News & Events

Marty Trease is February’s ELM Elite winner

Marty Trease reports to the ELM office in Clearfield, UT and has for his entire locating career, 18 years. However, for 17 of those 18 years he’s been working primarily in Layton, the city he calls home. Marty says, “I live here, so it gives me pride to be protecting my own city.” Well now ELM is proud, proud to name Marty the ELM Elite winner for February 2023.

Before locating for ELM, Marty was already familiar with the 811 process and had witnessed line damages before, as he worked in industrial fencing. Marty was on site when his foreman struck a 4-inch gas main that had been marked incorrectly. Not only did the entire job get shut down but the street had to be blocked off and nearby homes were evacuated. Watching this all unfold left a lasting impression on Marty, especially since it happened in an area he still locates today. He says, “Every time I go down there that replays in my head. Every single time. I don’t ever want to have that experience.” Having the memory of seeing a line damage from the ticket holder’s perspective has been a frequent reminder of what could happen to any member of his community if he isn’t accurate with his marks.

In his 18-year career, Marty has seen a lot of changes introduced. Cameras were first implemented very early in his ELM employment.  At the time, using them was optional as the number of pictures you could take was limited. He recalls being called to a damage and wishing he had taken photos as he knew his marks were accurate, but he was thankful he had at least flagged the location. However, when he showed up there was no paint or flags and the lot looked freshly scraped. Without photographic evidence, Marty was worried he’d have to take the blame for a damage that wasn’t his. Luckily, when the line was being repaired, they found his flags buried in the trench, showing that the contractor was trying to cover their mistake. Even though taking photos has been required for many years now, this can still serve as an important lesson to take ample and accurate photos.

Marty has been injured on the job before but used the incident to learn something that has probably helped him prevent other possible injuries. It was raining and he had walked up a set of steps without any issue, but on the way down the same steps his feet slipped out from under him, and he fell backwards, hurting his elbows. The steps were made from rail ties which are coated in oil that becomes slippery with rain. Now Marty always takes the time to consider the material of any step or walkway before walking on it, as well as the weather conditions, and proceeds carefully or takes a different route when he thinks it is necessary.

Being in the same area as long as he has been, Marty knows his contractors very well and maintains good relationships with them. He says the key is keeping your communication focused on what is important to them and their jobs and not asking questions in a way that sounds only beneficial to yourself. Anything Marty might ask about a ticket really does come from wanting to improve the quality of his work. He just makes sure to choose his words in a way that properly shows his intent. “You’re doing it to be more efficient for them, and don’t want to sound like you’re trying to get out of something. Wording it so they know you’re looking out for their needs, they are more forthcoming and easier to work with,” he says.

In his spare time Marty enjoys camping, fishing, and working on cars. Before his fencing job, he worked as a sheet metal fabricator and still enjoys making things in his garage like a new tool for a specific job, whether it’s for working on a car or grabbing a tracer wire behind a locked gate. He has been with his wife for 26 years and together they like taking “mini vacations” to nearby Wendover, NV to enjoy the nice restaurants and slot machines.