A couple weeks before press time, we received notice that the National Ground Water Association — for the first time in its history — decided not to hold an in-person convention this year. While most casinos and businesses have reopened amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, both Nevada and host city Las Vegas have continued restrictions on social gatherings in effect.

“We would not have been able to provide the experience that our exhibitors and attendees have come to expect,” the group says in a release.

The Groundwater Week 2020 event takes place virtually Dec. 8-11.

I have to say, here at National Driller, we would prefer to meet in person. Who wouldn’t? We get face time with readers and advertisers. We get story ideas. We do on-site videos and interviews. Plus, we get to go to Vegas. Love it or hate it, Las Vegas definitely has plenty to keep attendees occupied in off hours (which is why NGWA — and just about every other association — holds its trade show there just about every year).

It was a tough decision, I’m sure. But we commend the leadership of the NGWA for making the difficult — and right and responsible — call. We also support the leadership at South Atlantic Jubilee for making the same decision this summer.

A lot has happened in the nearly year since last Groundwater Week. Of course, there’s the pandemic affecting how all of us do business. National Driller went all digital (a plan in place before this year, but greatly accelerated). My commute got a lot shorter, down to about 20 paces or so from my Mr. Coffee to my desk at home. We launched a video and podcast series, and put out dozens of episodes of our popular Ask Brock web series. We lost our longtime ad manager, Dean Laramore. We welcomed a new sales team, Mike and Darlene Balzano.

We looked forward to talking about all these changes at in person Groundwater Week. We also looked forward to hearing about all the changes for you in the year since we last spoke. What new products do you have? Have you heard so-and-so finally bought a new rig to replace that old workhorse? Who got that well-deserved promotion? How are the spouse and kids?

The NGWA, of course, plans an extensive online event with all the continuing education attendees expect, a virtual exhibit hall and chances to network. “It is important for our industry that we connect, and work united through this pandemic,” the group says. We agree. Virtual connections to many may lack a certain spark. They may not have the personal connection of a handshake at the trade show booth. (Or, are we all going to elbow bumps now? I can’t keep track.) But virtual will do just fine until we can get back to large indoor gatherings and business more-or-less as usual.

Exhibitors, consider giving a portion of your normal booth fees to NGWA. The Groundwater Week event acts as a significant revenue source for the non-profit. If you’ve benefited from the continuing education, networking and camaraderie the group offers, pay it forward.

Stay safe out there, drillers.

Step Up to the Mic

Working on an interesting project or have industry wisdom to share? Email verduscoj@bnpmedia.com to be considered for a guest spot on Drilling In-Site.