In a couple months, I’ll mark three years working on National Driller. It’s gone by fast.

I must say, when I joined this magazine, I didn’t really know a drilled well from a hole in the ground. Now, I see just how prevalent the work of drillers is. Signs of drilling are all over.

For instance, I just came off a quick weekend road trip. I saw evidence of the work of drilling contractors everywhere. I passed an older rig bearing the logos of a geothermal company driving on the highway. I saw a piling rig working a highway bridge job. In one more rural area I drove through, I saw both pumpjacks and windmills. Oil and gas drillers installed and developed the wells before those pumpjacks went in. I’d bet a rig came in to drill a foundation deep enough to support the weight of those six-story windmills. Heck, I even saw a sonic rig working a jobsite in a crowded urban area.

The point is, the work drillers do isn’t something people see unless they know what to look for. That’s not a slight against my readers. Just because your average person doesn’t know a drilling rig from a bulldozer, that doesn’t mean the work isn’t important.

It does, however, mean that as an industry we have some work to do. People like clean water coming from their faucets but don’t think of the municipal wells that water came from. People take for granted the utilities in their neighborhood, not understanding that HDD crews got them there by drilling under a six-lane highway. People like having gas for their cars, but worry about fracking (perhaps even misunderstand it). People assume the buildings and bridges they use are safe, not knowing that drillers helped make them that way.

I was one of those people, but I’m not anymore because I’ve had time to learn about the various sectors that make up the drilling industry. So, I have some homework for readers. People always ask me in casual conversation, “What do you do?” I usually give them a simple answer. “I’m a magazine editor.” You probably do the same thing.

“Well, I run a drill rig.” Or, “I install geothermal wells.” Or, “My company does drilling.”

That gives people the “what.” But, next time, add the “why.” “I install and service water wells, because a house without water isn’t really a house.” Or, “I work on an oil rig, and let me tell you how safe hydraulic fracturing actually is.” Or, “I work for a company contracted to drill secure foundations for buildings. Ever think about how a solid foundation makes a 10-story building possible?”

Giving people the “why” will help inform them about the drilling industry. It may even start a conversation that helps the other person see the signs of drilling everywhere, just like I do now.

What do you think? Do you think the average person really understands the importance of the drilling industry? Send me an email and share your thoughts.

Stay safe out there, drillers.