The Illinois convention sees good attendance and a record number of exhibitors.

The historic Hotel Père Marquette in downtown Peoria, Ill., once again was home to the Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals’ (IAGP) annual meeting and convention Feb. 21-22, 2007. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the notable hotel has housed travelers since 1927. This year, 230 drilling contractors graced its halls and attended the expo.

More than 50 exhibitors displayed at the trade show, representing a record number and a 20-percent growth for the meeting. The exhibit floor opened Wednesday afternoon and proceeded into the evening with cocktails and refreshments. The next morning, attendees could enjoy a continental breakfast and spend a couple additional hours viewing the exhibits prior to the start of the seminars.

Educational opportunities abounded. Technical tip mini-seminars ran both days and covered such topics as the NGWA pump/tank sizing and drilling cost calculators, health insurance, and coliform bacteria. A full slate of seminar topics covered confined space entry, variable frequency drives, geothermal grouting, employer/employee relationships, ground water contamination, current hydrology issues and rigging. Edd Schofield of Johnson Screens also presented this year’s McElhinney lecture, “Water & Oil Should Mix.”

IAGP executive director Sue Bohenstengel reports that the convention was a smooth success. When asked about show highlights, she notes, “Everything went so well, it’s hard to say one over the other. The fact that we had a record number of exhibitors was great. We had good attendance at the expo, so that’s a highlight. Our seminar evaluation received high marks, so that’s also a highlight.”

Two awards were granted at the convention. The 2007 Jack Sisson award, which recognizes a drilling contractor who’s currently active in the business but who also has devoted significant time and energy

to the industry through mentoring and education, went to industry powerhouse John Pitz, N L Pitz Inc., Batavia, Ill.

The first-ever “Steward of Illinois’ Natural Re-sources Award,” which acknowledges the outstanding contributions made to promote the protection and utilization of Illinois’ natural resources, was given to Illinois’ lieutenant governor, Pat Quinn. “We wanted to recognize Lt. Gov. Quinn

for his focus on ground water, surface water, the environment in general,” Bohenstengel reveals. “In 2003, he alerted us to a military family that needed a new well. It was our way of recognizing the sacrifice and commitment that our military families have given to the citizens of Illinois, so we were happy to be able to participate in that. It was because of Lt. Gov. Quinn that we were aware of the problem. So we’re fortunate that our timing was such that we were able to present it to him during the convention.”

Elections also took place for a three-year term ending in 2010. Newly elected to the board as a new director is Todd Kerry, Meadow Equipment Service & Sales Inc. Incumbents include Robert Albrecht, Albrecht Well Drilling; Jim Layten, Kickapoo Drilling; and Steve Liberg, Prairie State Water Systems. Appointed to complete a vacancy is Jeff Tyrrell, Tyrrell Well & Pump Inc.

Big producer sponsors of the event include Atlas Copco, Drillers Service Inc., Franklin Electric, HOK Sales, Larson-Becker Co., Peoria Pump and Wilmar Pump & Supply. General sponsors were Tri State Tubular, Water-Right Inc. and Wyo-Ben Inc.