Page 6 - Mississippi 811 Magazine 2021 Issue 4
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Damage Prevention Marty Turner
Always Teaching, Always Learning
Because he’s done a fair bit of digging and locating in his day, he goes out of his way to be accommodating to those folks when he designs the company’s facilities.
“When I set up test stations, I bring everything above ground in order to access our locate test system. There’s never a reason to disturb our stored cables. They’re very susceptible to movement,” he said. “My contractors know there’s no reason to open a hand hole on our network.”
He’s also the first to help when there’s a question — whether policy or practical — and still applies his knowledge in the field on a regular basis. His expertise with engineering, utility construction, fiber splicing and testing and locate setup all feeds into his ability to help prevent damages across the network.
“I’m not afraid to grab a shovel or optical time domain reflectometer
(the tool used to test fiber optic lines),” he said.
Marty’s typical day is anything but typical. He splits his time among meetings in person, telephone calls and being out in the field. No day is exactly the same, which keeps things interesting.
“I start early. The first order is generally a recap of contractors’ previous day’s work, and the issues that have come up like getting locates from another utility,” he said. “The next thing is responding to and assisting requests.”
Providing stand-on assistance with external contractors is key to preventing damage to C Spire’s
lines, especially in heavily congested rights of way.
“Our policy is if someone says they’re working over our cable and they need help, we give it. I spend a lot of money on it — and have permission to do it — but it saves me a lot of damages in the long run,” he said.
He also uses his time throughout the day for formal and informal training, for instance, a quick review with contractors and their subcontractors on how to properly use the 811 system to their advantage.
Marty also helps with troubleshooting and repair of faulty locates. He’s trained
This quarter, Mississippi
811 magazine recognizes a 15-year damage prevention veteran as Damage Prevention Champion.
Marty Turner has seen just about everything in his 15+ year career in utility damage prevention. But every day he learns something new and
is eager to pass it along to everybody who is willing to listen.
“I started with a shovel in my hand, and ended up here,” Marty said, referring to his current position as manager of damage prevention for the entire 5-state network of C Spire.
Not only does he manage
the day-to-day aspects of the department he helped to create,
he also writes policies and
procedures for several other departments within the company.
But damage prevention — and a culture of safety — is his top priority.
C Spire’s footprint currently includes Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi, where the company is headquartered. Marty manages both the internal and external locate requests for the entire network and keeps a close eye on contractors working near C Spire’s facilities.
As a customer-inspired, privately-held company, C Spire is laser focused on making technology easy to understand and implement and that includes helping ensure that contractors and vendors use best dig practices when
Michael Downes 811 Magazines
they are out in the field.
So is Marty. He’s a stickler for details and holds himself and his company
to the same high standards that he demands of the locators and contractors
4 • Mississippi 811 2021, Issue 4
John Stallings, Mississippi 811 (right) presents Damage Prevention Champion award to Marty Turner.
working on and around C Spire lines.
“Part of the training I do is to make sure the locator knows what’s right and wrong, and how to read and understand the law, but also how to use the law to their advantage to protect themselves,” he said. “I’m the first to tell them that if I don’t do right, they need to report me for a violation.”
That integrity, passion and his thorough knowledge of state and federal dig laws, has made Marty one of the foremost experts on damage prevention in the region. It isn’t enough to talk the talk, but he also insists that everyone walk the walk as well.

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