Dig Safely New York, Inc. held its Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. More than 150 people attended this year’s 46th annual membership meeting. Speakers included Commissioner Diane X. Burman, and Alex Dankanich with PHMSA.
Diane X. Burman was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Public Service Commission on June 21, 2013. Her term runs through February 1, 2018.
Board of Directors
Newly appointed Executive Director Kevin Hopper also addressed the attendees with the organization’s accomplishments in 2014, and direction and goals for 2015.
All open seats on the Board of Directors were filled at the meeting.
The 2015 Board of Directors includes (from left to right, top to bottom), Michael Bushart, City of Rochester Water Bureau; Karl Reer, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation; Thomas Gumble, Frontier Communications; Brian Loy, Buckeye Partners, L.P.; Michael Kolceski, Town of DeWitt; Tom Sutton, Kinder Morgan; Henry Hutchinson, Consolidated Edison; William VanDame, City of Rochester Engineering; David D’Angelo, Metropolitan Water Board; Jon McKnight, Time Warner Cable; Kevin Hopper, Dig Safely New York; J. Joseph Wilder, Esq., Wilder & Linneball, LLP; Matt Scorzelli, Syracuse Utilities; Leon Hacker, Verizon; Laurie Brown, National Grid; Joseph Laraiso, Independent Contractor/Consultant; Donald Ayers, Enterprise Products; Leonard Perfetti, NYSEG/RG&E; Claudine Campbell-Whitehead, Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc.
The meeting ended with the presentation of awards.
It is a tradition to recognize extraordinary individuals who have performed exceptional contributions towards Dig Safely New York's efforts across the state. Almost every participant puts in a great amount of effort and time into the prevention of underground facility damages. This year’s President’s Award was presented to an individual who was instrumental to implement changes to Code Rule 753 in the support of Automated Positive Response (APR) in NYS; allowing for better communication and coordination between the one-call center, excavators, and utility operators, and his efforts over the many years in damage data collection to support and protect underground facilities. The 2014 President’s Award was awarded to Steve Blaney.
Golden Spade Award
The Golden Spade Award is presented to any board member who retires from the Board of Directors. This year, the Golden Spade Award was presented to Joseph Mandara with Orange & Rockland Utilities. All Directors and Officers of Dig Safely New York, Inc. serve in unpaid positions. To acknowledge their support and contributions towards our goal of Damage Prevention and Excavation Safety, they are recognized with the Golden Spade Award upon retirement.
Damage Prevention Council Awards
It is also a tradition at Dig Safely New York to recognize extraordinary individuals who have performed exceptional contributions towards Dig Safely New York’s efforts across the State. Almost every participant puts in a great amount of time and effort, but these awards are intended to recognize the volunteers from the Damage Prevention Councils who have gone above and beyond. .
Brad Simon of Harrison and Burrowes was awarded the Capital Region Damage Prevention Council Award. Simon has been an active participant with the Capital Region Damage Prevention Council. He has supported many events, provided information and ideas during meetings, and has been instrumental in promoting Utility Damage Prevention, Excavator safe work practices, and the “Call before you Dig” message.
John Mattiace of NYSEG was awarded the Tom Petroff Council Member of the Year Award from the Central New York Region Damage Prevention Council. Through his many years of service with NYS Electric and Gas, this damage prevention partner has been able to coordinate many promotional and educational events in and around Auburn, Geneva, and Canandaigua, as well as participate in 811 promotional events such as The Syracuse St Patrick’s Day Parade and the Auburn DoubleDays. Most recently, Mattiace has completed a successful two-year run as our council chair.
Stephen Nostro of Orange & Rockland Utilities was awarded the Hudson Valley Region Damage Prevention Council Award. Nostro has exhibited a high degree of passion and exuberance towards damage prevention. He has worked tirelessly to spread the damage prevention message at times even seven days a week. Stephen “Steve” Nostro has co-presented with the Hudson Valley Field Representative to numerous construction companies, participated in weekend events such as Touch A Truck, evening presentations to various associations, and not to mention is a huge advocate for Damage Prevention.
Debbie Green of the City of Rochester Water Bureau was awarded the Utility Coordinating Committee Damage Prevention Council Award. As sometimes occurs within organizations, an active member holding a key position resigns, leaving a vacancy which must be filled immediately. In 2013, The UCC council Secretary resigned, rendering the council in need of an immediate replacement. Without hesitation, Debbie Green stepped in to fill this position. Without missing a beat, and in fact adding new beats, Debbie not only filled the Council Secretary position but also enhanced record keeping procedures. Debbie completed the remainder of the vacated term and has continued to serve since that time.
Brian Blinn of Cattaraugus County was awarded the Western New York Region Damage Prevention Council Award. Brian is a tireless advocate for DSNY. He is constantly looking for ways to spread the Dig Safely New York message. This past year he was the driving force behind having a Cattaraugus County trailer outfitted with Dig Safely New York logo, in fact every piece of equipment with wheels has a Dig Safely New York logo on it. He has volunteered at every public event and again volunteered to hold his position as WNY DPC chairman for another 2-year term.
Unable to attend the Annual Business Meeting was Ed Jeffers with the Oneida County DPW; Jim Putnam, retired NYS Department of Transportation; and Val Basil with the NYS Department of Transportation. All three individuals will be presented with their awards at their upcoming respective DPC meetings.
Jeffers was announced as the Mohawk Valley Region Damage Prevention Council Award winner. Jeffers has had over a decade dedicated to damage prevention in Oneida County and beyond. Through his work with the Oneida County Department of Public Works he has been able to facilitate impactful promotional events for safety such as the annual construction career days. This person has also volunteered his time to assist in a large number of educational breakfasts as well as the annual excavator safety seminars. Most recently he was able to promote 811 day with handouts at the Bouckville Antiques Show, with thousands of attendees. Although he has retired from the DPW this year, it is our hope that we will continue to see him from time to time at our monthly meetings and promoting safe digging to the community. It is our honor to present this year’s councilperson of the year award to Ed Jeffers.
Putnam was announced as the Southern Tier Region Damage Prevention Council Award winner. “Dedicated” as described in the dictionary: (of a person) devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty or integrity: Jim’s picture should be in that dictionary, along with the definition. Although retired, Jim continues to support damage prevention, thus helping to protect the lives and property within his community. It’s not unusual to see him attending functions a hundred miles from home, always willing to help, always smiling and upbeat. Jim’s dedication is impressive, his integrity unmatched and his persona an asset to the entire organization.
Basil was announced as the Northeast Region Damage Prevention Council Award winner. For 2014, the Northeast council made a unanimous decision in selecting Val to receive the Northeast Damage Prevention Council Award. Getting our message out to the community was greatly enhanced by his actions. In addition to his participation at our monthly damage prevention meetings, he was also able to provide and set up electronic information boards along Interstate 87 in April (Safe Digging Month) and again in August (811 Day). He also took the initiative and volunteered to coordinate our coloring book program. His continuing involvement in the local damage prevention council is very much recognized and appreciated by all of us. Val is not here today and the council will present him with his award at the next council meeting.