North Carolina 811 join DigBy and Joe “In The Dig”.

Listen as DigBy and Joe, interview Louis, who received the 2013 Ron Olitsky New Member of the Year Award from the Common Ground Alliance (CGA).

Who is Ron Olitsky? Most excavators (like DigBy) have no idea who Ron Olitsky was and Louis clears up the mystery. Every year, the CGA chooses one member whose dedication and service to the organization went above and beyond the call of duty.

Louis was chosen  for his leadership and the invaluable contributions in rewriting North Carolina’s 20 year old Underground Safety and Damage Prevention Act of 2012, making it one of the most comprehensive damage prevention laws in the nation.

That state was one of the last that did not have mandatory membership and Louis brought stakeholders together, help them lay aside their bias and pass a law that will make North Carolina a safer place to work.

DigBy and Louis discuss most common reasons for damages in North Carolina. Louis described how that led him to develop the “Super Mega Spreadsheet” which enabled him to compare county by county local damage tracking that outlines every detail of damage statistics in specific locations. This tool has enabled him to overlay damage prevention efforts (i.e. training, advertising, etc.) and see the effect it’s having on the most important metric of all are damages going down.

Norfield Data Products – Earlier this year eight states including North Carolina, partnered to purchase Norfield Data Products (NDP) the company that makes One-Call Center software. You might be wondering why a One-Call service would venture into the competitive software sales arena and how that will reduce utility damage.

Louis explained the importance of having like minded people working together through committees that really understand how systems work and what is needed to improve service to the excavators and protect the member’s facilitities.

Improved tools and technology that aids the excavator will ultimately, prevent utility damage. Louis described how the newly named firm Norfield Development Partners will focus on improved prioritization for needed changes to the software that will best serve the needs of the partners and excavators in those states.

Greatest Challenge Facing Industry: 

Louis outlined the greatest challenge One-call Centers face as, “getting people the one-call message and compelling them to make that call”. Professional excavators seem to understand but the difficulty lies in getting to homeowners, weekend warriors, and DIY’s. They are the ones that need to hear the message more than anyone.

Another challenge facing the industry is now changing the message to include a call to action for end users to begin transitioning from phone call technology  to web based e-ticket technology.  57% of NC811 users use the electronic e ticket-interface.

Favorite Productivity Apps:

Louis shares his productivity pics for excavators:

Google Drive/Google Docs free storage and documentation software can be used from the field and the office to store maps or job site folders and notes

Contant ContactGo To Meeting, and Join Me are all excellent tools for dripping continual information to field crews or even for hosting online safety meetings via Web Ex.

Hip Hop Wars:

Louis and Joe, both promising Hip Hop artists, wrote lyrics to songs utilized in 811 promotions. Louis, became famous for his smash hit single, “Where My Chromies At?”  capitalizing on the California Chrome horse race frenzy, in anticipation of that horse winning the triple crown and later released a music video for his fans to enjoy.

Louis stated, NC811 recognized the opportunity to advance the 811 message in a silly fun way by getting on board with California Chrome. After California Chrome’s first two wins the industry was alive with excitement about both the horse and the fact that the 811 branding alongside the winning stallion was drawing so much attention. Louis and his crew knew they had a limited time to reach a widespread audience.

In the spirit of true reciprocity though, Louis gave “props” to Joe’s 811 Day Flash Mob crew  who busted a dance move in front of thousands of people in Chicago’s Millennium park for 811 day. They danced to a parody of Robin Thicke’s 2013 number one hit Blurred Lines after Joe rewrote the lyrics and remixed the sound to record a new industry favorite “Bright Lines”.

Many may not be aware that Louis Panzer is a serious musician. He is a self fought guitarist and an accomplished keyboardist (see the side bar for an  affiliate link to more of the soothing sounds of Louis Panzer).

Actionable Items For You:

We asked Louis to leave us with one or two actionable items you can use to make your crews more efficient and effective.

Understand damage prevention is partnership. Everyone needs to do their part to improve safety. If you realize that the responsibility for damage prevention doesn’t lie solely on the excavator or on the utility owner, we can always ask ourselves… “Am I doing my part” to prevent damage.

Don’t forget the Importance of White Lining. Pre-marking your proposed excavation extent is becoming increasingly necessary.  It helps to ensure the marks you get are custom to your needs and it makes your crews more efficient.

White lining also reduces the amount of excess paint and markings (which has become more of a problem in our industry) left behind by the locate technicians and in the spirit of that partnership it makes those people marking the job site more efficient and effective allowing them to move faster to other urgent work waiting to be marked.

More Louis Panzer:

For more information about Louis Panzer and the North Carolina One Call Center you can  visit them at their website or on Facebook.

Click the icon below where you’ll find many great training aids and resources (videos and other free content) to help you keep your crews safe and return home safe at the end of the day.



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