'Underground Entrepreneur'
West Coast Locators (WCL), founded in San Jose, CA in 1963, is headquartered in central San Francisco. The chairman, owner and CEO since 2006 is Swedish-born, well-experienced and humble Mattias Lindahl. His degree is in marketing with an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Lindahl came across WCL in 2005 and knew he wanted to explore its opportunities. “The mentality here in California is very openminded, yet tough, which has helped me find where I really fit in. I hope I can somehow inspire young Swedes through that,” says Lindahl.
WCL’s strong belief to satisfy clients requires the company to be available to them at all hours, day or night. Lindahl laughs, ”As a service company, we locate underground utilities, using the latest in technology for construction companies, municipalities, government entities and educational institutions.”
From time to time WCL’s operations introduce them to unusual challenges. Not a very long time ago they got an intriguing offer from a client who wanted them to locate ancient graves in Egypt. The FBI has investigated and discussed with them the possibility to screen certain areas for bodies. For the Egypt project WCL could not get import licenses for the required instruments into Egypt.
“Still these requests made us very proud, indicating the strength of our reputation in the industry,” says Lindahl.
Because clients value WCL's services so highly, they are willing to pay more for the quality than for those from competitors. Their loyal and prospective clients know they get what they are paying for and in a timely way.
WCL monitors both private and public areas. Once at a site they do not begin digging but rather cooperate closely with general contractors that do. In this way they maintain cordial relations with experts, should they need further support.
Ground Penetrating Radar Technology (GPR)—an antenna emitting a signal 10 meters underground—is one of the more commonly used instuments at WCL. The signal will bounce back when it hits objects, and depending on the frequency of the signal, the operator can determine what is beneath. This could be crucial. The operator can see a graphic representation of the signal and based on experience can identify the object or substance. Everything depends upon the expertise of the operator, and WCL has some of the best in the business. WCL are experts in finding gas pipelines and electric lines. Their reputation rests upon making accurate interpretations.
“Our business is built upon establishing long-term client relationships by providing state-of-the-art solutions for detecting leaks, locating and inspecting,” Lindahl concludes, before going back to work with his clients.
For more information about West Coast Locators and their services, visit www.westcoastlocators.com.

By MichaelaSetterwall
SACC San Francisco