Howard "Porky" Cutter reminds us that if many of your competitors stay home and drill while you attend the conventions - they lose knowledge while you become a better competitor.

Over the years we have gone to every state, regional and national water well convention that we were able to attend. My family and I always learn so much from attending each and every show. In addition to exploring the new products and techniques available, we see again the people we met at previous shows, as well as the new friends we meet. We are able to exchange our drilling and business problems with other drillers - many times we find solutions to our problems and sometimes we are able to find solutions to other drillers' problems.

Many times while investigating the new equipment, we see ideas that we can incorporate into our drilling methods or equipment. Many of the workshops presented are free of charge, and by attending them we can improve our efficiency and profits. Oftentimes, we have ideas of our own that we can share with others.

At various conventions, I have met many new associate drillers from the States and the nearby islands who have become lifelong friends. Today we discuss problems and solutions by phone, fax, mail or e-mail - sometimes on a weekly basis. This kind of communication has been invaluable to me: I don't pretend to know everything and sometimes other people have simple solutions to what I thought were complicated problems. The knowledge you gain can assist you in becoming a more qualified and confident salesperson to sell the job to your prospective customer.

Just to get away from our regular work for a few days usually renews our energies and ambitions. I'm usually anxious to return to my work and put some of the new ideas into action.

I always encourage drillers and pump installers to take and pass the NGWA certification examinations to demonstrate expertise in their field of work. To my knowledge, the exams are the only recognized certification to show that they are qualified water well professionals. Many associates have advised me that after becoming certified, they feel more qualified to sell or service a job.

I know a person who before becoming certified, stuttered when talking to customers and peers about wells and drilling. This person advised me that once he became certified, he no longer stuttered because he was more confident.

I advise all professional drillers and pump installers to attend the conventions and become an even better contractor. Many of your competitors stay home and drill while you attend the conventions - they lose knowledge while you become a better competitor.

I personally promise that you won't regret attending the shows and you will gain much from them.

Look for me at the conventions. If at all possible, I'll be there doing what I do best - talking!

If you see me, introduce yourself and ask me questions about drilling, pumps or certification exams - perhaps we will both learn something!