Here at National Driller, we’re bullish on the future — particularly when a bright future in infrastructure and building construction keeps our readers happy and employed. You like being employed, right?

I thought so.

Given that bullishness, and the eagerly awaited infrastructure investment promised by the Trump Administration, we think the foundation drilling industry is going to need new talent. It’s also going to need to need quality talent. With those things in mind, we applaud a new effort by the ADSC – The International Association of Foundation Drilling and the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) to develop a new foundation drill rig operator certification.

The certification program is still in an embryonic stage. First, the groups seek volunteer professionals for a task force to help develop it. That process begins with the task force’s first meeting in Dallas from April 24-25, 2017. Over a year to 18 months, it’ll work on standards for field experience and written exam content. Volunteers will need to meet about eight times over that time frame to solidify the certification program, which will be administered by an independent third party separate from either group.

Employees Benefit

From an employee perspective, certifications can be gold, particularly if they’re well crafted and well regarded in the industry.

Certifications allow workers to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Think about it: As a contracting firm looking to hire someone, all things being the same, do you go with the certified candidate or the one without? I know what I’d do.

Employers Benefit

Even from an employer perspective, I think this is an important program. I hear from employers (and have worked for employers) who reflexively pull away from the investment of sending workers to certification programs like this. What if I pay to certify a driller, the thinking goes, and he uses that certification to find a new job? That’s always a concern. Let me debunk that, because there are a few likely scenarios here.

First, you could keep an employee on with less training than they could have gotten, slowing productivity and, ultimately, hurting revenue. Second, you could get someone certified and he exceeds jobsite productivity and expectations, improving revenue. Third, the certified employee could leave, taking your investment to benefit another employer.

Or, you get into a situation where the employee, painfully aware that you have no interest in their skills and future, leaves anyway. Let’s not forget, too, that it’s just as likely in the jobs marketplace that you, as an employer, benefit from the training your new employee got from his previous employer.

Wouldn’t you rather take the gamble? Employees notice when you invest in them. Yes, they could take those skills to a competitor. They could also use those skills to give you an edge over your competitor. To me, it’s worth that chance.

Here at National Driller, we’re believers in spreading knowledge around. When groups like the ADSC, NCCCO or Deep Foundations Institute nurture talented young drillers and operators, the whole industry benefits. What do you think? Do you have the expertise to pass on? As a driller, would a certification like this make a difference for you in the job market? Let us know. Send an email to

Stay safe out there, drillers.