Kelly, Carson and Cade Faulks made the trip from Hollis, Okla.

The National Ground Water Association’s (NGWA) 58th annual Ground Water Expo and annual meeting took place Dec. 5-8 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. As expected, Vegas proved to be a better draw for the show than suburban-Atlanta did the previous year. As a matter of fact, with 6,618 registrants, the convention approached or eclipsed attendance records for four major market segments.

Expo attendees came from all 50 states and 37 nations. Ground water contractors comprised the largest group at 3,290, exceeding the previous mark by nearly 400. A record-number of 791 suppliers also was on hand. Members of the Association of Ground Water Scientists and Engineers, a membership division of NGWA, numbered 576 – the second largest total ever – while 1,694 manufacturers were present, also the second-highest total ever.

Moreover, there were 316 exhibitors and a total of 76,500 square feet of occupied exhibit space – both record numbers. The exhibit hall was open for a total of 121⁄2 hours, plenty of time for attendees to check out the latest industry offerings. NGWA executive director Kevin McCray boasts, “This is the high-water mark for NGWA’s Ground Water Expo in terms of both attendance and quality.”

Getting ready for the special panel discussion, “The Business of Ground Water: Looking Beyond 2007.”

Knowledge Is King

More than 110 hours of educational opportunities were available, and they covered a wide array of interesting and useful topics, including business management, drilling operations/well construction, safety issues, water systems, personal development, geo-thermal operations, and ground water sustainability and treatment. With 75 seminars, workshops, lectures and panel discussions offered, there certainly was a little something for everybody.

Networking opportunities abounded. Special get-togethers included the welcome reception, Master Ground Water Contractors’ luncheon, general membership meetings, affiliate state meetings and “The Gathering Zone,” where speakers and association officers were on hand for meet-and-greets. Field trips and auxiliary events rounded out the social events.

A special industry-experts-led panel discussion, titled, “The Business of Ground Water: Looking Beyond 2007,” was most interesting (an excerpt of which appeared in your January issue).

The farewell Darcy Lecture, “All Models Are Wrong; How Do We Know Which Are Useful?” was presented by Eileen Poeter, and the premier of this year’s McEllhiney Lecture, “Water and Oil – They Really Should Mix,” was given by Edd Schofield.

Bill Stoner (Stoner Drilling Inc., Corsicana, Texas) was a gracious recipient of the Ross L. Oliver Award, which honors outstanding contributions to the ground water industry.

Lots of Awards

The keynote address featured a motivational speaker and the presentation of three awards. Leonard Assante (Plainfield Well Drilling Co., Martinsville, N.J.) received the Standard Bearer Award; Robert Mace (Texas Water Development Board) was presented with the Technology Award; and the Equipment Design Award went to Sanford Britt (ProHydro Inc.).

At the General Membership Breakfast Meeting and Roundtables event, NGWA Lifetime Memberships were awarded to Charles Fetter, Wayne Madsen, Dorothy Mixon and Thomas Winter.

A highlight of the President’s Dinner/Scholarship Auction included the presentation of three NGWA Awards of Excellence. Bill Stoner (Stoner Drilling Co., Corsicana, Texas) received the Ross L. Oliver Award for outstanding contributions to the ground water industry; the M. King Hubbert Award went to Robert Gillham for his contributions to ground water science; and Randy Taylor took home the Robert Storm Interdivisional Cooperation Award, a new honor recognizing collaboration in the industry. Also at the President’s Dinner, recipients of the Distinguished Partner Awards were recognized; they were Flatwater Fleet Inc., Flexcon Ind-ustries, Franklin Electric Co., Goulds Pumps/ITT Industries, National Pump Co., Schramm Inc., SEMCO Inc., SIMCO Drilling Equipment Inc., Solinst Canada Ltd. and Wilo USA LLC.

An invaluable friend to the industry, Dawn Kaback (Geomatrix Consultants, Denver) was presented with the Keith E. Anderson Award in honor of her long history of tireless service.

And we’d like to recognize this year’s Ground Water Expo sponsors: AMS Inc., AMTROL Inc., Baroid Industrial Drilling Products, Franklin Electric Co., Geoprobe Systems, Goulds Pumps/ITT Industries, Jet-Lube Inc., WellGuard and the Hartford Financial Services.

Looking Ahead

In anticipation of this year’s show, NGWA is accepting proposals for 2007 Ground Water Expo workshops, panels, topical sessions and hands-on demonstrations. Look on NGWA’s Web site,, for a call for submissions. The 2007 NGWA Ground Water Expo will be held Dec. 4-7 in Orlando, Fla. “We’re hard at work to make the 2007 Expo another outstanding professional development and networking experience, as well as a lot of fun,” McCray says.