You Know the Drill: Balancing Business and Family
For Ray Smith, president and owner of Bayville, N.J.-based KGR Well Drilling Inc., balancing business and family is one of the biggest challenges. After all, he is the father of five children. “They are equally important and support each other,” Smith says. “That combination tends to want to rip you in half at times.”
While it is a balancing act, water well drilling is everything to Smith, who says he has always been intrigued by it. His company specializes in water well installation, repair and servicing, decommissioning, pumps, testing and certification. He serves residential, commercial, public and industrial customers in central and southern New Jersey. He says he grew up exposed to water well drilling and that it has always been a part of him in one way or another.
“The ones with the water around the world hold the power,” Smith says. “Shut it off for three days and life will cease to exist. People are spending roughly two dollars a pint of water. That’s about 16 dollars a gallon.”
Preserving groundwater resources for future generations is not something that Smith takes lightly. He recognizes there is a strong movement to protect groundwater and considers well drillers key players in the initiative. “My hopes are more of a faith that water well drilling has always been and always will be one of the most important contributions to life and humanity as a whole. The future of water well drilling is as important as the future of air. … It’s a big responsibility to protect it and provide it and I couldn’t get more optimistic.”
Q. What do you do and what keeps you coming back every day?
A. I run a business that provides a means to acquire our natural resources while protecting them. Well drilling commands physical and mental strength equally; it’s a constant regiment of focus and a complex array of involvement like no other. Well drilling also is a means for me to provide for my family. I have a beautiful wife and a combined family of five kids. Well drilling and family make me tick and I can’t get enough of it.
Q. What does a typical workday involve?
A. Client relations, drilling, servicing, directing, documenting, answering phone calls, writing proposals, designing, organizing and permitting, preparing, equipment maintenance, and methodology.
Q. What does it take to succeed in what you do?
A. Dedication, hard work and a constant awareness.
Q. What do you wish you knew when you started?
A. How important it is to apply yourself with all you have in all you do. You can know anything, but being able to apply it deliberately holds the most value.
Q. What tool can you not imagine working without?
A. The fax machine and a shovel. They are the foundation in all I do.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. Doing nothing gets nothing done.
Q. How would you describe the present state of the industry?
A. Evolving. Between the advancements in materials and the research being conducted all over the world in real-world environments, things are getting better. Tools, equipment and methods have improved and continue to improve. Regulations that protect our resources are also improving. I believe the overall present state of the industry is moving forward in a positive direction.