Looking out my office window today, you'd think it's a warm, beautiful sunny summer day, but that just shows appearances can be deceiving.

Step outside and you quickly discover it's a windy, cold day with the temperature expected to plummet to about 20 degrees, exceptionally low for the Northwest Florida area where National Driller's office is located.

I'm not writing this to give you the local weather forecast, but to make a point. The theme of this issue of National Driller is "Challenges Facing the 21st Century Contractor," and our sudden surge of frigid weather has made me think how the weather has been and continues to be a challenge for drillers.

I'll be the first to admit it's much easier for me to sit in my nice office, which is heated in winter and air conditioned in summer, and write about drilling challenges such as the weather than to actually be in the field having to face the multitude of challenges so many of you face every day.

I'm also sure plenty of you reading this column, especially in places such as Minnesota and Alaska, would scoff or laugh at my suggestion that temperatures in the 20s are really cold. You probably wouldn't blink an eye about drilling a well in such "balmy" temperatures, especially compared to days when temperatures in your area fall way below zero and you keep working when others wouldn't dare set foot outside

Since there aren't many indoor drilling jobs, working outside is a way of life for drillers, and you just have to learn to cope, no matter what the weather throws at you. It's guaranteed you have a job in which you may be working in bone-chillingly cold conditions in winter and heatstroke hot in summer, but I'll bet you wouldn't have it any other way. If nothing else, drillers are a tough lot - sort of like Clint Eastwood in all those old Western movies.

All of you know one of the greatest challenges faced by drilling contractors is finding good workers, but that problem may be more understandable when you think about a potential employee pondering whether to accept a job in an indoor, climate-controlled facility or drilling wells when the landscape is blanketed in snow or ice or when the rig burns your hands due to the sun's heat beating down on it.

Despite having to work in all kinds of weather and coping with many other challenges and hardships, I've never met a driller who would admit to wanting to do anything else. It's one of those jobs, like being a writer or editor, that once it gets into your blood and gets a firm grip, there's nothing else you want to do.

Since everyone needs fresh, clean water, the many customers you serve daily should give thanks that, like the US Postal Service, neither rain, sleet, snow, nor dark of night can keep you from doing the job you love.

Have a fantastic February,

Danny Lewis, National Driller's Editor