A Master Ground Water Contractor (MGWC), known today as a “Green Jacket,” is a person who has met certain requirements and passed all of the National Ground Water Association certification examinations on drilling and pumps, as well as the Master certification examination ...

A Master Ground Water Contractor (MGWC), known today as a “Green Jacket,” is a person who has met certain requirements and passed all of the National Ground Water Association certification examinations on drilling and pumps, examinations which qualify a person in his/her field of expertise. Only after passing all these exams does the individual then qualify to take the Master certification examination. It can take several years to become a MGWC. To my knowledge, there are only 85 MGWCs to date; two are overseas.

In 1983, I became the fourth person to be a Green Jacket, and I’m proud of it. We’re known by our peers as the elite – the ones in the know! We are not – and do not pretend to be – the smartest people in the world. It just means that we have taken the necessary steps required to pass the MGWC examination. Becoming certified or a Green Jacket isn’t for everyone. Being certified simply lets the consumers know that you have the skills to do the work they need, and have a certificate to prove it.

Several states use the NGWA certifications as a part of their state licensing process. Passing those tests may qualify you for a state drilling or water system license, but you still won’t be certified by the NGWA. I recommend that you become a member of the NGWA, and become NGWA-certified. Once certified, many states will recognize your certification for your license, and you can use the NGWA and certification logo in your advertising.

Many members come to the Green Jackets at the conventions with advice as to how we should run the NGWA or the conventions. Let’s be very clear: We Green Jackets are not a division of the leadership of the NGWA. If you have comments for NGWA, talk to the “Blue Jackets” (the directors) – or talk to Blue Jacket Jack Hendrich.

The Master green jacket was chosen from the Augusta, Ga., Masters Golf Tournament by myself, Joe Goebel, MGWC, and Harrell Champion, MGWC, back in 1984.

Becoming a Green Jacket signifies that you are the tops in the ground water industry. Many of the active Masters communicate with one another and assist other drillers with their drilling problems all over the world. Each person on this active list has his own personal expertise, whether it is mud, air, reverse, cable tool drilling or pumps. The “active list” is composed of a few of the Masters who communicate quite often and attend the annual convention masters’ luncheon to share their knowledge and experience.

Through the years, we have had to blow our own horn. The NGWA does little to promote what a green jacket really signifies. The NGWA history book, The First Fifty Years, mentions very little about the Master ground water contractors or the NGWA certification program. Look it up! However, you will see a considerable amount about the AGWSE (Association of Ground Water Scientists and Engineers)!

My 20-plus years of complaining to the NGWA about providing a decent professional membership card and certification card, as well as a master certification card with an individual’s photograph, remains unchanged. We are the elite! Last year, I received an unprofessional-looking paper card with my photo sealed in heated plastic. This card is so unprofessional that I threw it away, just as I have done with most of the smeared certification cards that I have received since 1983. In 2006, I designed my own gold and silver MGWC certification badge, which I proudly wear today.

Once earning the MGWC designation, it should never be removed from that person. However, the NGWA requires annual payment of certain fees and continuing points to stay MGWC-certified. Once a person doesn’t pay those fees or earn continuing education points, that person is sent a certified letter that says the individual is in non-compliance, and must discontinue wearing the green jacket with the MGWC insignia and remove any MGWC advertisements.

I have been ad-vised that the person who founded the certification program, Robert (Bob) Heater and who was the first MGWC, cannot attend the annual MGWC luncheon. Why? Was it because before retiring, Bob failed to pay his annual dues, that he was de-certified? This is a rule of the National Ground Water Association, and not the Master ground water contractors. The MGWCs would welcome Bob’s attendance at our annual luncheon, and probably would request that he speak on why and how he founded the certification program.

I have further been advised that the NGWA has declined publishing a list of the Masters with contact information directly to the Masters. Why? What’s the use of belonging to a group of experts if we cannot communicate directly with one another? What good are we as a group to others? I retain a current list of those Masters who prefer not to remain unknown, and who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with others. Any Master who wants to be on that list, please contact me!

All that said, I strongly urge all ground water people – drilling contractors and water system professionals – to support their industry by belonging to their state and national ground water organizations, such as the National Ground Water Association. They have done a lot for our industry, and we need them. If you have any comments, problems or complaints, as well as any suggestions, contact the organization’s current executive director.