The William A. McEllhiney Distinguished Lecture Series in Water Well Technology was established in 2000 to foster professional excellence in water well technology. The lecture series honors William A. McEllhiney, the 1948 founding president of the National Ground Water Association, and a groundwater contractor and civil engineer.

Each year, a panel of groundwater contractors invites an outstanding groundwater professional to share his or her insights and work experiences with the industry. Individuals may nominate themselves or others they believe to be qualified as a McEllhiney Distinguished Lecturer.

William A. McEllhiney

2022-2023 McEllhiney Lecture

2023 McEllhiney Lecturer – Fred Rothauge, CWD

Fred Rothauge has been in the drilling and drilling fluids engineering business for 40 years. He is a licensed water well driller in eight western states, past president of the Colorado Water Well Contractors Association, and current NGWA and The Groundwater Foundation board member. He has coauthored papers on drilling fluid products and is a coauthor for Johnson Screens’ third edition of Groundwater & Wells. Rothauge also serves on the board for the Mountain States Ground Water Association and is chairman of the American Ground Water Trust. He oversees drilling fluids and well rehabilitation along with serving as technical advisor for Hydro Resources.

Fred Rothauge, CWD

Lecture: Are We Creating Long-term Groundwater Assets or Just Installing Wells?

When drilling a well, the industry has historically focused on the installation price (as cheap as possible) to drill a well at a given point in time. Since the ultimate consumer is too often concerned only about the bottom line of what is perceived as a one-time purchase, the contractor must clarify the true nature of the water supply asset, to produce a change in the customer’s mindset. The contractor must actively educate the customer that they will be purchasing a long-term groundwater supply asset. This educational process includes sharing the well construction measures and materials that will extend the life of the well (asset) and augment the groundwater resource drawn from it.  A well, like any other asset, is evaluated within a long-term life cycle that includes the initial planning and extends to the initial well construction vs. daily operation and maintenance, as well as replacement costs. Such planning and execution also require rethinking of well development and rehabilitation needs and costs. This change in perspective requires the scientist/engineer, suppliers and manufacturers, and other stakeholders to adjust their perspectives from “well” to “asset.”

COVID-19 may necessitate changes be made to the traditional scheduling and presentations by the McEllhiney Lecturer due to health and safety concerns, in addition to government mandates. As these circumstances change, we will work with the hosts who requested the lecture and update the schedule of presentations as warranted. The Groundwater Foundation will ultimately decide if a presentation will be virtual or in-person. (Those who submitted requests will receive appropriate communication.)

The current schedule (as of August 4, 2022) for 2022 McEllhiney Lecture presentations follows.

Lecture DateHostContact
October 26 (in-person)Indiana Ground Water AssociationJennifer Alexander (
November 2 (virtual)Ohio Water Well Association ContactMichaela Graham (
September 15 (in-person)AZ Municipal Water Users Association & AZ Public ServiceMichael Block (

Mr. Rothauge will be hosting lectures between January and November 2023. When possible with travel and schedule factors, lectures will be presented in-person. However, the Groundwater Foundation will ultimately decide if a presentation will be virtual or in-person. (Those who submit requests will receive appropriate communication.)

Requests are currently being received from associations and organizations.

Click here to submit your lecture request online.

Requests made directly to the lecturer will not be honored.

The deadline for speaking requests is September 30, 2022. For additional information, please contact Sue Tenney at or (800) 551-7379 — or (614) 898-7791 outside of the United States — ext. 1568.

General information:

  • There is no fee for the McEllhiney Lecture
  • You may not charge attendees to attend the lecture
  • The Groundwater Foundation pays for the lecturer’s air travel

As the hosting institution, you are responsible for:

In-Person Events:

  • The McEllhiney Lecturer’s accommodations (up to two nights; share the prepaid confirmation upon receipt of emailed host packet)
  • Transportation (to and from the airport, hotel, and your location)
  • Any meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) during the lecturer’s stay
  • Providing a microphone, screen, projector, and computer for the presentation
  • Completing a post-event host evaluation

Virtual Events:

  • Designating a moderator to introduce the Lecturer and pose submitted questions
  • Video conferencing platform and communication with attendees
  • Completing a post-event host evaluation

Please note: Lecture hosts are forbidden from making video or audio recordings of the presentation. Livestreaming is also not permitted.

The McEllhiney Lecture Series is Made Possible by Support From:

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