TThe Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority (The Authority) was established in 2010 by the Maryland legislature (Senate Bill 911); which updated the existing Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Law, more commonly known as the “Miss Utility” or 811 law. The Authority is a peer driven organization, that has been authorized to enforce the Miss Utility law in the form of mandatory training or fines for violators.
The Authority is an agency of the Executive Branch of Maryland State government; and acts as a quasi-judicial body governed by APA rules when reviewing and hearing violations of the 811 law. The Authority also has the ability to assess civil penalties. All fines collected by the Authority are used solely to underwrite its
Educational and Outreach activities. The Authority is self-funded through a nominal surcharge on “Miss Utility” tickets. The Authority also competes annually for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s – Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) – State Damage Prevention grants, that help to support some Authority activities. The Authority does not receive any state funds or appropriations.
The nine members of the Authority are appointed by the Governor to serve staggered two-year terms. As Authority members, these individuals sit as Administrative judges, when hearing and determining probable violations. They do not receive any compensation or any reimbursement for expenses.
Erik Phillips currently holds the position of Director of Operations for Maryland, Virginia and DC for UtiliQuest. Erik began his career with UtiliQuest in 2002 as a damage prevention technician and has held various roles since that time which has allowed him to gain extensive knowledge in the locating and excavating industries. He participates in many committees and events in the damage prevention community.
As the Director of Operations, Erik has an ownership mentality, leads by example and is a role model for his management team. His ability to communicate timely and a “customer first” mindset has been essential in building effective relationships between UtiliQuest and their clients. His demand for excellence from himself and his team in both effort and in character has made a positive impact on the business.
Erik was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and currently resides in Pasadena, MD. He is happily married to his wife Heather and has two children.
Joyce Brooks was born and grew up in Washington, DC and lived most of her adult life in Prince George’s County. She raised two daughters and has one grandson who all live nearby. She is very involved in her church community at Most Holy Rosary and is an active member of several charitable organizations. She has also volunteered with several literacy programs for children. She believes that reading is the basis for a good education
Joyce worked for Verizon in several management positions, including managing contact centers of various sizes specialized in customer service, sales and satisfaction. She implemented Call Center Operations Management Processes, including personnel development, measurement processes and re-engineering work processes. She retired in 1998 after 30 years of service and joined a call center management consulting company as Vice President of Operations where she has successfully completed multiple projects both nationally and internationally. Projects included facilitating work groups through a system change process and provided ongoing consulting services to the team to ensure/measure effectiveness; implemented Team Based Management in several large teams, including a detailed educational communications plan.
Joyce has an undergraduate degree from National Louis University in Business Management and a masters degree in Organizational Effectiveness from American University.
Joyce lives in Upper Marlboro, MD with her husband. She likes to read, travel, garden and entertain. Her greatest pleasure is spending time with family.
Kelly began her career with One Call Concepts in 1995 starting as a Customer Service Representative for Miss Utility. Since that time, Kelly has served in various roles within OCC working closely with all stakeholders. Early in her career, Kelly focused on leveraging the internet to advance damage prevention and provide solutions for end users. Kelly managed the initial launch and design of OCC’s ITIC application and was an integral part of designing the original Ticket Information Exchange (TIE) System for the state of Virginia and Ticket Check in Maryland. Kelly soon completed her Masters degree in Management Information Systems and went on to design and build Search & Status, Ticket Check, Locator Ticket Management and a handful of other applications. Kelly has also worked closely on several law revisions in many states that One Call Concepts serves. Her depth of experience gives Kelly a true appreciation for each stakeholders vantage point and her time spent with internal and external customers gives her a unique perspective.
Michael brings with him to the Maryland Authority more than thirty years of Natural Gas Utility experience.
Customer safety, safety for the General Public and Employee Safety are very important to him. He says, he will continue to seek opportunities to make a difference in the Communities where he lives, work and support.
Michael’s utility experience began as a Teller-Collection Clerk in 1986. He has held several positions with increasing responsibilities. His past experiences includes the Supervision of Plant and Service Operations, coaching, directing and developing employees. He was responsible for overseeing the entire plant and service operations which included installation, repair, replacement and abandonment of mains and services, establishment of service, Emergency Response and more. He also held the position of Operations Training Specialist where he was responsible for all Plant training activities.
Michael is most proud of being a change agent. Responsible for the successful implementation of change activities across the Columbia Gas of Maryland footprint.
Tamara Neal is the Manager of Operations Dispatch and Systems Operations Support with Washington Gas.
Tamara has been with Washington Gas for 7 years starting as a Crew Assistant in Field Operations, to CAD Dispatcher in Operations Dispatch, Sr. Specialist in Construction, Supervisor in Damage Prevention and currently Manager of Operations Dispatch and Systems Operations Support.
Tamara has over 12 years’ experience working in the utility industry, starting her career at Verizon as a service technician.
Tamara currently sits as member of the Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority.
Tamara was a participant in the Maryland Title 12 Rewrite.
Tamara holds an Associates Degree in Construction Technology from ITT Technical Institute and is working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Leadership at Ashford University.
Derek Shreves is currently the Public Works director for the Town of Sykesville. Derek began his working career in the construction field with an underground utility contractor in
Colorado. He worked as an equipment operator and supervisor, specializing in domestic water
distribution, sewer and irrigation systems.
After several years in construction Derek moved on to the solid waste industry, holding various
operational and management roles.
It was the solid waste industry that brought Derek to Maryland, in 2005. As a General Manager for a
regional mid-Atlantic waste company he managed operations and logistics for Hauling and Transfer
Station operations in the Baltimore Metro area.
Derek is pleased to bring his years of management experience to the board. He lives in Carroll County with Jeanell, his wife of 35 years, and has 3 children and a Granddaughter.
Paul Kwiatkowski was appointed a member of the Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority in 2020. He is Supervisor of the Right-of-Way Utility Permit Group for Howard County DPW for the past 8 years. He has 15 years’ experience inspecting, permitting and documenting buried utility installations in the public rights-of-way of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties. He is dedicated to public safety and protecting Howard County’s buried utilities and roadway assets. Paul has over 40 years’ experience in utility and transportation construction in a family owned business, private business and local government as owner, laborer, foreman, surveyor, inspector and supervisor. He appreciates the support of the talented professionals and knowledgeable people in the Bureau of Engineering, the Construction Inspection Division and the Department of Public Works.
Paul was born and raised in Maryland and currently resides in Carroll County. Paul is honored to be married to Claire Kwiatkowski for 35 years and is proud of 3 accomplished children.
Amber Brengel works for Beltsville Construction Supply, Inc. Beltsville Supply has served the Utility Industry for over 45 years since her father, Dick Brumme, started selling sewer lasers from the trunk of his car. In 1994, and after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Maryland, Amber emerged as a vital partner in the company she had known all her life. From streamlining the computer operations, rental fleet and inventory, to developing and maintaining management systems and controls, Amber has truly learned the business from the inside out. Her attention to client details, fueled by an understanding of the unique needs of utility contractors, have enabled her to position Beltsville Construction Supply as a critical partner in the local contractor supply chain. She was appointed as a representative on the Maryland Damage Prevention for Public Works Contractors Association in October 2019. Amber resides in New Market, MD with her husband and two children.
Walter F. Gainer of Ellicott City, 75, died on June 29, 2020, after a short illness. Walter was the President of W.F. Wilson & Sons a family owned underground utility construction company, where he worked for 42 years. An original member of the Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority, Walter was instrumental in the development of the legislation that later became the Title XII law in Maryland, more familiarly known as the “Miss Utility” law. Walter served five terms totaling nine years on the Authority as the Excavator member (three representing the Public Works Contractors Association and two terms representing the Associated Contractors of Maryland. During his last two terms on the Authority, Walter served as the Authority Treasurer and as a Utility Contractor lead representative on the 2020 Title XII re-write Steering Committee. His leadership in underground safety was a career long passion. He was a member of the Common Ground Study, which established the foundation of a nationwide partnership with excavators, facility owners, allied industry stakeholders and the federal government whose common goal was to set standards for protecting underground infrastructure, insure the safety of those who worked in the field and that of the general public. The Study findings were submitted to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1999 and became the basis for the “Pipes Act”, the federal statute governing the installation and safety of underground pipelines. It was also the genesis of the Common Ground Alliance; which is an international organization dedicated to underground safety. As a thought leader in the construction industry, he was active in the Associated Utilities Contractors Association and was elected for a term as President of the National Utilities Contractors Association and the Maryland Utility Contractors Association. He was Chairman of the Excavation Committee for National Pipeline Safety and a member of the Maryland Water Quality Committee. Mr. Gainer received the Maryland Ditch Digger of the Year Award and the Maryland Utility Contractors Founders Award. He "died with his boots on" as he always said he would, remaining President of W.F. Wilson & Sons until his death. Walter was married 42 years to the love of his life, Kris Gainer years and was the father of three children. The underground safety movement and the utility contracting community have lost a dear friend and tireless advocate.