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Thread: Nulca

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Nulca

    I am trying to read into this a lot more to understand it . I truly want to make a change in the way things are headed . This site was very well put together but very difficult to understand. I don't have a college degree and most of my peers also do not ! But I would need one to understand this whole idea ? People at my level have no input with this group so where is my voice now ? Or the voices of my co-workers ? This is my opinion ...... but there will never be a bridge between us at the bottom and you guys at the top .
    Mke likes this.
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Nulca

    Unfortunately, I think you are absolutely correct. There is a huge disconnect between the people who run orginizations such as this one, and the people who actually put the paint on the ground. They will tell you that they are all about the locating side, but actions speak louder than words.

    I wish I knew what to do. I love being a locator, but I hate being classed as "just a locator". I will admit that I have it better then alot of the public locators out there, but on any given day I can be easily treated as garbage by any given contractor.

    As for education.... I have a college degree. It even has a honors shield on it (3.85gpa). However, that has done nothing for me. It doesn't help understand how to fix our industry. It definately has not helped my spelling or my locating abilities.

    It comes down to throwing ideas out there and seeing if anyone will run with them.

    Good Luck Yahoo

    mke

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    Default Re: Nulca

    When I saw that NULCA Tweets thing I was gonna make some smart ass comment about who cares, but what good does that do? I am right there with you guys, I just don't get it. Why do I have to be one of the ones that loves doing this job? At least I guess it's good to know I'm not the only one.

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    Default Re: Nulca

    OK, I hear you guys loud and clear. We have a fundamental issue with perception and indeed the NULCA Board members are executive level members of their respective companies. Simply put, this is often due to the fact that the executive level folks have significantly more flexibility for traveling and ability to attend board meetings that are held in conjunction with other events like CGA conferences and the Locate Rodeo...we have had numerous discussions on how to change this and make it such that the technician level can comfortably participate in NULCA board meetings. One of the other things I want to point out is some facts about our board members; our current President is Dan Bradley, Dan runs a small locate firm, less than 25 guys and locates himself daily, our current Vice President, myself, I run a smallish locate firm, 51 staff, and while I don't locate everyday, I used to...our past President was Christopher Koch, he owns and runs a small private locate firm, Hance Utilities / ZoneOne Locating, he locates everyday, our Executive Director is Ron Peterson, he owns a small locate firm and he locates everyday, Skip MacIntosh owns Safe Site in Colorado and he locates nearly everyday, Vinnie Marchese with Premier used to locate everyday. Yes the other board members from locate companies are the big boys from USIC (Mark Burel), Utilitquest (Dennis Tarosky) and ELM (Matt Quinn), we have one owner organization in Marathon Pipeline (Phillip Schneider) with the balance being vendor seats; Krylon (Bill Deckard), Excavac (John Walko), Vivax (Mark Drew), RD (Drew Greer).

    NULCA is sincerely interested in technician participation, but we are struggling with how to make it work. We have some very fundamental questions; if a tech from USIC, Utiliquest, ELM, Premier...participates in Board Meetings, would that tech feel able to speak freely without fear of reprisal? How would the techs facilitate travel and meeting attendance? Would their respective companies pay the travel costs and for the time away from the field? Could NULCA fund the travel and expenses of technician participation in board meetings? How would the techs that participate be chosen or elected? We are open for suggestions.

    It is important to understand what NULCA does. Yes, we are concerned globally...with laws that affect the industry or might, with companies that file patent applications to patent locate processes that we have all been using for years, with items submitted to CGA best practices that could impact our industry, with actions and lobbying efforts undertaken by the contracting organizations (AGC, NUCA, etc) that seek to create laws or rules that would impact locating...case in point; law makers in Texas are considering a bill from contractors that would financially penalize the locator for late tickets, no shows, or contractor downtime costs associated with a mis-mark...We are grappling right now with the idea of certification, how can it be done without making the "certifier" or "certifying agency" liable if something goes wrong? How to create better training standards and opportunities and other mundane issues like low impact marking practices and ticket life and so on...

    We would welcome input and ideas. Your turn.

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nulca

    To get more locator participation have you considered teleconferencing?

    Getting time off from one's employer to attend, having the money for travel & lodging and so on is not possible for most locators. Teleconferencing my be an answer.

    For more membership involvement how about like the town and city councils, webcast the meeting.

    And yes, some firms will bring reprisals on locators who propose changes not endorsed by their employers.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Nulca

    don't think we are just singling out the NULCA, its all the local orginizations as well. The local one I deal with is the MUCC (Metropolatian Utility Coordinating Council). They don't do much either. There truly should be a shift in ideas for these boards. I understand how important the meet and greets are, but with the possibility of unfavorable laws which will bind the locators to undue liability, that should solely be the focus. We don't need golf scrables, conferences, rodeos if the passage of any law would cause a mass exodus from the profession.

    I think in order to get more participants, you have to show that our voice is getting heard. Not doing every whim and complaint from a locator, but if there is an industry issue that effects the locators, move on it. Not company specific complaints, but industry complaints. Late tickets are an issue, those should solely be attatched to the company. If the company has issue with late tickets.... they should repremand the locators....or hire more. I know that this will cause strife in the begining, but it will get to a point where the issue will be addressed.

    The biggest thing that I heard Greg mention is a copyrighting of locating process? Wholly crap. How in the world is this even becoming an issue? Friviolous copyright lawsuits killed the paintball industry (thank you smartparts). How about some literature on issues like this? If you keep the locators in the dark, it is hard for them to be informed enough to want to be part of these orginizations.

    Mke

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nulca

    I do not know how Nucla set it's board representation up but consider this.

    Have two type of members, management and non-management (locators and such) and a representative position open for both. So lets say a region one has a rep from a company's management and a rep who is a locator / non-management employee. Reps are only selected by the people from the group and region they represent.

    Again the problem of reprisal by locate companies becomes an issue. Suppose I am a locator from one of the big locate firms whose name we dare not mention. I suggest and champion we lobby for legislation that will require that any fine levied on the locate firm must equally be levied on their client firm and that the client firm not be allowed to pass the cost of the fines onto the locate firm. This would pressure the client firms to demand better of their locate firms. As we well know as long at the expenses for poor performance and damages are paid only by the locate firms most of our client companies put up with the poor performance.

    Now one of the big national locate firms we all know and dare not speak the name of would oppose any effort to push for such legislation. They think if best to pay for damages and fines rather than protect public safety.
    If one of their locators championed such and effort their term of employment would be very short.

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    Right Wing Conspirator GWJ_CAS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nulca

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    To get more locator participation have you considered teleconferencing?

    Getting time off from one's employer to attend, having the money for travel & lodging and so on is not possible for most locators. Teleconferencing my be an answer.

    For more membership involvement how about like the town and city councils, webcast the meeting.

    And yes, some firms will bring reprisals on locators who propose changes not endorsed by their employers.
    We typically have a teleconference bridge for each of our meetings. NULCA Members, individual and corporate, are noticed about the meeting and conference brdige number via mass email for our Executive Director. I would personally welcome having locators from the Vine join the teleconference of our next meeting, then you can understand what we do and decide for yourselves. I will quickly poll the other executive members and see if there is any objections to permitting non-member access to our conference.

    It may need to be that the locators, through perhaps this forum, get together and "elect" a representative to attend board meetings and report back. As a suggestion, if you guys could come together and put your trust in one of the guys from a smaller outfit, one that fears no reprisal from USIC/Utiliquest/ELM etc., then the "fre flow" of ideas and discussion may prove beneficial.

    I will happily advocate that the organziation pays the travel and lodging costs for just such a rep to our next face to face meeting in Atlanta, if you guys can pull it together by then, or the CGA meeting after July...

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    Default Re: Nulca

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    don't think we are just singling out the NULCA, its all the local orginizations as well. The local one I deal with is the MUCC (Metropolatian Utility Coordinating Council). They don't do much either. There truly should be a shift in ideas for these boards. I understand how important the meet and greets are, but with the possibility of unfavorable laws which will bind the locators to undue liability, that should solely be the focus. We don't need golf scrables, conferences, rodeos if the passage of any law would cause a mass exodus from the profession.

    I think in order to get more participants, you have to show that our voice is getting heard. Not doing every whim and complaint from a locator, but if there is an industry issue that effects the locators, move on it. Not company specific complaints, but industry complaints. Late tickets are an issue, those should solely be attatched to the company. If the company has issue with late tickets.... they should repremand the locators....or hire more. I know that this will cause strife in the begining, but it will get to a point where the issue will be addressed.

    The biggest thing that I heard Greg mention is a copyrighting of locating process? Wholly crap. How in the world is this even becoming an issue? Friviolous copyright lawsuits killed the paintball industry (thank you smartparts). How about some literature on issues like this? If you keep the locators in the dark, it is hard for them to be informed enough to want to be part of these orginizations.

    Mke
    Let me be clear, NULCA does not get together and have a golf outing, never. We set our meetings to coincide with events that our members are most likely to attend. This boils down to the Annual CGA Conferences and the Locate Rodeo. We occassionally determine that we need a third face to face, and we have held such meetings at a conference room at or very close to a major airport so that members could fly in and out the same day.

    On the issue of patents, there indeed is a company called Certusview Technologies, owned by the President of Dycom, that has submitted hundreds of patent applications to patent aspects of locating, sending and receiving tickets, using an electronic device to record locate signal information...the list goes on and on. There is already a consortium of One Call Centers headed by J.D. Maniscalco of Colorado 811, assembled to oppose these patents. See for yourself, there are over 129 patent applications pending for all aspects of locating visit patft Page 1 of 1 click in the left window for patents issued on advanced search and type "Certusview" in the search query window, 33 patents have been issued so far, then go back to the main window and click in the right side window for pending patent applications and type "certusview" and you will see 129 patent applications related to locating...Certusview, LLC ownership

    This is the type of stuff that NULCA deals with. Along with Best Practices, transaction requests (TR's) submitted to CGA by non-locators trying to create something alse that locators should be required to do....and bogus laws being drafted every year to do things like change the definition of "Reasonable Care" as it relates to locating, or as mentioned in Texas, make a law that makes the locator liable for down time costs associated with late tickets, or mis-marks...or interactions with PHMSA on locate issues like exemptions from locate laws that are requested all the time...

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Nulca

    Hey Greg, I didn't mean to infer that you guys were doing the golf outing.... its my local guys who are. If its not the golf outing or the "contractors" breakfast, it is their Meetings at some of the better resorts around Oregon.

    I know you try hard to get NULCA into a favorable light. I must admit that I wasn't to open to the idea, but knowing that they are concious enough to spot the patents that are currently emplace or pending and knowing how detrimental that would be to our industry. I actually find myself looking at them in a more favorable light.

    How much effect do they have over here in my neck of the woods? (Pacific Northwest)

    mke

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    Default Re: Nulca

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    Hey Greg, I didn't mean to infer that you guys were doing the golf outing.... its my local guys who are. If its not the golf outing or the "contractors" breakfast, it is their Meetings at some of the better resorts around Oregon.

    I know you try hard to get NULCA into a favorable light. I must admit that I wasn't to open to the idea, but knowing that they are concious enough to spot the patents that are currently emplace or pending and knowing how detrimental that would be to our industry. I actually find myself looking at them in a more favorable light.

    How much effect do they have over here in my neck of the woods? (Pacific Northwest)

    mke
    No worries, I know you didn't mean to imply that was NULCA, I just want to make sure that everyone understands that is not us...

    No organization is perfect, but we are trying to do the best we can. NULCA only has one "employee", that being our Executive Director, Ron Peterson, and he is less than full-time. We strive to ensure that most of the revenue received from membership fees is spent on essentials like our subscription to CQ Roll Call, sponsorship of the Locate Rodeo, our Board Attorney fees and salary for our Executive Director. The balance goes towards our subscription to CGA and meeting expenses for conference rooms and teleconference bridges, webpage maintenance...there are no golf outings or gourmet meals. With the exception of our Exec Dir, each board member pays his/her own travel and lodging expenses for meetings, a truly volunteer and non-profit organization.

    In case you do not know, CQ Roll Call is a tool that we use, accessible through the NULCA Member portion of the site, to track all legislation throughout the USA that is associated with or could impact the locating industry. We make every effort to stay on top of the legislative process, tracking bills from submittal to vote and understanding the potential implications for our industry.

    We also have a couple dedicated members that have been deeply involved with the tracking and monitoring of the industry patent issues. These are potentially most concerning as they could impact the entire industry. Here is a listing of the titles of patents already issued;

    1 8,416,995 Full-Text Electronic manifest of underground facility locate marks
    2 8,407,001 Full-Text Systems and methods for using location data to electronically display dispensing of markers by a marking system or marking tool
    3 8,401,791 Full-Text Methods for evaluating operation of marking apparatus
    4 8,400,155 Full-Text Methods and apparatus for displaying an electronic rendering of a locate operation based on an electronic record of locate information
    5 8,386,178 Full-Text Marking system and method
    6 8,384,742 Full-Text Virtual white lines (VWL) for delimiting planned excavation sites of staged excavation projects
    7 8,374,789 Full-Text Systems and methods for using marking information to electronically display dispensing of markers by a marking system or marking tool
    8 8,361,543 Full-Text Methods and apparatus for displaying an electronic rendering of a marking operation based on an electronic record of marking information
    9 8,358,201 Full-Text Storage and recall of buried asset data over communications networks for damage avoidance and mapping
    10 8,356,255 Full-Text Virtual white lines (VWL) for delimiting planned excavation sites of staged excavation projects
    11 8,355,542 Full-Text Virtual white lines for delimiting planned excavation sites
    12 8,340,359 Full-Text Electronic manifest of underground facility locate marks
    13 8,311,765 Full-Text Locating equipment communicatively coupled to or equipped with a mobile/portable device
    14 8,301,380 Full-Text Systems and methods for generating electronic records of locate and marking operations
    15 8,300,895 Full-Text Virtual white lines for delimiting planned excavation sites
    16 8,296,308 Full-Text Methods and apparatus for associating a virtual white line (VWL) image with corresponding ticket information for an excavation project
    17 8,290,215 Full-Text Virtual white lines for delimiting planned excavation sites
    18 8,290,204 Full-Text Searchable electronic records of underground facility locate marking operations
    19 8,280,969 Full-Text Methods, apparatus and systems for requesting underground facility locate and marking operations and managing associated notifications
    20 8,280,631 Full-Text Methods and apparatus for generating an electronic record of a marking operation based on marking device actuations
    21 8,280,117 Full-Text Virtual white lines for indicating planned excavation sites on electronic images
    22 8,270,666 Full-Text Searchable electronic records of underground facility locate marking operations
    23 8,265,344 Full-Text Electronic manifest of underground facility locate operation
    24 8,260,489 Full-Text Methods, apparatus, and systems for acquiring and analyzing vehicle data and generating an electronic representation of vehicle operations
    25 8,249,306 Full-Text Virtual white lines for delimiting planned excavation sites
    26 8,218,827 Full-Text Virtual white lines for delimiting planned excavation sites
    27 8,194,932 Full-Text Ticket approval system for and method of performing quality control in field service applications
    28 8,155,390 Full-Text Methods and apparatus for providing unbuffered dig area indicators on aerial images to delimit planned excavation sites
    29 8,060,304 Full-Text Marking system and method
    30 D643,321 Full-Text Marking device
    31 D634,657 Full-Text Paint holder of a marking device
    32 D634,656 Full-Text Shaft of a marking device
    33 D634,655 Full-Text Handle of a marking device

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Nulca

    So, I kinda read through the list of patents and the list of Pending patents.

    All I have to say is.....whoa!

    Some of the stuff that they are patenting could be legitimate stuff that is their brain child, for example:

    The Marking gun with a Camera to verify and record the marks being put down.
    The marking gun with a built in GPS antenea to record the rough data recieved by the GPS.
    The Transmitter that has a "Training" setting that will allow the transmitter to put utility signals where there are no utilities so people who are learning can practice following out signals.

    The real concerning part is for their patent on marking devices.... just a blank patent on anything that can actuate marking medium with the pull of a trigger. (thats not too grey, is it?)

    If you read the entire list of pending and non-pending patents, you realize that those of you who work for their companies were bad about keeping track of you when you just had the GPS in the trucks.... wait till you see what they will be able to track with all this stuff.

    Fun times ahead for all.

    mke

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    Default Re: Nulca

    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    So, I kinda read through the list of patents and the list of Pending patents.

    All I have to say is.....whoa!

    Some of the stuff that they are patenting could be legitimate stuff that is their brain child, for example:

    The Marking gun with a Camera to verify and record the marks being put down.
    The marking gun with a built in GPS antenea to record the rough data recieved by the GPS.
    The Transmitter that has a "Training" setting that will allow the transmitter to put utility signals where there are no utilities so people who are learning can practice following out signals.

    The real concerning part is for their patent on marking devices.... just a blank patent on anything that can actuate marking medium with the pull of a trigger. (thats not too grey, is it?)

    If you read the entire list of pending and non-pending patents, you realize that those of you who work for their companies were bad about keeping track of you when you just had the GPS in the trucks.... wait till you see what they will be able to track with all this stuff.

    Fun times ahead for all.

    mke
    You should have read the ones that were withdrawn, and also the ones that were reworded before approval. The withdrawn applications were for such things as "a process to utilize and electronic device to determine the approximate path of a buried utility"...and many others that were very far reaching and vague...all because of the efforts of several committed members who pitched in to aid the efforts spearheaded by Colorado 811. They had applications for things like the ability to view a dig site map within a ticket...hello, ever seen a one call ticket system? I cannot blame anyone for attempting to patent their ideas and inventions, I have myself, but the suspicion is that these patent apps were specifically broad and vague so as to create a situation where one particular company could claim patent to the entire locating process and then demand royalties from every other company using these practices to locate utilities...imagine every other locate company having to pay these guys $0.10 or $1.00 per ticket in royalties... can you say millions?
    daman1 likes this.

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nulca

    I like Greg's idea of picking someone trusted among the forum....and I think we should consult our nazi dictator also .....heehee !
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Default Re: Nulca

    Just a quick observation. A locator may want to get involved with NULCA even if it is just through teleconferencing. But I think any locator would agree that as much as they want to get involved they might have a hard time doing it during the busy season. I know I couldn't focus on a meeting when I have tickets to do. But that is just me.

    It seems to me that through this forum the locators ARE getting involved. Is there anyway to bring the two together in a way that would involve the locator when they have the time, even if it is just reading and commenting after they are off work for the day?

    Maybe a subject for an upcoming meeting could be posted and the resulting comments taken to the meeting and discussed, or something along those lines? My proposal seems kinda simplistic but I think you get my point.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

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