Feels Like Going Home

By Thad Plumley

Can it really have been three years since we were last in Las Vegas for Groundwater Week?

The City of Lights is the National Ground Water Association’s home away from home as the groundwater industry’s largest event will be held there for the 24th time December 6-8. That’s what makes it so hard to believe the last time we were all there together was 2019.

More than 4000 industry professionals descended on Nashville, Tennessee, a year ago for the first in-person event in two years because the COVID-19 pandemic erased the 2020 conference from all of our calendars.

So here we are—finally back in Las Vegas, a place that feels familiar as our own backyards.

It will feel so comfortable to walk into the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino and know exactly where to go when given a hotel key. Heck, I’ve checked in there so many times I could work the lobby and guide contractors, vacationers, and bachelor party attendees to their room, restaurants, bars, blackjack tables, and more!

And the Las Vegas Convention Center? Forget about it; I know it like I grew up there. N109-N110? N221/222? No problem at all if you need me to walk you to either one next month. FedEx office, Starbucks, lost-and-found? I got you covered.

One thing I am really looking forward to is the Keynote Presentation and Awards Ceremony—in 109/114, first hallway on the right if you’ve just walked in the convention center—at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, December 7.

It is always great to see the award honorees recognized for their successful careers and awesome achievements. I really enjoy finding out the details of the Outstanding Groundwater Project Awards. It is awesome to hear the stories of how groundwater professionals are using science and innovation to impact the lives of so many.

Speaking of awesome, I can’t wait to hear keynote speaker Rocky Bleier give his life story. We all remember him as an awesome football player winning four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that is not close to what makes his story so incredible and memorable.

After his rookie season, he was drafted by the U.S. Army at the height of the Vietnam War. He volunteered for service in South Vietnam and when his platoon was ambushed, he was seriously wounded from rifle fire and grenade fragments in his legs.

To hear how he went from someone who could barely walk to playing 10 seasons in the NFL after his service, scoring 25 career touchdowns, and winning a handful of Super Bowl rings is going to be inspiring.

So, I’m ready. I hope you are too. Just let me know if you need any directions when we get there!

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.

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