John Schmitt, former president of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), former executive director of the Michigan Ground Water Association (MGWA), and regular National Driller columnist, has received NGWA’s Ross L. Oliver Award for outstanding contributions to the ground water industry.

Schmitt, of Manchester, Mich., is retired but remains active in the industry.  Among his ground water industry contributions and recognitions:
  • Twenty years on the board of directors of MGWA
  • An additional 20 years as MGWA's executive director
  • A term as president of NGWA in 1996
  • Seven years on the Michigan Well Drillers Advisory Board
  • Service on a Wright State University advisory board for its Water Well Technology Program
  • An NGWA Life Member Award in 2002
  • Recipient of NGWA’s 2007 Robert Storm Interdivisional Cooperation Award for his extraordinary collaboration with professionals representing different segments of the ground water industry.
Schmitt's introduction to the ground water industry came as a child, when he spent time at water well drilling sites with his father. He drilled his first well at 18. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan, Schmitt promptly returned home to join the family well drilling and pump business.

 Supporting Schmitt’s nomination was former NGWA president Lloyd Watson, who wrote, “I’m nominating John for his continuous giving and service to the industry. He’s a contractor by heart, but also has served his county and community. He always has an opinion, whether you like it or not, and that is good. Though he’s retired, he’s still there, doing his part.”

Schmitt will receive his award at the NGWA Expo Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.