Michigan puts on another solid trade show.

The Michigan water well drilling industry got together Mar. 15-16, in Lansing, Mich., as the Michigan Ground Water Association (MGWA) put on its 76th annual convention.

Of the more than 700 people in attendance, some 400 were drilling contractors. The sold-out trade show floor boasted a complete array of exhibits - both in booths and drill and pump rigs.

As for the educational programs, MGWA executive director John Schmitt explains, "We concentrated on two topics this year - the new DOT regulations and recent legislative issues. The DOT presentation was a hands-on affair. Mark Laibe graciously let us use a rig that he had sold for part of the program. After a classroom session, contractors did a walk-around inspection of the rig under the supervision of an outfit called Fleet Compliance Group. That was very well attended. The other thing we looked at was the impact so far of legislation that was passed last summer by the Michigan legislature to control high-capacity wells and address their conflict with lower-capacity wells. There was a good crowd for that one, too."

Ancillary to the official convention activities, the second annual "Drilling Contractor Roundtable" program took place the morning of the 15th. Your friendly National Driller staff hosted Stan Brown (Brown Drilling, Howell, Mich.), Steve Buer (Buer Water Well Drilling, Caledonia, Mich.), Bill Pearson (Pearson Drilling Co., Lake City, Mich.) and Steve Wheeler (Ann Arbor Well Drilling Inc., Dexter, Mich.) as they discussed the industry's issues of the day. Look for a feature article on the roundtable in next month's issue.

John "Jack" Cameron (John Cameron & Son, Rochester, Mich.) was honored as MGWA's "Driller of the Year" award winner. "Jack is a highly respected driller and a very worthy recipient," notes Schmitt. "His son, David, pretty much runs the operation now; Jack has taken on a mentor's role for the firm. He's been an association member since 1949 and has a very impressive membership record."

The association's "Distinguished Service Award" went to a most-deserving Shirley Schmitt, the first woman to be recognized in that way by the MGWA. Says husband John, "I know better than anybody how much she has busted her hump for the association - this was a very popular award."

Lansing will be the destination again next year as MGWA's 77th annual convention takes place March 14-15, 2005.

Michigan Convention Photo Gallery

An especially proud moment for Shirley Schmitt and her family. Pictured (l-r) are husband John, Shirley with her "Distinguished Service Award," daughter Linda Hallberg, daughter Loretta O'Flynn and son-in-law Dennis O'Flynn.

Visiting on the trade show floor: Miles Foune (Foune Well Drilling Inc., Bloomingdale, Mich.), state representative Mary Ann Middaugh and Mike Mattson (Mattson & Sons Well Drilling, Wolverine, Mich.).

Star Iron Works' Terry Belter greets Jake Van Volkinburg (Buer Well Drilling, Caledonia, Mich.).

Mike Adams, representing the city of Kalamazoo, has a chat with your favorite associate editor, Lisa Schroeder.

John "Jack" Cameron accepts the MGWA's prestigious "Driller of the Year" award from Sanders Slevatz (Earl Sanders & Son, Lawton, Mich.).

National Ground Water Association president Randy Taylor (Taylor Drilling Co., Rapid City, S.D.) shares some thoughts with the audience at the annual drillers' celebration.