Contractors from the Land of Lincoln gathered.

Mark (l) and Darwin Brown, the father and son team from K & K Well Drilling, Yorkville, Ill., enjoying the show.
Drilling contractors from all over the state of Illinois converged on Peoria, Ill., this past February 17-18 for the Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals' 2005 Annual Meeting and Expo.

The historic Hotel Pere Marquette was home to the event for the second year in a row. Expo attendance was consistent with the past few years: The 250 registrants had the opportunity to mingle with colleagues and explore 40 exhibitors' booths in the hotel's ballroom. But by all accounts, the show exceeded expectations. When asked about the event, executive director Sue Bohenstengel replies: “I think it went well. It seemed like the trade show was very popular. I don't know what made it different than last year, but we got some rave reviews.” Bohenstengel speculates that perhaps some interactive booths, a few new exhibitors and cooperative weather helped make the show a big success.

Other contributing factors: The mini seminars during the trade show were quite popular, particularly the small computer lab where conference-goers could try their hands at a well-reporting program and check out the Geological Survey's new Web site for well information.

Exhibitor awards had been created to liven up the event and added an element of fun. Three awards were distributed: Larson Becker received the innovation award for the most new products, H20 Tracker won for the most interactive booth, and In-Well Technology took home the prize for overall display.

Philanthropy also played a part in this year's expo, Bohenstengel reveals: “We did a 50/50 raffle to support relief efforts for the tsunami. The donations for the tsunami were $300, and the board voted to match it. So we are sending a check for $600 to the American Red Cross, and of course, the winner won $300.” Jerry Bignall of Columbia, Ill., held the lucky ticket.

This year, an IAGP contractor received a special award, the first of its kind. “We created a new award to recognize the contributions of the individual member on a continued basis,” Bohenstengel explains. “We recognized that frequently we rely on our individual members to do a lot of things and we wanted to recognize that long-term involvement - members who are continually active in the industry. We named it the Jack Sisson award after a member in our industry we thought really exemplified all the things we were trying to recognize. We presented the award to Alan Olson this year. It was brand new, so no one knew anything about it. It was nice.”

In addition to its Thursday night activities, the trade show floor also was open for a two-hour breakfast session prior to the continuing education classes Friday morning. It was very well attended, as were the workshops that followed. Participants could take seminars that covered buying and maintaining rigs, critical pump factors, and safety rigging. Dave Kill closed the program with the McEllhiney lecture, “Well Efficiency Is Not a Myth.”

IAGP Election Results
As IAGP officers and directors hold their positions for a couple years, most board positions were retained from last year.

“Our new board consisted of two incumbents being elected - Greg Buffington and John Huemann,” says Bohenstengel, noting the results. “Michael Gross retired as a director. We had a new position to fill, and Brian Snelten was elected to that position. Brian is a newly licensed driller but has grown up in the industry and also is a professional geologist. That is exciting; it adds an additional element to the board.”

Mark Your Calendars
Next year's IAGP show moves to northern Illinois. It will take place February 8-9, 2006, at a new venue: Crystal Lake, Ill.

Photo Gallery

Nick Koz and Matthew Liberg, Prairie State Water Systems, Lombard, Ill., visit the IAGP booth.

David Schuster, Schuster Pump, Golden, Ill., watches as Larry Mortensen, Merrill Mfg., demonstrates a product.

Wayne and Ellen Blake (WD Blake & Sons Inc., Antioch, Ill.) chat with Jerry Ellis, First Supply Group.

Richard Mumma (l) and David Mumma (r) of Mumma Bros. Drilling Inc., Lyons, Ind., meet with Kenneth Meyers (c), president of In-Well Technologies.

Jim and Kim Cleary, Tri-County Well and Pump, Ottawa, Ill., check out the rigs on display at the Ingersoll-Rand booth.

Chris and Robert Ebert (Chris Ebert Co., Washington, Ill.), Tony Norman and Aaron Moore (H20 Boyz), and Liz Salinas (Kickapoo Drilling, Downs, Ill.) discuss the latest technology.

Ralph Hofstetter and future drilling contractor Ben (Hofstetter Well Drilling, Washington, Ill.) take in the sites.

Izzy and Juan Alvarado, Alvarado Plumbing Service, Morrison, Ill., talk pumps with ITT Industries' Kelly Clark and John Beckley.