I had the pleasure last weekend of visiting the Franklin Electric campus in Fort Wayne, Ind., to attend the Indiana Ground Water Association’s Field Day and Mud School. More than 100 drillers turned out from several Midwest states to learn the latest tips and tricks for field work.

Inside Franklin’s facility, I got to talk with Troy Alexander, a veteran driller and the IGWA’s president. I asked Alexander about the challenges facing state associations that represent a mature industry like water well drilling.

“It’s tough all the time, whether it be Indiana Ground Water Association or you name the association,” he told me.

I asked, in particular, because I attended a recent GEFCO demo in Lansing, Mich., that also had a good turnout. Does the success of events like these come at the expense of state or regional conventions put on by groups like IGWA? Not necessarily, he told me.

“Attendance goes up and down,” Alexander said of state shows. “My biggest thing is listening to the contractors and the vendors when we put on a state show or a field day such as we have going on here. What will bring you — especially on a Saturday — away from your family?”

He noted that the Field Day and Mud School on April 25 was a perfect example.

“Let’s learn how to drill more efficiently. … We try to provide a better schooling for these guys. OK, I might learn something today that’s going to turn this job into a day instead of two days.”

It’s not easy for any group to put on events like this. It takes dedication and, often, partners. For this event, GEFCO and Baroid IDP sponsored and provided training, trainers, supplies and equipment. Franklin Electric hosted.

“We love doing this stuff,” Franklin V.P. DeLancey Davis told me. “This is what we’re about. … We preach groundwater and water in general, so any opportunity to do events like this — smaller or bigger — we want to do. It’s our core.”

Take note, state and regional associations — and others that organized trade shows, expos and trainings: Offer value and recognize that there’s no shame in seeking partners. Manufacturers and suppliers usually have the same passion that association members do.

Thoughts? Ideas? Rants? Send me an email.

Stay safe out there, drillers.