UDig NY recognizes seven 2024 grads from BOCES & trade school programs for outstanding commitment to safety

East Syracuse, NY – UDig NY, the nonprofit 811 contact center serving Upstate New York, announced today that seven graduating students from BOCES, trade school, and high school programs have received the Jump Start Award. The Jump Start Award provides recognition, and a cash award of $500 to students graduating from BOCES, trade school or high school programs with a demonstrated commitment to safety and interest in the construction or excavation field.

“As these graduates gear up to navigate the construction industry’s opportunities and challenges, their achievement in meeting the Jump Start Award’s standards for underground safety lays the groundwork to enhance safety culture,” said Kevin Hopper, President / CEO of UDig NY. “I extend my congratulations to all the Jump Start Award winners and commend their educational institutions and teachers for nurturing an environment where safety is paramount.”

The following 2024 graduates were awarded the Jump Start Award from UDig NY:

  • Austin Fellows, Lafayette Jr./Sr. High School in Onondaga County
  • Brody Kerr, Wayne Technical & Career Center in Wayne County
  • Camdon McGrath, Seaway Career and Technical Education Center in St. Lawrence County
  • Laci Prignon, TST BOCES in Tompkins County
  • Max Russell, PNW BOCES in Westchester County
  • Zakary Linza, CA BOCES in Cattaraugus County
  • Zachary Saunders, WSWHE BOCES in Washington County

To be eligible for the award, students were required to complete UDig NY’s Certified Excavator in Safe Digging Best Practices (CEP) program. Students also wrote and submitted personal narratives regarding their future in the excavation industry, including the importance of safety, and provided references for their academic standing.

Recipients were selected from a pool of more than 60 applicants by UDig NY’s Damage Prevention Council Committee. UDig NY’s regional Damage Prevention Councils serve as a forum for members of the utility and excavation industries and other stakeholders to interact with each other and address issues of concern. The Councils work to identify regional challenges, and problem-solve solutions that combat damages to underground infrastructure and enhance community safety. Members also volunteer at community and industry events to raise awareness of excavation safety and the importance of contacting UDig NY before digging. The Jump Start Award is a part of the Damage Prevention Councils’ efforts to promote safety and encourage interest in the construction and excavation industries.

In addition to the Jump Start Award and Certified Excavator Program, UDig NY provides many educational initiatives to promote safe digging best practices. These include the Damage Prevention Conference & Expo, a free conference open to excavators, utility operators, public officials, and other professionals. The 2024 Damage Prevention Conference & Expo will be held October 15 & 16 in Poughkeepsie, New York. To learn more about the conference, visit UDigNY.org/conference. UDig NY also provides resources to teach children about safe digging, which can be found at kids.UDigNY.org.

About UDig NY

UDig NY is the place where all safe digging in Upstate New York starts. As the link between you and the member facility operators, UDig NY utilizes a contact center and industry-leading software – Exactix – to receive and transmit notifications of intent to dig in the form of underground utility location requests. UDig NY provides you with the tools to place and manage your location requests 24/7/365. UDig NY serves Upstate New York: the geographic region of New York State north of the New York City metropolitan area. New York City and Long Island are covered by New York 811.