News & Events

Anthony Cantu named December 2021 Elite Winner

Congratulations to Anthony Cantu for being selected as ELM’s December Elite winner. Anthony Cantu may be using “new school” locating equipment, but he still considers himself an “old school” technician. As a Lead Technician out of the busy Phoenix, AZ profit center, Anthony was one of the first ELM employees to receive the newest Vivax Metrotech vLoc3 locator. He says of his newest piece of equipment, “They mostly work the same but having those little, tiny extra features really help.” He especially likes the new device’s larger, full color screen and its use of different colors to denote signal strength. “It really does help you notice if you have a bad signal, versus an all-right signal, or a good signal and actually helps me catch myself with bad hookups.” However, the new locating equipment hasn’t changed how he performs his job. After 8 years of preventing utility damages, Anthony has developed a lot of trust in the frequencies he uses, regardless of what locating equipment he has. His most common frequencies are 8.19, 65.5, 83, as well as 200 for trouble locates. “That’s what I’m comfortable with and I don’t veer away from that because then I start to question it. And in this job, we really don’t have wiggle room for questions,” he says. Confidence is a common topic when talking to Anthony. As important as it is to have confidence in your equipment and frequencies, he believes it is just as important to have as much confidence in your own skills and knowledge. Anthony maintains a stellar working relationship with many contractors in his area, but he still isn’t afraid to tell them when their ticket is wrong and needs to be fixed before he can put any paint down. Contractors sometimes demand an area be marked that isn’t in their requested dig area. He calls tough conversations like these being “lawyer like” and says the extra scrutiny to ticket details is about protecting the contractor as much as it is the facility. If a contractor gets in his face, Anthony utilizes conflict resolution skills. If that doesn’t work, he adds, “It is easier to walk away and let them be mad than to mark something that isn’t even in their bounds.” One thing Anthony often comes across that he doesn’t have confidence in are questionable roadways. Arizona receives a lot of hard, but short rainstorms that can wash out roads. Being familiar with his territory, he knows when to steer clear of those roads and take a safer detour to get to a ticket if it lets him avoid a soft dirt area that his company vehicle couldn’t handle. He has even had a contractor give him and his equipment a ride to a ticket before when the weather and the roads didn’t give him any other options. Bad roads or not, Anthony prefers to drive a couple miles under the speed limit. He did have a work vehicle accident early in his career and it taught him that losing money from any sort of work suspension just wasn’t worth the risk of driving too fast, not wearing a seatbelt, or using a device while driving. In his own words, “I drive like it’s not my car, cause it’s not.” He says that his safe driving habits have carried over into how he drives his personal vehicle. “I drive my personal vehicle like a grandpa now. I have my wife yelling at me all the time to speed up.” Anthony and his wife have two children, a 13-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. In his free time, he enjoys many outdoor hobbies like hunting, fishing, and off-roading. It should come as no surprise that when it comes to hunting Anthony is as “old school” as he is when it comes to locating. He says of hunting, “I don’t hunt anything I can’t eat.” And added that he shot an elk last year that is still feeding his family today.