East Peoria, Ill., was the scene for the Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals’ (IAGP) Annual Meeting & Expo, which took place Feb 10-11.

It was first-things-first for the proceedings, which were kicked off with the group’s board and member business meetings.

Reports IAGP executive director Sue Bohenstengel, “There are three main things we’re currently working on. One is getting some kind of legislation that governs the installation of well components for closed-loop geothermal systems. We’re also concentrating on workers compensation reform in Illinois, and the renewal of our license – now in the sunset process – for another 10 years.”

Regarding other association business, newly elected to remain on the IAGP board for additional three-year terms are Brian Snelten (URS Corp., Chicago); Shane Balding (S & J Well Drilling, Decatur, Ill.); Greg Buffington (Layne Western, Aurora, Ill.); and Mark Dragovich (Geotechnical Construction, Mt. Olive, Ill.).

There were 215 attendees at the show, and they were treated to an opening night reception that turned rather lively as the evening progressed. Visitors enjoyed complimentary food and beverages while they visited the booths of nearly 50 vendors in the exhibit hall. A handful of exhibits were deemed especially engaging, enough so to win various exhibitor awards. Those exhibitors were Merrill Manufacturing Co./Wells Dundee, H.O.K. Sales Inc., Preferred Pump & Equipment, ITT Corp. and Illinois Geothermal Supply.

While on the topic of awards, Larry Lyons (Lyons Well Drilling of Stockton, Ill.) received the association’s coveted Sisson Award, which recognizes efforts above and beyond the call of duty by sharing, educating and mentoring to other contractors, regulatory agencies and/or the public about ground water, while actively employed in the industry. Lyons is, indeed, deserving of the honor.

Educational programs were of a wide variety. “Folks liked that,” notes Bohenstengel. “They could pick and choose. The Nebraska Grout Study was popular, and so was the one on employment and hiring issues. People found the Ball State geothermal project update interesting. And many people attended the seminars on safety, industry software and social media.”

These shows are no small endeavor, and sponsors can play a big role in making them successful. Thanks to H.O.K. Sales Inc., Wilmar Pump & Supply, and Pentair Water for their efforts.

Next year, the show returns to East Peoria, and when all the pertinent details are confirmed, we’ll pass them right along.