Forrest Sim - Utility Locating "Eye Spy"

May 15, 2023

What are the main challenges with conducting utility locating? How often do utilities get striked due to mismanaged projects? What ways can we as an industry mitigate these risks as early on as possible? All of these questions and more are to be answered on this very special episode of the Utility Strategy Podcast, featuring our special guest, Forrest Sim

Forrest Sim “makes finding buried utilities look easy.” Currently he is the founder of the GPR consortium trade association. His passion for the act of utility locating has made him an expert in the field with over 10 years of experience. Forrest is located in southern Calfironia, where the business of utility locating is always facing various complexities during the design phase of project development.

On this episode, Forrest and David sit down to discuss the challenges the industry faces in the realm of utility location, and how important it is to integrate technologies into the design process.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Education on the challenge of subsurface utility locating is critical!

I can help the customer understand, but it means if you don't have a customer who's educated on what you offer, he simply knows he needs, but doesn’t know what questions to ask. He doesn't know how to ensure that he's fully prepared for you, so that means you have to ask a lot of questions ahead of time.

You've gotta go through all those steps to make sure that when you get out on site, you're not getting into a mess that you could have avoided had you just made sure to have the right conversations. So a lot of this has to do with foreseeing the problems that you, that you could be running into simply because you're talking to somebody who's maybe a little bit less educated

The difference between private and public locating

There's no knocking the guys who are doing 811. I know that there are guys who are doing these public locates who have been doing them for almost as long as I've been alive. But in many cases, they're doing 20, 30 plus tickets a day. And that if they're working an eight or 10 hour day, there's some pretty simple math involved there, which means you can't spend very much time on any one site. They're just really pressed for time. We in a contrast, will do something like three or four jobs a day. Four is kind of a lot, five is a lot of jobs. And so we spend a lot of time on each site.

Let’s take responsibility for conducting utility locating on ourselves

Hopefully not mandated by the government. I think that would be bad, but hopefully mandated from just within us. We all agree to not play with matches in the living room. Let's just figure this out on our own so that the government doesn't have to come in.

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