Beginning in 2013, Texas811 will have a new Director of Damage Prevention. His name is JimBob Sims, and there couldn’t be a better man for the job. Lee Marrs, President and CEO of Texas811, says, “If you walked into a crowded room of 100 people, and you said to the person you were with – point out the guy named JimBob, they’d go right to him. He is from a small panhandle town called Happy, Texas, ‘the town without a frown,’ and JimBob personifies that attitude. He is an unceasingly positive advocate for the concept of shared responsibility and stakeholders working together for damage prevention. He has an amazing ability to work with anyone, anywhere, toward a positive result. Many of our member companies will be familiar with Mr. Sims. He’s worked in nearly every area of the state at different times. For those of our members who have not yet met him, we are just very excited to introduce him as our new Director of Damage Prevention. He has a very high profile in the industry, and a uniquely Texan sensibility. We’re proud to have him as the face of damage prevention in Texas.”
JimBob, you are known as having a great love for all things Texas, but you’ve also had an interest in national and global damage prevention through your work with the Common Ground Alliance. How do you think that will influence your work at Texas811?
Well, my boss David Wofford (retiring Director of Damage Prevention) taught me that you can always tell a Texan but you can’t tell ‘em much. Hopefully, my exposure to how things get done in other parts of the country has opened my mind to recognizing good possibilities and new innovations we could use in Texas.
What aspects of your new position are you excited about?
Just getting to know more of our members, and also getting to work more with Doug Meeks, Jaime Medina, and John Sparks at Texas811. All three of them have such a wealth of knowledge of the industry and they are all such good people. I’ve learned so much from them and I look forward to all of us growing together.
The past decade has brought a lot of technological advances in field communication and mapping and those things have made one-call centers more effective than ever. Using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter is a relatively new phenomenon in the damage prevention industry. How do you think having a presence on social networking sites will enhance Texas811’s communication with stakeholders?
They’re just another tool to become accessible to our stakeholders. We’re just trying to think outside the box and get with the times, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction with our stakeholders. The four of us (JimBob, Doug, Jaime, and John) are rolling up and down the highways every day. Just this year, we have had over 200,000 face-to-face contacts with member stakeholders in the State of Texas, talking about damage prevention, 811, and “Call Before You Dig.” Our team is the face of damage prevention in Texas. Facebook and Twitter are fun ways to put bits of news out there and are just another way to reach us with concerns or questions. But face-to-face interactions and networking through the 23 regional damage prevention councils are how we really find out the issues, problems and concerns that our industry faces in Texas.
What does the future hold for Texas811 under your directorship?
I have hope for bigger and better things, but it’s really about continuing the vision of David Wofford and his work to create regional councils and local empowerment. Our team wants to develop that vision through our annual summit, involvement and support of the regional councils, this magazine, social network sites, and meeting with our member companies and stakeholders. Our goal is that every man, woman, and child in the state of Texas be aware of our work and know what 811 is. I guess that’s a lofty goal, but we’re a hard-working team and we can do it. Our vision and commitment are as high now as they ever were. David was a good mentor to all of us and our team will continue his good work.