Congratulations to Ken Turner from Phoenix, AZ for being named this month’s ELM Elite winner.
Ken has two brothers also working as ELM locators, John and Steve. John previously won ELM Elite last February. Ken credits both of them for getting him into this line of work and for helping him succeed at it. One of the first things he learned on the job is that it wasn’t as easy as he thought it was going to be but having experienced locators in the family helped. He says, “I could lean on those guys and that helped a lot. If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Thinking back on his early days for ELM, Ken can’t help but laugh about how having 6 tickets in a day would freak him out. He remembers thinking, “man, all that in one day?” but now having 40 tickets doesn’t faze him. Besides just experience on the job, Ken was able to increase his production by setting goals and challenging himself to be more efficient. Little things like carrying extra paint and flags help him reduce the number of trips he must make for more supplies. “There’s nothing worse than running out of paint halfway through a job. Walking back and forth, you’re not getting anything done,” he adds.
One impediment to efficiency Ken had to tackle early in his career was spending too much time before marking a ticket as a trouble locate. He says, “I used to just overthink it all. Sometimes, on paper, everything looks like it’s going to work, but when you get out in the field, it’s a different story.” Recognizing that his initial training couldn’t have covered every possible situation he might come across helped him with this issue. Now if all his usual trouble shooting attempts aren’t helping, he knows he needs to move on to his next ticket, instead of spending another 30 minutes in vain and then still marking it as a trouble locate. “If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. That’s why we have guys to escalate trouble tickets to.”
Ken is committed to creating a safe work environment. Whether he is driving or on a job site he strives to always “keeps his head on a swivel.” He knows that you shouldn’t let other people’s behaviors affect your own, such as driving above the speed limit just because other cars are, but you still need to pay attention to everyone else and be aware of your surroundings. “This job is all about production, but you’re not going to get anything done if you don’t get there safely.”
In his free time Ken enjoys barbecuing with his pellet smoker. Brisket is his favorite, but he also enjoys preparing ribs, pork butts, and just about anything you can smoke. He’s even been known to share with his coworkers and other utility workers that he knows.