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30 MINUTES WITH JON WINTERS: Former Director of Claims

Thank you Jon for 32 years of hard work and dedication to USIC and the industry!

You’ve been with USIC for 32 years!  How did you get started here at USIC?  I was working as a surveyor for Madison Wisconsin based Mead & Hunt Engineering.  The survey crews worked out of town most weeks and after a couple of years of almost constant travel I decided to look for something closer to home.  I heard about SM&P Conduit Company through a notice from Madison Area Technical College.  SM&P was starting an operation in Madison which I believe was their third or fourth office.  I interviewed with Steve Baker and signed on shortly thereafter.

What made you want to come to work for this organization?  Really, Steve Baker.  During our interview he did a great job of conveying a vision for a fast-growing company that I could get into at a ground level.  Of course, all that came true.  I was accustomed to working outside and preferred that as well.

Have you changed positions at all?  I worked as a field locator for around two and a half years before being promoted to District Manager and then Regional Manager.  I moved to the Corporate office in Indianapolis in XYZ to work with Ray McDonald and others on contracts, new business start up’s and claims / quality issues.  I left the company but not the industry for a few years when I joined Indianapolis based Reliant Services and ultimately moved over to Central Locating Services.  In 2008, Mike Stayton put SM&P and Central Locating Service together to form USIC.  Then CFO Michael Quinn, asked me to direct the Claims group for the new company.

Do you have any insights during the 32 years?  Over the years I have been fortunate to work with many truly great leaders and teams.  USIC continues to be the kind of company where opportunities can become success if you are willing to step up and take on the challenges.

How has the industry changed during this time?  A lot has changed but at the same time, many things have not changed all that much.  When I started working as a field locator, we did not even have cell phones.  We went out each day with a clipboard full of paper tickets, a pager and a pocket full of quarters for the pay phone.  Just try to find a pay phone now.  One of the things which will continue to influence change in this type of utility service work is the regulatory climate.  Soon every state will have One Call law enforcement bureaus and federal oversight.   

What plans do you have when you retire?  I hope to travel more and work with our competitive hunting dogs.  I also have a fairly impressive list of DIY projects that have accumulated around the house.