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From November 3rd to November 5th, Vulcan Utility Signs exhibited at the Mississippi 811 Summit which take place at the IP Casino in Biloxi, MS. This 811 Summit is an annual regional CGA (Common Ground Alliance) partner event. The focus of this event is to bring together the various stakeholders of the Mississippi utility network to further the goal of damage prevention in the state. This Summit was put together by ACTS which is a company dedicated to creating environments that allow for a free flow of ideas and a foundation of mutual trust and respect so that progress is made in this industry.

The conference was a great experience for the Vulcan team that attended as it was a wonderful opportunity to further network with some of our key partners in the industry in Kinder Morgan, CenterPoint Energy, and The Williams Company. In addition, the exhibit hall portion of the conference led to many opportunities to share and discuss our products in the growing fiber market and our new Delta product. Given how close our manufacturing facility is to the state of Mississippi, it is even more important for us to make sure that the various stakeholders of the state have the best products and customer service with their signage needs so they can best protect their assets and keep the residents of the state safe.

Over the many sessions that were held over the three days of the conference, it become clear that the stakeholders are confronting a new problem in the state. Five years ago, the main issue at hand was the 811 call center wasn’t being leveraged nearly enough by professionals and homeowners in the state to make sure that they dug safely. While great strides had been made to market and promote the 811 process, now the problem is that there are too many calls being made which slows down the ability of the stakeholders to maintain their current assets and put new assets in the ground.

Many ideas where shared during these sessions to try and help resolve this situation. Some of these ideas that were shared include white lining (which involves the excavators marking in white paint the exact area they plan to dig), large project ticketing, expanding the window that locators must respond to an 811 call. While each idea has their merits, it will be up to the various stakeholders to continue this conversation so that the best ideas that improve the situation for all involved gets developed as the next best practice. While the current situation for the industry in the state can be frustrating, the important thing to remember that having too much of a good thing is better than not having it at all.