Top 10 Under 40: Patrick Simonson
By Colleen Cross
It’s hard not to feel good about the future of the ground water industry after talking with 10 young people who work hard and love what they do.
Ground Water Canada put out a call to readers to tell us about outstanding young professionals who exhibit outstanding leadership, skill and dedication to the industry. Readers came through with an impressive sampling of the industry’s best – including Patrick Simonson. Read on to learn more about this young well driller who is passionate about what he does!
Patrick Simonson, JH Simonson Well Drilling Ltd., Centreville, N.B.
At 38, Patrick Simonson is a fourth-generation water well driller for JH Simonson Well Drilling in Centreville, N.B., near the border with Maine. The business was started in 1921 by his great-grandfather, Harry, and grandfather, Jack, and incorporated by his father, Jim, in 1983.
The youngest Simonson started helping out around age 12 or 13, but started working in the family’s business in earnest in his early twenties, when his father, looking to retire, needed a hand. Jim retired in 2003, and though he still occasionally pops by to observe local jobs, he is enjoying more leisurely pursuits of hunting and fishing. He never worked with his grandfather, Jack, who was getting out of the business as the youngest Simonson was becoming interested in drilling.
It’s a small business, with just Simonson and one employee on staff. They serve customers from Grand Falls to Nackawic, drilling wells, selling pumps and offering UV light treatment.
“We do everything,” he says, adding that about half the business is selling pumps.
“I like that the work is different every day: some days you drill half the day, then run the roads delivering pumps.”
Canada being the big country it is, Simonson has found the notion of offsite learning helpful. Years ago, after challenging the licensing exam and missing it by a question or two, he took the one- to two-year course remotely through Red Deer College in Alberta and passed. He found it a helpful experience, although “there was lots of stuff on the test that we don’t typically use like cable tools, mud rotary.”
Because the ground in his region is bedrock, the company uses a Ingersoll-Rand T3W down-the-hole hammer.
If there’s aspect of the job that can be a challenge, it’s the sheer complexity of government regulations, he says. “You know what you’re doing, and it’s sometimes hard having government standing over your shoulder.”
He and his wife Brandie have two young boys, Jack, 7, and Emmett, 3. When he’s not watching Jack play baseball, Simonson enjoys snowmobiling, four-wheeling and fishing out of the river that runs along the back of their property, a tributary to
the St. John River.
The Simonsons believe it’s important to do their part for the industry. Jim was president of the Atlantic Water Well Association for several years, and Patrick is looking forward to the convention in Truro in September. He finds the meetings and shared information very helpful. “We’re remote. They give us prices, tell us about new plumbing codes coming in.
They keep us well up to date.”
All in all he likes the work. “You have to work hard, try to keep everyone happy, because bad news travels fast,” he says. But it’s satisfying when he can help out a customer. “Some people are very grateful and will like you for the rest of your life for giving them water.”
Read about others who made our Top 10 Under 40 list of top young industry professionals.