John Vlchek Celebrates 50 Years in Well Drilling Industry

Newsletter Issue: June 2016 Tags: ​Cariboo Water Wells , water well drilling

One of John Vlchek’s favorite sayings is “I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck you know!” No he didn’t, he jumped on it and headed west from Red Deer, Alberta to work for his uncle Steve in Prince George. John arrived in Prince George on July 1st 1966 to start employment with Interior Water Wells. “Brother Steve,” as John affectionately calls his uncle, put him to work as a driller’s helper learning the trade, and soon after he was promoted to driller.

John rewarded himself for his hard work with a brand new 1968 Mustang. It was the summer of ‘69’ when John met Joyce and they became an item. Joyce took care of the household while John was drilling water wells with his uncle Steve. In January 1974, John and Joyce had their first child, a boy whom they named Kurt.

Shortly after, John quit Interior Drilling and spent a short time working at Northwood Pulp in Prince George with his uncle George. It wasn’t long before John left the pulp mill and started with Hughes Tools (owned by the famous Howard Hughes) as a salesman. He packed up Joyce and Kurt and moved to Kamloops for a year and a half. Joyce stayed busy at home with baby Kurt while John travelled all over Canada and the US (including Alaska) making sales to feed his new family.

After summer was over they moved back to Prince George and a new member entered the Vlchek family when their daughter Tanya was born in November 1975. John had been talking to his uncle George about forming a company and in 1976 John and “Brother George” formed Cariboo Water Wells.

From 1976 to 1979 their tool of the trade was a 1500 Failing Mud Rotary drill rig. In 1979, John upgraded to a slightly used air rotary Ingersoll Rand TH60. John and George drilled water wells across two provinces and two territories and upgraded the drill rig again in 1999 to a Brand new tried and true Ingersoll Rand TH60.

After a short illness, “Brother George” passed away in February of 2005 and John bought out his shares in the company. John’s son Kurt came on board with Cariboo Water Wells soon after at the age of 31. In 2010, John upgraded the drill rig to another Ingersoll Rand TH60, that the Cariboo Water Wells crew (John, Kurt, Neil and Chad) still use today. Their deepest well to date is 1000ft.

John has always had an interest in cars. He builds them and enjoys attending car shows and racing them at the drag strip. He and his wife Joyce have spent many weekends travelling to car shows and races in Canada and the US. His nickname around town is Johnny Lightning and it’s also the name of his race team. Between his 56 Chevy and his 68 Mustang Johnny still keeps a fast pace.