Just days before its 2002 Convention, the National Drilling Association will hold a four-day training program in Orlando, Fla.

Just days before its 2002 Convention, the National Drilling Association (NDA) will hold a four-day training program in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 21-24, on drill pumps, mud and grouting. Keith Fickling, a former drilling instructor for the Resources Drilling Program at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario, will chair this training session.

"NDA is very fortunate to have someone like Keith Fickling, chairperson of the association's training/safety committee, to lead this new training initiative," said R. Alan Garrard, NDA president. "Because of his 35 years in the drilling industry and 16 years as a professor at Fleming, students will have access to an unparalleled wealth of knowledge," he said.

This innovative training program will feature three courses taught by leading industry professionals, including Fickling of Professional Service Industries. The drill pump course will cover basic pump physics, pump performance and selection, maintenance and troubleshooting. Students will learn about types of mud, characteristics of mud, proper mix methods and mud tank design in the mud course. In the grouting course, students will learn the advantages of different types of grout, methods of installation and hole abandonment problems.

The course has been conveniently scheduled just prior to NDA's annual convention, which will be held Oct. 24-27, at the Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. At the convention, former Iditarod challenger, Spencer Thew, will trade in his snowshoes for flip flops when he serves as the keynote speaker.

In addition to featuring Thew, the 2002 NDA Convention will host a number of educational and recreational activities for NDA members and their families. NDA will hold two roundtable discussions where drilling contractors will have the opportunity to discuss "Contracting Do's and Don'ts" and "The Cost of Doing Business" with their industry peers. NDA committees will meet during the convention and members will be able to sit in on these meetings to learn about the many projects underway by these very productive committees. The convention also will feature informational tabletop displays from a number of NDA manufacturers and affiliate members in the geotechnical, environmental and mineral drilling industries.

There also are several social activities planned for this year's convention, including an opportunity for drillers to meet and mingle at the President's Reception, a chance to unwind at a tropical cocktail party, an evening of Polynesian entertainment at an authentic South Pacific luau and banquet and the annual NDA golf tournament. This year's tournament will be held at Panther Lake Golf Course at the Orange County National Golf Resort.

The convention itself will be held at the newly opened Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. The Royal Pacific has created the tropical atmosphere of the South Pacific for attendees to enjoy, and also provides guests with special passes that allow them to skip to the head of the line at all Universal theme parks.

For more information on how to register for both events, contact NDA at 727-577-5006 or visit www.nda4u.com. NDA is a nonprofit trade association of contractors, manufacturers and affiliated members from the drilling industry representing the geotechnical, environmental and mineral exploration sectors of this industry.