It’s the end of a year and time again to count down our top stories. This is always an interesting exercise for us here at National Driller HQ. We get to look back, and in raw numbers see what really clicked with readers during the last 12 months. I continue to have a soft spot for our print magazine, and readers tell me at trade shows how much they prefer print to online (though the web does have its fans, too). But the feedback we get from our website is invaluable. For example, as of mid-December, our page views were up a whopping 47 percent over the entire 2016 calendar year. In fact, we blew by 2016 total page views in early October. Print can’t do that in the same way.

In fact, the detail of our website metrics allows me to put together this list each December. We rank stories on total page views since mid-December 2016 (the cutoff for last year’s Top 5). Then, we take out stories not published in that timeframe, since we have a lot of popular older stories. What we get is a list of what stories readers clicked on in 2017, and just how much they clicked on them. Now, it’s a little disingenuous to call this a foundations and geotechnical list, since all the stories ended up on the geotechnical side. But here it is. Counting down from 5, here are our top stories for those markets from 2017.

5. You Know the Drill: Overcoming Traditional Challenges with Sonic Drilling

Our You Know the Drill feature continues to be popular with readers. I can see why: We talk to people in all aspects of the industry, and ask them the same seven questions. The answers, like those here from Mike Cramer of Gregg Drilling & Testing Inc., range from thoughtful to candid, but they’re always insightful.

4. Drilling Rig, Tooling Maker Talks Lessons from a Century of Business

As I said in our regular Top 10 list for the year, readers often find two types of stories most interesting: profiles of drillers or drilling companies, and reference-type pieces. In its way, this interview with Matthew Vass from Acker Drill Company fits into the latter. He talks about the company’s 100-year history, and its challenges and successes over that time.

3. Sonic Drilling: The ‘Wave of the Future’

We like to talk to the folks leading the companies taking a lead in our markets. In this story, we talk to Vince Trotta, who took over sonic rig manufacturer Terra Sonic International earlier this year. He talked about refinements in the sonic equipment space, and prospects for the technology in the future.

2. Geotech Firm Foundation Offers $110,330 in Grants

This is a feel-good story. The Terracon Foundation, the charitable side of geotech and environmental firm Terracon, offered up more than $110,000 in grants and scholarships in 2017. They set a high bar for other companies to follow.

1. Geotechnical Drilling Key for Nation's First High-Speed Rail

This job story focused on advance geotechnical works for the nation’s first high-speed rail project in California. I’d be remiss, too, if I didn’t mention that Valerie King, the author of this piece, has since left National Driller. The quality of the work she did here served the industry well for more than 3 years with our magazine. We’re sure she’ll show the same talent and professionalism in her next position.

That’s it, 2017’s most read foundations and geotechnical stories on If there’s anything you missed or want to reread, click away. Don’t be afraid to share, whether emailing links to coworkers or posting to social media. We look forward to serving readers with more news and views from the drilling industry in 2018 and beyond.

One housekeeping note: You may have clicked through to this story from The Foundations Report, one of two email newsletters we send each month. Well, The Foundations Report ships its last issue in December 2017. Don’t worry, though. We’ll still cover foundations and geotech in print and on the website. But, as far as email newsletters, that coverage will be rolled into our regular, all-types-of-drilling email newsletter, which goes to twice a month in January 2018.

Stay safe out there, drillers.