June 12, 2020
Brian Williams takes his job as Alpine’s underground facility locator seriously because he knows that one misstep in his duties can result in a widespread service outage. He is passionate about his role in connecting customers. “After a big construction project is complete that I’ve done a lot of locates for, it’s somewhat empowering to see that nothing was damaged and no services were disrupted,” said Williams. He describes how he goes the extra mile to ensure safety and continuity for customers during excavating projects, “I’ve located cables where there is a lot on the line. I’ll get right down in the hole with contractors to ensure they don’t damage our facilities.”
If you’ve seen orange paint or an orange flag in a yard or along the roadside, it was likely placed there by Williams. He estimates that he locates numerous miles of underground cables each year in the hot sun, rain, and grass up to his waist.
During his 3-year tenure, Brian’s most significant work accomplishment is becoming familiar with the massive network he’s responsible for locating. “I’ve become intuitive with how cables are routed and what to do if things don’t locate right. It’s not all cut-and-dried,” he shared.
The importance of calling Iowa One Call – 811 before digging is paramount because of the disruption of services and the expense of replacing or repairing fiber. “If you interrupt someone’s services, you could take a business down, or it could impact a life or death situation by limiting access to 911. A cable cut can disrupt so many aspects of things since more people rely on the Internet.”
Brian likes to best connect with customers as he is out in the field locating facilities. “During one locate yesterday, two customers approached me with questions, which happens a lot. I give them the best answers I can, tidbits of advice, or direct them to Customer Service,” explained Brian.
He’s known around the office for being thorough and following through. “I’m kind of the go-to guy for miscellaneous projects and being a helping hand. I enjoy the variety in my job during the winter months when locates slow down,” described Williams.
Three words that describe Brian are: honest, diligent, and hardworking. Those close to him also know he’s reliable and has a great sense of humor. “I try to get people to laugh and lighten up the mood a bit,” he said with a chuckle.
Messy, lazy, and negative are three words that never describe Brian. He also has an adventurous side, too. He recalls a time in Mexico where zip-lining was a near-death experience, “It wasn’t safe at all! There were little platforms on giant trees, no safety equipment, it was crazy.”
Something unique about Brian is his attention to detail. “I see things most don’t notice. The other night on my way home, I noticed a blackbird was bouncing on the head of a deer, so I snapped a photo on my phone. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
“Be tenacious about getting it right” is the Alpine standard Williams most closely identifies with. “I’ve had contractors tell me that if they see my locates, they know I did them correctly, and they don’t even question them,” he explained confidently.
In the Loop:
- Hometown: Elkader, Iowa near Motor Mill
- Hobbies: Fishing, motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles
- What makes Brian laugh: Gullible people