A Quest to Get Better

By Thad Plumley

Like thousands of you who are members of the National Ground Water Association, I’m a long-time member of a national society of association publishers.

And like many of you, I have volunteered for the group several times in the last decade and finally sought a position on the association’s board last year. Despite being nervous when I applied, I was humbled when I was appointed in the summer and have so far loved my time working with my uber-talented colleagues.

I’ve found it fun, rewarding, and frankly, educational. In fact, that last one is exactly why I went for the board position—to continue a quest to always be getting better.

My first big project I have worked on as a board member is creating a database of examples that will help those around the country working in a position like mine.

If a publisher needs a printer for their magazine but has not created a request for proposal in years, they will be able to go to the database when it is completed and not only find examples of RFPs that are well done but get tips on the three to five things that are critical to have in such a proposal.

The database won’t just have critical documents and contracts but examples of award-winning publications, feature articles, columns, and more. We publishers love to see what is working for others and apply it to our own magazines, newsletters, and such.

When discussing this project with a fellow board member, I said, “The database needs to be filled with our tools. These are the hammers and saws we use every day.” I then suddenly wished I had been so poetic when I was interviewed for the association magazine about the project, but you can’t win them all!

But this project has made me think about you. As we begin this new year, are there things being done or tools being used by other groundwater professionals around the country that you could apply to your business?

Are there things that you could do or change that could help you in a quest to always be getting better?

Chances are the answer to both of those questions is yes. And that makes the next question obvious: What are you waiting for?

Study diversification opportunities that could positively impact your company’s bottom line and separate you from your competitors. Research employee benefits that you could offer that could keep your best team members working for you.

And if you’re just back from Groundwater Week 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee, pour that bag of materials you got in the Exhibit Hall on your desk, sift through them, and find that new tool or product that will make your company’s work better, faster, or safer. The Exhibit Hall was packed—so there has to be something that is perfect for your business.

Change can be nerve-racking and even scary, but as I’ve found out recently, it can also make you better.


Thad Plumley is the editor of WWJ and director of information products at the National Ground Water Association. He can be reached at tplumley@ngwa.org, or (800) 551-7379, ext. 1594.