There’s a fine line between having comfort with the familiar and becoming bored with the same-ol’-same-ol.’ After 42 years in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the South Atlantic Well Drillers JUBILEE took place July 21-23 in Virginia Beach, Va. In some ways, the change put a fresh spin on things, and provided a new-adventure feel to the occasion. At the same time, JUBILEE is steeped in the tradition of being at the beach; that’s how it started, and that’s how it’s been all these years. There’s a lot of emotion attached to the event, and that’s something that can make change uncomfortable.

But it was a rather smooth transition; while it was a little different, it was a lot the same – and that’s a good thing. After all, the JUBILEE still is the JUBILEE, the actual physical venue notwithstanding.

Says the now-retired JUBILEE executive director, Jane Cain, “Over the past few years, we got a lot of comments that we’ve been going to Myrtle Beach for a long time, and maybe it was time to try something else. Virginia Beach recently had put on a whole new face with improvements to its boardwalk and its hotels, so it seemed like a logical place to go. Also, the JUBILEE had a history there; it had been held in Virginia Beach back in the 1970s, and it stayed there until the show outgrew the old facilities. The new convention center, by the way, is one of the top-rated convention centers in the country.

“We had a turnout of exhibitors that was equal to last year’s event in Myrtle Beach. Given the economy over the past few years, there certainly hasn’t been any growth, but we did hold our own. On the other hand, while we picked up some people from the northern states, we lost some of the folks from the southern-most part of the region. So attendance was not what we hoped it would be. I think that when people hear from those who did attend how much they enjoyed this year’s Virginia Beach experience, we’ll start picking up some of the folks who would have a longer drive. People from Maryland and Virginia had been making the trek to Myrtle Beach for 20 years. It was time to try something different. Most of the people who came were quite impressed with the facilities and the amenities that were offered.”

And Cain received lots of compliments on the show’s educational workshops. “While overall attendance was down, the number of people who attended the workshops was similar to recent years past,” she explains. “So the lack of numbers was offset by the fervor and enthusiasm of those who did attend.” Thirty-five workshops were offered, the depth and breadth of which gave drilling contractors and water professionals ample opportunity to discover ways to improve their businesses. There truly was something for everyone.

One of the best changes that took place was the introduction of the kids’ carnival area – that went over very well. There were games and activities to keep the youngsters occupied, and chaperones were on hand to oversee. That meant that parents could better concentrate on convention and trade show matters with less distraction.

It takes a good deal of time, effort and resources to put on a first-rate event like JUBILEE, and these organizations stepped up to help with their sponsorship:

  • Ferguson Enterprises Inc.
  • Florida Ground Water Association
  • Franklin Electric
  • Goulds Water Technology
  • Kentucky Water Well Association
  • Maryland/Delaware Water Well Association
  • Milby Co.
  • National Driller
  • North Carolina Ground Water Association
  • Tennessee Water Well Association
  • Virginia Water Well Association
  • Worldwide Drilling Resources
As a closing statement Cain speaks from her heart: “It’s been a privilege to be involved in an industry that is so critical to everyone’s very lives. And it’s been a pleasure to work with people who, for the most part, are involved in family-type businesses, and care so much about their industry.” It was a very nice touch that JUBILEE awarded her the organization’s highest honor – the George McCall Award, which is given to individuals who’ve demonstrated long-term commitment and service to the water well industry above and beyond the call of duty.

The other major award bestowed by JUBILEE is the “Vendor of the Year,” which went to Preferred Pump.

So next year it’s back to Virginia Beach, and after that, it returns to Myrtle Beach for 2014 and 2015. Hope to see you there. 

JUBILEE's New Management

Partners In Association Management has been awarded the contract to manage the South Atlantic Well Drillers JUBILEE. Based in Tallahassee, Fla., Partners In Association Management is one of the largest association management firms in the state, and currently manages 18 multi-faceted clients, ranging from water well drilling to death-care to the dental industry.