2023 Damage Prevention Hero of the Year

Jim Hayes (Spring, 2023) 


Fiber Optics Pioneer. Jim Hayes, along with his wife Karen, embarked on their journey in the fiber optics industry in 1980 with the creation of the world's first fiber optic test equipment company, aptly named The Fiber Optic Test Equipment Company (FOTEC). Jim's pivotal role in co-founding the Fiber Optic Association (FOA) in 1995 has left an indelible mark on the industry's safety standards. His extensive body of work includes the development of reference materials, training curriculum, and active participation in standards activities. Jim's influence extends globally, emphasizing adherence to safety codes and standards for fiber installation. 

Beyond his impressive technical contributions, Jim Hayes is also a passionate advocate for safe excavation practices. His writings, training programs, and global outreach have underscored the importance of calling 811 before any excavation work, helping to reduce incidents and protect critical infrastructure. Jim Hayes stands as a beacon of knowledge and safety, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to advance damage prevention within the fiber optics industry.

Raymond Sonnier (Summer, 2023) 


Champion of Safe Digging. Raymond Sonnier has spent over seven years as a dedicated Damage Prevention Specialist/Coordinator for Atmos Energy Corporation in Lafayette, Louisiana. His career journey includes roles with the United States Infrastructure Group and a decade as a supervisor with UtiliQuest, LLC. Raymond's extensive experience in public relations, customer service, leadership, project planning, and management has made him a valuable asset to the industry. 

In recognition of his unwavering commitment to safety and damage prevention, Raymond was honored as "Locator of the Year" by Louisiana 811 in 2019. Raymond actively promotes safe digging practices and the importance of contacting 811 in advance of any excavation or demolition activity. His passion extends to visiting excavators in his territory, acknowledging those who follow safe practices, and providing guidance to those who need it. Raymond Sonnier's dedication and over 2,400 documented Atmos Energy Damage Prevention Ambassador stops since 2019 are a testament to his significant impact on safety within Louisiana and beyond. 

Tina Beach (Fall, 2023) 


Pipeline Safety Leader. With 17 years of experience in the energy industry, Tina Beach has emerged as a leading advocate for pipeline safety. Her career journey has included roles in Government Relations for CHS, Risk Management, and Compliance Consulting for Sander Resources, and over eight years as Manager of Standards and Compliance for Cascade Natural Gas Corporation. Tina's impact on the industry is undeniable, having founded state pipeline associations in seven states, significantly reducing liaison costs for operators across 14 states. 

Tina's commitment to damage prevention and safe excavation practices extends far and wide. She is an active contributor to organizations like the Pipeline Ag Safety Alliance (PASA) and the Pipeline Association for Public Awareness (PAPA), where her influence has shaped damage prevention initiatives from small-town efforts to worldwide campaigns. Tina's ability to connect with various groups and organizations has driven positive change, while her contributions to public awareness and industry education have been instrumental. Tina Beach's passion for safety, care for people and communities, and unmatched dedication make her a true Damage Prevention Hero. 

Karin Strub (Winter, 2023) 


Industry Connector and Collaborator. Karin Strub is an influential figure in the damage prevention and excavation safety industry, celebrated for her unwavering commitment to safety and her exceptional ability to connect people and organizations. Karin has played a pivotal role in promoting safe digging practices during her tenure at Excavation Safety Alliance. 

Her impact extends to various organizations and initiatives, including her participation in the Coastal and Marine Operators Pipeline Industry Initiative, American Society of Safety Professionals, and the Pipeline Association for Public Awareness. Karin's relentless commitment to safety and her skillful moderation of Town Hall discussions have made her a true Damage Prevention Hero in the industry, fostering open dialogue, identifying solutions to industry challenges, and cementing her status as a champion for safe excavation practices. 

These four individuals exemplify what it means to be a Damage Prevention Hero. We salute their unwavering dedication and commitment to making our world a safer place. 

Voting is open until the conclusion of the Welcome Reception at the Global Excavation Safety Conference on Tuesday, March 19th at 6:00 PM CST. To cast your vote, visit ExcavationSafetyAlliance.com/HeroVote

Staff Report


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