Drainage Contractor

Forty years of drainage

November 1, 2013  By Stefanie Croley

Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge has a more powerful – and, in our case, long-term – impact.

During the 1970s, the drainage industry experienced excitement, innovation and, most importantly, a boost in business like never before. When the first issue of Drainage Contractor was published in 1973, tile drainage in North America was experiencing a boom, and founding editor Peter Lewington was responding to the need for an annual industry information guide.

Now, 40 years later, the dust may have settled a bit, but the industry’s thirst for more knowledge about tile drainage has never been quenched. Every industry experiences thriving and stagnant periods in terms of innovation and business, but passion and dedication to the service provided has kept the drainage industry alive despite the state of the market.

This past spring, when we began celebrating Drainage Contractor’s 40th birthday with our Forty-year flashback series of articles (you can find them online at www.drainagecontractor.com), I did some digging in the magazine’s archives. From groovy logos to black-and-white photos and advertisements, these early editions were certainly physically different, but in flipping through the pages, the message was the same: even 40 years later, the commitment the drainage industry has to its practice is remarkable.


Naturally, we wanted to continue the Forty-year flashback series in this issue, with a few bonus articles from earlier editions, starting on page 8 with Lewington’s inaugural editorial. Lewington passed away in 1992, but it’s interesting to read his perspective four decades ago and wonder how he would comment on the state of the drainage industry today. Lowell Kraft offers another thought-provoking perspective in his attempt to predict the future of the industry in a column from 1977, found on page 14. Perhaps the most accurate of his predictions was that the drainage contractor who waits for the most perfect machine will wait forever. Even during the most successful era in the industry, Kraft’s closing statement is a reminder that we must never become complacent – a timely thought, no matter the state of the industry.  
Over the years, other industry key players from across North America and beyond have contributed insights, advice, best practices and even some humor to our pages.

We are fortunate to have several seasoned veterans still advocating for the betterment and benefits of tile drainage among our pages. Sid Vander Veen, the drainage co-ordinator at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs, made a presentation to members of the Land Improvement Contractors of Ontario in January at the annual conference about several things even an expert may not know about agricultural drainage. In case you missed it, you can read a recap of his presentation on page 34.

Former Drainage Contractor editor Peter Darbishire has contributed several memories to this issue, with event recaps and a reflection on how the industry has evolved over the past four decades.

Without these knowledgeable sources enriching each issue, Drainage Contractor would not be the trusted resource it is. And of course, a magazine is nothing without an audience to read it. We at Drainage Contractor thank you for your loyal readership over the past 40 years, and we plan to share with you many more resources, tips and tricks, and insightful articles in the decades to come.

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