Discussing the highlights of the show, executive director John Schmitt comments, “Once the seminars and exhibits got started, we had very few problems. We had good action among the exhibits. Despite it being a down year, people were in a pretty good mood. We had 21 life members who attended. We had the best attendance at the Drillers' Celebration that we've ever had; I noticed virtually no empty seats there.”
There were 614 people who attended the show: 224 manufacturers/suppliers/exhibitors, 340 drilling contractors, and 50 Ladies Auxiliary. Although attendance was down somewhat from last year - approximately 90 people, which Schmitt attributes to tougher economic times - he acknowledges, “My thinking is that it could have been a heck of a lot worse.”
The convention was not without its educational opportunities. Drillers had the chance to take NGWA certification exams. The seminar program included current water legislation and industry-related computer applications. Baroid IDP presented a workshop on improving cement grout, and contractors could take in the McEllhiney lecture, “Well Efficiency Is Not a Myth.”
In lieu of a roundtable this year, National Driller held a panel discussion on current industry issues. Audience participation was encouraged, and the conversation became lively. Hot topics included how to increase profitability, business management and the importance of knowing costs, fair pricing, service and diversification, improving industry awareness and much more. The capable panelists: Bob Webb, A&B Webb Enterprises; Jack Belt, W. S. Belt and Sons; Phillip Bednarek, a supplier from Fuller Supply; Bryan Kleinfelt, Kleinfelt Well Drilling; and Dion Foune, Foune Well Drilling. Their collective efforts made the discussion a success.
Next year, MGWA's convention returns to Grand Rapids, Mich. Look forward to another well-run show on March 28-29, 2006.