The 49th annual South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee warmly welcomed the industry July 31-Aug. 3, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Providing a full slate of seminars as well as events families could enjoy, the four-day trade show was a whirlwind of activity.
With 3,632 people in attendance, registrants literally came from far and wide: Contractors and their families traveled from 34 states as well as from Africa, Canada, Central America, Ireland, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands to attend the show.
Despite the high number of attendees, executive director Jain Cain notes: “Our attendance was down slightly from the last year. Our hunch about that is that the economy is playing a role in how people feel about being able to do extra things.” She points out, however, that the number of companies exhibiting at Jubilee had risen.
There were 215 exhibiting companies, which marked an increase over the numbers present at the 2003 show. Cain attributes the growth to companies recognizing the Jubilee's market potential: “We're seeing more companies coming in from farther away - West Coast companies looking for new markets. I think we're also seeing companies coming back that have dropped out for a while and have realized that they need that venue for showing their equipment.”
Overall, the Jubilee was a great success. “We were very pleased, especially given the economy,” Cain shares. “It actually met our expectations for attendance.”
Participants had a wide range of activities from which to choose, many of which were family-oriented. Noland Co. and Amtrol Inc. sponsored breakfasts open to all registered family members. The state meetings saw a good attendance and afforded members a chance to get together and catch up. The picnic Monday night even came complete with clowns for the kids.
This year's conference offered a very well-rounded program - contractors had the opportunity to take in more than 20 educational seminars. With topics ranging from rig safety to hazardous materials to water treatment, the seminars covered those subjects and everything in-between. Highlights included workshops on hands-on pump repair, a well-log database and electronic location and mapping; two seminars addressed consciousness-raising, covering key steps to improving the public perception of well water and how to get local officials to include private wells in their water supply planning, respectively. An important feature of this year's workshop line-up was a roundtable on the economy, during which some major manufacturers discussed how worldwide markets are affecting the local well industry. Open to all attendees, the dialogue created by manufacturers' representatives was intended to help people better understand what's going on with pricing, particularly with the steel market.
The show was not without its honors or awards. About $1,000 in money prizes was given away, and several awards were bestowed at the Monday night banquet. This year, the first elections were held for Jubilee's honorary board of directors. Directors who have served more than 15 years on the board are eligible for the positions. Charles Brinkley (N.C.), William Caldwell Jr. (Va.), Calvin Falwell (Va.), Worth Pickard (N.C.) and Mack Pinson (W. Va.) were installed as honorary members, and many of these gentlemen actually have served since the Jubilee was incorporated.
With regard to the objectives for the Jubilee, Cain reveals, “Our goals are to have the most family-friendly, user-friendly trade show and conference possible.” By all accounts, they more than succeeded.
Jubilee-goers can be guaranteed of another good time at next year's show. 2005 will be the 50th anniversary of the South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee, and much is in store. With special commemorative events planned in addition to the usual festivities, it will be celebration not to be missed.
Mark your calendars: the 2005 South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee takes place July 31-Aug. 2.