Another big crowd at the convention hall as eager visitors descend upon the trade show floor.

Peggy Tucker and Susan Haley, affiliated with William O. Tucker Inc., Hartwell, Ga., are dwarfed by this water system tank.

The South Atlantic Well Drillers 51st Annual Jubilee emitted a certain contagious swagger - and from all fronts. Visitors were upbeat, vendors energetic and the show's schedule of events rock-solid for the one of the industry's leading trade shows, which took place July 29-Aug. 1 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Bob Paulsen provides an overview of solar-pumping products, applications and techniques at his seminar titled, “Solar Pumping Simplified.” Paulsen, a 25-year industry veteran, is national district sales manager for Grundfos Pumps.

Any questions about downward trends in the industry's trade show arena were quickly and resolutely put to rest as the doors to the trade show floor opened to the masses. And even as the family-heavy crowd dissipated, the emphasis was on quality, not quantity. After all, the vast majority of the kids (and a not-entirely-small number of the adults) swarming about are much more likely to clean out a vendor's candy bowl than pay much attention to the latest trends and innovations of the industry's equipment, supplies and services - all of which were prominently on display in classrooms, meeting rooms, on the trade show floor and at the outdoor exhibits. As the crowd becomes more manageable, it's much easier for contractors and suppliers to get in some quality face time without being pulled in multiple directions.

The boys from Mills Pump Service Inc., Pikeville, Tenn.

Jubilee manager, Jane Cain, when queried about attendance figures, tells us, “As it turns out, we drew about 3,600 total; that's a little behind last year, but not much - maybe 3 percent.” And she has this to say about the makeup of those in attendance: “We're definitely seeing a much younger generation of drillers showing up for Jubilee.” Certainly, that bodes well for the future.

Dr. Donald Atkinson, at his presentation, “Iron Bacteria Biofouling - the Final Solution,” covered the phenomenon of iron bacteria and available remediation techniques. Atkinson, founder of Biostat Engineering, has more than 30 years experience in the water industry as a scientist and practitioner.

More than 200 exhibitors filled up 320 booth spaces, and, as usual, there were rigs aplenty - both inside and out of the exhibit hall.

Peach state friends: Folks from Neighbors Pump Service (Jasper, Ga.) and Haithcock Well Drilling (Ball Ground, Ga.) spend some time together.

As for educational opportunities, nearly 40 workshop sessions were offered. “We got a lot of nice compliments on the content of the workshops,” Cain reports, “Especially the fact that we did a few things that were 'outside the box,' if you will. The seminar covering onsite wastewater and wells was very highly attended, and people were very interested in the Web site design class.” She also cites the “Transferring Business to the Next Generation” lecture series as being singled out for praise. “We always covered of technical subjects, but we've found that people really are interested in the business end of things, too.”

Two big hitters and another guy: Tim Boehmer (l) and Tim Augustine (c) of Bowser-Morner Inc. were the champs of the annual Jubilee golf tournament, held at Wild Wing Plantation. They're pictured here with tournament organizer, master linkster himself and all-around good guy - National Driller's Dean Laramore.

Jubilee also worked with the folks from the Occupational Safety and Health Organization, the National Ground Water Association and the Water Quality Association so that those organizations could offer their certification exams at this major industry get-together - a nice display of professional courtesy.

These good folks (some of whom were about done with the proceedings) represent Blue Ridge Well Drilling & Pump Co.

Show sponsors stepping up to the plate included Amtrol Inc. and Noland Co., which put on the much-appreciated breakfast buffets, and GE Water & Process Technologies, which hit the hip for dessert at the annual Jubilee picnic.

Next year, you can expect another high-energy, family-friendly, entertain-ing and absolutely valuable experience as Jubilee's 52nd annual celebration takes place July 28-31, 2007, again in Myrtle Beach.


Easterday and Venable Honored

Certainly, a highlight of annual Jubilee picnic was the presentation to George Easterday and Ronnie Venable with the Jubilee's esteemed George McCall Award.

George McCall, the namesake of the Jubilee's most prestigious award, is called the “granddaddy” of the Jubilee. He believed that it was important for drilling contractors to have an opportunity to get together to share information and experiences, so, in 1955, he and R.O. Heater headed the efforts to bring exhibitors to the first event in Carolina Beach, N.C. From that point until his death in 1998, he kept an eye on the Jubilee - always thinking about how we could improve the quality of the services drilling contractors provide.

The George McCall Award was created to honor individuals who have demonstrated long-term commitment and service to the water well industry, either through activities related directly to the South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee or through extended service to a state water well or ground water association that is affiliated with the Jubilee. This year, two outstandingly qualified drillers get the nod.

George Easterday originally was named to Jubilee board to fill a seat vacated by his father. During his time on the board, he has worked hard developing pioneering state standards for drilling contractors, facilitating the industry's transition from unregulated to regulated, and he always has worked to protect the public through regulation. On the board, he often has played the role of devil's advocate, encouraging members to look at issues from many different points of view and consider all decisions carefully.


James “Ronnie” Venable has been with his family-run water well business for more than 31 years. He currently is president-elect of the South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee, where he serves on the Services and Finance Committees. Venable has been a member of North Carolina Ground Water Association for nearly 20 years, and is a past president of association. He also is an active member of the Virginia Water Well Association and the National Ground Water Association. He spearheaded a regional campaign in North Carolina intended to stop the passage of a state water bond that would have created funds for public water lines in rural areas. He rallied both local drilling contractors and private landowners to help in his efforts. He personally funded the creation of a billboard and signs supporting well owners' rights.

Congratulations to both gentlemen.

Jubilee Board of Directors

These folks, charged with leading the organization forward, are in the middle of their two-year terms, as dictated by a recent change in the association's bylaws.

Harold Andrews
Andrews Drilling Co.
Cuthbert, Ga.

Tim Brannon
Tim Brannon Well Drilling
Gerrardstown, W.V.

Alan Burgess
Burgess Water Well
Mayfield, Ky.

Jane Cain
Cain Associates
New Market, Va.

Griffin Crosby Jr.
Crosby Well Drilling Inc.
Lake Wales, Fla.

Charles Falwell
Falwell Corp.
Lynchburg, Va.

Robert Frank
Frank's Well Drilling Inc.
La Plata, Md.

Paul Hofe
Hofe's Well Drilling
Martinsburg, W.V.

David Hutson
Acme Well Co.
Durham, N.C.

Frank Jacobs
Jacobs Drilling Co.
Manchester, Tenn.

Danny Kelly
Kelly Well Drilling
Clinton, Ky.

David Kelly
Jones Well Drilling Inc.
Jarrettsville, Md.

Percy McNeill
McNeill Well Drilling
Columbia, S.C.

Dottie Mixon
Mixon Drilling
Spring Hill, Fla.

Billy Peeples
Southeastern Drilling
Americus, Ga.

Worth Pickard
Carolina Well & Pump
Sanford, N.C.

Mark Reeder
Franklin Electric
Bluffton, Ind.

David Robison
W.S. Gowan Well Drilling
Spartanburg, S.C.

Robert Royall
Royall Pump & Well Co.
Powhatan, Va.

Ronnie Venable
Venable Brothers Well Construction
Walnut Cove, N.C.

Loyd Watson
Watson Well Drilling
Lascassas, Tenn.