damage prevention awards

JULIE Announces Damage Prevention Advocacy Awards

JOLIET, IL – The Board of Directors at JULIE, Inc. (JULIE) announced the winners of the Gina Meehan-Taylor Damage Prevention Advocacy Awards at its recent annual meeting. Kevin Basham, of NPL Construction, Tom Somerville of Apex Landscaping and Zach Billings of Wheaton Sanitary District, were chosen as the 2023 recipients for their dedication as advocates of damage prevention.

Chosen from a pool of nominations from throughout Illinois, JULIE selected Basham as one of the winners because of tremendous strides in educating, preventing and reducing workplace incidents in his 8 years with the company. For Basham and NPL, safety is always number one. He was recognized as a damage prevention leader at NPL and for his knowledge, dedication and attention to detail which is unmatched in regards to safe digging practices.

Somerville was chosen as a second recipient because he oversees more than 8,000 locates each season and works with over 40 municipalities to coordinate their lists and locates so crews can dig safely. All his projects are pre-marked and notes are clear to assist locators. Somerville was recognized for taking the locate process very seriously for the protections and safety of all involved.

As a sewer inspector, Billings he has been the sole member of the sewer department at the Wheaton Sanitary District for the past 4 years. He is responsible for performing locates at the 35-acre sanitary district and oversees 67 miles of sewer lines, 1,600 manholes and 2 lift stations for Carol Stream,
Glen Ellyn and Wheaton. Billings takes pride in his position and works around the clock to answer all JULIE calls and emergencies while establishing critical relationships improving the district’s GIS system, implementing new technologies and promoting the importance of JULIE to staff, professional excavators and homeowners.

JULIE established this award in memory of Meehan-Taylor. She was a damage prevention professional with Ameren Illinois, who was passionate about protecting underground utilities. She actively promoted and spread the message about the importance and need to contact JULIE and the 811 message prior to digging. Meehan-Taylor had also served on our Board of Directors and Public Education Committee.

“Gina was a wonderful friend, colleague and damage prevention champion,” said Mark Frost, JULIE’s executive director. “We are proud her legacy can live on through these awards which allow us to recognize others making a difference in the lives of those who live and work around underground utilities.”

Nominations are sought from anyone within the industry including utility members, excavators, first responders, locators and others who embody Meehan-Taylor’s passion for safety. Nominations are due on May 31 each year.

A not-for-profit agency based in Joliet, JULIE represents 1,980 members and covers Illinois, outside the city of Chicago. JULIE personnel do not perform locating or marking services. For more information about the award nomination process or safe digging practices, go to www.JULIEBeforeYouDig.com.

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