UPI (Utility Professionals Inc.) has welcomed Courtney Tolson to the firm as Utility Coordinator. Courtney will be an incredible asset to the UPI team with his extensive background in the SUE industry.
Courtney has over seven years of experience in the industry, beginning his career as a Field Surveyor/Utility Locator. Since 2014, Courtney has proven his dedication + expertise and has been elevated to managerial positions overseeing multiple crews + ensuring the mapping of underground utilities is performed to the highest level of quality.
At UPI, Courtney will oversee all field crews, manage project schedules + verify projects are being accomplished safely, on time + on budget. He will also perform business development activities, maintaining relationships with our current clients + seeking out new opportunities. Additionally, he will assist the leadership team in strategy + firm operations to continue to position UPI as a strong force within the Mid-Atlantic region.
A Northern Virginia native, Courtney is a graduate of Manassas Park High School. When he’s not discovering what’s underground, he takes to the sky with his drone. A certified drone pilot, Courtney gets his thrills by flying his UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to explore and capture the world from different views.
Please join us in welcoming Courtney to the UPI team!
UPI (Utility Professionals Inc.) is pleased to share Joseph (Joe) Zink has been promoted to Operations Manager. Joe joined UPI in the fall of 2018 and quickly rose to a supervisory level due to his tenacious work ethic and ability to address clients’ needs quickly + efficiently. He coordinates the field crews + redirects as necessary when project schedules change. Additionally, Joe works alongside the crews in the field often, providing QA/QC and mentoring staff on best practices. When he is in the office, he divides his time between completing comprehensive project deliverables and developing relationships among current + prospective clients.
“Joe is very responsive, knowledgeable and great to work with. I can always depend on him to get a crew to our job sites within days of reaching out. The service provided by Joe and the UPI team have made them my go-to SUE,” says Kenny Abbott, Drilling Department Manager at ECS Limited, one of UPI’s repeat clients.
Joe’s current certifications include CSX Railway, OSHA + Confined Space Entry, and he continues to seek out others that in turn benefit our clients + projects. He attended Staking University Locator Training, as well as Bigman Geophysical Locator + GPR Training, a service UPI aims to offer later this year. Joe received his A.A. in Business Administration in General Studies from Northern Virginia Community College.
Extend a hearty congratulations to Joe by sending him an email! From all of us at UPI, we are very excited for Joe + look forward to seeing more as his career progresses.
2021 ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey Updates Affect Utility Locating
Beginning today, Tuesday, February 23, 2021, a new set of ALTA/NSPS standards have been adopted. One major change affects utility locating within the property boundaries. Per Section 5.E.iv:
“A client may select from (a) plans and/or reports
provided by the client, and (b) markings coordinated by the
surveyor pursuant to a private utility locate request.
Notably, there is not an option for markings requested by the
surveyor pursuant to 811 utility locate requests.”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
No longer will you be waiting for Miss Utility to mark, and possibly mismark, your site. Engaging UPI will give you a full picture of your work;
Your project stays on schedule – we understand how quickly your clients want your surveys completed. We deliver an accurate map the first go-around;
You have a turn key solution. Want to be able to overlay the work without worrying about locating + mapping the utilities yourself? UPI can map + locate utilities within the property limits on your project systems. Let us take on 11b!
With these new standards, you’ll need a go-to private locator you can trust. UPI has been providing utility locating in support of ALTA/NSPS surveys for our clients since we were founded. You can count on us to provide what you need as you acclimate yourself to these new standards.
Jessica Gillette Joins UPI as Business Development Manager
UPI (Utility Professionals Inc.) has welcomed Jessica Gillette, CPSM to the firm as Business Development Manager. Jessica has worked for UPI in a part-time capacity over the last three years providing marketing + branding guidance. We are excited to bring her on board full-time.
Jessica’s core responsibilities include leading + managing all business development + client relations for UPI. She will lead the firm’s strategy in growing our project + client portfolios, as well as expansions into other geographic locations. Additionally, she will lead, develop + implement all marketing strategies for the firm to continue positioning ourselves as a leading Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) firm within the Virginia, DC + Maryland markets. Jessica led + designed UPI’s rebranding strategy in 2017 and will continue to bolster the firm’s reputation through its messaging and branding.
A Northern Virginia native, Jessica has close to eight years of experience within the land development industry with a focus on civil engineering. In previous roles, she has increased content engagement exponentially, produced informational videos, increased website traffic through social media engagement + planned successful events – in person + virtual.
Jessica is highly involved in SMPS DC and served as Chair of Special Events on the 2018-2020 Board. She earned her Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) accreditation in 2018. Jessica is a graduate of Coastal Carolina University, receiving her B.S. in Marketing in 2011. In her free time, Jessica enjoys working out, performing stand-up comedy + spending time with her two-year-old son.
Please join us in welcoming Jessica to the UPI team!
It was a year and a half ago that I first held the relatively small piece of equipment that could save a client millions of dollars. That was my first day on the job as a Subsurface Utility Engineer.
I started in the Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) industry with no experience; what I did know was it was our responsibility to diminish damaged utilities and injuries on construction sites due to mismarked or unmarked underground utilities. Just like every new job, there have been challenges. Although similar to completing a jigsaw puzzle, completing the challenge instills a sense of pride. The opportunities presented to me since becoming a SUE Locator at UPI have proven I made the right career change and have only just begun my trajectory to becoming one of the best in the industry.
Quality Over Quantity
While most utility locators begin their career in the public sector, I am grateful I started mine on the private side with UPI. We have a commitment to quality above all else, not driven by a quota to complete as many tickets as possible in a day. We handle each project with the same level of importance, so our clients are always getting exactly what they need. Starting on the private side also presents more growth opportunities at a faster pace. I have been able to quickly advance in my career and am already transitioning to spending time in the office connecting on the front-end with clients.
The Equipment is Only as Good as the Locator Handling It
We work with top-of-the-line equipment in order to detect and map underground utilities. But ultimately, accurate and quality mapping is up to the locator. Misinformation on job sites and undetectable utilities are common, so problem solving is critical to successfully completing the job. Accepting that not everything is locatable was the hardest part for me, but learning how to effectively troubleshoot has taught me how to put all the puzzle pieces together. For example, I’ve gotten familiar with finding challenging utilities through records research and resourceful solutions to trace utilities, such as running fish tape through PVC to locate the line. It’s imperative to never get lazy with your work; laziness leads to mistakes. Take your time and make sure you are confident in what you’re doing.
View from the Field
I love being in the field and the time I get to spend outdoors and will continue to work in the field a few days a week. My boots have been on the ground of some of the biggest federal facilities in the region, to include the CIA Headquarters, Andrews Air Force Base, Quantico, Indian Head Naval Base and MLK Memorial. Our team has even mapped underground utilities in Spain at Naval Base Rota. My best memory to date is standing on the side of the runway at Andrews Air Force Base while watching the Fighter Jets take off 50 yards away. SUE gives you experiences many civilians don’t get and provides variety to keep you on your toes since no two jobs are the same.
Learn from the Best to Become One of the Best
The SUE industry is growing rapidly as builders and engineers truly recognize the value and security provided by having a private locator map and designate utilities. There is no better time than right now to get involved. Though a relatively young industry, there are SUE locators that have been around for 10+ years. Those are the people you want coaching you as you learn the ins and outs of locating. I’m fortunate to have started with the UPI team that brings this echelon of experience. It is a great feeling to be proud of the work we do and be part of large-scale projects that provide places for people to experience life to its fullest.