The recent National Ground Water Association’s (NGWA) Ground Water Expo took place Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, and organizers’ lofty expectations were met – and then some – as the big event looked to continue its momentum from last year’s record-breaking statistics. A few of the impressive numbers from the convention:
- 325 – a record number of firms exhibiting,
- 4,267 ground water professionals in attendance,
- 12 hours of trade show exhibit hall action,
- 80-plus hours of educational workshops, and
- $40,000-plus raised for the association’s Research and Educational Foundation.
The Expo’s theme was “Step Ahead,” and no small part of that was built into the educational programming, which placed increased emphasis on business management for all major industry professions and businesses, as well as ground water sustainability and availability. More than 70 professional development opportunities were provided, including sessions on drilling operations, well construction, geothermal operations, jobsite safety, water quality and treatment, and well maintenance and rehabilitation. Half-day workshops addressed geothermal operations, bidding and estimating, and U.S. Department of Transportation compliance. Industry “Best Suggested Practices” sessions covered hydrofracturing, water treatment and surface/ground water interaction. And the NGWA Forums provided an excellent opportunity to zero in on specific topics of interest.
The Darcy Lecture Farewell Presentation featured Stephen Silliman providing insight into hydraulic testing, numerical modeling, water-quality characterization and electrical resistivity surveys. The 2012 McEllhiney Lecture Kickoff Presentation, titled “Life-cycle Economic Analysis of Water Wells – Considerations for Design and Construction,” was given by Marvin Glotfelty.
Especially poignant was the keynote address by Brian Shul, author, photographer and former Air Force pilot. Shul spoke of his amazing experiences that brought him from near-death in a Vietnam jungle to piloting experimental spy planes today – a truly inspiring account of courage and resolve.
On the trade show floor, there were a good many first-time exhibitors, and the veteran exhibitors had a lot of new-and-improved technologies to show off. That meshed well with the Expo’s overall vibe of “yeah, things have been tough, but we’re still doing what we do best, looking to improve, and planning ahead for the good things on the horizon.”
Outside of the classrooms, exhibit hall and various meetings and receptions, attendees also had the chance for some fun, including the rare opportunity of a behind-the-scenes “Elvis at the Hilton” guided tour of the theater Elvis Presley performed in, as well as his private dressing room, suite and the penthouse, “Sky Villas,” which he called home while performing at the Las Vegas Hilton. An outing to The Gun Store and the Pinball Hall of Fame gave attendees a chance to show off their skills.
In actions taken Dec. 2, delegates from the membership of the NGWA voted to amend the organization’s bylaws to expand the number of voting directors on the corporate board from 16 to 19, and to allow directors from any membership division to be elected by the board of directors to any board officer position. “This action to amend the organization’s bylaws is a manifestation of the NGWA process – the NGWA board and members working together to determine the future of NGWA,” says incoming NGWA president, John Pitz. “The outcome of the vote is that the NGWA membership will benefit by having the most qualified directors as officers of the board.”
This year, the show is right back in Las Vegas, Dec. 4-7, 2012, to “Discover, Connect and Grow!” Says McCray, “I guarantee you there will be no letup from NGWA in terms of the effort made to have a well-attended and well-executed event.”