It’s Been a Privilege

Published On: June 20, 2022By Categories: Business Management, Drawing from the Well, Drilling

The author signs off by reflecting on his six years writing for Water Well Journal.

By Gary Shawver, MGWC, retired-2021

As I sit down to write my last column for Water Well Journal, I thought about when my first column ran: the January 2016 issue.

My, how time flies when you are having fun, or as my wife tells me, “Life is just a blink” . . . and that it is.

I realized last fall it was time to hand over the reins of writing for WWJ to someone else. I’ve written on many topics over the six years I wrote for the National Ground Water Association publication—both drilling related and on the business side of things. I felt I had written all I could that would benefit readers and that it was time for someone with fresher experiences to fill my shoes.

My active time in the water well industry (September 1976 to March 2013) was a great experience and I have no regrets. I had no idea when I went to college in the fall of 1968 that I would end up in my father’s water well drilling business. It certainly wasn’t in the plans.

As I look back, the recession of the early 1980s brought trials and tribulations and there were days and years in there when I wondered if I would make it. But I got through them, and those experiences were invaluable. The many mentors I had in the industry helped me to get to the next level and I will be eternally grateful for those friends. Some have since passed from this life.

If I could help someone get through some of the industry pitfalls that I went through, then I owed it to them to write the column.

Getting my Master Groundwater Contractor certification (MGWC) from the National Ground Water Association was a goal I started working on in the late 1980s. And after letting it sit idle for about 15 years, I finally got it done. While the NGWA certification program may not be as popular as it once was, it is still a great program, and I encourage anyone working in this industry to make getting certified a priority.

My mom was a junior high English teacher and she taught me writing skills, but I hesitated when I was first asked to write for WWJ. However, I realized my many mentors had taught me a lot, and if I could help someone get through some of the industry pitfalls that I went through, then I owed it to them to write the column.

The NGWA is a great organization. Without it, I’m not sure where I would have ended up in the industry. While I didn’t make every national convention and tradeshow, there were few I missed over the years. The classes and exhibits furthered my career, and the people I met and got to know were a huge plus.

As I neared the end of my career in the industry, I opted to run for a position on the NGWA Board of Directors. I was fortunate enough to earn the trust of the membership and served a three-year term.

But I admit that I found being on the Board was not my cup of tea. Had I run sooner in my career, I’m sure I would have opted to run for another term. I knew, though, I needed to somehow give back to the Association that had given so much to me and writing for WWJ was my way of doing that.

I hope that you found my columns helpful and informative. I often received emails from readers like you asking questions and always did my best to follow up to help out in any way I could.


Lastly, I would like to thank both Mike Price and Thad Plumley, my editors, for allowing me to write this column. They were generous in allowing me to write what was on my mind and great to work for!

I look forward to continuing to read WWJ and wish the best to all of you out there who work in this great industry!

Gary Shawver, MGWC, retired-2021, is vice president of Shawver Well Co. Inc. in Fredericksburg, Iowa. He has been in the water well industry for more than 40 years and is a Master Groundwater Contractor. He served on the NGWA Board of Directors. Shawver is semi-retired, having sold his business to his employees. He can be reached at

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