Recently, at the 2002 NGWA Exposition in Las Vegas, the Master Ground Water Contractors (MGWCs) — the Green Jackets — had their luncheon meeting. The first issue brought up by one of our masters was that he thought the green jackets were too flashy, stood out too much, and he wanted to discuss changing them to another color. No way … to ask the MGWCs to change the color of the green jackets to another color now is like asking the NGWA officials to change the color of their blue jackets, their standard.
Several years ago, the decision of the color of the jackets was left to a few of us masters — Joe Gobel, Harrell Champion and myself. The chosen color was green. We had eliminated red, as it was Doc Faison’s National Driller color. Blue was NGWA headquarters’ color. Gold was Century 21’s color. Green remained the only color, and especially because in golf, green jackets symbolize a master. This was the image we masters wished to present. Over the years, it has grown to be recognized by others in the ground water industry as representative of those in the know.
The ground water industry now recognizes the Green Jackets to be the elite experts in our field. It is not easy becoming a Certified Well Driller and Pump Installer (CWD/PI). It is even harder to become Master Ground Water Certified (MGWC). However, it is the way a person can prove his knowledge. This is the most knowledgeable hands-on degree available in our industry.
I know many qualified people who could be masters, they just haven’t taken — or don’t choose to take — the steps to qualify. These are the individuals we masters are capable of counseling at the state and national meetings. Ask a master any question about drilling, and if he doesn’t know the correct answer, he knows where to find the answer. A master is always more than willing to share this knowledge.
I further feel that masters who aren’t proud enough to wear their green jacket to meetings or water well shows, who don’t attend the master’s luncheons or master meetings, or who don’t get involved, should be listed as inactive masters.
In 1983, I became the 4th person to be MGWC certified by the NGWA. To date, there have been approximately eighty -five plus MGWCs; of those, some four plus have passed away. I am more proud of this certification than any degree I hold. I have requested that I be buried in my green jacket.
Mr. Bob Heater, MGWC, of Cary, N.C., a former NGWA president, originated the certification program in 1969 and has since retired. Mr. Heater did apply to NGWA, became a lifetime member, and has since been removed from the NGWA roster and decertified. Likewise, Mr. Will Schell, MGWC (the 5th MGWC) has retired, was not made a lifetime member, was decertified and removed from the NGWA roster. I have spoken with each of these masters, and each remains a master at heart. We drillers need them active within our organization. We are losing too much knowledge, wisdom and technology.
It was decided at the 2001 Masters’ Meeting in Nashville to table the green jacket issue and not bring it up again. In 2002, in Las Vegas, the issue was brought up again. It was not voted on, and again it was tabled until the 2003 Masters’ Meeting in Orlando, Fla. I’m sure it will come up again.
We need to keep our green jackets. Why try to fix something that isn’t broke? Leave the green jackets as established.
We well drillers must request our National Ground Water Association to add a clause to our by-laws as follows:
When a well driller has been an active member within the NGWA and/or became a master they should, upon retirement, automatically qualify for lifetime membership. This should include that all recertification fees cease. Further, their names remain on the NGWA Roster. This requires that each individual remain an active member.
All retired well drillers have earned this right; they’ve more than paid their dues — these individuals have built our ground water organization.
I also am retired and a lifetime member of the NGWA. I donate my time internationally teaching others the art of well drilling. I assist others in qualifying for the certification examinations and for many years have graded the master exams. On Jan. 21, 2003, I was notified by the NGWA by certified letter that I have been decertified because I didn’t recertify and send in my $50 fee before Dec. 31, 2002. They advise me that I must now pay $150 to be reinstated and recertified.
What is important? It has come to my attention that there are many other members who have received this same certified letter. Whole companies have been decertified.
These others, who wish to open this for discussion, please contact me, Porky Cutter, MGWC.
You may contact Porky at 757-340-7203 or Porkyva@cox.net.