In his column for the upcoming May issue, drilling veteran John Schmitt says that, even after attending Michigan Ground Water Association expos since the 1950s, he still learns something when he attends. That got me thinking: How do water well drilling, geothermal drilling and foundation drilling professionals out there stay on top of new tools and techniques? 

I'm interested in personal viewpoints here, so send me an email at before you read on. Tell me about your strategies for learning about the latest submersible pumps or the newest tactics to get the most out of your drilling equipment. 

Drilling industry events: expos and shows 

As Schmitt says in the column (I'll link to it when we publish it), even "old dogs" can learn well rehabilitation or drilling fluids tricks during seminars at conferences put on by the National Ground Water Association, the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association and other groups. I've sat in on these sessions and, as a relative newbie to the drilling industry, I've learned a lot. 

What about you? Do you attend national conferences to stay up to date on what's happening in the industry? (Take our poll here.) Or maybe you attend statewide or regional shows, which can have a more low-key accessible feel. 

In our research, we've found that more than half of our readers attended a drilling industry-related event within the last 12 months. That's not surprising, given that many states require CE credits to maintain licensing. About 30 percent of those who attended events went to NGWA and about six in 10 attended a regional event.   

Using technology to find drilling industry information 

When I want to find out about something, my first step is often Google. I let me fingers do the walking (and if you get that reference, you're as old as I am). 

From a tradesman perspective, what do you do? For example, suppose you hear about a new bit that might help you on your next job. Do you search for it on Google? Do you ask about it next time you stop at your local tooling distributor? Do you check out our SourceBook or visit

(If you answered yes to that last one, thanks. We try hard to keep you informed about the latest products and services.) 

Talk to me about how you find product information or the latest drilling tips and tricks. Do you attend events, learn on the job or comb the Internet? A combination of the three? Your feedback can help me and National Driller better serve you.

As an added bonus, one lucky person to email me their feedback will get a copy of The Frackers, a book by Gregory Zuckerman about the wildcatters who made hydraulic fracturing an indisposable part of the U.S. energy landscape.

Stay safe out there, drillers.