The Genesis of the Emerging Damage Prevention Leaders Group

It started in November 2018, when Scott Landes, President and CEO of Infrastructure Resources, LLC, brought up the idea of creating a group for young professionals like myself in the damage prevention industry. I, along with a few other young professionals in the company, started to brainstorm ideas on the development of this group. We decided to take the first step by conducting a survey to gauge the interest level in creating a group for emerging leaders in the damage prevention industry. I received positive feedback from industry people and through leads, I came into contact with Chris Sherrick, UTTO Product Manager, who was very interested in this idea and saw great value in it. He was so vested in this idea that he volunteered to help me with building this group. We both worked together and held a roundtable discussion at the 2019 CGA 811 Excavation Safety Conference & Expo.

Our goal was to receive feedback on a group vision, mission, name, criteria for a leadership team, communications channels & preferences, and ideas for future group activities.

I’m excited to announce the official name of this group is Emerging Damage Prevention Leaders (EDPL). Participants felt this was on-point and very clearly stated what the group is about.

OUR VISION: Accelerate the path towards zero damages by bringing more talent into the industry.

OUR MISSION: The group’s mission is twofold:

• Indoctrinating emerging damage prevention professionals to accelerate their impact towards the industry’s ultimate goal – zero damages.

• Promoting the damage prevention industry to bring new talent into the industry and fill the void left by seasoned professionals.

One of our first decisions was to form a task team comprised of one emerging leader and one seasoned professional from each stakeholder group. The following people have already volunteered to join the task team:

• Chris Sherrick, UTTO

• Michael Twohig, DGT Associates

• Rick Farlow, Project Resources Group

We are looking for people from these stakeholder groups: Facility Owner, Locator, Contractor, Government/Public Works, One Call. If you are interested in joining this task team to help us build this group and direct its future, reach out to me at the contact information below.

This group will be comprised primarily of two demographics – professionals new to the damage prevention industry and experienced industry experts who volunteer to mentor these new professionals.

This structure creates an opportunity for new professionals to connect with mentors in other companies rather than relying solely on senior leaders within their own organizations. External mentorship offers both parties the benefits of mentorship while eliminating the potential for internal politics and policies interfering with the mentorship process.

“This structure creates an opportunity for new professionals to connect with mentors in other companies rather than relying solely on senior leaders within their own organizations.”

Many interesting thoughts and ideas on how this group can add value were shared by participants in the roundtable discussion at the conference, including:

• A forum where emerging leaders can connect and ask questions of industry experts

• Conference calls/webinars to connect with group members

• Internships to recent college graduates to introduce the damage prevention industry to the future workforce

• Create a toolkit companies can easily use to utilize an internship program

• Utilize CGA social media channels to promote the group

• Explore scholarship/PHMSA grant options to promote the damage prevention industry to schools/colleges

• Educate high school/college graduates about which education/degree programs will help them in the damage prevention industry

Our next step is to finalize the task team, prioritize the ideas, and start implementing them one by one. Stay tuned for more stories about the progress of this group.

Contact me if you would like more information or if you are interested in joining the group or participating on the task team. Please forward this article to anyone in your organization, or your professional network, whom you think will be a good fit for this group. We welcome all interested parties.

Sundar Paramasivan is Project Manager for Infrastructure Resources, LLC. He can be reached at or 952-428-7965.

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