Problem solvers are special people. Anyone can be a critic, but solving a problem takes time, patience, great effort, and innovative ideas. This issue of Irrigation Leader magazine discusses some very innovative solutions to difficult problems. As always, the best solutions come from individuals with an unbending drive to solve a particular problem. Mark Rude, executive director of the Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District, is such a person. In speaking with Mark about the proposed Kansas aqueduct, you quickly decide he must be exactly like the individuals who first discussed and promoted the Central Arizona Project, the Columbia Basin Project in Washington State, the Central Valley Project in California, and every other major water supply project ever built. Dean Pennington is a particularly thoughtful and innovative individual. Much can be learned from his work to bring different government agencies and groups together to solve water supply problems.

However, anyone familiar with the Pennington family expects such things, as they are blessed with special cognitive abilities. Terry Fulp, director of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region, is considered the expert on Colorado River issues. Though he would be the first to give credit to the lower basin state partners, few could have shepherded such an agreement. Jim Broderick, general manager of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, is considered a character in the western water community and also a respected strategic thinker. Much can be learned from Jim and the positive way he interacts with people. Kenny Nelson is one of those wonderfully seasoned irrigation district managers who has seen just about everything. His final answer in his interview should be taught in every classroom. Monty Teeter’s Dragon-Line™ is a tremendous idea that combines the best features of a pivot with drip line technology. The orange color will help keep the tractor drivers and whatever machinery they are pulling away. Anyone who has driven over a deep pivot track or used a pull-type track closer will love Dan Gillespie’s TracPacker® . This is one of those farmer-created, genius ideas. I can think of one Nebraska family with pivots who will be phoning Mr. Gillespie, and I am sure many other readers will, too.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Irrigation Leader and reading about the featured individuals. Truly, problem solvers are special people.

Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at