Editor Greg Ettling reports that most contractors seem to be upbeat about the near future for their firms.

It was quite a year we just dealt with, one that makes us look at everything just a little bit differently. Hopefully, this increased awareness will translate into a heightened clarity of purpose - something we need occasionally.

Working on last month's cover story, "Looking Back at 2001," was a very pleasurable exercise. Drilling contractors were overwhelmingly positive about their experiences in 2001 and most were quite upbeat about the near future for their firms. Even those who said things were down were able to find positive spins. More than a few said, "Business is off 10 percent from the previous year, but that was a record year," or "Gross revenue was declined a bit, but our profit level stayed the same."

Our on-line poll (www.drilleronline. com) last month verified the good news. More than half (54%) of the respondents said business was up in 2001. A quarter said business was down and 21 percent reported a flat year.

Contractor Profiles

Response to our "Drilling Contractor Profiles" series was most encouraging. The forms will be sent shortly to those contractors who submitted requests to participate. We'd love to have as many contractors profiled as possible; just send us a note and we'll get you all the info you need. (See your November issue of National Driller for the inaugural version.) They are fun to do and also make a great addition to your marketing kit.

Just the Facts

Throughout this issue, you'll find many little "Water Facts" on the pages. Much of it is simply trivia and you probably already know some of them. But they're kind of fun and also can be useful in your own sales and marketing materials. Use them to spice up your brochures, flyers, Web site or presentations.

That Time of Year

Drilling trade show season is upon us - a great opportunity to meet with fellow drillers and industry suppliers to get new ideas and recharge your batteries. It's definitely worth it to support the groups that support your profession. There are no good reasons not to attend, just excuses. If you're wavering as to whether or not to attend a convention or trade show in your area, use this to put you over the edge: Go to the trade show; you'll return home a better driller.

Looking Ahead

It was indeed heartening to hear all the good news about 2001 from drilling contractors across the country, as well as the bright prospects for the coming year. Here's wishing everyone in the industry the best of fortune for 2002.