Gold Shovel Association appoints Mel Christopher as new Executive Director, Cheryl Campbell transitions to Vice Chair of the GSA Board of Directors

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The Gold Shovel Association (GSA) board of directors has appointed Mel Christopher as Executive Director of its Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) program and appointed Cheryl Campbell as Vice Chair of the GSA Board. The GSS program works to eliminate damages to underground infrastructure through adoption of damage prevention safety management systems and use of performance-improving metrics.

Mel Christopher to serve as Gold Shovel Association Executive Director

Gold Shovel has a proven track record of reducing life-threatening damages, and we will continue to engage all the damage prevention stakeholders to expand and ensure maximum effectiveness of the program.

The Gold Shovel Association (GSA) board of directors has appointed Mel Christopher as Executive Director of its Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) program and appointed Cheryl Campbell as Vice Chair of the GSA Board. The GSS program works to eliminate damages to underground infrastructure through adoption of damage prevention safety management systems and use of performance-improving metrics.

Mr. Christopher is well-known within the energy and utility industries as a champion for public and employee safety. He has broad experience in the energy industry, with his most recent role as Senior Vice President at Pacific Gas & Electric. Mr. Christopher has actively participated in industry associations and has served on the Boards of various nonprofit organizations.

“Damage to underground infrastructure continues to be a threat to public safety and service reliability for everyone who provides services within this area,” said Mr. Christopher. “I look forward to helping reduce this impact, in order to ensure the safety of the public as well as improved service to customers. Gold Shovel has a proven track record of reducing life-threatening damages, and we will continue to engage all the damage prevention stakeholders to expand and ensure maximum effectiveness of the program.”

Mr. Christopher will replace Cheryl Campbell, who was named GSA Executive Director in early 2019. Ms. Campbell will join the GSA Board of Directors as Vice Chair and will continue to focus on additional board activities within the energy industry.

“Cheryl successfully spearheaded the reorganization of the Association in 2019 and under her leadership the group saw significant growth and strong collaboration among key stakeholders in damage prevention. We thank her for her leadership and service in this role and look forward to working with Mel as Executive Director and Cheryl on the GSA Board of Directors,” said Luke Litteken, Senior Vice President of Xcel Energy and chair of the GSA board.

Comprised of industry leaders who volunteer their time, the GSA Board sets strategic direction, defines policies including program certification guidelines, develops performance-tracking metrics, establishes membership dues and privileges, and provides high-level guidance on reporting software.
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About Gold Shovel Standard

Gold Shovel Standard (GSS) is a nationally recognized safety program committed to preventing life-threatening damages to buried infrastructure. GSS promotes common and transparent metrics and partnership in all aspects of damage prevention, enabling members to drive continuous improvement. Please visit their website at GoldShovelStandard.org.

About Mel Christopher

Mel Christopher has a record of improving utility operational performance, developing strong teams, reducing public safety incidents associated with natural gas operations, and improving safety performance of large and diverse workforces. Most recently, Mr. Christopher served as Senior Vice President, Gas Operations at Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), one of the largest utilities in the United States serving more than 16 million people in Northern and Central California. By focusing on decreasing risk in utility operations and improving work processes, PG&E’s Gas Operations has reduced the damage rate to underground infrastructure by more than 60% over the last 5 years.

Mr. Christopher has been active with the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), and with the American Gas Association (AGA), serving as Chair of the Field Operations Committee in 2018. He previously served on the boards of AGA, INGAA, and GSA.

Mr. Christopher has been active with United Way organizations including serving for many years on the Board of Directors for United Way of Central New Mexico. In this capacity, Mr. Christopher has assisted numerous nonprofits in providing important services to those in need. He has also served on the Boards for Campfire USA, New Mexico Council, and the 4H Council.

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