Change keeps life interesting. From where this editor stands, a few varieties of change keep things moving ahead. The best kind of change involves plans. You put real effort and care into laying out an idea and the steps—one after the next—that will make that idea reality. You take each step in turn and over time achieve the goal. Then, you get to bask in the satisfaction of creating positive change, whether you’ve improved your work processes or spent months saving for a vacation that takes you out of winter’s deep freeze.

I can relate.

Another variety of change, though, comes without a plan attached. You get a phone call or email in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable day. A relative is sick. A friend got that job she always dreamed of. Your wife is expecting. That major contract you bid on—that big one you pitched on a lark and didn’t actually expect to get—comes through and you need to ramp up your crew. Changes without a firm plan attached can prove positive, though. It’s all in how you react.


breaking the ground on changes for national driller

Behind the scenes here at National Driller, we’ve broken ground on changes to the publication that we expect to finish building over the first part of 2014. Source: iStock

Unplanned Changes

I want to discuss both kinds of changes here, but first the unplanned kind. I got an email from Bob Pelikan, our longtime Tech Topics columnist, recently. “It’s time for me to sail off into the sunset,” he wrote, “and for you to find another Tech Topics author.” That’s how easy change comes into our lives: with just the press of the send button on Outlook. My first thought, I’ll admit, was a sarcastic, “Great, merry Christmas to me.” Often, that’s everyone’s reaction to unwelcome news, so no offense, Bob. More on how I worked through that reaction and developed a plan to deal with the change in a moment; first, more on Bob’s “retirement.”

I won’t steal his thunder. You’ll have to turn to his farewell column on page 20 for details. But, I will say that what he’s doing seems like a dream come true. I might have expected a columnist to quit, saying he wanted to just relax and watch Jeopardy or spend more time with grandkids, or take up a safe hobby like building model airplanes. I never dreamed I’d have a columnist quit to do this. I wish Bob all the luck and chequered flags in the world. I hope my retirement involves as much excitement and activity.

After getting over Bob’s retirement, I got to planning. In March, we’ll unveil a new Tech Topics column. Bob focused on his specialty: pumps. The new Tech Topics will feature a broader scope. We aim to cover the overlap of technology and drilling. One month, it might discuss hydraulics. The next, the topic could be wireless communications or rig GPS. We’re in the process of lining up several industry experts as columnists. Bob will prove a tough act to follow, but they’ll take turns trying each month.

We’re also open to ideas, so if you want to know more about an aspect of drilling tech, chances are other readers do, too. Send ideas and feedback to


Planned Changes

I also want to talk about planned changes here at National Driller. We’re not ready to go public yet with our ideas, but I think readers will like them.

This last year or so, National Driller has seen its share of change. The biggest change for readers was the relaunch of last summer. We’ve taken the time to relax and appreciate those efforts, and hope readers have also enjoyed the new site. I know I have. It’s easier to navigate the stories and classifieds, and it’s better organized. And, believe me, the parts readers don’t see have a lot more polish, too.

During this time, however, we haven’t spent too much time resting on our laurels. We always work on new ideas to better serve readers and advertisers, and to fulfill our mission of bringing them closer together. Behind the scenes here at NDHQ, we’ve worked hard on the next plan and the plan after that, pouring our best efforts into moving this publication forward. We hope to soon show off those efforts.

 Stay safe out there, drillers.