This article originally appeared in WQP November/December 2021 issue as "Industry Insight: Groundwater Professionals Head to Music City"
The National Ground Water Association’s (NGWA) Groundwater Week 2021 will be held December 14 to 16, 2021, in Nashville. This year’s event marks the first in-person Groundwater Week since 2019, as the event was held virtually in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event aims to bring together professionals from all sectors of the groundwater industry to discover solutions to current and future challenges. WQP Managing Editor Lauren Del Ciello asked NGWA CEO Terry Morse more about this year’s event.
The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Lauren Del Ciello: How has the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted planning and organization of Groundwater Week 2021?
Terry Morse: First, we’re thrilled that we are at a place with the COVID-19 pandemic that we can put on an in-person show in Nashville. The biggest impact COVID-19 has had on the planning of Groundwater Week is ensuring that our attendees feel safe and know we are following all local health guidelines. This includes some additional spacing requirements in lines, banquets and educational sessions. Plus, additional hand sanitizing stations and Plexiglass barriers at certain kiosks. But this by-and-large is a return to the Groundwater Week people look forward to every year.
Del Ciello: What can attendees look forward to at Groundwater Week 2021?
Morse: Seeing their friends and colleagues in-person and having some fun! I think everyone is looking forward to that most of all. But attendees can also look forward to an Exhibit Hall packed with exhibitors, products and the newest drilling technology on the market. Plus, we know earning CEUs is a big part of the Groundwater Week experience, so there will be a full schedule of educational opportunities throughout the week. Also, it wouldn’t be Nashville if there wasn’t some great music. Our keynote this year is a live performance by some of Nashville’s most successful songwriters who will be playing their hits and telling the stories behind the music.
Hot Topics at NGWA Groundwater Week 2021
Del Ciello: What do you anticipate will be some of the hot topics this year?
Morse: You’re going to hear a lot of talk on the exhibit floor and in our sessions about supply chain issues and labor shortages and how we can address them in 2022. Plus, how these issues are going to impact bidding on projects, cash flow and how new technology can make drilling operations more efficient. I fully expect there to be lively conversations surrounding policies out of Washington (D.C.) as well, such as infrastructure spending and various new regulations the industry will be facing in the coming years.
Del Ciello: How will the show floor look different this year?
Morse: One addition to the floor we’re happy to announce is the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association will have their own pavilion located on the show room floor. This will include various vendors and exhibitors from their association, which we think will help expand the scope and value of the show.
The show floor will look great and shouldn’t be much different than other years. We’ll have a lot of exhibitors, products and drill rigs to check out, and even some places to stop for a quick drink or snack. There will be some additional spacing requirements in certain areas due to COVID-19 guidelines, but we don’t expect those to create a much different experience than in previous years.
How to Get Involved
Del Ciello: How can professionals get involved if they are unable to attend in-person?
Morse: Volunteer. NGWA offers various ways to get involved in the association and serve the industry. From serving on our volunteer committees to offering technical guidance to publications, there are a lot of ways to get involved. We’re lucky to have some of the best volunteers in the business, and we think they keep coming back because they know they’re making an impact and making our industry better by serving as an NGWA volunteer.
Del Ciello: In a nutshell, what are you personally most excited about regarding the upcoming show?
Morse: To see everyone back in-person and interacting with their friends and peers. It’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day job, especially when things are busy, and forget you are a part of something bigger and extremely important to this world. I think Groundwater Week has a way of reminding people of that, and it really helps recharge everyone’s battery and give them a new perspective for the year ahead.