By: Lareina Taing
Education is the key to locator success. Founded in 1999, Staking University (Staking U) established the first year-round training program to educate and certify locators on locating equipment and best practices. Contacting Montana 811 (MT 811) to get utilities located is the first important step in the safe digging process, making it essential for locators to learn how to provide complete and accurate locate information.
On September 19-20, 2018, Staking U will host a Locator Certification Seminar (LCS) at North Western Energy in Billings, MT. The LCS will include classroom and outdoor presentations intended to teach Montana locators:
Click here for a complete LCS class syllabus. (link here with http://www.locatingunlimited.com/PDFs/LCS_Outline.pdf )
The Staking U campus is located in Manteno, IL, where it hosts 22, 5-day Campus Classes and six, 2-day Locator Certification Seminars (LCSs) every year. In addition to hosting classes in Manteno, Staking U conducts approximately 25 LCSs off-site. Different utilities, one-call centers, and municipalities across the nation host these off-site classes. Staking U also teaches customized onsite trainings at their customer’s locations. Their customers range from distribution utility companies to military bases and government agencies.
Due to the hands-on nature of these courses, Staking U recommends smaller class sizes of 10 to 15 students for a personalized experience. Participants have the opportunity to locate various types of utilities by using up to 15 different brands of instruments, which broadens their equipment expertise.
North Western Energy
1944 Monad Dr.
Billings, MT 59102
Class runs from 8:30am-4pm
$695 per person
411 South Evergreen St.
Manteno, IL 60950
During past LCS courses, I’ve gathered insight from two Staking U Instructors on why attending this educational opportunity is beneficial for all locators. Paul Larkin, a Staking U Course Instructor, has worked in the locating industry for over 20 years. Paul has worked for Staking U for over 12 years. He believes that it is important for locators to attend an LCS because “knowledge is the key to damage prevention. [Locators] have to be able to understand the instrument and what it's trying to tell them. In other words, they need to know how to differentiate good (accurate) information from bad (inaccurate) information.”
Since 2013, John Foster has been an Instructor for Staking U at their Hemet, CA campus. He has over 30 years of experience in pipeline construction and underground pipe and cable locating, including work in the U.S. and abroad. As an experienced professional in the field, he believes that “it's important for locators to receive this training to understand field work and the theory of electromagnetic locating. Many locators only receive limited training from their company or from the sale representatives. When you learn that different frequencies will do different things, where to apply the knowledge you receive, and how to be certain of accurate markings, this can truly boost the confidence of the locator.”
It is often said that locating is not a science but is instead an art. Developing an understanding of locating equipment and the information it provides is essential to mastering that art. That’s not the whole picture, however, because damage prevention is a shared responsibility. We all have to do our part to keep everyone safe and underground lines in service. That’s why it’s so important to contact MT 811, so that we can notify the affected facility operators, and they can dispatch their locators to mark your utility lines before you dig!
To learn more about Staking U, click here. (link here with http://locatingunlimited.com/ )