Page 14 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 4
P. 14

Locator Spotlight:
By Jason Kouba Tennessee 811
Damage Prevention Liaison
Let’s talk about late tickets, shall we? With ticket volume increases across the country, staffing shortages among contract locating companies and utilities alike, how can we work through this issue? As a Liaison with Tennessee
811, receiving a call regarding locates not being completed is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence. But what is the answer?
Tennessee is on pace to process more than
a million tickets across the state by the end of the year. As of October 31, 2021, we have processed 871,831 locate requests with 87,398 of those in that month alone. I know what you are thinking: “Okay, so there are a lot of tickets, why not just hire more people?” If only it was that easy!
Has anyone been to restaurant lately and seen now hiring signs? How about a retail store? Anybody seen a business change their business hours due to staff shortages? Has anybody been trying to fill a position within your own company? Now, I am not going
to pretend like this is the only contributing factor as we have had late locate requests prior to the pandemic and the current times, but I can assure you that it is a contributing factor currently. I have talked with hiring managers for contract locate companies in Tennessee that have told me that they have been trying to hire folks for over a year.
Not only that, but they also struggle to get applicants to show up for interviews. If they get folks to show up to interviews, they don’t show up on day one of training and then the cycle continues.
I can speak from experience in saying that locating is not for everyone. I have spent my fair share of time interviewing and hiring locators across the country. Locating is not as easy as some of the locators out there make it look. It can be a fast paced, everchanging, high stress career. But on the other hand, it can be a very rewarding career for the right person.
So why can’t they just hire more people? Without getting too far into the weeds, I will simply say that they are trying. The locating industry is unique in that when a company is trying to staff up, you are up
12 • Alabama 811
2021, Issue 4

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