Water-well wizard Ken Slade tapped as chamber's 2013 lifetime achiever
Drillwell Enterprises founder Ken Slade has been tapped for this year's Black Tie Lifetime Achievement Award.
Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce will officially honour Slade during its April 13 Black Tie gala, while trumpeting the 84-year-old water wizard's local, provincial and global efforts now.
His efforts — and those of Slade's family and staff — have made Cowichan Bay-based Drillwell B.C.'s largest water-well drilling firm.
The Saskatchewan native with a Grade 11 education started Drillwell in 1965 after buying out Pacific Water Wells.
Six thousand wells later, including some 90% of Cowichan's wells, have seen Slade consulted on drilling work in Botswana, Indonesia, the Caribbean, New Guinea and Swaziland.
But plumbing international projects didn't prevent the former logger from backing the community where he and wife of 58 years, Patricia, raised sons Paul, Calvin and David.
While helping shape B.C.'s groundwater legislation, Slade oversaw building Cowichan Bay's fire hall, coached girls hockey, led Cubs, and served Cowichan Bay's Fire Improvement District, Community Futures, the United Church finance committee, the Rotary club, and the chamber.
All of his hometown help impressed chamber boss George Gates whose board selected Slade for their annual lifetime kudos.
"The Black Tie Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually and recognizes a body of work across all sectors of the community: business, industry, sport, volunteerism and philanthropy," Gates' release explains.
"Recipients make significant, lasting contributions that benefit citizens now, and in generations to come."
These days the Slade boys run Drillwell while their semi-retired dad helps man the office.
"They won't let me run a drill rig anymore," he laughed. "I'm too hard on the equipment."