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Looking ahead: Editorial

Diversifying is one of several ways to strengthen your business


May 13, 2021
By Colleen Cross


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What are the key issues for the groundwater industry?

The results of a survey we undertook last year tell us something about your outlook on the future of the industry. The survey, sponsored in partnership with the Canadian National Ground Water Association and the Ontario Ground Water Association, gathered information and opinions from water-well contractors, drillers, pump contractors, and engineers and scientists. 

We asked where opportunities for contractors lie to improve operations and profitability: the top answer was clients putting more value on your services to allow higher prices. For a fresh viewpoint on this from the next generation, be sure to read Sarah Eggleton’s opinion piece in this edition of OGWA’s The Source, which presents a detailed analysis of the financial forces affecting youth entering the water-well industry.

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For another view of the next generation, check out our Q-and-A with Jamie McMillan, a journeyman ironworker and apprentice boilermaker who is on a mission to “engage, educate and encourage” youth to consider careers in skilled trades. 

People in the industry want to see improved co-operation between government and contractors. Half of participants saw new technology and greater efficiencies as the way forward. Improved or more frequent training and partnerships with other associations relating to water were were solid suggestions. 

Training was seen as important and closely related to professionalism. Comments included: “Develop proper trades training to provide better pathways to employment and raise the standards of practice” and “Having higher standards of certified product.”

These are your own ideas shared in thoughtful moments away from a drill rig when you can hear yourselves think.

Diversifying your business is another powerful possibility. Forage Samson, profiled by Guillaume Roy in our cover story this issue, is a great example of a thriving company constantly looking ahead. After creating the business for residential drilling projects, they built up their business through commercial and municipal projects. They learned about and invested in new equipment and technology to take their company into the future. 

I challenge every reader to select one concern or issue and make it their priority.

This is what smart businesses do. They keep their ears open for opportunities, they figure out what they need and, step by step, they work on their plan – two-year, five-year, whatever it may be. And by making themselves stronger, they help strengthen the industry as a whole in many ways. They serve as role models, they motivate and inspire other businesses to maintain high standards.

They look to the future.

But no amount of diversifying will help this industry if we don’t address root issues raised in the survey: maintaining high standards, pursuing the best training possible, promoting new technology. And the number 1 concern: getting clients – and contractors! – to value the service you provide to allow higher prices. Which may come down to contractors putting on their sales hats and selling the essential service and the much coveted “product” they bring to Canadians.

These concerns come up in almost every conversation we have with people in the industry. It’s a big circle that seems to start and end with raising awareness about the groundwater industry. 

I challenge every reader to select one concern or issue and make it their priority.