Tech Topics: Columnist Retires With 450 Horsepower
I met Doc Faison, then owner of this publication, at the National Ground Water Association convention in the fall of 1993. If you attended any of the state or national groundwater industry conventions in the ’90s, you’ll remember Doc. He always wore his signature red blazer and had a camera dangling around his neck looking for a photo op.
Having just attended one of my basic pump technology seminars, Doc asked if I would consider writing a monthly pump tech column for National Driller. Without thinking, I said yes and in the January 1994 issue my first article appeared. The column was titled “The Fundamentals of Pumped Water Systems,” and the idea was to start with the basics and, in simple terms, describe how pumps work and how to apply them to water wells.
At that time, the National Driller readership was primarily the drilling community and my idea was to introduce the pump side of the water well business to drillers. I wanted to keep it simple and month by month provide enough information about pumps so that eventually Mr. Well Driller felt comfortable enough to venture into the pump side of the business.
Part of my reason for taking on this daunting task was to learn more about groundwater pumping. I’ve always practiced the idea that, if you really want to learn about something, you prepare to teach it to someone else. Although I have a strong mechanical aptitude and background, and have been working with pumps of one sort or another since the ’70s, I didn’t join the groundwater industry until the end of 1989. So, when Doc approached me in 1993, I still had a lot to learn.
Columnist Bob Pelikan has shared his skills with readers here since 1994. Now, he’s shifting gears to another passion: autocross. The looks on those 20-somethings’ faces aren’t going to be pretty when they get passed by ol’ Bob in this beauty. Source: Bob Pelikan
The reason for this trip through memory lane is that I have decided to stop writing my monthly column. The editor has graciously agreed to publish most anything I’d care to submit in the coming months and years, but whatever that might be will likely not be on a regular basis. I am mostly retired now and since I’m not getting out to jobsites as much, I don’t get exposed to new ideas for articles as when I worked full time. “Mostly retired” means that I still represent SymCom, one of the companies that makes pump protection devices, and I plan to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So, issues will arise and inspiration will follow and articles will be submitted.
What will I be doing with all the time previously spent cranking out monthly columns? I’ve taken up racing again—specifically, autocrossing. That’s where a twisty race course is set up with traffic cones in a big empty parking lot like at a stadium and cars go out one at a time to see who can get around the course the fastest. I used to do this in a little red Porsche roadster in the early ’60s, but gave it up when I got married. Now that the dog died and the kids have moved out and I’m mostly retired, I decided to take it up again.
In order to level the playing field with all the 20-somethings I’m competing against who are driving Corvettes and supped up Mustangs and have quicker reaction times than mine (hard to believe I know), I built an all-wheel drive Subaru WRX STI powered oversized go-kart with a 1927 Model T Fiberglas body. It weighs 1,800 pounds, has 300 horsepower (I’m in the process of increasing that to 450 this winter) and is the fastest thing I’ve ever driven—scary fast.
If you are a car guy, you might be familiar with the Goodguy’s Rod and Custom Association and the car shows they put on all around the country. At most of these car shows they host an autocross, and in Scottsdale last November, they had an end-of-the-season shootout where all the winners from all the events around the country raced each other to see who was top gun. Out of the 62 cars that showed up in Scottsdale, I had the eighth fastest time. The announcer made a big deal about this 74-year-old grandpa showing the 20-year-olds how to get around an autocross course. Frankly, my success is mostly due to the car and, with my new 450 horsepower motor, I plan to bring home all the marbles in 2014.
Finally, as many of you know, I compiled most of my articles into a book several years ago. The book is 186 pages long and is simply called The Pump Book. It makes a good reference for you old-timers and an excellent training manual for new employees. The cost is $20 plus $2.53 for postage. If you’d like a copy, send an email to email@example.com.
Thanks for following along and for all the kind words through the years. Until next time …
For more Tech Topics columns, visit www.nationaldriller.com/techtopics. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of The Pump Book, a compilation of my columns for reference or training available for only $20.