Page 7 - Mississippi 811 issue 2
P. 7

Much more than the President of Mississippi 811, Sam Johnson willed the organization from its infancy to the mature and influential organization it has become today. He was the first employee and served without interruption as its only Executive Director/President
until March 1, 2023.
Sam served on the original committee that led to the creation of Mississippi One- Call (now Mississippi 811). The organization began operations in 1984 with 43 members.
In 1985, its first full year of operation, Mississippi One-Call received 22,178 inbound locate requests and processed 62,131 outbound tickets. Under Sam’s leadership, by the end of 2022, those numbers had grown to 1059 members, 531,687 inbound and 2,614,569 outbound tickets.
From day one, he has been the leading advocate for public safety and leading the charge to protect Mississippi’s vital underground
infrastructure. His commitment to these goals led him to create alliances with stakeholders across the state that began with the creation of the original dig laws in 1985 and 1997, mandatory Mississippi 811 membership by utility owners and operators in 2008 and
you realize that Sam worked with seven Governors during that span.
One of his favorite sayings is, “I don’t have to be smart; I just need to hang around smart people.” When he would tell us that, we’d usually smile, in part because we knew he probably was the
smartest person in the room. At least he was looking down the road further than most of us could see. For example, Sam was one of the early pioneers in advocating for a quality locate ticket. That was important and for more reasons than just a quality locate ticket.
He recognized that members submitting accurate facility maps was important but
that the key was creating an accurate land base map. So, he was determined to map the entire state of Mississippi in
a geospatial format. In doing so, Mississippi would have a
head start on providing accurate 911 addresses for its citizens and that was
 effective enforcement of the dig laws in 2016. Quite an accomplishment when
  2023, Issue 2 Mississippi 811 • 5

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