Page 3 - Arkansas 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 4
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Publisher’s Perspective
If there is any one secret of success, it lies within our ability to listen to the other person’s view and then understand things from that person’s perspective as well as our own. It was encouraging to be part of that dialogue at the recent Arkansas Damage Prevention Summit.
Effective damage prevention is not now nor will it ever be about limiting liability when there is an incident. Effective damage prevention is infinitely more serious business. To be successful in achieving it, we must change the conversations around tables from the maintenance of traditional positions and views to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.
Accepting invitations to create consensus among stakeholders can
be productive. Continuing to see solutions through only one lens
rather working to change the culture of damage prevention at large is counterproductive.
The old “help me get this through and I’ll help you get yours through” is fundamentally wrong. It is not the cure for damage prevention any more than charity is a cure for poverty. We must work carefully to continue to identify and reach out to all stakeholders. It may not be possible to wait for all the various stakeholders to come to the table as organizations, and especially if the stakeholders are primarily concerned as to how it affects the individual organization.
This effort is about protecting vital underground facilities and more importantly protecting the lives and property of the citizens of our state. If we are really working to best serve their interests, then we’ll have their undying appreciation and support.
If they perceive we have more interest in protecting our turf than in protecting their homes, I am convinced we’ll find they don’t much care about corporate liability, the legal or technical superiority of one group over another. I’m convinced the names of the “big guns” that impress us are unknown to this silent majority of citizens who have placed their trust in us.
From excavator to regulator and from operator to legislator, let’s work diligently every day to earn the trust of our citizens and our fellow-stakeholders.
It is impossible not to be hopeful. But coming together is only a beginning. Many will find listening to opposing perspectives difficult, so in many ways, keeping together is real progress. Listening to understand each other is the only hope we have to achieving meaningful change. That will prove to be hard work. But if keeping together is progress, then working together is the path to success.
Without debate, much thought has gone into effective enforcement in Arkansas. Our ultimate success will depend on getting people involved with an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.
Enforcement laws have been passed in many states including several states that border us. But most have also learned that as difficult as it was to get legislation passed, it may have been the easiest part of the process. That’s part of the reason why getting stakeholders on board early in the process is critical.
Because after you get legislation passed, you will be faced with making it work effectively and fairly for everyone. It will still require reaching out to all stakeholders, learning to build the bridges that have been torn down over the years and somehow through all the dialogue, building an environment of mutual trust and respect that can only be accomplished through a fair, effective and transparent program.
While it requires some states longer to achieve this goal than others, I’m convinced we’ll get it done, because I believe in us!
Roger Cox President ACTS Now, Inc.
2020, Issue 4 Arkansas 811 Magazine • 1

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