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November 19, 2019
Emerging technology, Virtual construction & technology, Safety

There's often a palpable energy at conferences. Despite varying situations and circumstance, everyone is there with a common goal: to learn.

At least that's always my goal. I love getting out there, hearing from like-minded people about innovative ideas that can be shaped and molded back at my own organization. But it's even better when I get to share what our team's developed and put into action. 

And I've been lucky enough to share Pepper's Underground Utility Damage Prevention (UUDP) process at two recent conferences: Lean Construction Institute Congress and the American Institute of Constructors' Constructor Conference.

Sharing our story isn't new to us. We've written about UUDP on our blog and industry publications have written about it. But it was important for us to start spreading the word directly to others in our industry – beyond our partners – who are facing the same challenges. 

We offered a peek behind the curtain, showing them our trials and tribulations; we shared the challenges that inspired the process, how we conquered pushback, the players involved, the overall evolution of UUDP and, ultimately, our results.

Not surprisingly, we came across loads of people who could relate to the start of our story, and they were searching for answers, too. Some of them were our competitors, and we happily shared what we had. Instead of keeping the program close to the vest, by sharing our process with everyone we hope to encourage a safer industry. No one benefits from disruption of services, costly repairs, injury or death. No one. So why would we keep UUDP to ourselves? 

"We share our process so everyone can be safer, not just our people. If another contractor is working at my kid's school, I want them to be on their A-game,"  Mike Alder, director of Virtual Construction, Indiana

I'll be honest – I believe there's truth to the saying that "a rising tide carries all the boats." Being on the team that developed this process means it's our responsibility to share what we've learned with the industry. We need to help create the tide.

And frankly, it can get overwhelming and exhausting. But then people get engaged, you hear their stories and you see how it's made a difference for them. It's validation that this process is valuable, and we're on the right track. 

We'll continue to keep working and keep sharing, not only with our own people, but the rest of the industry, too. We recognize our process isn't perfect. It is our hope that as more people become engaged and provide feedback, we will all continue to improve together. 

Because everyone deserves the safest jobsite possible.

About the Author

Dave Murphy

Dave MurphyVice President, Safety, Indiana

With more than three decades of industry experience, Dave Murphy serves as Pepper Indiana's Vice President of Safety. He is co-creator of the Underground Utility Damage Prevention process, has helped develop virtual safety trainings, and is an advocate for leadership development and open communication to improve safety in the field. Under his leadership, Pepper has received national recognition for its safety records and programs, including the Coalition for Construction Safety's 2020 Safety Innovation Award and the Associated General Contractors of America's 2018 National Construction Safety Excellence Award. 

Dave is a frequent speaker at local and national industry and safety conferences, including the National Safety Council Congress and Expo, AGC, AGC of Indiana, Lean Congress, American Institute of Constructors and more. He holds a Master of Science in Industrial Management from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Illinois State University. He is OSHA 30-hour certified, Green Advantage certified and has his American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) Healthcare Contractor certification.