No Man Is an Island, Part 2

Published On: October 1, 2020By Categories: Business Management, Drawing from the Well

Columnist encourages attending NGWA’s virtual Groundwater Week 2020.

By Gary Shawver, MGWC

I wrote a column titled “No Man Is an Island” in the July 2018 issue of Water Well Journal.

In it, I spoke about a young driller seeking my advice on a type of project he had not done before. I gave him advice on how to approach the project, he took it, and his project was a complete success. I also talked about the difficulty of getting young people to enter into this business and where they would get their expertise from handling projects such as I just mentioned.

I suggested a national bulletin board be established where drillers could go to seek advice from those who would post their expertise and willingly help those in need. To a certain degree, we have that with the National Ground Water Association’s online Groundwater Forum, which offers members the opportunity to post questions and thus seek answers from those providing input. My vision was somewhat more than this, but that’s for another column.

Looking Back at Past Conventions

As I look back on the years in the business, my father took me to the first NWWA (then the National Water Well Association) convention in 1977 in Boston, Massachusetts. I’ve missed very few conventions over the years, probably less than five or six until I retired in 2013. Those conventions were an event that I looked forward to each year. Between the classes that were presented and the exhibits, I learned much, and it always helped me to get to the next level in my career.

But in addition to the classes and the exhibits were the many new people I met and friendships I developed. Often these interactions with other contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers were equally as valuable and, in some instances, more than the classes and the exhibits. You often could learn as much with the interaction of all the people as you could from the classes. I developed many friendships over the years from the conventions.

However, this year, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Groundwater Week 2020 will be held December 8-11 as a virtual convention. The classes will still be held as will the exhibits. How all this will play out remains to be seen, but be assured that NGWA is working on this to make it a great virtual convention.

A side benefit of holding a virtual convention is that there will be no travel or lodging costs or lost time for travel. In addition, you can and will be able to have employees who would not otherwise go attend many of these great classes as well as view the exhibits.

This is a classic case where adversity brings out the best in people and organizations and makes them think outside the box. Thinking outside the box in this case can benefit many employees who would not otherwise attend and be exposed to the world of NGWA.

Earn CEUs Virtually This Year

NGWA works hard all year round for many causes for the industry. I witnessed it personally when I served a three-year term on its Board of Directors from 2010-2013. Education and support of the industry is its primary focus and it has always done that well.

But as with any organization of this nature, it takes money to operate. NGWA’s Groundwater Week is a prime revenue generator for the Association each year. Having a successful Groundwater Week helps keep membership dues down.

It’s necessary for the membership to understand this, and especially this year, support Groundwater Week by your attendance. Use the money you will save on travel to sign up more of your employees for the great classes. Hopefully, the virus will pass and next year will be an in-person Groundwater Week. In the interim, NGWA needs your support.

Without NGWA, the industry would not be what it is. Interactions with contractors would be greatly diminished and many would never occur. Education that you would otherwise receive from industry experts would be gone and passing on the knowledge from a diminishing industry would not occur. Realize that there are very few schools, if any, that teach water well drilling and they only teach the basics. Getting your “Masters” from the education you receive at these convention classes would be gone.

Support this great industry that has supported so many successful contractors over the years and ensure that no man, or woman, in the water well industry is an island!

Check Out Groundwater Week Website for Latest Updates and Information
The National Ground Water Association has a website exclusively for information about Groundwater Week 2020 to find updates to the educational sessions as well as details on everything happening at the industry’s premier event. Click to visit the website.

Gary Shawver, MGWC, 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

Read the Current Issue

you might also like