Berntsen International and Auburn University Win IT Award for Disaster Management Research

Madison, Wisconsin, Jan 14, 2014 – A research paper co-written by Berntsen International vice president Bill Rushing earned first place in the 2013 Society for Information Management (SIM) Paper Competition, SIM announced last month.

The paper, entitled “Critical Role of IT in Improving Disaster Management by Digitizing Utility Facility Objects (DUFOs),” focuses on how communities can use strategic IT solutions and new utility location technology to more quickly recover from natural disasters, such as the hurricanes that ravaged the gulf shore and east coast in recent years.

It was written in collaboration with Auburn University’s College of Business Advisory Council Professor of Management Information Systems, Chetan Sankar. Rushing and Sankar accepted the Best Paper Award, which recognizes innovative business initiatives that use IT to drive measurable results, at SIM’s 2013 SIMposium in Boston, MA.

The InfraMarker, Berntsen’s innovative all-in-one underground RFID marking system, played a key role in gathering research for the paper. Sankar and a group of Auburn University students compared Global Positioning System (GPS), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and the buried InfraMarker (which uses RFID technologies and precise magnetic detection) in each technology’s effectiveness in locating and identifying buried assets.

Using the InfraMarker, the students located 91% of the buried targets, compared to 39% when using RFID technology with a magnetic locator alone, and just 19% when using GPS technology alone.

Students were also able to find underground assets in an average of 2.51 minutes with the InfraMarker, much faster than their average times when using only RFID and magnetic locators (10.47 minutes) or only GPS technology (14.1 minutes).

“The takeaways from this research for public utility companies and facility managers are enormous,” said Rushing. “The ability to identify buried assets more quickly and accurately following a natural disaster will help get utility infrastructures back up and running at a fraction of the cost and time commitment.”

Photo caption, left to right: Bill Rushing, Vice President, Berntsen International, Inc.; Dr. Mary Sumner, SIM Academic Lead, Professor, Computer Management & IS, Southern IL University, Edwardsville; Dr. Chetan S. Sankar, HCOB Advisory Council, Professor of IS, Auburn University, AL

More about the InfraMarker
Placed at key asset points, Berntsen International’s patent pending InfraMarkers, based on the unique synergy between passive magnetic locating and passive battery-free read/write RFID technology, enable precise subsurface utility location and asset verification that is very fast, secure, and easy. To learn more visit
About Berntsen
Berntsen International, Inc. is a manufacturer and supplier of survey markers, survey monuments, utility markers, and related accessories. They are located in Madison, Wisconsin. Berntsen has been "Marking the Infrastructure of the World" since its founding in 1972. For more information call 800-518-0934 or visit them on the web at