Justyn Newell from the Spokane, WA profit center has been selected as the ELM Elite winner for August 2022. He currently locates the area around Loon Lake, WA, north of Spokane. Congratulations Justyn!
Justyn has been locating for ELM since 2017. He came to the job with no previous experience in the utility or construction industries. Justyn says that he had some understanding of what he would be doing but that you never really know until you start the job. “Its definitely a different job that not many people know about. You don’t really know what to expect,” says Justyn. “I liked it right away even though there was lots to take in right off the get go.”
One aspect of being a locator that Justyn had to learn on the job was how to develop relationships with his local utility service people and contractors. Part of the reason Justyn knew he needed to develop these relationships quickly is because he knew that tickets needed to get done and he had to figure it out one way or the other. Justyn likes the freedom ELM affords its locators but also recognizes that it’s sink or swim type environment isn’t for everybody.
Justyn has changed areas (within the same profit center) 3 times and has had to develop at least some new contractor relations each time as well. He is experienced enough now to know how to quickly realize when some contractor’s tickets will take more time than others, saying “It is a rural area so you get to know who calls in the difficult tickets and who is difficult to deal with.” While Justyn is always willing to call a contractor to further discuss what exactly needs to be located if the ticket details aren’t clear, he has now had that conversation enough times with certain locators to be able to stay ahead of their needs and correctly mark their dig areas on his own.
Early in his career Justyn experienced a damage that taught him a valuable lesson. Take more photos and take better photos. Justyn had marked utility lines in a new construction area with lots of traffic in and out that kicked away his paint. His marks were accurate, but he had taken pictures going in only one direction and pointed directly down at the ground. Without enough evidence to show his marks were good he got credited with a damage. Now he knows to take more pictures, in both directions, and at the proper angles to show more context around the marks. His simplest advice for taking pictures is “Take your time and take more pictures than you think you need.”
In his free time, Justyn enjoys being outdoors and spending time at the lake or going camping. He married his wife Emily just last year and this year on July 4th they welcomed their first child, a boy named Kashtyn. Justyn is enjoying having a newborn and at the time of this newsletter’s publication is still on parental leave to be home with his son.