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Third Quarter 2016

Gow al Mc


Centr : e l i P ro f lding e W f ers o s Wond nding i F y e v er Sur b m e review M P n o i nvent o C l a Annu Recap C M S 2016 The Official Journal of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association



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contents Third Quarter • Summer 2016 • Volume 15, No. 3



GAWDA Is Listening to and Acting on Member Feedback By William Visintainer

DIRECTOR’S DESK 11 Introducing CVENT: GAWDA’s New Registration System By John Ospina

EDITOR’S NOTES 13 Growth, Change, Celebrations and Summer By Diane Stirling

CONSULTANT CORNER 20  Preventing Medical Gas Mix-Ups By Thomas L. Badstubner

23 W  hat’s Hot and Top-ofMind in Safety Topics By Michael Dodd

24  DOT Prohibits Coercion of Drivers



DIGGING INTO MARKETING 26 Members Work Varied Strategies for Marketing Program Success By Diane Stirling

44 Do I Really Need to Hire an Ad Agency? By John Favalo

47 Handling Marketing In-House Makes Sense By Ron VanDyke

51 Want Real Differentiation? Shape a Breakthrough Message By Tim Riesterer

THE DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES 94 Marking Milestone Anniversaries Members Talk About How They’ve Kept Business Growing By Charles McChesney

By Richard P. Schweitzer, Esq.

ANNUAL CONVENTION PREVIEW HEADQUARTERS NEWS 60 MEASURING CUSTOMER SERVICE: GAWDA’s Membership Survey Shows Value by the Numbers 90 MEMBER-GET-A-MEMBER: New Campaign Aims to Grow a Bigger, Stronger GAWDA

78 Keynote Speakers Announced:

Mike Huckabee, Seifi Ghasemi, Dave Nelsen

79 Schedule of Events 84 GAWDA Gives Back 86 Building an Entrepreneurial Culture to Drive Results By Seifi Ghasemi

88 LinkedIn: The Online Tool is “Google” for Finding People By Dave Nelsen


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contents Third Quarter • Summer 2016 • Volume 15, No. 3


MEMBER PROFILE 14 Central McGowan: This Company Makes Things Happen By Carole Jesiolowski

110 Welcome New Members! 112 Industry News 116 Industry Calendar 117 Mergers & Acquisitions 118 New Products, Services & Technologies 120 Advertisers Index

WONDERS OF WELDING 54 WTC Transportation Hub: An Unusual Challenge for Welders, Engineers


Tight spaces, tight tolerances, gouged and ground welds. The eyecatching Oculus was a unique challenge to which welding industry professionals rose like doves’ wings. By Charles McChesney


70 Photo Album – Speaker and Program Highlights 76 GAWDA First-Timers



SENIOR EDITORS Diane Stirling Charles McChesney

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Carole Jesiolowski Natasha Alexis

DESIGN Robin Turk

65 Young Professionals Initiative Underway

Mentorship Program Builds Relations and Bridges Generations By Justin Trafton

68 Good for Business: Social Media and Millennials

How Facebook and LinkedIn Can Help with Delinquent Collections By Marjorie A. Visintainer

HERE’S WHAT’S APP-ENING 108 More Apps to Try for Work, Travel, Entertainment Welding & Gases Today (USPS 22-975) is published quarterly: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, with additional publications in Spring and Summer. • Non-member subscription rate is $195 per year. • GAWDA members (key contacts and branch locations) receive the magazine as part of their dues. • GAWDA members can order additional yearly subscriptions (4 issues) for $40. • Welding & Gases Today is published by Data Key Communications, Inc. on behalf of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association. • Periodicals postage paid at Pembroke Pines, FL, and at additional mailing offices (ISSN 1558-5344). • Editorial correspondence should be sent to: Editors, c/o • Advertising correspondence and materials should be sent to William Brod, Data Key Communications, Inc., 1415 W. Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13204; telephone (315) 445-2347 fax (315) 422-1721. • Postmaster: Send address changes to Welding & Gases Today, Gases and Welding Distributors Association, One Oakwood Blvd, Suite 195, Hollywood, FL 33020 • Welding & Gases Today is the official journal of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) and carries news and announcements concerning GAWDA. • It is not responsible for contents or opinions other than association activities. • Contents are copyright © 2016 Data Key Communications, Inc. • All rights reserved. • Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. • Questions and comments can be sent via e-mail to editor@WeldingAnd • Data Key Communications, Inc. reserves the right to print portions of or all of any correspondence mailed to the editors without liability on its part and no such correspondence will be returned. • Visit Welding & Gases Today online at


Summer 2016

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President’s Perspective

GAWDA is Listening to — and Acting on — Member Feedback Surveys, One-to-One Interface Yielding Important Ideas and Changes by william visintainer

T 2015-16 GAWDA President W.A. Visintainer is president of Atlas Welding Supply Co. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and online at www.atlaswsco. com. He can be reached at BVisintainer@atlaswsco. com and at 205-345-6903.

he GAWDA online survey, taken right after the Spring Management Conference, measured the views of distributor and supplier members regarding that event. The explicit, candid feedback we received has been very informative and in many ways, quite gratifying. The Association is pleased with the high rate of participation and direct input and response. Such feedback is essential to GAWDA’s planning efforts, because it reflects the pressing interests and ongoing needs of our members. And this input is useful and practical, too. Members told us what they believe we’re doing well; in which areas they’d like to see improvements; and they’ve offered great opinions and ideas for ways that GAWDA can build even higher value into its events and activities. In addition to my own (and the Executive Committee’s) review of the survey evaluations, several members made time at the SMC to share their feedback with me face-to-face. Let me assure you, the survey comments have been read, the ideas have been reviewed, and already, GAWDA staff and board members are using those insights to shape coming events, initiatives and agendas so they truly reflect what our distributor, supplier, manufacturer’s representative and individual members say they want from our organization.


Many comments centered on the SMC Contact Booth Program’s new format. Many members said they enjoyed the expanded, roomier layout, as well as the new prize offerings. We think the prize program is a good idea, and we plan to continue it at the Annual Convention this fall, 6

fine-tuning it to improve its execution, including some survey respondents’ ideas. Another member offered the practical idea that at the next conference, GAWDA provide every attendee with a postage-paid mailing box. That would permit them to take advantage of the giveaways and literature vendors and suppliers offer, yet shipping the items postpaid back to their offices, rather than leaving them behind or having them weigh down their luggage on the trip home.


This Association continues to explore the idea of meeting the diverse needs of both its supplier and distributor members. We’re curious about the question of what drives suppliers to look at alternate channels of distribution. What does the “ideal distributor” look like to a GAWDA supplier? And from the distributor perspective, what elements comprise an “ideal supplier”? What do suppliers think GAWDA distributors should do more of? What could distributors do to prevent them from seeking alternate channels for distributing their products? Those are critical questions for both parts of our membership. Historically, distributors have been the mainstay of GAWDA, but that’s changing. Today, 43 percent of our members are supplier firms. At the 2016 SMC, suppliers represented 55.7 percent (363 out of 651) of our attendees. Supplier companies contribute a higher percentage of financial support to our Association, collectively, than the distributor component does. They also support our SMC Contact Booth Program and Annual Convention exhibitor spaces. Summer 2016


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President’s Perspective For some suppliers, those programs may represent the only two opportunities they have all year to interface with distributors face-to-face. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to use their time and focus at the spring and fall Contact Booth Programs, and throughout the conference, to interface in the most meaningful and productive ways. Here are a few suggestions:


Do some advance homework. Go into the booth program with a list of five to 10 “must-see” suppliers — ones whose websites you’ve previewed before the show. • After those 10 visits are done, see three more suppliers you’ve never talked to before. • Dedicate five minutes of time to each one to find out what that supplier has that you might be able to offer your customers. At worse, you’ll have spent a short amount of time over a three- or four- day period. At best, you may actually discover a whole new product or service that can open up a new line of business, give you a competitive edge and possibly really boost your bottom line. •

Jim Earlbeck, of Earlbeck Gases & Technologies, may not have anything special in mind as he strolls the aisles of a trade show, but because he knows it’s important to suppliers, he dedicates time for that during his conference stay. He also looks for suppliers’ new products and uses the time to hear about new promotions they are launching, he adds. DeWayne Buckelew, of G.E.T.S. Welding Supplies, Dothan, Alabama, a brand-new GAWDA member, believes the Contact Booth Program provides access to vendors he might not normally see. He said he appreciates meeting personally to establish new relationships and obtain information on new products to sell in his store. Let’s all help each other take maximum advantage of the opportunities provided by the conference networking events and the vendor contact booth programs. For both distributors and suppliers, I think you’ll find that our regional, fall and spring conferences are like most things in life: You’ll get out of it what you put into it.


Think about what attracts someone to want to get to know you. • Assess your booth to make sure it is really informative. • Learn how to engage passersby. Get out from behind your table, stand at the aisle, get a little assertive in approaching new people, and learn how to present your company with an engaging demeanor. You might like to take the advice of several of our members, who shared with me their tips for making the most of a short trade show timeframe: Chet DeKing, vice president of operations, Weldstar Company (Aurora, Illinois), says his team plans ahead, thinks about the booths they want to see, and assigns team members to visit various ones. In addition, if senior executives are attending, the firm uses their availability to meet with them to work out any issues that may exist. He says shows also are when the company specifically looks for new products and takes time to hear of new programs being offered. Jeff Johnson, of Arc3 Gases, Inc., Richmond, Virginia, normally doesn’t attend a booth program with a specific agenda, but looks for special deals that suppliers might be offering during that show timeframe. He’s also responsive if vendors have contacted him in advance of the event asking him to stop by and see something specific, he says. •



Watch your mailbox for an official invitation to GAWDA’s 2016 Annual Convention in Hawaii. In the meantime, Debbie and I extend a personal invitation and hope we will see you at this 72nd event. We look forward to welcoming First-Timers and repeat conference attendees to the President’s Reception, which will be held outside overlooking a beautiful Maui vista. There will be a fantastic dinner in the ballroom and the evening will be capped with the world-famous Howling At The Moon dueling-pianos show. Check page 78 for the event schedule and information about conference keynote speakers and other activities. We hope to see you there! Summer 2016

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Director’s Desk

Introducing CVENT: GAWDA’s New Registration System Here’s How to Get Utmost Benefit from this Online Program by john ospina


s you may already know, GAWDA has launched a new registration system for this year’s Annual Convention. Having a new, streamlined system was identified by President Bill Visintainer as one of his main goals for his year as GAWDA president. GAWDA staff researched a number of software programs to find one that is scalable, can meet future association needs, is very user-friendly, and provides our members real value. Here are its features, and ways to get the utmost benefit from the new CVENT system. Lists of all sessions – When you register, you get a listing of all the events included in your registration fee. (Registered spouses and children also get detailed event reports.) Badge preview – You control what your badge looks like – and you can easily preview it. Pay with a few mouse clicks – You can add optional items (such as golf), pay for other events, and even make a donation to the GAWDA Gives Back program with a simple click. Registering multiple people – If you’re registering other group members from your company, you can click on “Add Another Delegate” at the bottom of the page and register them. At the end of the process, all registered delegates receive email confirmations. These can be used as receipts for expense reports. Who’s registered? What’s my booth number? Once your registration is completed, the system adds you and your group to the online attendee list. To access the list, login with your confirmation number and click on the “Attendee List” tab. Booth assignments are also available online and are updated daily. You can access that

via the “Contact Booth Information” tab. Errors? Easy fix! If you find an error in information entered or you want to add additional items, log back in with your confirmation number and simply modify the record.


There’s now a larger (4-inch-by-6-inch) convention badge, and it contains an information-rich QR code (a machine-readable optical label). The code carries contact information of each attendee. Before attending the convention, you ‘ll want to download a free QR code reader so your smartphone can take advantage of this feature. With a QR code reader, you can scan the information from badges of convention attendees you meet. The collected information can be downloaded like a digital “Rolodex” data file. Note: turn to page 83 to see a photo of a sample badge with QR code. Use it to test out QR reader apps.

John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached at GAWDA Headquarters in Hollywood, Florida, via telephone at 844-251-3219 or via email at


GAWDA will be publishing “Helpful Hints” about ways to fully utilize the new registration system to collect information and network with other attendees. For best results, attendees should register online and access the information online. Offline registration options include mail-in or faxin forms – and these are still available on the GAWDA Annual Convention web page. However, we recommend that attendees get accustomed to using the online features, since more options will be added in the future. As always, thank you for your continued support of GAWDA and our industry.

Summer 2016






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Editor’s Notes

Growth, Change, Celebrations and Summer by diane stirling


f you haven’t been able to tell by the weather, the way your grass is growing, or the pace of business, you’ll surely recognize that it’s summertime when this issue of Welding and Gases Today lands on your desk (or your desktop). In the cover-featured, “Digging in to Marketing” article, there’s much to discover from the many distributors, suppliers, and ad agency creatives who willingly tip their hands regarding their marketing tricks of the trade. They offer insightful strategies, novel approaches and tried-and-true tactics they employ to make their marks, build their brands and boost their customer bases. Their array of great ideas shows the resourcefulness of GAWDA members. It also illustrates, in typical GAWDA fashion, members’ willingness to share information to help fellow members learn, benefit and grow. That’s a hallmark trait of this Association, I’m discovering. (P.S. - That story was a look-back for me personally, providing memories of earlier careers and interesting learning experiences as a communications staff person who hired agencies, an agency account director who serviced clients, and the challenges of being a marcom agency sole proprietor.) This issue also recognizes GAWDA members who are celebrating milestone business anniversaries this year. In “The Difference a Decade Makes,” members indicate how they’ve changed in the last 10 years and the ways their businesses have adapted to evolving conditions and disruptions. They also report on the elements that have helped them maintain customers and remain successful in their operations over the years. An interesting new feature that we hope to include on a regular basis is “Wonders of

Welding.” The initial “wonder” is the World Trade Center Transit Hub, with its scintillating welding challenges and amazing architectural detail. The New York City structure is shown in exquisite detail in this profile written by Senior Editor Charles McChesney. As another lighthearted element, we’ve included another edition of “Here’s What’s App-ening,” showcasing several apps you might want to use on your smartphone. Although many industries and companies slow down or take breaks during summer, GAWDA members, GAWDA staff, and GAWDA Media aren’t among them. It’s been another busy quarter. In addition to publishing this Summer issue, we redesigned and recently published a new (and we feel, easier to read and use) GAWDA Membership Directory. We’re at work on the 2016 GAWDA Buyers Guide. Our team has been working with GAWDA staff and executives regarding some new initiatives and communications services. We’re also preparing the fall magazine, which focuses on the Annual Convention. It will contain all the information you need about the events, speakers, people and places involved in the AC, and it will again feature a complete exhibitor’s guide for the Contact Booth Program. As the new folks, our team is in continual process- and content-improvement mode on all GAWDA publications. We are open to your suggestions and ideas and hope you’ll provide feedback about what you’re seeing. So whether you’re reading this issue at the beach, on your deck or porch, in the office or from the back of a loading dock, please be sure to drop us a line.

Summer 2016

Diane Stirling is a senior editor at Welding and Gases Today. A career journalist, public relations practitioner, communications strategist and web/social media content creator, she is part of the GAWDA Media team. Get in touch with her at dianes@datakey. org and 315-445-2347.


GAWDA Member Profile

Central McGowan ‘Makes Things Happen’ by carole jesiolowski


entral McGowan was established in the mid-1960s with the merger of McGowan Welding Supply of Little Falls, Minnesota, and Central Welding Supply of St. Cloud, Minnesota, small businesses with many years of experience between them. This family-owned business, now headquartered in St. Cloud, has weathered changes in processes, methods, software development, product advancement, and a recognition that robotics and automation are the way to success and growth among manufacturing sectors. With two additional locations in Little Falls and New Prague, as well as stockpoints and dealers in 70 locations throughout Minnesota, Central McGowan is well equipped to make good on its mission to “make things happen” for customers.


Central McGowan’s Joe Francis is third-generation CEO. His mother Cynthia Francis served as CEO after her husband Jeff Francis passed away in 2011. Cynthia grew up in the business started by her father, Leo Henkemeyer, and is wellversed on the inner workings of an industrial supply house. “When my father passed away,” says Joe, “we had to make a hard decision as to how we were going to go forward, and we wanted to keep the business family-owned.” At that point, Cynthia took over the position of CEO. Her son Joe Francis, whose background is business management and finance, became the company’s vice president and chief financial officer. Jeff Skumautz continued to serve as company president. When Skumautz retired at the end of 2015, Joe Francis became CEO and president, and Cynthia took over as chairman of the board. “My father’s passing really sparked us into a major transition phase, not only with ownership, but also management,” Joe Francis says. “It was a five-year transition that brought us into 2016 with a well-thought-out vision and focus.” The company has spent the past year rebranding itself with a new logo and website, a clear definition of its vision and core values and a look at what would make this already 14

The company credits its dedicated employees, as well as changes in business methods and software development, for the growth in services and product offerings that extends its reach across more than 40,000 square miles of Minnesota. successful independent distributor even stronger and more successful. “We wanted to give a more modern look and focus with the same service-oriented feel,” says Vice President of Operations Dean Kiffmeyer. A considerable effort was spent on redefining the meaning of the word “service.” Focusing on “value-added service” would provide not only tools, but solutions that could elevate customers’ businesses to reach maximum efficiency. As stated on Central McGowan’s website, “Whether you’re a contracted customer or a home hobbyist, we’ll take your goals seriously and we’ll do what it takes to help you reach them. No fluff or sales tricks, just what’s best for you and your company.”


The development and strengthening of Central McGowan’s management team was a critical step in the transition, along with utilizing internal talent. Kiffmeyer has been with the company for more than 20 years. He started by doing bulk deliveries and gas installations, then route deliveries before moving into sales. He quickly moved up into the role of sales manager. Kiffmeyer says his experience as a route driver was essential to giving him the experience that made him so successful in sales. “It’s where I gained the most ground as far as having the ability to talk about our installations, equipment and operations.” Summer 2016

Above: Nine bulk transfer trucks and a 175,000-cubic foot helium trailer deliver gases to customers located throughout the Midwest.

Most of Central McGowan’s management team has worn several hats at the company. In addition, the average employee tenure is 17 years. It is this vast and varied experience that Central McGowan is tapping into to create a solid, modern, focused business. The company is now more transparent and there is more information coming from the top. “We are open about our financial strength, new opportunities, what we’re working on, when and how,” Joe Francis explains. “I believe this leads to more success. We want our employees to feel like owners and we want their ideas for growth, for training, for new

opportunities.” He stresses that gaining the perspective of 75 people who are touching different parts of the business is so much better than hearing just from the top 10. In 2014, several route drivers and the company’s IT staff suggested the use of a cylinder management program to better handle the company’s 100,000-plus cylinders. While it turned out to be a significant financial investment that would take two and a half years to be fully operational, management bit the bullet and made the investment. CEO Francis says the ROI has been significant. Training is a priority for Central McGowan’s 75 employees, from route drivers to management, and opportunities are varied and ongoing. In addition to service technicians increasing their skills at standard manufacturer schools, other examples include accounting staff who attend local courses, seminars and post-secondary schooling, and route drivers who attend a technical college for welding training. Kiffmeyer says that if employees hear about a class or seminar that could make them better at their jobs, management takes the request seriously. One example he references is a recent e-mail writing seminar attended by management, administrative and sales staffs. “It’s helping us to communicate better not only internally, but with our customers.”

“IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, WE CAN DESIGN IT” Above: Central McGowan CEO Joe Francis builds on the service offered by his parents and grandparents as he transitioned to a modern company with old-fashioned values. Summer 2016

Central McGowan has been in automation and robotics since the 1980s. In January 2015, the company brought its automation division to a whole new level with the acquisition of Pro-Fect Automation, an integrator located in Little Falls. 15

Above: The company’s Automation Center demonstration robots illustrate vision, pick and place, and various capabilities of the automation industry. The displays differ depending on which projects are on the floor in manufacturing.

Kiffmeyer explains: “We made the decision that we needed to grow and enhance our automation capabilities. For years, we purchased a robotic cell, installed it, and then programmed it for a customer. But we wanted to become an integrator. We wanted to buy the robotic arm and then design, engineer and build the cell around it. We contacted Pro-Fect for help and realized that they were experts in every piece of automation except welding. We were the experts in welding.” This acquisition changed Central McGowan’s business model. While the company still calls itself a “distributor,” it also considers itself a “manufacturer of robotic solutions.” Central McGowan’s customers drove the acquisition, Kiffmeyer explains. “Our customer’s challenges are no different than our own. They are looking for help. They need skilled people and cannot find them. Automation solves some of this problem.” He adds that offering one solution that can reduce cycle time, eliminate human error and increase product quality

Focusing on “value-added service” provides not only tools, but solutions that could elevate customers’ businesses to reach maximum efficiency. and consistency pays dividends for the customer. An 11,000 square-foot state-of-the-art Automation Center was opened at Central McGowan’s corporate headquarters in St. Cloud. It contains working robotic cells and operational cutting tables for on-site training and demonstrations, as well as a training center where staff can customize a program or demo equipment. “We’re admittedly enthusiastic when it comes to automation,” says Joe Francis. “Helping customers seamlessly integrate robotic technology and automation to meet their welding or cutting needs is our passion and something only few distributors in Minnesota can provide. This has made us a top-of-mind supplier and resource for numerous companies.” Central McGowan’s engineers, designers, programmable logic controller programmers, machinists and technicians work with customers to design, install and program a customized solution. From assessment to fabrication, they evaluate the customer’s goals and manufacturing processes, identify improvement areas Left: One of Dean Kiffmeyer’s first jobs was doing route deliveries. Now vice president of operations, he exemplifies Central McGowan’s focus on promoting from within and creating a management team with varied company experience.


Summer 2016

Above: Nearing 70 years of existence, Central McGowan spent the past year rebranding itself with a more modern look, as shown in the entrance to the company’s headquarters in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

and provide creative, competitive, custom concepts to increase efficiencies and maximize the bottom line. After constructing the machines or robotic cells, Central McGowan installs the equipment at the customer’s facility and guarantees that everything meets the process criteria, Joe Francis adds. Beyond construction and installation, he says, “We have the internal talent to service and support the equipment for its entire production life.”


Central McGowan serves a variety of industries, including construction, government, education, food, beverage, small business, fabrication, agriculture, medical, transportation, power and utilities. Manufacturing customers have been a core market for many years, for good reason. “Customer productivity is our top priority,” says Kiffmeyer. “Whether a manufacturing customer needs bulk gas, applications, products or service, we have them covered. We’ve made our mark in this industry by not only treating our customers like friends but also giving them more than what they are expecting.” A variety of gases and specialty blends comprise 40 percent of the company’s total sales. Hardgoods make up another 40 percent; robotics and automation sales amount to 20 percent. Prior to his death, Jeff Francis advised his family to grow and diversify the company, advice they took seriously. With a move into full automation services, the company has become more well rounded. There are new markets and a growing footprint. Joe Francis points out that hardgoods and gas sales can grow only as far as a truck can be sent unless an e-commerce strategy or third-party shipping is in place. Currently, customers are located throughout Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. Automation sales growth further extends the company’s territory. Currently, automation sales cover a seven-state area and there are plans for growth into Summer 2016

a larger arena, according to Joe Francis. In fact, the company recently shipped a machine to Taiwan. The transition to a third generation, a new management structure, employee empowerment and a progressive approach to the expansion of automation equipment have all come together in 2016 to build on an already strong foundation. This success is not only evidenced by the many case studies posted on the company’s website at, but in Central McGowan’s core values, clearly listed there for current and potential customers to see: “To be admired for our customer service solutions capabilities – We are a company that provides the highest level of value-added customer service to every customer big or small. Honesty, respect and reliability in helping each customer better themselves or their businesses is our utmost concern.

Above: In 2014, Central McGowan invested in a cylinder management program to better handle its 100,000-plus cylinders. That investment is now showing a significant ROI. 17

Member Profile: Central McGowan “To be admired for our technological capabilities – We work every day to bring the latest advances in technology to our customer’s knowledge. Whatever segment of our business you are working with at Central McGowan, we will make sure to bring you the most advanced tools to get the job done.” “To be admired for our performance – We know everyone is busy and getting the right products at the right time is important. Central McGowan will work tirelessly every day to make sure that questions are answered, products are delivered, and services are complete.

The company’s website boldly declares its brand: “We’re honest. We’re proud. We’re hardworking. We’re the welding and industrial partner Minnesota has counted on for over 65 years.” “To be admired for our hands-on leadership and community relations – All leadership within Central McGowan is committed to the success of our customers, people and vendors. A dedicated hands-on approach is the only way to make sure each one of our stakeholders, communities included, are considered every day we promote our great organization. “To be admired for our people – Our staff is the most important asset in our business, and Central McGowan is committed to providing a working environment that promotes success, happiness and positivity throughout all channels. We want people to notice our people!” Driven by customer expectations and an enthusiastic team that believes in keeping customers’ productivity a top priority, Central McGowan has given good old-fashioned service a modern focus. Whether serving customers with beverage, cryogenic, industrial, specialty and medical gases, welding supplies, or state-of-the art automation and robotics solutions, it is no coincidence that Central McGowan is getting noticed. Top Left: Central McGowan’s demonstation robot has the ability to show coordinated motion welding. Bottom Left: Central McGowan adjusted its business model when it became an integrator of robotic solutions. Its mantra, “If you can dream it, we can build it” is exemplified in this programmable logic controller created for a customer.

Carole Jesiolowski is the founding editor of Welding & Gases Today and served as the managing editor of GAWDA Media for 14 years. She can be reached at or 315-559-7848. 18

Summer 2016


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GAWDA’s Consultant Corner

FDA & Medical Gases

Preventing Medical Gas Mix-ups Save lives with four simple steps by thomas l. badstubner

S GAWDA’s FDA & Medical Gases Consultant Thomas L. Badstubner is president of AsteRisk LLC in Lewisville, Texas. Members can reach him at 508-883-0927 and

ince 2000, there have been no fatal incidents involving medical gas mix-ups resulting from incorrectly connected cryogenic medical gas containers. However, in the previous 17 years, 12 people died and many more were injured as a result of medical gas mix-ups. This result is due, in large part, to the highly effective engineering controls our industry and the FDA established to prevent any future fatalities from medical gas mix-ups. These controls included requiring tamper-proof connections on the outlet valves of medical portable cryogenic containers and the use of a 360-degree wraparound identification label. It is very likely that some of your employees do not remember the events of the 1980s and 1990s that resulted in the tragic deaths of patients who relied on a safe medical gas. It is also possible that the effective engineering controls that were implemented are not well understood by your present operators and drivers. It is also possible that not all your liquid containers have this tamper-proof control. Now is the time to refresh our understanding of the critical preventive measures that have been shown to save lives by preventing medical gas mix-ups … before another incident. CGA SB-26, Cylinder Connections on Portable Liquid Cryogenic Containers, is a short, two-page, Safety Bulletin that clearly explains the engineering controls and the history of their development and that demonstrates the ability of our medical gas industry to regulate itself and save lives.


For posters and flyers to distribute to your employees and customers visit: OfficeofMedicalProductsandTobacco/ CDER/ucm096390.htm

Summer 2016

FDA & Medical Gases


1. Get SB-26. Go to and download the

latest version of CGA SB-26. This publication, and all CGA publications, are free to GAWDA members who participate in the GAWDA/CGA Safety Program. Otherwise the cost is only $5. 2. Make sure all of your liquid containers are compliant with the simple requirements in SB-26. 3. Train Pumpers — Be certain that your cryogenic container filling personnel and supervisors understand the critical elements of CGA SB-26 that apply to them: A. Medical portable cryogenic container outlet valves must be fitted with tamper-proof connections B. Industrial portable cryogenic container outlet valves must be fitted with tamper-evident or tamper-proof connections. This includes (N2O,, CO2, Ar, N2, O2). C. Cryogenic containers should be labeled according to CGA C-7, Guide to Classification and Labeling of Compressed Gases, including the 360-degree wraparound label. 4. Train Drivers — Be sure your drivers understand the critical elements of CGA SB-26 that apply to them: A. How to recognize medical versus industrial containers. The label is the primary identification for medical gases. The 360-degree wraparound tape and other measures are secondary identification techniques. B. Never use an adapter to connect a cylinder/container to a customer system. C. Never change an outlet connection. If the connections between the container and the customer’s system do not fit — do not make the connection. “Won’t Connect? — Don’t Connect!”

“Won’t Connect? — Don’t Connect!” These simple steps can save lives by preventing another tragic medical gas mix-up. Contact for: • A white paper with the details of the incidents from the 1980s and 1990s • A sample Operator Training Program to prevent medical gas mix-ups (CGA SB-26 principles using PowerPoint presentation, quiz, answer key, documentation and video) • A sample Driver Training Program to prevent medical gas mix-ups (CGA SB-26 principles using PowerPoint presentation, quiz, answer key, documentation and video) • Sample photos of conforming and non-conforming cryogenic container connections. Summer 2016


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GAWDA’s Consultant Corner

DOT, Security, OSHA & EPA

What’s Hot and Top-of-Mind in Safety Topics Right Now by michael dodd


ere are some reminders about the status of federal legislation, certifications, forms, and other safety issues.


A final rule on electronic logging devices (ELDs) was published in the Federal Register on December 16, 2015. The rule will mandate the use of ELDs by all motor carriers in interstate commerce by December 2017. Short-haul drivers (CDL drivers who stay within 100 miles of the work reporting location and do not work past 12 hours) are exempt. There also is a provision that allows interstate drivers who are required to log to use the paper versions so long as they are not required to log more than 8 times inside a 30-day window. Because of this provision, most of our distributor drivers/trucks will not be required to have the ELDs. If you will need the ELDs, I have been advising waiting until later next year before purchasing them so you get the latest and greatest devices for the least amount of money.


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has reduced the minimum required percentage of drivers to undergo random drug testing from 50 percent to 25 percent for calendar year 2016. You may test at any rate you wish, but your standard must be at least the minimum rate of 25 percent for drugs and 10 percent for alcohol.


A new date is in effect for having new forms for driver medical examinations (Form MCSA-5875)

and medical certificates (Form MCSA-5876). They are required as of April 20, 2016.


As of May 21, 2014, motor carriers must verify that their driver who had a DOT physical on or after May 21, 2014 was examined by a medical examiner who was listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners as of the date of the exam. To access the registry, visit this website: seam. This is a new item that is required to be maintained in the driver’s qualification file. The regulations do not specify a period of retention. I suggest attaching the certification to your copy of the driver’s medical examination certificate (required to be kept for three years).

GAWDA’s DOT, Security, OSHA & EPA Consultant Michael Dodd is president of MLD Safety Associates in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Members can reach him at 573-718-2887 and


Are you ready for a DOT audit? (Don’t keep putting your head in the sand hoping that this issue will go away, because it won’t.) Still hoping that you won’t be noticed? (Let me assure you, you will be.) Remember, your trucks are carrying hazardous materials, so they are high profile on the roadways. (If you have a serious accident, you will be investigated.) I have an audit checklist and a suggested record-keeping checklist. You can ask for it via email. Sleep factor – you know what that is. Everyone wants to sleep better knowing that they are properly managing their company risks. No matter how much out of compliance you may be, getting back on track is really a lot easier than you think. Call your consultants for help and get started.

Summer 2016


GAWDA’s Consultant Corner

Government Affairs & Human Resources

DOT Prohibits Coercion of Drivers GAWDA Members May Be Subject to this Coercion Rule as a Carrier, Shipper or Customer of Freight by richard p. schweitzer, esq.

T GAWDA’s Government Affairs and Human Resources Legal Consultant Rick Schweitzer is president of Richard P. Schweitzer, PLLC in Washington, D.C. He is also GAWDA’s general counsel. Members can reach him at 202-223-3040 and

he Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a final rule prohibiting motor carriers, shippers, receivers, or transportation intermediaries from coercing drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations — including drivers’ hours-of-service limits; the commercial driver’s license regulations; drug and alcohol testing rules; and the Hazardous Materials Regulations. This rule includes procedures for drivers to report incidents of coercion to FMCSA, establishes rules of practice that the agency will follow in response to reports of coercion, and describes penalties that may be imposed on entities found to have coerced drivers. The new rule was published on November 20, 2015 and became effective as of January 29, 2016. The rule was mandated by Congress in MAP-21, the highway legislation enacted in 2014. This is the first time that the FMCSA has regulated shippers or receivers; previously, the agency’s jurisdiction extended only to motor carriers, brokers and other transportation intermediaries. Thus, GAWDA members may be subject to this coercion rule as a carrier, shipper or customer of freight. Commercial truck drivers have had whistle-blower protection through the Department

of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) since 1982, when the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) was adopted. The STAA and OSHA regulations protect drivers and other individuals working for commercial motor carriers from retaliation for reporting or engaging in activities related to certain commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security conditions. The STAA provides whistleblower protection for drivers who report coercion complaints under this final rule and are then retaliated against by their employer. In June 2014, the FMCSA and OSHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the agencies regarding the anti-retaliation provision of the STAA. The Memorandum allows for the exchange of safety, coercion, and retaliation allegations, when received by one agency, that fall under the authority of the other. For more information on what constitutes coercion and how to submit a complaint to FMCSA, see the FMCSA webpage on Coercion (at: www. According to the FMCSA, coercion may be found to have taken place even if a regulatory violation has not occurred. An example of coercion is when a motor carrier terminates a driver for refusing to accept a load that would require the driver to violate the hours of service

 or more information on what constitutes coercion and how F to submit a complaint to FMCSA, see the FMCSA webpage:


Summer 2016

Government Affairs & Human Resources requirements. The FMCSA states that following must occur in order for coercion to have existed: • A motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary requests a driver to perform a task that would result in the driver violating certain provisions of the FMCSRs or HMRs • The driver informs the motor carrier shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary of the violation that would occur if the task is performed, such as driving over the hours of service limits or creating unsafe driving conditions; and • The motor carrier shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary makes a threat or takes action against the driver’s employment or work opportunities to get the driver to perform the requested task. The key to a finding of coercion is that there must be a threat or some action taken against the driver’s employment or work opportunities. Companies must make sure that they do not allow the stresses of delivery schedules to justify squeezing drivers to violate safety requirements. That is now a regulatory violation, in addition to being bad management practice.

This is the first time that the FMCSA has regulated shippers or receivers. Previously, the agency’s jurisdiction extended only to motor carriers, brokers and other transportation intermediaries.


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Summer 2016


MARKETING From Demo Days to Football Schedules to E-newsletters and Mascots, GAWDA Members Share Their Marketing Tricks of the Trade

by diane stirling senior editor


s there a secret sauce for marketing? Are there must-have elements in a memorable marketing mix? When you dig down deep, do certain techniques and tactics create sure-fire marketing successes? While there seems to be no one definitive way to promote welding supplies and gases distribution products and services, there are numerous and varied pathways that have led to marketing successes for GAWDA members. On the following pages, some of the distributor and supplier companies of the Gases and

PAGE 39: What Is Marketing, Anyway?

Welding Distributors Association share how they’ve worked to successfully build brands, promote products, sell services, differentiate offerings, distinguish their companies and earn new customers.


What turns a shopper into a customer at Oxygen Service Company often is getting them hands-on and face-to-face with products, tools and experts. “We’ve found that if the customer can make some sparks, we generally

PAGE 40: Agencies, In-House, or a Little of Both: How Do You Manage Your Marketing?

Summer 2016


DIGGING IN TO MARKETING can make the sale,” says Mike Nelson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Oxygen Service puts significant planning, resources and personnel into demonstrations of products and tools and creating training resources for its customers. The company’s demonstration labs and training centers are walk-in style and are open every day at locations in St. Paul, Sauk Rapids, and Willmar, Minnesota. Customers from home hobbyists to fabrication specialists can see and try out CNC cutting machines, robotics, welding and cutting equipment. The company’s “Dock Days” over lunchtime allow busy workers to grab a sandwich, meet vendors, see new systems and test drive new machines before going back to work. Every couple years, Oxygen Service hosts a “mini FabTech,” featuring vendors from 60-80 brands for a two-day show that draws upwards of 1,500-plus attendees. They even charter buses to bring customers in from remote locations. “Instead of them traveling to a large national show, we’re providing the opportunity for a lot of people who won’t make that trip to see things specific to welding or metal fabrication with no cost input other than their time,” Nelson describes.

The company also invites a bare-faced look at what they offer, asking prospective customers to come for a tour, then inviting them to do the same at the incumbent company and even competitor suppliers, Nelson says. “We’re pretty proud of what we’ve built over the years. The amount of people available in-house that have a deep stable of technical aptitudes is high. If we can bring [prospective customers] in the door and they do the due diligence, they see the difference. The remark we often hear back is, ‘there’s just no comparison’.” Oxygen Service also is honing its understanding of the competition and being “far more strategic and deliberate” in targeting customers these days, Nelson adds. “We’re going back and auditing and measuring campaigns to make sure what we are doing is effective, and if not, we’re scrapping, modifying, or retooling it as needed,” he adds. At Tech Air Acquisitions, cold calls start out a little warmer thanks in part to the company’s attention-grabbing advertising. Potential customers already know why CEO Myles Dempsey, Jr. is on the phone, as well as the kind of value proposition he’s going to pitch. Norwalk, Connecticut advertising agency Storytellers has developed several memorable magazine ads for Dempsey. “The bottom line is, when he talks to prospective clients, they often recognize him as “the guy in the ads; the guy with the cookies and milk. So his name, his company and even his message are already familiar to the person on the other end of the line. That makes the call go much easier for Myles — and confirms that his advertising is working,” says agency president Joe Giaccone.

Oxygen Service Company’s Sauk Rapids city desk manager Steve Roske throws sparks for some customers.

Oxygen Service Company’s Metal Fab Expo brings products and people together.

Photo: Moses Yuhanna Photography

Photo: Oxygen Service Company


Summer 2016

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Since 2004, when Tom Elliott took the reins of the family business, A-OX Welding Supply Co., in Sioux Falls, SD, he’s made countless moves to ensure its success. With the help of his son Trent and daughters Terran and Tiffany, Tom set out to rebuild the independent distributorship. In 2013, Tom acquired a property with a 46,000-sq.-ft. building to accommodate his vision—store, warehouse, automated fill facilities, and more. It now serves as A-OX’s showcase facility.

The ability to make laser, calibration and ultra-high-purity gases has transformed the company. “We’re saving an enormous amount of money and time compared to outsourcing,” Terran said. “We’re better-able to service our current customers, and we’re picking up new business.”

“Let’s talk productivity,” began Terran, describing the impact the automated island already has made. “We recently pumped 180 cylinders with one operator in just 2 hr. Before, that may have been an entire day’s production.” The new facility was designed and built with state-of-theart Weldcoa equipment, including an automated palletfilling island, liquid fill island with auto shutoff, analytical lab and sampling system, cascading helium system and booster pump and more.

Automation Rich with Benefits Filling automation was a top priority for A-OX because of the inherent productivity gain, and the recipe-based setup. “Our plant manager was scheduled to retire,” Tom said, “and we were very concerned about that knowledge base disappearing. With the gas-mix recipes programmed into the Weldcoa system, that concern was removed.” The system also provides verbal prompts throughout the fill process, allowing operators to leave the filling stations and perform other tasks, awaiting prompts from the fill system.

“The new facility has transformed our company. We are incredibly productive, our service has reached new heights and we are poised for a successful future.” Tom Elliott, Owner, A-OX Welding Supply Co.

“I anticipate that by the end of the year we’ll see a 20 percent increase in packaged-gas sales,” Tom added. Several major hospitals and healthcare companies realize A-OX can meet their growing needs. Similarly, the analytical lab and sampling system is gaining attention of nearby businesses.

Weldcoa on Watch The A-OX management team is quick to credit Weldcoa. “Everything Weldcoa has done, from project planning to implementation, has exceeded our expectations,” Tom said. “Their team filled 800 cylinders to make sure everything worked, running every recipe through the system, over and over…tremendous.” “We know that Weldcoa is constantly watching over us,” said Mike Schwarz, Plant Manager. “Their remote monitoring and troubleshooting proves extremely valuable. They’ve called and alerted us to issues before we even knew about them. Now that’s good service.”

Get the rest of the story at Call Weldcoa at 630.806.2000.

The agency then maximizes the reach and impact of Tech Air’s ads by placing them in prime industry print publications, an approach that “has had a significant positive impact on awareness of Tech Air Acquisitions,” the marketer says.


In the football-enthusiastic South, WESCO Gas & Welding Supply, Inc.’s Marketing Manager Judy Miller knows that when the company’s SEC and ACC college conference football schedule poster comes off the press, customers soon will stream through the doors of their retail stores to get them. It’s one of the tactics the company has employed over the past two decades to keep the WESCO name in front of customers, she says. With headquarters in Prichard, Alabama, and nine branches, the company has a facility with a conference center for training

WESCO’s way-popular fall football poster. 30

programs, and an AWS test facility at one of its sites, open for use to anyone who wants to see a specific piece of equipment in person. The company is “big into service and repair,” Miller says, offering a service department of six full-time technicians who are ready to check out customers’ equipment and go out to do trainings. “It’s a big draw,” Miller says, and a component that is offered to customers and potential prospects alike. The company strives to provide added value as an essential part of its business, “above and beyond the sale,” she adds. “We have to; we have to do something besides sell a product. The big joke in our office is that we’re not going to win over price, we can’t compete against that. We have to offer added value to our customers, and that’s why we’re successful.” The company also hosts special functions for its customer community, from “Community Appreciation Days,” events filled with grilled foods, demonstrations, and open house product showcases, to its annual golf tournament for customers. With suppliers as sponsors, the popular event raises funds for the American Cancer Society. At Norco, Robert Mohr Gerry, executive vice president/ industrial and Jo Dickey, marketing manager, are in campaign mode nine months of the year. They develop three large campaigns each year and do a print mailer for existing customers and a competitive roster. Each of those mailers features items that are offered at each store. The company’s 70 branches, having some autonomy, also can choose to support specific showcased products. Every month, the company additionally stuffs product flyers into its invoices. Digital promotions are produced each month and are electronically delivered using the email marketing tool, Constant Contact.


The locations of stores — and the appearance of those outlets — is part of the marketing effort, Gerry notes. “One of our philosophies is to be on the main street. We spend the extra money to get the profile, and then we make the store look good. That plays into the marketing.” Television ads are another means to provide brand and product awareness for Norco. One ad focuses on medical gas uses and a second features operating areas and offerings. “The commercials say, ‘We’re in your soda pop, we weld your bridges, freeze your chickens, take care of your grandma, and make sure Summer 2016


”One of our philosophies is to be on the main street. We spend the extra money to get the profile, and then we make the store look good. That plays into the marketing. We’re not seen as a budget house, for sure.” - Robert Mohr Gerry, Norco balloons are blown up at your car dealer,’” says Gerry. The spots are available to any Norco branch that wants to use them. The company also does radio around open houses or events, and has redone its website to be more customer-friendly, according to Dickey. There are plans to promote via YouTube and have a more revenue-oriented social media presence, Dickey reports, although at present, social media is used primarily to build brand. That orientation will change once the company’s e-commerce portal is fully operational this summer. Eventually, the company plans to monitor the Google page for every branch for

feedback and to make sure branch managers are aware of any comments consumers leave, Dickey says. Another area where the well-known company receives attention and accolades is in community support and participation. Norco’s Kissler Foundation “does some really substantial things in the community,” Gerry adds. The Norco School of Welding is the sponsoring banner for high school welding programs, helping a number of communities with equipment. In addition, the company donated the funds to build the Norco School of Nursing building at Boise College, and is working with the North Idaho College on another program, he says.


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“What are the factors that create a great customer experience? It’s when people are empowered to create positive change and to create positive experiences for the customer. It’s hard to put in a marketing plan, but we try to foster a culture that’s about taking care of the customer, making them say, ‘Wow,’ and then telling their friends,” she says.

Marketing efforts are high on the priority scale at Butler Gas Products Company too, according to Executive Vice President Abydee Butler Moore. For the Pittsburgh-area (McKees Rocks), Pennsylvania company, marketing is in the hands of every employee, every day, and as part of every customer transaction. It’s an effort that is infused at all levels of the organization as part of the company’s core culture, Moore emphasizes. “It happens at the street level, at the corporate level and at the front line. The idea is that for us, marketing is not the quote-unquote job of a marketing director, but really is a company culture. Every team throughout the organization — everyone customers meet, all of our people, if they are advocates of our brand, our company, what value we bring to the marketplace, that word-of-mouth can create a customer for life,” she explains. “In production, distribution, the counter in our stores, everybody understands the value of the company and what makes us unique.” The belief that’s central at Butler Gas is, “We’re in the people business, regardless of what we’re selling,” Moore says.


The company also reaches out to its customer base and beyond through a biweekly electronic newsletter. “If they learn something, they’ll continue to read,” Moore says. “It might be something they didn’t realize we offered, or a technical or safety tip.” The informational resource also features an employee spotlight each issue. Butler Gas also occasionally employs billboards as a means to differentiate the company. That strategy has been undertaken because some people mistakenly believe the company is located in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Another misconception, Moore reports, is that it is one of the natural gas “fracking” companies doing drilling in the state’s natural gas shale corridors. The billboards offer “an identifiable image for our business, because we

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“Everyone customers meet, all of our people, if they are advocates of our brand, our company, and what value we bring to the marketplace, that word-of-mouth can create a customer for life.”

bottle air. The more we can do to convey that we offer compressed gas cylinders, it’s a much more relatable, ‘aha moment,’ she adds.


At WestAir Gases & Equipment, Inc., the company has made big efforts and huge strides to create a name for itself in the social marketplace.

- Abydee Butler Moore, Butler Gas

The family-owned business, with several locations in California, Arizona and Texas, has a 40 percent traditional marketing strategy and 60 percent social media marketing mix. The company is working on a vigorous community engagement effort by handling the marketing operations in-house, and has put in place a strategic team that includes Director of eCommerce and Marketing Dan Fairchild and







Summer 2016


“You’ve got to look at where the next generation will be in five years, where and how baby boomers will be, and how that will affect the business landscape. It’s our responsibility to stay in front of it and change it.” - Michael Fuette, WestAir Marketing Coordinator Kasey Garcia. The company plans to focus on building its brand through its new website, social media posts, blogs and increasing community involvement. “We’re building our brand and encouraging all our employees to come together in a cohesive environment,” says Fuette. The firm anticipates expanding the marketing team to web and social marketing, he says. As social media grows in popularity and the next generation leads to different behaviors, WestAir recognizes the need to stay proactive, rather than reactive, according to Fuette. “This generation of consumers (Millennials) uses social media on a daily basis and that affects the way we do business and marketing. It is our responsibility to adapt and stay at the forefront for the next generation.”


Haun Welding Supply, Inc., has relied primarily on television advertising for 15 years. “The bulk of our marketing dollars are spent on TV, and in each market, we’ll sit down on an annual basis and look at opportunities,” notes Joshua Haun, vice president of operations and marketing. The ads promote an overview of the company’s capabilities and run on local cable channels, he says. Focusing on a newly added capability, the company is running a new TV spot on its pressure washing services. The company brands itself with the slogan, “The Haun Edge,” applying that name to its loyalty program, newsletter, and web site url. “It’s what sets us apart. It means taking our

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DIGGING IN TO MARKETING service to the next level; and it’s the advantage customers get by doing business with us,” Haun adds. The company sends out a quarterly flier that is echoed by a digital version on the website. It also uses social media, primarily Facebook, to promote specials and events. A visibility branding program is carried out on the road with the distinctive Haun logo, too. “Our trucks are our best advertisements; basically, they’re moving billboards. Anytime I talk to someone, whether they’re familiar with what we do or not, they say, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen your truck around,’” Haun says. A welding arc and a teal blue logo, “as big as it can be on the side of the truck,” provide that high profile. The company also promotes itself in its communities through charitable promotions and sponsorships, such as supporting the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

customers, so we cut deals with people, give them discounted gas or help them out to kind of help us out,” Haun says. “A lot of times, when you’re advertising, you don’t really know who’s actually seeing it, but when you’re doing something like this, you know you’ve got a good customer base that’s seeing your advertising.” The company also sponsors Syracuse University basketball games in Central New York, and in Albany, Yankees baseball, while in Vermont, the firm switches to promoting at Red Sox and Bruins games, Haun adds.


Garry Sears, founder of Eleet Cryogenics, of Bolivar, Ohio, says the company typically doesn’t spend a lot of money on advertising. When it does something, though, it likes to assure a bang for the buck, you might say. That was the conCUSTOMERS AT THE TRACK cept behind Eleet’s door prize offering — a desired handgun Another avenue that’s been promising is sponsoring auto — for the GAWDA Spring Management Conference’s Contact racing activities, the marketer says. “A lot of our customers are Booth Program. The bold move got the entire membership of involved with local car racing, dirt track and a few different GAWDA buzzing. tracks around our area. So we sponsor a couple cars. Our logos “We thought, we’ve got to do something that’s going to are on them, and we have billboards up at a couple of tracks. get [distributors] to our booth, and if we’re going to do this, We do a lot in the racing community. A lot of people who race we’ve got to make it worthwhile, Sears explains. “You have cars or go to watch the races are either customers or potential to know your customers. We felt this was a sure way to attract attention. We kicked it around first and didn’t want to offend anybody, but it had great results.” Going all out to make a difference is the philosophy that applies to the company’s contribution to the GAWDA Gives Back program, too. For the eleventh year now, Sears says, Eleet has donated a bulk tank for auction. This spring’s donation was auctioned at the SMC and raised $31,000 for the Association’s charitable program. While it occasionally makes a big ad splash, and does online newsletter promotions from time to time, Sears says the company relies primarily on cus“Our trucks are our best advertisements; basically, tomer relations to maintain its marketing they’re moving billboards. Anytime I talk to edge. “It’s a relationship management someone, whether they’re familiar with what we do technique,” he says. “It’s built through the quality of the service. It’s our belief or not, they say, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen your truck around.’” that if we provide a good service and a - Joshua Haun, Haun Welding Supply, Inc. good product, our customers will keep coming back.” Summer 2016


“We want to leave the impression that, ‘Veite is doing a lot of things, and they must be pretty good because I see them everywhere.’ Those ads are a constant reminder, and make our sales calls.” - Tom Harmon, Turnkey, agency for Veite UP FRONT, EVERYWHERE

Veite Cryogenic Equipment and Service, Inc. employs high-profile advertising that features successful installations as main message points. Marketing firm the Turnkey Company, led by Tom Harmon out of Berea, Ohio, then positions the company through ads placed front and center in industry publications. The agency cements premium placement agreements so the ads gain maximum visibility “on inside front covers as much as possible in every magazine that’s important to the field,” Harmon says. “We’re probably the biggest advertiser in each of the magazines that we run in. We want to have a strong and consistent presence, and we also want to feature installations. We want to leave the impression that, ‘Veite is doing a lot of things, and they must be pretty good because I see them everywhere.’ Those ads

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are a constant reminder and make our sales calls,” he says. In addition to prominent advertising, the agency supports the advertised products and services secondarily through trade show marketing, Harmon notes. “The trade shows in this industry are fairly small, and so the displays aren’t overwhelming, but they’re effective, and they get Veite personnel face-to-face with prospective customers.”


Other companies that aim for high visibility are Select Arc and Arcos Industries, LLC, according to the companies’ marketing manager, John Tully. Some businesses shy away from a heavy advertising investment, but President Dale Stager had no such qualms, Tully reports. Stager chose to promote their welding electrode products through premium positioning in industry publications because, “he knew that’s what needed to be done; his past experience showed remaining high profile was beneficial, and he decided to maintain that capacity,” the marketer says. The companies continued that practice even during the downturn of 20082009, says Tully. The strategy “has gotten our name out very well,” resulting in significant company growth, he adds, noting, “I’m flabbergasted in such a positive way.” In a similar thrust, the companies have increased their investment in e-magazines. “There are more of those available within the welding industry and we’re trying to take advantage of what we’ve done, and at the same time, maintain premium positions where they’re afforded,” Tully reports. In addition, the firms promote using website banners, through online literature offerings, and by ad placements in general manufacturing publications. Summer 2016



In the Northwest region, a comical, green, helmeted “PlasMan” plasma torch mascot appears in numerous community parades, and everyone knows they’re seeing the symbol of welding and gases distribution company OXARC. Heavy branding by the use of coordinated looks and logos on all forms of company materials is another strategy that Marketing Manager Ron VanDyke has employed regularly for many years. He works to achieve a consistent look across all platforms, from vehicle wraps to mouse pads, to semi tractor-trailers, which feature the 40-foot-long, iconic image of OXARC’s dark green cylinders. Now, that branding effort is extending into social media and e-commerce platforms as well, he acknowledges.


Word-of-mouth and reputation-based promotion are the philosophies held in common for two other distributors, Keen Compressed Gas and Mitchell Welding Supply. Will Keen, vice president of sales and marketing, has been at the third-generation family company 37 years. Even with 18 locations across the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware, marketing still is pretty simple, he says. “I think the strength of the company is the integrity and Summer 2016

the quality of production. Our reputation is on everything we sell. We offer fair pricing, great service, not necessarily the lowest price. A lot of our competitors have used tactics to take sales away from us over time. But many times the customers come back because they have a problem, and they know one thing – if they buy something from us, it’s going to be a quality product, and if it isn’t, we take care of the problem. That’s Old School I know, but in this day and age, I still think it’s valuable.” Keen also promotes its brand through its sponsored vocational technical education program, and conducts welder training as well as periodic how-to seminars, two highly visible, community-based initiatives. Ryan Thompson, marketing manager at 70-year-old, third-generation company Thompson Brothers Supplies, Inc., says the focus on marketing at the Coffeyville, Kansas-area firm is oriented towards customer interests and activities, too. “We’ll do a lot of mailers around rodeos and the fairgrounds events that happen in the summer time. It’s something that’s typically done based off customers’ needs.” When customers come in and ask for the company’s sponsorship, Thompson is inclined to participate, the marketer says. “I would say it’s very much more of a community relations program. We focus a lot on helping the kids’ activities, 4-H, FFA, Boy Scouts, 37

“We’re helping out in the communities we’re in. Just being out there and being recognized as a community partner, you hope that comes back to you.” - Ryan Thompson, Thompson Supplies output:Layout 1


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Girl Scouts, band programs and football sideliners. We try to help sponsor or donate to all of fire and police events, the silent auctions for a cause. We’re helping out in the communities we’re in, so it’s very much community driven,” he says of their marketing orientation. “Just being out there and being recognized as a community partner, you hope that comes back to you.” The company also does direct mailers with invoice statements and direct ads for the ranch, farm and ag customers who make up the majority of customers in the company’s two locations. Rodney Wray, president at Mitchell Welding Supply, of Terrell, Texas, also ascribes to the customer-service-as-marketing belief. “It’s going on 50 years, and obviously we’re doing something right if we’re still here,” he surmises. While it does little paid advertising, the company also markets and builds its brand through community sponsorships and participation in activities hosted by organizations like the chamber of commerce and the local student agriculture programs. It also occasionally does sales fliers and has made itself more visible via the internet. Wray’s sister, Jane Lucas, who is vice president and in charge of marketing, adds, “The cornerstone of our business is our customer service. We feel that’s paramount and it speaks for itself. The best advertisement we can get is our customers having confidence in us to take care of them in a timely fashion and meet their needs.” Wray echoes, “We listen to our customers, we do what’s in the best interest of them and us, and that’s how we’ve stayed in business. That’s really it in a nutshell. Word-of-mouth works great, but we’re taking care of what we’re doing.”

Summer 2016


? Y A W Y N A , G IN T E K R A M WHAT IS Is it sales, advertising, promotion, community sponsorships, public relations, brand visibility, and so on — or combinations of all that? What kinds of activities and decisions comprise a discipline believed to be an essential business ingredient? In the welding and gases distribution industry, marketing means making up product fliers and e-catalogs. Sometimes it’s TV spots, billboards and vehicle wraps. It’s trade show giveaway items and show handouts. It’s big logos everywhere and tractor-trailers with 40-foot-long cylinders painted on the sides. It’s print ads and advertorials in trade publications. It’s product demos and informational open house days. It’s websites and digital ad banners; inbound and outbound electronic communication. It’s organizational sponsorships; publicity for charitable giving; company visibility in any and all possible forms. It’s both sure-fire tools and fingers-crossed tactics. And always, GAWDA members report, it is reputation-building based on exemplary customer service. Whatever GAWDA members do to market, it’s all done in the name of getting out the company brand, presenting a differentiator, protecting a business base, projecting a sales imperative.

Some of the experts in the discipline offer additional insights: “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.” — Dr. Philip Kotler, the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management, called “the world’s foremost expert on the strategic practice of marketing”

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” — The late Peter F. Drucker, business leader and innovator

“The ability to sense, interpret... to put the very heartthrobs of a business into type, paper and ink.” — Renowned advertising great Leo Burnett on the advertising aspect of marketing a business

THE AMERICAN MARKETING ASSOCIATION DEFINES MARKETING AS: “The activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Summer 2016




hen it comes to managing their marketing efforts, many GAWDA member companies use an operations point person or in-house marketing staff, while others complement internal efforts through freelance specialists or advertising agencies contracted for projects or even whole marketing programs.

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Regardless of that choice, today’s decisions must be made within a backdrop of disruption. Traditional media and advertising mechanisms have never been more diverse. The “marketing mix” has never offered more complex media options. Web communication is essential. E-commerce is becoming standard. Free social media platforms offer new worlds of awareness, branding, and promotional opportunities. The options GAWDA members have for marketing, and the decisions they must make about doing so, have never been broader or more complicated. On top of all that, the marketplace is changing. Consumer preferences, customer demographics, media attention, and buying habits are all over the road anymore.


John Favalo, Group B2B managing partner for the five-state marketing communications firm Eric Mower Associates, says working with an agency should be “a process of understanding the problem, your competitive situation, and audience behaviors – and how those behaviors need to change.” Don’t hire a marketing firm if you only need to get some basic ads made or gain “cool creative,” he adds. While agencies aren’t for everyone, optimally, they can provide unbiased views about the product or service offering. “Agencies work best in an environment of give and take, where we feel free to offer our own opinions – even if they differ from yours. Sometimes, in-house structures promote conformity, not healthy debate, he says.” (See his guest article on page 44.)


“In order to get your audience to pay attention long enough to find out what you are trying to say or sell, you have to engage them – entertain them to a certain extent,” says Joe Giaccone, president of Summer 2016

6/13/2016 12:32:57 PM

DIGGING IN TO MARKETING make sense, not be a bunch of shouted words or superlatives. Why should I buy this instead of the competitor’s product? That usually is the basis of our headline, because that’s of vital importance.” An approach that doesn’t work in this industry, he says, is the “brag and boast school of advertising” — an approach akin to “we’re wonderful, you’re lucky we’re offering this product, rush out and buy it.” Morin emphasizes that what does work is “advertising where the product is the star of the show. We buff up the products and make them look beautiful. You have to have a compelling headline, a reason to buy, what’s the point of difference, what it is about the product that makes it different from other products.” Great ad campaigns are the product of a team approach between client and agency working together, Morin adds. “You can’t do it without collaboration and involvement between the people who know the product best, the manufacturer, and the advertising,” he says. In addition, the ads must also “ask for the order,” and the strategy must employ “the ultimate secret to advertising: repetition.” That is how products come to be the first product thought of in that category, he says. “That’s where the advertising wants to get you, top of mind.”

“We literally try to stop people in their tracks with an unorthodox approach, a striking visual or a compelling headline. If we intrigue them enough to go further, we’ve done our job.” - Joe Giaccone, Storytellers advertising and marketing firm Storytellers. “In trade publications devoted to a specific industry, many ads look and sound the same – and all too often, lack creativity,” he observes, and that scenario “offers our clients the best opportunity for success. We literally try to stop people in their tracks with an unorthodox approach, a striking visual or a compelling headline. If we intrigue them enough to go further, we’ve done our job. We will do whatever it takes not to be ignored – short of being offensive, of course,” he adds, citing his agency’s philosophy that “You cannot bore people into buying from you!” Giaccone says of the agency-client scenario, “As much as it is our creativity and ideas that help sell our clients’ businesses, it really comes down to a unique way to tell their story.” Hiring professionals to polish the messaging and present a best-footforward image is beneficial, because agencies can develop the kind of creative positioning that companies themselves perhaps cannot, he believes. “Agencies are typically idea factories; so if you don’t like one particular idea, we’ve got 10 more — or 30 more. Still, successful marketing is a partnership,” he adds. “In terms of success in advertising, I always credit the client more than our agency, because when employing an unorthodox approach, it is they who have to take the risk. But it definitely pays off. I mean, if you are going to pay to run an advertisement, shouldn’t you make sure it works for you?”


Patrick Morin, of the PJ Morin agency of Cleveland, Ohio, contends that agencies have advantages over clients who do the marketing work for themselves. “Doing an ad requires putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes, and clients have a difficult time doing that. They are thinking of their product, but an agency thinks of it from the customer’s point of view, and you have to answer the customer’s question, ‘What’s in it for me?’” In terms of an advertising approach, Morin, who has worked in the gases and welding industry for many years and whose agency has serviced several GAWDA members, says, “To me, an ad is a sales call. So when you do a headline, it should Summer 2016


Some distributors and suppliers are content to take on the marketing tasks themselves, with existing internal staff, by adding specialized staff members, or by working with outside marketing agencies. Marketing Manager Ron VanDyke, who has helped Spokane, Washington’s OXARC with a robust marketing program for many years, regularly manages most of the company’s efforts on his own, but admits it’s an increasingly complex task given the range of media and marketing options now available. Today’s in-house marketer “has to be able to handle the creative vision, design and style, while being a project manager, publisher, editor, producer, all with strict cohesive branding. We need to provide the highest quality in a very complex, mixed-up world — visual for YouTube, instant for Facebook, now for print ads, who and what for TV and radio, and everything for your website,” VanDyke says. He acknowledges the advantages to the in-house role, however. “I have a faster response time for key ingredients by having access to our key decision makers; this makes all of my start-to-finish, concept-to- print time much, much, much faster.” A limiting factor, however, is that, “You can only do and afford so much … so it is a juggling contest between what is 41

“You can accomplish a lot in-house by doing it all yourself and knowing the abilities of a number of specialists … to out-source a few projects or a piece of a project. and still manage your expenses.” - Ron VanDyke, OXARC needed and important for us today, and what we must have independent welding and gases distributor in North America, tomorrow.” Still, VanDyke notes that there are times when with revenues in the $60 million to $100 million range annually,” having help is feasible. “You can accomplish a lot in-house its marketing efforts are implemented at a whole different level by doing it all yourself and knowing the abilities and costs than what is common to many independent suppliers, Gerry of a number of small agency specialists. This gives you the differentiates. Nevertheless, the focus is still on the bottom line. ability to outsource a few projects or a piece of a project and “The overarching theory is that everything we do in content still manage your expenses.” (See his guest article on page 47 should drive revenue,” he says. for more on that view.) While strategies and materials are centralized from headNoble Gas Solutions Marketing Manager Annie Kochneva quarters, Norco’s branch locations “have a certain amount says that while some of Noble’s work is still outsourced, of autonomy, and they work with their local media and concepts are developed by the executive team, which meets come back to us for advice on placement, timing, pricing. regularly to discuss opportunities and efforts. She was hired in We act in an advisory role to help them make decisions,” the spring as the company’s full-time marketer after the firm Dickey reports. evaluated several other options, including an internal marketing committee, outsourcing projects and hiring consultants. SOME OF BOTH Contrary to some traditional marketing spend guidelines, In Syracuse, New York and the company’s 17 other locations, her company evaluates each opportunity for the value it can Haun Welding Supply, Inc.’s Joshua Haun implements the bring, then decides whether or not to pursue it. It’s a strategy firm’s marketing program by himself, with occasional call-in that focuses on initiatives that are really valuable for the help for media placements. The work is a small part of the company, rather than using the dedicated allocations just to director of operations and marketing’s overall responsibilities, expend the monthly budget, she adds. Because Marketing he says, and that in itself can be inhibiting. “It’s challenging works closely with Sales, the approach is very data-driven, not having someone dedicated to it because you always feel Kochneva says, advising that, “Companies have to stay away like you could be doing a better job,” he admits. “Especially from reactive marketing and work to develop proactive with independents, you don’t necessarily have the resources strategies instead.” to do it. You take the time and the money that you have and Supporting the data-driven strategy, the company is now do the best you can with it,” he observes. developing online search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and call-tracking initiatives and is marrying STRATEGY CHOICES them via the application, Salesforce. Based in Albany, New So what approaches are best? What advertising decisions York, Noble serves Eastern New York State and Western must be made? How is that avenue determined? How can a Massachusetts. business choose the most effective branding and promotional At Norco, Robert Mohr Gerry, executive vice president/ tactics? In today’s complex and diversified media marketplace, industrial and Jo Dickey, marketing manager, who work from the concept of how best to market and to place and publish Norco’s Boise, Idaho headquarters, manage the marketing messaging that truly sells covers a whole lot of ground. budget, marketing process, and strategic messaging for the From a marketing agency viewpoint, it’s necessary to company’s 70 locations across seven states. Gerry says that look at not just what works and doesn’t work, but the whole he and Dickey were brought in two years ago to focus on the gamut of ingredients that go into marketing for a client. That company’s marketing, coinciding with Norco’s transition to decision-making scenario is way more diverse, complex and an employee-owned (ESOP) company and its steps into its complicated today, according to Sharon Johnson, vice president third-generation operation. Since Norco is “arguably the largest at Hedlund and Associates of Overland Park, Kansas. 42

Summer 2016


“Today there are so many different channels, it’s hard to see the effectiveness of one channel over another. The internet, different ways of using the web, banners, various programs and methods that can be used to follow people. Ad remarketing is a big thing today; that didn’t even exist a couple years ago. So we’ve gone from having a website, putting it up and seeing what happens, to now having an interactive website that’s mobile friendly and can do ad remarketing for anyone who hits on your site. All of these are possibilities now and may change the way we think about advertising,” she says. What’s appropriate for the client, their budget and their goals today, “should have been the criteria all along,” Johnson adds, “and now you have just a lot of different choices to make. I think we see a trend now toward the industrial business-to-business market looking at their users in some ways very similar to the consumer market. You may be talking about someone who’s in a manufacturing business and who is buying welding equipment, but if you want to capture their attention, especially with the internet today, you look at the demographics, age, what they like to do,” she continues. “We see a percentage of this welder market liking NASCAR, for example. So you’re thinking, ‘Should we put a banner on a NASCAR site?’ Those are the things that are getting more and more refined today, and are very much changing the industrial business-to-business market.”


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In the large view, marketing is far more than advertising a business or its products and services, according to Christine Gravel, a partner at Proverb Associates of the Chicago, Illinois, area. Her agency focuses on creating strong company brands using a variety of strategies. “We’ve seen that a strong brand at every touchpoint has to be consistent and pull together all the messages that are communicated across all media. But not all channels are right for each audience,” she explains. While the agency does do traditional forms of mass marketing – such as ads, billboards, trucks, pallets and transport – it uniquely uses case studies as a tool, particularly for client Weldcoa. That technique emphasizes the breadth and depth of products the company represents, “so people recognize there’s a leadership role,” she adds. The case studies, published as ads in print publications, are customer focused. “The customer is the story, and the products are just sub to that story; they are the tool,” the marketer explains. “We’ve found that storytelling, from the perspective of the customer is something they can all relate to and gather around. It’s been one of the homeruns in the industry.”

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Another aspect of marketing – which some may view as an internally focused initiative – is “aligning the sales team with marketing, and teaching internal employees how to speak about the brand and creating a culture that supports the sales team,” Proverb’s Gravel says. The agency has created an onboarding program for new employees, as well as seminars that walk employees through new marketing campaigns to show what the effort is trying to accomplish and how the employees can talk about it. Gravel emphasizes, “Everybody who works for you is speaking about your brand to somebody, so you really need to have a consistent brand message. Anyone who answers the phone is a salesperson, regardless of their title or position in the company.”

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Do I Really Need to Hire an Ad Agency? Huh? Really?

If the Question Gives You Angst, Here’s Advice for Arriving at the Answer by john favalo

S John Favalo is managing partner for Eric Mower + Associates (Syracuse, New York)’s Group B2B. With 35-plus years of experience, he specializes in strategic communications planning; branding, messaging strategies and value propositions; competitive positioning, differentiation and disruption; media strategies; rational and emotional appeals in communications; and internal branding and communications. He can be reached at 315-466-1000; and at @johnfavalo on Twitter.

tomach cramps. Sweat streaming from forehead, to nose, to pools on the papers below. Head feeling like a speed bag at a Golden Gloves training camp. For some distributor principals, the prospect of hiring an advertising agency brings on angst aplenty. Why? Are advertising agencies that bad? Well, I’ve been on the agency side of life for more than a decade or two and I’ve heard some harsh criticism, like: “Too expensive. Profits in this business are slim enough. Bringing on an ad agency puts even more pressure on the bottom line.” “Too slow. Customers and conditions change like the weather. We need to move fast.” “Inflexible. All agencies have a process and they need to go through every freakin’ step. Their way? I’ll take the highway.” “Holier than thou. Agency people always think they are the smartest in the room.” “Order takers. They’re just looking to churn dollars.” Wait. Before you bail on me, and agencies, consider this: Don’t hire an advertising agency for the wrong reasons. First, don’t hire an “ad agency.” These days, advertising is only one tactic in a communications strategy. Where does public relations fit? Or website and online? And, what about sales enablement and promotion? Content generation and distribution? Today, all these factor in the marcom mix. So, if all you’re thinking is, “I need some ads,” then maybe an agency isn’t for you. There are plenty of ways to get “onesey-twosey” things


done. For instance, publishers often provide ad production services and there are loads of freelancers who can handle specific needs. On the other hand, a skilled marketing communications (i.e. marcom) agency won’t jump on tactics. We’ll want to see your distributorship’s objectives and strategy. We’ll develop a communications plan that integrates the appropriate maneuvers against a reasonable budget and measureable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). And, we’ll check on progress. Next, don’t go to a marcom agency searching for “cool creative.” Great creative work that delivers results isn’t the product of feet-on-thedesk, pie-in-the-sky daydreaming. Nor does it borrow interest from the latest fad or buzzwords. It’s a process of understanding the problem, your competitive situation, and audience behaviors— and how those behaviors need to change. Agency account managers and account planners know exactly what it takes to brief a creative team in order to get the most out of it. Do you know how? Does anyone on your staff know how? Getting breakthrough but relevant creative ideas is one of the most significant benefits of hiring an agency. If you’re not prepared or have the knowledge to collaborate productively with an agency, save yourself and that agency a flatbed of grief – go elsewhere. Then there’s this situation: Nothing you’ve done in marcom seems to work, so you go on a hunt for an agency packing a six-gun loaded with magic bullets. The best agencies … the right agencies … know there are no one-shotwonders and that “ready-fire-aim” isn’t the way to bag more market share. There’s a reason why Summer 2016

DIGGING IN TO MARKETING Hire a marcom agency for the right reasons. So, I’ve given you four really good reasons not to hire an ad agency, and in the bargain offered perspective on what the right marcom agency can do right for you. But aside from the points registered here, what are the signs that suggest a marcom agency could be in your future, rather than out of favor?

marcom doesn’t work—and the right agency can track down the problem and solve it. Plus, many agencies are multidisciplinary with diverse resources, which can be leveraged into unique teams of people whose varying perspectives and experiences can deliver some very interesting and unusual solutions. Or, that right agency has a boatload of experience with distributors, or welding/ fabrication clients or your audiences. Armed with that knowledge and insight, we get up to speed fast and target mouthwatering messages with pinpoint accuracy, offering you a significant advantage.


Marketing communications is not your business, (Building customer relationships and selling your manufacturers’ welding products is). Make no mistake, in today’s world, understanding what it takes to communicate effectively requires mastering art and science. Could your in-house person The best agencies … the right agencies … or team provide that level of expertise? • Independence and objectivity. Marcom know there are no one-shot-wonders agencies shouldn’t be aloof, but we should be and that “ready-fire-aim” isn’t the way unbiased. Agencies work best in an environment of give-and-take, where we feel free to to bag more market share. offer our own opinions – even if they differ •

Meeting today’s needs with yesterday’s values. Kaplan has always believed in offering the best when it comes to quality, value, service and customer relatonships. Today’s market place gets caught up too much with impersonal e-mails and electronic communications that can lead to forgetting who actually built up the welding and gas Industry….. the people! Kaplan is more than just a like, tweet, or hashtag. Pick up the phone and talk to people who care.


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from yours. Sometimes, in-house structures promote conformity, not Telling great stories takes real talent. healthy debate. And, telling great stories that build brands • Understanding the value of brands. Are you an expert on and business takes even more talent. brands? Is your internal team? The right marcom agencies usually are brand-knowledgeable. We understand what great stories takes real talent. And, telling great stories that build makes brands valuable to even the most dispassionate brands and business takes even more talent. Great agencies audiences. We know the components of great brands are great storytellers. Can you find storytellers on the inside? and how to transform intrinsic or created brand value Years ago, we worked with a very small client. I would into marketplace muscle. always use that client as a reference for new business pros• Setting strategy and aligning tactics. Expert marcom pects because I knew how he’d respond when asked about agencies emphasize strategy. Knowing what needs our relationship. He’d say, “I have a very small budget; far to happen or change comes first, then it’s a matter smaller than most they manage. Yet, they make me feel like of how. With a communications strategy set, we can my account is as important as their biggest clients.” match specific tactics to the different phases of the He was telling the truth, too. And, in my mind, this repbuyer’s journey. resents perhaps the best reason to hire a marcom agency. Yes, • Storytelling. Don’t you love a book you can’t put down? that agency needs the expertise and experience, but to be really, How about a movie that gets your heart racing or brings really right, it must have palpable passion, not only for what a tear to your eye? We all love great stories. But, telling it does, but what it does for you.

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Summer 2016


Doing Marketing In-House Makes Good (Dollars and) Sense Handling Marketing Internally is a Complex Mix, and It’s Way More Than Just Good PR Now by ron vandyke


n-house marketing for distributors can be as simple as managing your own marketing and advertising strategies or as complex as having a full agency-style marketing staff. Doing either, or both, or somewhere in between, surely needs to include continuity between creative project development and consistent branding results. Nowadays, those consistent, coordinated efforts include design, media buying, video, radio, print ads, brochures, fliers, digital, mobile, outdoor store signage, trade show exhibits, sponsorships, training aids, public relations, promotional materials, business cards, business letterhead, notepads, and website content management. Even though simplifying all of this would be nice, the pace at which in-house marketers need to react and provide a quality product has increased amazingly in recent years. This is where creativity comes in for the in-house marketer or marketing team.

it is a juggling contest between what is needed and important for today, and what we must have tomorrow. Expenses and sales still have to go hand-in-hand. (And as our company President, Greg Walmsley, frequently tells me, “That’s a great idea; how are you going to pay for it?”) It seems that from advertising sources, the “hard-sell pitch” has always been, and still is, “if you don’t do this … digital, mobile, internet, electronic signage, new store locations … then you will lose your customer’s attention and business.” However, I’ve found that urgency isn’t always the best performer and can’t always dictate our path. For instance, logoed promotional items can become a big trap and these vendors are always ready and waiting to take your money. This is fine if you spread the expense out or even charge your customers to cover your cost, but most of them are way too tempting to just give away.


From time to time, your staff may want to give various “extreme” marketing initiatives a try to see how your audience/customers/partners react. For instance, years ago, I put up an electronic sign at the airport on the main concourse because I got a very good price for one year. Visibility was enormous, but just a few notable responses came in about it. However, when the year was up and the sign was gone, we were flooded with comments from customers, business partners, and associates. All-in-all, this one sign turned out to be great exposure and wonderful branding for us throughout the community and region.

Today’s in-house marketer has to be able to handle the creative vision, design and style aspects of any initiative while being a project manager, publisher, editor, and producer – all done with strict cohesive branding. In-house marketers need to be able to provide the highest quality of output in a very complex and mixed-up marketing world—including visual for YouTube, instant for Facebook, now for print ads, who and what for TV and radio, and everything for your website. You can only do and afford so much … so


Summer 2016

Ron VanDyke, marketing manager at OXARC Inc., has handled all variety of media. He’s worked in recording engineering, network broadcast radio and TV; film and video editing; distance learning systems design; and regional-tointernational media marketing and TV/radio programming. Before joining the Spokane, Washington distributor, he also managed corporate marketing, advertising, media production initiatives and was in magazine publishing. He can be reached at rvandyke@oxarc. com and 509-532-2632.



What prompted a lot of the in-house marketing that we have done at OXARC was the need for product information, rather than just “me-first,” “me-better,” or “me-bigger” competitiveness. For a number of critical years when the internet was new and sales were slow, manufacturers just cut out a lot of their product literature and instructional printing. “They” said they were going to move it all to the internet. So at our company, we simply had to produce our own. We created product information in many formats just to satisfy what our sales teams needed and what our customers wanted. I don’t like to do things twice, so our in-house efforts quickly became all-inclusive. Signs, posters, brochures, fliers, print ads, online landing pages, mobile info pages, calendars, QR codes, vehicle artwork and mouse pads all were produced using the same designs as much as possible (which is a lot). Efficiency, speed, and cost have to be considered in many overlapping projects or we just can’t afford to do them. There are all kinds of daily considerations that crop up trying to dictate the type of media and marketing needed. These considerations include: brand survival, consumer needs, easy,

What prompted a lot of the in-house marketing done for OXARC was the need for product information, rather than just “me-first,” “me-better,” or “me-bigger” competitiveness. fast, simple, immediate, critical; and also: annual, seasonal, regional, local or personal. They also involve a wide range of media: from simple electrode charts, gas comparison listings, cylinder identification charts, decimal equivalent table or spark characteristics posters; to monthly calendars, special sales fliers or brochures, product and equipment labels and signs, company vehicle decals, or sales counter displays for seasonal products. Producing the smaller items in between the larger, more expensive projects has become essential to our cost savings.




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Summer 2016


Being “in-house” gives you a faster response time for those inevitable changes or immediate deadlines by having access to key decision-makers. This makes all of the start-to-finish, concept-to-print time, much, much faster. You can take someone’s great idea and turn it into a finished product as needed. With direct access to people who understand the business and industry right in the same office, you also can move and respond quickly to what is working and what is not. Speed is a strategic role that we can produce very well.


If your company can create (1) a small in-house team with a variety of abilities, and if you can provide (2) a stable budget and (3) a stable work environment, your in-house team will be profitable and efficient. If you can’t provide “1,” “2,” or “3,” then you should consider either “Big Agency” marketing or “Small Agency” specialists as a means to get your marketing work done. Quality is always a consideration and very subjective in media, so the old adage that less is more does apply to design and to project management, as long as it is top quality. It’s also worth remembering that the mobile world, and internet marketing-sales or advertising, are all “monsters” that need to be fed constantly. So in-house media specialists, as well as marketing, advertising, and publishing staff, still have a lot to offer and save in time and expense each day. You can accomplish a lot in-house by doing it all yourself – especially if you know the abilities (and costs) of a number of “Small Agency” specialists. These vendors are people who are very good and very fast in their specialized fields. Having a group of reliable vendors on hand provides the ability to outsource a few projects, or a piece of a project, while still managing your expenses. This flexibility might make the difference between getting the project out the door, or having to wait. Big Agencies can be “big allies” and trusted resources. They can come in and handle that “big digital rollout” or a huge packaged promotion that your in-house staff just doesn’t have the resources to do. There is a real opportunity for assistance –unless the agency insists that you commit to a sign-on-theline, exclusive-only, long-term deal. Large agencies can also provide a very healthy, outside perspective to your business. So mix it up if you can, or do-it-yourself, and remember that all media is (very) subject to the eye of the beholder (as long as they see what we want them to see). You can measure your success in many ways, including direct feedback, sales increases, and increased visibility, but to reach your ROI and maintain a budget plan, you have to determine what fits your business. Summer 2016

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Summer 2016


Want Real Differentiation?

Identify Unconsidered Needs to Shape a Breakthrough Message by tim riesterer


marketing or sales message that responds to the needs your prospect tells you they have may seem intuitive, logical, and to make perfect sense. The problem? It could be hurting your differentiation and failing to convince your prospects to do something different than what they’re doing today. Is there a better way than this traditional approach? Yes – new research confirms that there is. And that starts with developing a value message based on your prospect’s “unconsidered needs” – the challenges, issues or missed opportunities your prospects don’t yet know about. Here is why the traditional approach – responding to your prospect’s identified needs with matched capabilities – will not give you the differentiated edge you need to convince prospects to change: • One of the main issues is that this approach is a recipe for buyer inaction. • It doesn’t create enough urgency in the mind’s eye of your prospects to compel them to do something different. • You haven’t told them anything unexpected or anything they don’t already know. • You’ve simply confirmed what they already understood: That your products and solutions, like those of many other competitors in your market, can address some of their problems. Instead of differentiating you, this kind of market message puts you at parity with your competition and makes it hard for prospects to distinguish between you and them – or between you and what they’re doing today … which is what your message really needs to disrupt.

In terms of perceived uniqueness, both unconsidered needs pitches outperformed the standard and value-added pitches by a margin of +41 percent. THE STATUS QUO BIAS

It’s not an accident that, according to analyst firm Sales Benchmark Index, 60 percent of qualified pipeline deals end in no decision. The conventional approach outlined above is a major contributing factor to the “no decision” problem, because, more often than not, it leaves prospects indecisive about what to do next – and less likely to do anything at all. To really break through your prospect’s status quo bias – or, your prospect’s natural preference for staying the course – you need to shape a message that identifies their “unconsidered needs.” Traditional value propositions can’t help you here. That’s because unconsidered needs are issues, challenges or trends your prospect has either looked past or underestimated. Your ability to identify these “off-the-radar” needs – and speak to them in your marketing campaigns and field sales conversations – is the key to generating the urgency and uniqueness you need to defeat the status quo and win. Sounds good enough in theory, right? The question is, how does this kind of message

Summer 2016

Marketing and sales industry veteran Tim Riesterer is chief strategy and marketing officer for Corporate Visions, a marketing and sales messaging, tools and training company. His focus is improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers by honing the messages and tools they can use to win more deals. He is a regular guest lecturer at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. He’s at: TRiesterer@corporatevisions. com and 415-464-4400.


actually play out in practice? Does it have a measurable impact on your prospects’ perception of your value? Does it make you more compelling and persuasive across your marketing campaigns and your field sales conversations?

The conventional approach outlined above is a major contributing factor to the “no decision” problem because, more often than not, it leaves prospects indecisive about what to do next — and less likely to do anything at all. THE IMPACT OF UNCONSIDERED NEEDS

That’s what my company wanted to find out when we teamed up with Dr. Zakary Tormala, a social psychologist with expertise in messaging and persuasion. Together, we developed an experiment designed to test the persuasive impact of the “unconsidered needs” approach against the traditional model. We recruited 400 individuals and asked them to participate in an online experiment. We then developed a specific scenario for the study, asking participants to imagine themselves as owners of a large company that’s exploring growth opportunities in the midst of a recession. To cope with cash flow challenges tied to slow sales, high costs and sluggish customer payments, the company is seeking a $10 million line of credit from a financial lending firm. Participants were then split – unknowingly – into four different groups that received four different message conditions, each roughly two minutes long. The core services were identical for each pitch; what varied were certain aspects of the structure of each pitch. The four pitches were as follows: • Standard solution – In this pitch, participants received a straightforward pitch in which the lender reviewed the “stated customer need” and offered a $10 million line of credit at a competitive rate. This approach resembled a typical corporate sales presentation. • Value-added – This was identical to the previous pitch, except it introduced additional capabilities (on-staff experts and tailored services), making it similar to pre 52

Summer 2016

DIGGING IN TO MARKETING sentations that include “value-added services” to create perceived differentiation. • Unconsidered Needs-Last – After addressing the stated need ($10 million loan at a competitive rate), this condition introduced the following unconsidered need: Did you know that 42 percent of companies that take a cash infusion during a recession end up failing due to underlying problems in their business? The pitch mentioned that the lender had on-staff experts who could come in and make sure there are no hidden problem areas that could prevent the line of credit from making the biggest possible impact. • Unconsidered Needs-First – This pitch was similar to the one above, except the order was reversed, such that it began with the unconsidered need first and concluded by addressing the stated need. After viewing each pitch, the participants answered a series of questions designed to measure the impact of each presentation in the areas of quality, uniqueness, attitude and choice.


As we enter our 15th successful year, we invite you to join us! What sets the AIWD apart from other buying groups? “We’ve never felt the need to join a buying group before, but after visiting with Ron and discussing the values of the group and the direction they are going, we were motivated to be a part of it. Our 62-years of success inspires us to make a difference in this industry, and the AIWD is the perfect vehicle in which to accomplish this.” — Doug Seaman, GM Phoenix Welding Supplies


In terms of uniqueness and presentation quality, the “unconsidered needs-first” condition outperformed the others by a statistically significant margin. Participants found this presentation to be higher quality by a margin of 11 percent compared to the other conditions, which did not differ from each other. In terms of perceived uniqueness, both unconsidered needs pitches outperformed the standard and value-added pitches by a margin of 41 percent. Additionally, attitudes and choice rating were more favorable in the unconsidered needs-first pitch, which outperformed the other three – which did not differ from each other – by 10 percent. Interestingly, while both pitches that incorporated unconsidered needs were perceived as unique and surprising, only when the need was introduced right away did it actually enhance perceptions of quality and persuasiveness. According to Dr. Tormala, this is consistent with “uncertainty principles.” The idea is that by injecting unexpected information into a conversation, you can create uncertainty, which speeds up message processing. This study strongly suggests that you can take advantage of that effect by introducing unconsidered needs in your sales conversations, but only if you do it at the outset of your pitch. If you wait until the end, you could miss your window to maximize your persuasiveness. Summer 2016

For information about membership, please contact: Ron Weldon Executive Director E: P: 913.963.9135 W: 53


Summer 2016


WTC TRANSPORTATION HUB: An Unusual Challenge for Welders, Engineers by charles mcchesney, senior editor


casual observer easily can see that the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York is eye-catchingly unusual. Its white “wings” stretch out. Its soaring interior dares visitors to not look skyward. Its ability to link 11 different subway lines impresses. Its $4 billion cost (double original estimates) amazes even jaded New Yorkers. Beyond what can be seen is something more than impressive, according to Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish architect who conceived of the building: “The structural steel elements are unique in the world and something completely new.” That uniqueness and newness created innumerable challenges for the engineers, builders and welders who turned Calatrava’s idea into reality. At its most basic, the project is a “multi-modal hub,” combining access to the Hudson Ferry Terminal in Battery Park, the Fulton transit center, Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) trains, Brookfield Place, the World Trade Center Memorial Visitor’s Center, One World Trade Center, Towers 3 and 4 and the future Tower 2 of the World Trade Center complex. It is, in short, “the largest network of underground pedestrian connections in New York City,” according to Calatrava’s firm. Summer 2016


Wonders of Welding But Calatrava aimed for something quite beyond a functional hub. In January 2004, less than three years after the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center destroyed the original PATH station, the architect unveiled this concept: a “pause” among the dense forest of high rises that is Lower Manhattan. The hub rises up from the weave of below-ground subway and train tracks, breaking through the street surface with the bright, white form he calls “Oculus.” The Oculus is a structure that reaches skyward, cathedral-like. It was, Calatrava says, designed to look like a white dove being released from a child’s hand.

New Jersey. But the shapes of the steel and the lengths of the pieces, coupled with the lack of available docking facilities in Manhattan, forced a rethinking of the work, Payea says. As it turned out, Skanska already was at work on the Manhattan Bridge — the suspension bridge just north of the Brooklyn Bridge — so the company was able to use that bridge to bring pieces across from a staging yard in Red Hook, in Brooklyn. First though, engineers had to check to make sure the geometry of the roads would allow each piece to make the trip to the World Trade Center site. And each piece, with a police escort, traveled at night. The longest piece was 27 feet wide and 110 feet long. Challenges continued when the steel arrived at the site, says Elizabeth Mattfield, an engineer who served as an inspector on the work. The thickness of the steel and the density of population in Manhattan complicated inspection work. For instance, normally required X-ray inspections couldn’t be done because of the radiation exposure it could pose to the people living in one of the most densely populated places in America. Instead, she says, ultrasonic inspections had to suffice.


Photos courtesy of Skanska

Dan Payea, vice president of operations with construction giant Skanska, oversaw much of the work on the Oculus, which was a project filled with challenges for all who worked on it. Even getting the structural steel to the site required extraordinary effort, he recounts. Much of the steel was created and shaped in Italy, then brought to the United States by ship. Once here, the plan was to bring it to Southern Manhattan from


Summer 2016

Wonders of Welding


Photos courtesy of Skanska


The complex shapes demanded by the design created tight spaces for welders. Mattfield notes how “only skinny guys could fit in” – plus the high reach of the “dove’s wings” components resulted in demands on welders far beyond the usual. Skanska prebuilt a platform for welders and others to work up high, and everyone on the job tied off, Mattfield says. But perhaps the greatest challenge was that the structure was designed to be welded, not bolted together. That meant tolerances were tighter everywhere, and welders had to carefully join pieces that might otherwise have been quickly shimmed and bolted together. That required a level of welding not often required, and, Payea says, the members of Ironworkers Local 40 responded magnificently. “The workmanship is amazing,” adds Mattfield. Because the welds are designed to be painted, but not hidden, they needed to be gouged and ground down. Mattfield remembers walking in the Oculus and hearing nothing but the sounds of welding material being ground smooth. Payea says that he would check in with welders and hopefully ask if they had put on more material than they had taken off that day. According to figures from Skanska’s records, nearly 20 tons of welding material was gouged and ground away to prep the Oculus before it received three coats of paint. More than 600 pounds of flux were ground from just the two rafters at either end of the structure. Lloyd Robinson, president of AWISCO, the Maspeth, NY-based GAWDA member that supplied Skanska on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub project, downplayed the complications of serving a client on such a large project in such a busy place. Delivering safety equipment, welding supplies and gases to a site like that means “you start super early and you get into the city early enough to beat the traffic,” he says. Summer 2016

Wonders of Welding


Has your business been involved with an outstanding project that you would like to see featured as a Wonder of Welding? Drop us a line at Charles@ or call Charles McChesney at 315 445-2347.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub


And how do you keep clients with $4 billion projects? Robinson doesn’t hesitate with his answer. “You service the heck out of them,” he says. Calatrava puts the challenges posed by the project in a historical perspective. “It is,” he says, “within the tradition of the civil architecture in New York, and also within the American tradition of going beyond the limits.”


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March 2016


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Summer 2016

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Business Trends

Measuring the Costs and Benefits of Customer Service GAWDA’s Customer Service Survey Shows Value By The Numbers


ncreasing customer retention by 5 percent can boost profas well as how it stacks up to customer expectations. “The itability by up to 85 percent, Thomas DeCarlo, the Ben S. more you know, the more sales grow,” DeCarlo said. Weill Endowed Chair of Industrial The faculty member shared Distribution at the University of the results of a survey conducted Alabama at Birmingham, told attendees (using the same GAWDA survey to the GAWDA Spring Management discussed earlier) for a single Don’t hide from customer problems. Conference. Or, looked at from the GAWDA member. The results You’re going to mess up, but don’t other side, selling to a new customer showed the member company was run and hide if you mess up. is six times more costly than selling well liked by customers, but was to an existing one. falling behind expectations for – Dr. Thomas DeCarlo DeCarlo cited studies that showed product availability and billing increasing a business’s customer reaccuracy when it came to cylintention rate by 1 percent can bring der rentals. The performance was a boost in profits of 3 to 7 percent, good, outpacing the competition while increasing customer retention by a fair margin, but the survey Increasing a business’s customer retention by 5 percent can yield an increase in showed how, nonetheless, that rate by 1 percent can bring a boost in profits of 25 to 85 percent in some positive performance fell short of industries. customer expectations. profits of 3 to 7 percent. DeCarlo discussed these statistics Not only was this information eyeas he explained to GAWDA members opening, but to maintain an edge on how they could survey their own custhe competition and meet customer tomers to better understand how well expectations, DeCarlo suggested that they were doing and what business the GAWDA member continue to Paying attention to customer problems they might be missing. Prior to the survey customers periodically. means…doing the things the supplier address, DeCarlo had made available He offered a pointer to all to GAWDA members a survey he had pays you to do. Otherwise, the supplier GAWDA members, something designed that members could use to he said he also shares with the will do it for you. One click (online) is survey their customers. The survey students in his marketing classes all the customer needs to do to walk tool is available at at Alabama: Don’t hide from cusaway from you as a source. resources/2016-css-template/. tomer problems. “You’re going to mess up, but don’t run and hide if – Dr. Thomas DeCarlo COMPARE TO COMPETITORS you mess up,” he advised. That’s The survey helps grow sales, he because addressing customer disexplained, by helping distributors satisfaction can actually result in understand not only how well their business is perceived, but stronger customer loyalty, he explained. “This ‘boomerang how well it is perceived compared to potential competitors — effect’ is kind of a strange phenomenon, but it does happen. 60

Summer 2016

Business Trends

The survey showed that performance was good… but…nonetheless, that positive performance fell short of customer expectations.

GAWDA MEMBER RATINGS Scores on a 0.0 - 7.0 scale



Approach them and try to solve the problem,” he added. Paying attention to customer problems means “taking on those responsibilities, and doing the things the supplier pays you to do. Otherwise, the supplier will do it for you. One click (online) is all the customer needs to do to walk away from you as a source,” he advised.










Before a Spring Management Conference audience of more than 300 GAWDA members, Dr. DeCarlo shared the results of another survey, this one sent to distributor and supplier members to measure their perceptions of the services and benefits offered by the Association. Using a 7-point scale like the one used in the customer survey he designed, DeCarlo found great support for the annual convention and contact booth programs. Members rated GAWDA’s regulatory and compliance consulting services tops, giving a score of 6.3, the equivalent of a 90 on a 100-point scale. Twenty-four-hour access to compliance manuals and standard operating procedures scored equally well. Safety bulletins and regulatory alerts came in close behind, as did safety and compliance webinars and teleconferences.







For more information on the GAWDA-Member Survey, go to: and login to the members-only portal.

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Summer 2016

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Business Trends


Dr. Thomas DeCarlo presents customer satisfaction survey findings at the GAWDA Spring Management Conference.

When it came to activities, GAWDA members who are suppliers were particularly pleased with the annual convention, giving it an average rating of 6.28 – the equivalent of a 90 on a 100-point scale. Distributors scored the annual convention lower – at 5.33, equal to a 76 on a 100-point scale. The contact booth program saw a similar split between suppliers and distributors. In contrast, spring management conferences got strong and nearly identical support from suppliers — who scored them 5.91, an 85 on a 100-point scale — and distributors — who scored them 5.81, an 83. Among distributors, no GAWDA activity scored higher than the management conferences.

The expanded contact Booth Program at the 2016 GAWDA SMC. The survey offered a clear picture of the demographics of GAWDA’s membership. Fewer than 10 percent of those who responded to the survey were women and 70 percent of distributors who responded were over the age of 50. Some 63 percent of suppliers who responded were over age 50. After sharing some of the findings, and a few individual comments from respondents, DeCarlo said the organization should consider an effort to recruit and retain younger members as well as an effort to beef up online learning opportunities, enhancing communications with members and taking another look at current programs with an eye toward attracting more distributors. 62

Summer 2016

Business Trends


GAWDA publications fared well, with all but one topping 5.0 on the 7-point scale. GAWDA Connection, the twice-monthly email newsletter, and Welding and Gases Today, the quarterly magazine, drew scores of 5.61 and 5.63, respectively, among distributors (both rating 80 on a 100-point scale). Suppliers graded the publications slightly lower at 5.27 and 5.1, respectively. The annual membership directory was more popular with suppliers, who rated it 5.48, than with distributors, who gave it a score of 5.08. Suppliers and distributors rated the annual buyers guide at 4.74 and 4.64, respectively.

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Young Professionals

Young Professionals Initiative Underway Mentorship Program Planned to Build Relations, Bridge Generations by justin trafton


hat are the young people thinking about?” This age-old question evokes responses that are simultaneously poignant, cliché and relevant. In terms of GAWDA Young Professionals (YPs) the answer is simple: GAWDA young people are thinking about the future. Within our organization there is a lot of discussion about and there seems to be much concern regarding the current generational shift and the forthcoming “skills gap.” It’s important that everyone be aware that GAWDA Young Professionals want to bring fresh perspective and youthful enthusiasm to this established industry. It also is important to note that the Young Professionals of GAWDA recognize the need for education and relationship-building that only this Association’s most experienced members can provide. That’s why, with some purpose-driven and intentional work, via a proposed new Young Professionals mentorship program, GAWDA can build a bridge that imparts the wealth of current institutional knowledge to the next generation. I can assure you, the YPs are ready.


Aside from falling into the 22- to-45-year-old age bracket, GAWDA YPs share several common traits and positions: • There are family-owned businesses in both the distributor and supplier arms of the GAWDA organization. • While the business models may be different, the issues around operating a multi-generation family business are similar.

In addition, there are YP “hired hands” who are ascending the ranks to positions of leadership in GAWDA companies, and frequently, some of them also have an ownership stake. • YPs bring an understanding of quickly changing technology along with business models that track the technological shifts. • In some cases, YPs also bring the latest research-based education about new-millennium business practices. The most important element that YPs share, however, is the desire for knowledge about the industry in which they work. YPs also are selfaware; we know that we need to learn from the seasoned professionals of this industry. That recognition is why the Membership Services Committee has undertaken this initiative with the Young Professionals of the organization. •

The Young Professionals of GAWDA recognize the need for education and relationshipbuilding that only this Association’s most experienced members can provide.

Justin Trafton is the president and chief operating officer at McDantim Inc. of Helena, Montana. He’s also a co-chair of the Young Professionals Committee of GAWDA (along with Erich Haun.) Trafton has been with McDantim, a supplier member company, since December 1996, beginning in his role as production technician. He was appointed to the role of president in February. He can be reached at 406-442-5153 or


In the article, ‘Organizational Benefits of Mentoring,’ (Academy of Management Executive, 1990) authors James A. Wilson and Nancy S. Elman state that organizations should come to see mentoring as a strategy for the future and approach it as such.

Summer 2016


Young Professionals manned a supplier’s booth because the supplier had to go the hospital. These relationships and the stories that go with them are part of the GAWDA legacy. The process of mentorship prepares the ground for these vital relationships to germinate, grow and flourish and intentional mentorship can enhance and expedite the acclimatization process for young entrants to the industry. Now, we’re able to report that after consideration, discussion and work, GAWDA’s YP Committee recently partnered with the Association’s Membership Services Committee to draft a mentorship program now in the rollout phase. It is based on a similar program that Steve Dodge, of Flame Technologies of Cedar Park, Texas, and co-chair of the Membership Services Committee, took part in during his time with the Navy. (Steve serves with distributor member Melissa Perkins, of Electronic Fluorocarbons of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to head the Membership Services Committee.)

We’re able to report that after consideration, discussion and work, GAWDA’s YP Committee recently partnered with the Association’s Membership Services Committee to draft a mentorship program now in the rollout phase. Since GAWDA is in the midst of a generational shift, it is of benefit to the organization to transmit its accumulated knowledge to those who eventually will assume leadership roles. Among GAWDA’s various functions in the industry is one that is key to survival, and that provides the association with the most benefit: relationship building. I’ve heard many experiences about how members have helped other members. Some of the stories that have impressed me most are those of the “seasoned member” introducing the new entrant competitor to people in the organization. Or, the ability to call past presidents and ask them for support or their time to participate in training. Or, the distributor member who







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Summer 2016

Young Professionals


The YP and MS Committees now are working to determine the best possible ways to gain support and implement the YP mentorship program for the GAWDA organization. As the more experienced say, “the devil is in the details,” and we are finding there is a lot to be worked out. Some of the features of the draft program include participation from distributors, suppliers and past presidents. Also on the table are mentor phone calls with various mentees over the course of their first two years in GAWDA. There is also a face-to-face component that could take place at the annual, SMC or regional events. It’s proposed that, after the initial period of acclimation, mentees would have good inroads into GAWDA and be well on their way to developing the relationships that make GAWDA the strong organization it is today.

For More Information about GAWDA’s Young Professionals Committee and its activities, contact:


Drafts of an official program have been working their way through the Executive, Membership Services and Young Professionals Committees, and there is internal support for the initiative. The next steps are to engage the general membership to gauge interest, finalize the mentor and mentee commitment details, enlist mentors and mentees, and ultimately, officially roll out a program. Our goal is to have this work completed and a program in place by this year’s Annual Convention in Maui. In conclusion, an intentional and robust YP mentoring program has several benefits for the GAWDA organization. Of course, we would love to hear your thoughts and get your feedback about how this effort might be accomplished. Lastly, I urge GAWDA members to please support the effort by taking part in the program.

Erich Haun, Co-Chair Haun Welding Supply, Inc. 518-250-4288

Summer 2016

Justin Trafton, Co-Chair McDantim Inc. 406-442-5153


Social Media

Social Media and Millennials Can Improve Business How Facebook and LinkedIn Can Help with Delinquent Collections by marjorie a. visintainer

I Marjorie Visintainer is accounts receivable clerk at Atlas Welding Supply Co. She attended the Spring Management Conference as a First-Timer in April. She is on Twitter at @visintainer193, on Facebook at Margi Visintainer and on LinkedIn at Marjorie Visintainer. She can also be reached at

work on collections for my family’s business, Atlas Welding Supply Co. in Alabama. I’m also a member of the millennial generation, which means that I am very much at home with technology, especially several types of social media. I’d like to share some concrete examples of how social media can help your bottom line. Especially today, a business that doesn’t have a website is way behind the times. Well, a company without some form of social media presence also is missing a lot of opportunities — real dollarsand-cents kinds of opportunities. You may have heard about companies using social media to reach new customers, but have you considered using social media as resources to help you find customers who owe you money? When I began working on the delinquent-customers list for our company, I found that our customer database wasn’t fully up-to-date and in parts of it, we were missing crucial contact information. That made the collections task more difficult. After a few days of leaving messages and getting notices of changed phone numbers, along with returned mail and email, I was getting a little perplexed. So I did what someone my age typically does. I turned to Facebook to take my mind off of my frustration for a few minutes. As I was “Facebook stalking” old friends, I realized that I had not yet tried to use Facebook as a tool to look up some of the people and the companies that owed us significant amounts of uncollected receivables. Atlas is a small local business, and we deal with just as many mom-and-pop shops as we do multi-million-dollar corporations. As I considered


our situation, and the resource I had right at hand, I decided that most of these small businesspeople probably had personal Facebook pages linked to their corporate ones. I was right. Using online and social media tools, I very quickly found a business that recently had closed. How? While scrolling through the “about” tab on the company’s Facebook page, I found a link to the owner’s personal page. On her personal page, she had listed her cell phone number, her e-mail, and the places she frequently visits. With those new pieces of information, I was able to call her and connect with her by e-mail. We got our property returned and saved many staff hours.

I realized that I had not yet tried to use Facebook as a tool to look up some of the people and the companies that owed us significant amounts of uncollected receivables. Here’s another situation where social media provided a ready research tool. Any business that has had the opportunity to supply apartment complexes will attest to the fact that property management companies can change frequently with little or no notice. We faced that situation. Between two companies who supplied the apartment complex, I was attempting to figure out what company owed a few months’ rent on a helium cylinder. The companies kept going back Summer 2016

Social Media

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✔ Exclusive Membership ✔ Select Pricing and forth, each saying they had already sold the property at a particular time or that they had not owned it at a specific billing date. I again turned to social media. After a few minutes on the apartment complex’s Facebook page, I was able to find a status that stated the exact date the company had taken over the location. That piece of information let me get everything sorted out with no further issues. On a third occasion, a customer had moved and had changed the name of her business many times. She also took our property in one of the moves, but did not keep us up to date on her changes. While Facebook offered no clues, LinkedIn was a good source. I was able to find the old and new locations of her business there. Furthermore, LinkedIn’s networking feature showed me what contacts we had that could help me get in touch with her directly. Again, a little time on social media saved many hours of work. These are just three cases where turning to social media led to a quick and easy solution for me and my team. Members of the millennial generation are, largely, very much at home with social media. When you are thinking of ways to make or save or even collect money for your business, consider how millennials, with all the ways that they think unconventionally, can help build your team and help lead your company to a successful future.

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Summer 2016


SMC Recap

Highlights of A Successful SMC


record distributor and supplier member attendance, an Captions: expanded and prize-winning Contact Booth Program, 1. A “YMCA” Dance, led by George Ratermann, provided an words of wisdom from innovative and entertaining energized preface to his “Gen Next” breakfast workshop. speakers, results of a member services survey, and thoughts on 2. At the President’s Reception (L-R): Mark Raimy and the minds of many of the youngest professionals in the gases his wife, Kathryn Raimy; Jim Kissler; Britt Lovin; distribution and welding industry highlighted GAWDA’s 2016 President Bill Visintainer; and Bill Anderson. Spring Management Conference in Savannah in April. The SMC’s attendance, at 651, marked the highest partic- 3. President Visintainer announces the GAWDA Gives Back charities selected for Annual Convention presentations. ipation level since 2010, according to John Ospina, executive director. That number was comprised of 199 distributor com- 4. “Forrest Gump” fan Bud Allen, of supplier member Kaplan pany representatives; Industries, met a character depicting his movie hero. 2016 SMC By the Numbers 363 representatives 5. SMC attendees enjoyed the added components of a 651 Record Attendance of supplier firms, and 89 attendees listed as spouses, sister-society members, trade publication staffers, and non-member guests.

bigger and better Contact Booth Program.

199 Distributor firm representatives


363 Supplier company representatives Spouses, Sister-Society attendees,

89 trade publication staff members,

Supplier member FasTest’s team used the SMC forum to launch its new product, the CGA 580 Connector with smart technology.


non-member guests

Savannah Consultant Marjorie Young addressed the Women in Gases and Welding luncheon group on the topic of company reputation management.



Summer 2016

SMC Recap






Summer 2016



SMC Recap





Captions: 1.

Will Roberts (center left) and Dave Mason (center right), from distributor company Roberts Oxygen visit The Harris Products Group display at the Contact Booth Program.


L to R: Bill Kingsley, Greg Adamson, Tom Bennett, and Amy Milligan pose for a group shot as they represent Cyl-Tec at the SMC.


GAWDA Young Professionals displayed energy and enthusiasm at their gathering.



Al Stark (right), of Norris Cylinder, not only came closest to the pin, he received a ‘Happy Birthday’ serenade from GAWDA golfers. Presenting was Golf Chair Robert Ranc (left) of Weldcoa.


An engaged audience heard industry experts and Members discuss current levels of disruption and change trends. L-R: Mike Masha, Buzz Campbell, Jim Earlbeck; Ken Thompson; David Manthey. Summer 2016


The Words and Wisdoms of SMC Speakers

Dirk Beveridge “Innovate: How Successful Businesses Lead Change in Disruptive Times”

“Distribution is a complex business…we get caught in the day to day, the crisis of the moment, the tyranny of the urgent. If we’re really honest, we’re stuck in a world of sameness. We must rethink our value propositions.” “What do you stand for? That stance becomes your value in the marketplace. Define your cause. Stand for something. The bolder the better.” “We’re living at a point of time where the pace of change is at a rate and a velocity that we haven’t felt before in our career. It’s coming at us from all directions.” “We are feeling a pull to the status quo; a pull to safety, at a point in time when the pace of change is faster than ever before.”

Steven B. Wiley “Transformational Journey from Gettysburg”

“What do we buy? When we buy, we buy three things – the company, the product or service, and the person we happen to be dealing with. Of those three things, what is most important to the buying decision? 86 percent of respondents said it was the person… People buy from people. We’re in the people business.” “Only seven percent of our message is what we say; 38 percent of the message is how you say it, your tone of voice, volume, melodic pitch; 55 percent of communication is non-verbal. That’s why when you’re interacting, listen until it hurts. I realized I wasn’t a good listener – all I cared about was waiting to speak.”

“Companies don’t change, companies don’t innovate, you do ... change is a decision that we as leaders must make. We know change is required, we know it’s difficult, we know there’s going to be pushback, but we know we need to lead change. You make the decision to innovate, and the how, I guarantee, will expose itself.”

“Transformational behaviors permit a leader – and the people in the company he or she leads– to empower people and organizations. Those behaviors include creating visions, clarifying the big picture, living your values, role modeling, building confidence, commitment, and a culture. It’s a difference between enabling and empowering, and it’s done through communication. Leadership is the ability to create “followship”– to get people to follow our requests and ideas.”

The presentation is available for download at:

More information about the speaker is available at:

Summer 2016


Gen Next Panelists L to R: Aron Magyari, Molly Ratermann, George Ratermann, Marie Ratermann and Jake Williams

Learning About Workplace Generational Differences

George Ratermann “It’s really the people, not the technology; it’s the people who want to do things differently. The most disruptive generation ever in history is coming in the next 3-5 years. How cool it would be if we could see the future and know what to do, to look at Generation Next today before they become buyers, managers and leaders, to see how they like to do business, to be the kind of business they want to do business with.”

George Ratermann, of Ratermann Manufacturing, introduced a panel of “Gen Nexters,” four young people who work at his company, with the intent to illustrate the workstyle and perspective differences that people of varied generations experience in the workplace. These differences involve communication styles, work functions, technology preferences, and process perspectives, he explained. Yet at the same time, in his own experiences, he’s found that bridging generational gaps can result in high functionality, creative problem-solving, streamlined processes, and innovative solutions.

Generation Next Current 18-25 year-olds Young adults who have grown up with personal computers, cell phones and the internet… Those who came of age in the shadow of 9/11 (Pew Research Center)



Marie Ratermann, marketing manager; Molly Ratermann, special projects research; Jake Williams, content developer; and Aron Magyari, product developer (at Ratermann Manufacturing), comprised the panel. Some of their comments follow. Insights on workplace challenges: “I didn’t realize what a limitation it was to work with old business software. It was an actual frustration because it was so limiting, and I wasn’t making the best productivity out of my time.” “I have a lot of ideas that I was very excited about. [Sometimes] it felt like the ideas were dismissed.” On incentivizing the workplace: “It’s not so much an incentive, but we want to feel like we’ve contributed to the workplace. We’re all very much about the people we work with, looking out for them.” “We want … to feel like we’re moving forward, achieving something, not just staying in the same place. Instead of working towards a quota, we want to feel we’re contributing.” On telephoning vs. texting: “I only like to use the phone if it’s a real emergency. I don’t want to be disrespectful so I’ll call or email if that’s their preference, but I prefer text.” “Calling is absolutely a last resort. You have to stop your work, and phone service can be an issue. The best part about email and text is that you can reference it and look back and see what was said.” “Texting is great because it makes you easy to reach. We’re used to finding things so quickly, [and it can help you] be that go-to person.” Summer 2016

SMC Recap


In another GAWDA spring tradition, recipients of the 2016 scholarship awards were announced for 10 college-bound students around the country who are going on to studies they can apply to planned future careers in the gases and welding industry. This year’s awarding of $20,000 to 10 students brings the total amount of scholarship funds presented to $94,000. A total of 47 scholarships have been presented since the program began in 2013. The program is designed to educate, attract, and keep quality individuals in the welding and gases distribution industry, accordi n g t o G AW D A Executive Director John Ospina.

The 2016 scholarship recipients are: • Douglas Bolinger, of Pierceton, Indiana, who is attending Ferris State University • Kallie Booth, of Boise, Idaho, who is heading to Boise State University • Coby J. Dyches, of San Angelo, Texas, who will be attending Angelo State University • Lucas Harder, of Naperville, Illinois, who is heading to Albion College • William John Kirchoff, of Eagan, Minnesota, who plans to study at the University of St. Thomas • Hallie McClintock, of Galena, Ohio, who is attending Oklahoma State University • Dana Morgan, of LaPorte, Texas, who is heading to San Jacinto College • Shawn Soris, of Aurora, Illinois, who plans to study at St. Norbert College • Ellene Cansada Tanner, of Braselton, Georgia, who will attend the University of North Georgia • David Zumbrun, of Hixson, Tennessee, who plans to attend the University of Tennessee. Contributing to the scholarship fund this year are sponsor GAWDA members: Airweld, Inc., Atlas Welding Supply Co., Inc., AWISCO, Cameron Welding Supply, Holston Gases, Inc., Minneapolis Oxygen Company, O.E. Meyer Company, Oxygen Service Company, South Jersey Welding Supply, Inc. and Welders Supply Company-Raimy Corporation. Applicants must be an employee of a GAWDA member organization or the child of an employee of an active GAWDA member company and meet other eligibility requirements. Summer 2016

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SMC Recap

‘First-Timers’ Find a Hearty GAWDA Welcome at the SMC They’re Introduced to Members and Immersed in the Benefits of Membership


any new faces were welcomed to GAWDA membership at the Spring Management Conference. Whether brand-new to the Association, or professionals whose companies have been members for some time but who were attending their first GAWDA conference, “First-Timers” received a hearty welcome at a special SMC kickoff reception. They came to become involved in GAWDA activities and to take advantage of all that the Association offers: networking, resources, information, connections, and customers – as well as to have some fun, they said. GAWDA helps its newest members learn about the industry and the organization, and gain utmost benefits of membership, through a program where a more veteran Association Member is paired with each new Member. The program has been an effort of GAWDA’s Membership Services Committee for the past couple years. At the 2016 SMC, several GAWDA distributor and supplier members, who are volunteers on that committee, stepped forward for the program. The sponsors serve as professional “pals,” providing guidance, information, introductions, and camaraderie for new members when First-Timers attend their first SMC and annual convention events. Here, several First-Timers offered reflections about joining the organization as they made their “official” debut among GAWDA’s membership.

DeWayne Buckelew President of Corporation G.E.T.S. Welding Supply and wife, Kaye Buckelew Dothan, Alabama Brand-new to GAWDA is distributor DeWayne Buckelew. “The main reason we joined was to help me keep compliant with changing DOT, OSHA, EPA and other regulations,” he said. “We’re part of a buying group already, so I knew a lot of vendors from that, but this opens it up to more vendors who aren’t part of it. I’m a small guy; it’s always good to network and see more people, too.”


Tiffany Evans Assistant Controller Red Ball Oxygen Company, Inc. Shreveport, Louisiana “Bob [Ewing, President of Red Ball] has been on the GAWDA Board for some time, but I’m interested to meet new people and get to know more about the organization. It’s nice to meet our vendors and it’s nice to put faces with names.”

Summer 2016

SMC Recap

Beth Dahlke General Manager John Tillman Company Compton, California Beth Dahlke, pictured at right with the reception’s ‘Southern Belle’ character, says attending the SMC was beneficial for her and for Tillman Sales Manager Tom Heemeyer. She said the conference allowed them the opportunity to “build relationships and move the business forward in an economy that’s a little bit in turmoil” and that membership is “helping us learn about new generations coming up.”

Christine Maurer A. Ford Maurer Ray Rosel General Manager Artotic San Francisco, California As general manager of the China-based company’s United States office, Rosel came to the SMC to get involved in GAWDA activities. “Now that we have established an office in San Francisco, things like this give me more of a big picture about who the members are and what the organization is about,” he said.

Foxx Equipment Company Kansas City, Missouri Christine and Ford have been in business for many years as CO2 beverage equipment distributors. GAWDA membership was recommended by a distributor member in Michigan. Since carbonic customers have become the firm’s second-largest market segment, the Maurers decided that joining GAWDA would provide “a means to meet new customers and have some fun,” Christine said. “We have new parts now and wanted everyone to know. We’re spreading the word here.”

Lenette Egan CFO and VP of Marketing McDantim, Inc. Helena, Montana Lenette, pictured right, was paired with new GAWDA member Christine Maurer (left) as part of the Association’s membership sponsor program. Longtime member Lenette reflected how, “mentoring programs are really important, because I know people I can introduce the new members to, and I can share my experiences. I also can help them build their own positive experiences as they join the organization.”

Summer 2016

Marjorie Ann Visintainer Accounts Receivable/Collections Atlas Welding Supply Co. Inc. Tuscaloosa, Alabama A recent college graduate, Margie had been working at Atlas Welding Supply for just a couple months when attending the SMC. She said she “wanted to come to see the group of people here and their different motivations for being in the industry, to see if I want to be in the industry. And so far, so good!” 77


The 2016


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Sunday, September 25 Wednesday, September 28 Mike Huckabee


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Seifi Ghasemi | Air Products Chairman and CEO SPEAKERS

Dave Nelsen | Tech and Social Media CEO


Summer 2016


Schedule Sunday, September 25 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Executive Committee Meeting

8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Young Professionals Event • Kai Kanani Snorkel and Sail 9:00 a.m. – Noon

Board of Directors Meeting

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Committee Meetings

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

First-Timers Reception

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

President’s Welcome Reception

7:00 p.m.

Industry Hospitalities

Monday, September 26 6:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Exhibitor Set Up

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Networking Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Contact Booth Program

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Past President Lunch

1:00 p.m.

Industry Hospitalities

Tuesday, September 27 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Networking Breakfast

8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Opening General Business Session • Presentation: 2016-2017 Slate of Officers • Presentations: GAWDA Gives Back Program • Keynote: Seifi Ghasemi – CEO, Air Products • Industry Panel Noon – 6:00 p.m.

Golf Tournament

1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Tours and Activities

Wednesday, September 28 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. – Noon

Networking Breakfast Closing General Business Session • Presentations: CGA & GAWDA Safety Awards • Presentations: Volunteer Awards • Keynotes: Mike Huckabee – former Arkansas governor Dave Nelsen – social media guru

12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Women of Gases and Welding Event • Waterfalls and Rainforest Walk 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

President’s Farewell Gala

Summer 2016



Convention Speakers SPEAKERS


mong the keynote speakers at general business sessions for GAWDA’s 2016 Annual Convention are two chief executives who are disrupting their business niches in interesting and successful ways, and a former governor who brought significant change and progress to many areas of state government, and renowned zeal to his campaigns for presidential office. Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and two-time presidential candidate; Seifi Ghasemi, chairman, president and CEO of Air Products; and Dave Nelsen, president of Dialog Consulting Group, will address attendees.

Mike Huckabee

Former Presidential Candidate/Governor Mike Huckabee, recognized for his charisma, distinctive delivery as a speaker and a record of bold leadership, served as the 44th governor of Arkansas (1996-2007). He will address GAWDA members on the topic of, “The Pursuit of the Presidency and the Perfectly Insane American Process.” Only the fourth Republican elected to any statewide office in Arkansas since Reconstruction, and one of the state’s longestserving governors, Huckabee’s leadership resulted in a legacy of tax cuts, job creation, state road system reconstruction and K-16 education reform. He led a nationally-heralded and duplicated health initiative based on prevention versus the costlier approach of intervention, and his administration fought long-standing corruption in the state’s political machine. Huckabee ran a 2008 campaign for president of the United States, and this year was one of a number of contenders for the Republican Party’s nomination. He ended his race for his party’s bid in February 2016, then returned to Fox News Channel in April to resume his broadcasting career. Huckabee had hosted a top-rated weekend show on Fox for nearly seven years, and also has hosted a nationally syndicated radio commentary show. An avid musician, he has written 12 books and is a New York Times bestselling author. He also has been honored for his bold leadership by Governing magazine and Time magazine and served as chair of the National Governors Association, the Education Commission of the States, the Southern Governors Association, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Commission.


Summer 2016


Seifi Ghasemi

Chairman, President and CEO, Air Products As chairman, president and chief executive officer of Air Products, Seifi Ghasemi is focused on setting the strategy and policies of the company, developing leadership, and meeting shareholder commitments. He will speak on, “Lessons Learned from Independent Distributors: Capturing their Entrepreneurial Spirit.“ He was named to the position in July of 2014. Previous to that, he was an independent member of the company’s board of directors for 10 months. Before joining Air Products, Ghasemi served as chairman and chief executive officer of Rockwood Holdings from 2001-2014. The global leader in inorganic specialty chemicals and advanced materials was acquired by Albemarle Corporation in January 2015. From 1997-2001, Ghasemi held leadership roles at GKN, a global industrial company. His positions included being director of the Main Board of GKN, plc, and chairman and chief executive officer of GKN Sinter Metals, Inc. and Hoeganes Corporation. Earlier in his career, he spent nearly 20 years with The BOC Group (the industrial gas company which is now part of Linde AG) in positions including director of the Main Board of BOC Group, plc; president of BOC Gases Americas; and chairman and chief executive officer of BOC Process Plants, Ltd. and Cryostar. Ghasemi earned his undergraduate degree from Abadan Institute of Technology and holds an M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

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Speakers (con’t.) SPEAKERS

Dave Nelsen

President, Dialog Consulting Group Dave Nelsen, president of the Dialog Consulting Group, is an experienced podcaster, blogger, tweeter, Facebook, Google+, and Ning user and LinkedIn networker. He helps business owners, managers, and executives develop strategies to enhance their conversations with their most important internal and external customers using proven social networking  and internet communication tools. Nelson will speak on the topic, “Social Media for Business.” As a successful CEO in multiple businesses, he addresses problems from a return-oninvestment (ROI) perspective. Nelsen co-founded and was CEO of CoManage for seven years, during which time he was recognized by EY as “Entrepreneur of the Year.” He next founded TalkShoe, a social networking and social media phenomenon. He was named “CEO of the Year” by the Tech Council, a leading US technology trade association. As a founding member of Vistage group CE 676, part of the world’s largest CEO network, he has spoken to audiences at hundreds of corporate and association events. In 2013, he received Vistage’s Member Choice award as the most popular speaker among 1,500-plus subject matter experts. He is the only Vistage speaker ever to be ranked in the top one percent for five years in a row. He also is a mountain biker, adventure racer, and triathlete.

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Summer 2016



Look Into the New AC Online Registration System JOHN OSPINA

Add a QR Reader to Your Phone and Test It Here

With a QR code reader app installed in your phone, you’ll be able to scan the information from the new CVENT registration system badges being used at this year’s Annual Convention. You can test a reader app using the QR code on the sample badge at right.



A QR reader app will let you scan the badges of other attendees with your phone. That scan will download all the information contained in an attendee’s badge. It works like a digital “Rolodex” data file.


You’ll want to pick a reader that lets you add names to your contact list add notes to that contact file and email the contact person with an introductory email. The reader should also have a “sharing” feature so you can route collected data to team members for followup. (You can get creative with this feature and use the QR codes as a way to enter attendees into the Contact Booth prize program.)


Here are a few reader apps you may want to check out: For Android: Scan Me; ScanLife; QR Droid Code Scanner. For iPhone: QR Reader for iPhone (TapMedia Ltd); NeoReader; Optiscan QR Code Reader; ScanLife




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Summer 2016



GAWDA Gives Back Two organizations based in Maui, Hawaii were announced as the 2016 recipients of the GAWDA Gives Back program, a charitable initiative begun in 2000. They are The Neighborhood Place of Wailuku and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Maui. The Neighborhood Place of Wailuku provides a place where families feel supported and welcomed in assuring that their children are safe, healthy and successful in life, the organization says. It promotes safe and nurturing environments for children and their caregivers through a talk story, values-based approach.

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Summer 2016


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Best Practices

Building an Entrepreneurial Culture to Drive Results How to Create Motivation and Commitment Across the Organization by seifi ghasemi

B Seifi Ghasemi is chairman, president and CEO of Air Products, a world-leading industrial gases company that provides atmospheric and process gases and related equipment to a variety of manufacturing markets. He’s also one of the keynote speakers for GAWDA’s Annual Convention, which is being held in Maui, Hawaii, this fall. He can be reached at 610-481-6400 or


usinesses move at a fast pace, and the world is constantly changing. From small independent distributors to large industrial gas suppliers, companies are challenged to continue delivering results in an unpredictable and often disruptive world. But individual companies cannot change the economic or political course of the world. Therefore, companies need to develop a strategic plan for success that is totally focused on the things they can control within their own companies. These are related to a clear and focused strategy, excellent customer service, constant productivity improvement, organizational focus, effective control of capital expenditures, a meaningful and targeted reward structure, and a culture that promotes entrepreneurship, simplicity of work processes, and speed of execution. I have been involved with the industrial gases business for the last 37 years. I have had the privilege of observing large and small companies in this sector for a long time. As a result, I have developed a great deal of admiration for the independent distributors and the very entrepreneurial and effective way they run their businesses and create value for their shareholders. I have been inspired by them and have always thought that large companies will really benefit if they run their companies the same way the real entrepreneurs, the independent distributors, run theirs. The following is very much based on what I have learned from observing these admirable entrepreneurs. I very strongly believe that the only sustainable element of competitive advantage for any business is the degree of commitment and motivation of the


people in the enterprise. Therefore, the number one job of the leadership of any company must be to create an environment that promotes teamwork, eliminates discrimination and politics, and slashes bureaucracy so that people feel empowered, motivated and excited to do their best.


At Air Products, we want to employ people who are naturally positive and motivated. That is why when it comes to hiring, I advise our Human Resources department to hire people based on attitude first, and then we can train them for skill. We want people who would like to work for our company rather than those who simply need to work for our company to pay the bills. Finding people with the right attitude is fundamental to creating a motivated and committed workforce. Ideally, we want to build an entrepreneurial culture where all employees come to work thinking and acting like they are the CEO of the company. A key to building this kind of culture is to create an atmosphere of inclusion and respect, where individuals are valued for the unique perspectives and experiences they bring to the organization. By fostering a collaborative and respectful work environment, we can engage employees in a way that sparks their entrepreneurial spirit and enables them to achieve their full potential. A company’s success requires every employee performing at their best … every day. Research shows that 70 percent of employee development happens on the job, as we learn from our experiences. For this reason, Air Products recently replaced its Performance Appraisal process with Summer 2016

Best Practices a Performance Development process. This shifts the focus to making feedback and coaching a regular and routine part of how we work. Our people use a simple form to capture priority objectives, development goals and annual results. The focus, though, is on managers and employees having regular, development-focused conversations throughout the year to review progress on key priorities. The intentional focus of these conversations is providing regular feedback, recognition and coaching.


It is equally important that every single employee connects with the organization’s strategic plan in practical and meaningful ways. Whether they work in the boardroom or the mailroom, every employee should understand how their day-to-day work fits with the organization’s purpose, vision, mission and values. When employees connect with an organization’s strategic plan, they begin to examine every work process and ask, “Why are we doing this, and will it help us reach our goal? How can we eliminate low-value work so we have the time and energy to focus on what matters most?” The best way to emotionally connect with people and build trust is through open, face-to-face dialogue. My second day on the job at Air Products, I kicked off a “listening tour” with small groups of about 50-70 employees. To date, I have personally met with thousands of employees around the world. The purpose of these sessions is to meet as many employees as possible and not only share the vision for the company, but just as importantly, hear their ideas for business improvement and understand the challenges they face in their day-to-day work. To completely engage employees, you must be prepared to take questions on any topic; no subject should be off limits. Air Products employees are very enthusiastic about asking questions and sharing their thoughts during these communication sessions. What became very clear from many comments was that people felt an “emotional reconnection.” They were left feeling positive and upbeat having listened to me express how important our people are, and that we should feel proud of what we do and the company we work for. These communication sessions are continuing until I have had the opportunity to meet every employee face-to-face, and will then start again. Leadership has a critical role to play in communicating with employees in a simple and clear way. If employees do not have clear direction, they will not have a good sense of what is expected, and their performance will reflect that. However, when clear direction is provided, and employees are not only held accountable for their performance, but also rewarded for it, they will rise to the occasion and deliver the desired results. Summer 2016


Another job of leadership, in my view, is to create an organization that does not demand a lot of unnecessary work from its people. Authority and decision-making should be pushed to the lowest possible level that can be managed, so people feel empowered, and are empowered. When employees understand their responsibilities and are empowered, they typically make good decisions and can do so with speed and self-confidence. In an entrepreneurial culture, employees start thinking and acting like it is their company. They start thinking about things like, “How do we improve safety? How do we improve productivity? How can we do our jobs faster and more efficiently? What unnecessary steps can we eliminate?” When every employee starts coming to work thinking and acting like that, delivering the necessary results becomes much more achievable. At Air Products, creating this kind of culture required a major restructuring of the company. We reorganized our Industrial Gases segment on a geographic basis, moving from a centralized to a decentralized organization. I fully believe that a decentralized organization releases entrepreneurial energy, minimizes costs, and by design, creates a simpler and more efficient structure with true profit and loss accountability at many levels of the organization. People have the freedom to collaborate in ways they could not before because barriers have been removed. They are able to see issues, think differently, and solve them. This kind of entrepreneurial thinking is something distributors understand, because they live it every day. In the U.S., distributors are an important sales channel to the packaged gases market for Air Products, and over the years we have built many long and loyal relationships. By working closely together, we have been able to learn from each other and uncover new market opportunities that are mutually beneficial. When it comes to building our Air Products culture, I see many opportunities for us to continue learning from distributors who are modeling the right behaviors and whose businesses are thriving as a result. As I’ve said, it all begins with the right attitude. When you build a truly entrepreneurial culture, every person comes to work saying, “This is my company.” Engaging employees in a way that promotes this kind of motivation and commitment is key to a company’s continued growth and success. In today’s ever-changing world, it is truly the only sustainable competitive advantage. 87

Best Practices

LinkedIn: It’s “Google” for Finding Business People How This Online Tool Helps Build Connections, Sales, Successes by dave nelsen

E Social media technology and communication leader Dave Nelsen is president of B2B firm Dialog Consulting. Earlier, he co-founded and was CEO of CoManage; founded TalkShoe; led marketing for AT& T; and helped FORE Systems grow tenfold. He was named as a CEO of the Year by the US Tech Council and an EY Entrepreneur of the Year. A founding member of Vistage Group CE 676, he received the Member’s Choice award as the most popular speaker among 1,500-plus subject matter experts. He is at: Dave@, 412779-2788 and @davenelsen.


very month, I speak to hundreds of business people about LinkedIn, a network of 450 million business professionals (and counting). Still, it seems that most business people think LinkedIn is just for finding a job or for recruiting. Yes, it’s great for that, but the online networking platform is more like Google for finding people – people who can become your customers; people who can give you great competitive insights; people who can answer your most challenging questions – if you build the right kind of connections. The real power of LinkedIn is not in connecting to the people that you already know; it’s in connecting to the people who they know. LinkedIn calls the people that they know your “second connections.” There are two amazing things about second connections: • First, you can get introduced to them by somebody who you know (and who knows them). • Second, if you have (for example) 100 connections in LinkedIn, you’ll have (in this example) 50,000 second connections. (Yes, the multiplier is typically around 500 times). Who in the world could you not reach using this method?) • This online platform is an advanced people-search tool, and it’s free. For example, salespeople, what if you could find a boatload (a technical term meaning hundreds or thousands) of CEOs, or any other specific job title, within 50 miles of your location? LinkedIn makes it possible not just to find such target customers but also to connect with them via your mutual connections.


The real power of LinkedIn is not in connecting to the people that you already know; it’s in connecting to the people that they know. HERE’S THE HOW-TO

Login to LinkedIn and look for the “Search” box at the top of the screen (on most pages). Click the “Advanced” button to the right of that box. You’re now in Advanced People Search mode. You can search for people based on any combination of the following attributes: • Keywords • First and/or last name • Job title • Current or past company (great for gaining competitive advantage through what I call “inside insights”) • School • Location (by country or by ZIP Code radius) • Industry • Language • LinkedIn Groups (joining a group expands your network) • Relationship (especially valuable for reaching people one or two degrees of separation from you) And these are just the free options. LinkedIn shows you exactly who is connected to others. That means you can utilize your connections to get introduced to the people you want to reach. But instead of using LinkedIn introduction Summer 2016

Best Practices tools, I recommend connecting IRL (in real life). Even in this crazy social networking age, pick up the phone and ask your connections (presumably people that you actually know) to orchestrate three-way coffees or lunches with the people you want to meet. (I like your chances against your competitors’… if they are still cold calling.) Here’s a key concept to keep in mind when using LinkedIn: You should request and accept connections from only known, trusted business associates. Yes, LinkedIn now has more than 450 million members, but it’s likely that only a select handful of these members can be most valuable to you.


LinkedIn is about quality, not quantity of connections. Your network will degrade to useless noise (or worse, actually hurt you and your business) the more often you connect with people that you don’t know. So in building connections, ask yourself these three questions: 1. Do I know this person professionally? 2. Do I respect this person professionally? (As Dr. Evil says in the Austin Powers movies, “Why must I be surrounded by idiots?”) 3. Would I be happy to help this person if he or she asked me for assistance? If the answer to all three questions is ‘yes,’ you can probably help this person, and they can probably help you. Just keep in mind that the vast majority of LinkedIn connection requests are system generated. (“Hey newbies (two people every second), see who you already know on LinkedIn. Just import your entire address book and we’ll invite every one of them to connect with you!”) Please do not try this yourself.


So how can a LinkedIn connection hurt you? Do you realize that when you link with someone, they get to see all of your other connections? What if that person works for a competitor? What if your other connections include your best customers, your hottest prospects, your most important partners, and your most valuable employees?

If you’ve made the mistake of accepting every connection request coming your way, you’re what I call a “promiscuous linker.” I recommend doing some unlinking in that case. To unlink, when viewing your random connection’s profile, you’ll see a blue button labeled “Send a message.” On the right edge of that button, you’ll see a drop-down arrow. Clicking it will reveal the option to “Remove connection.” (Don’t worry; your soon-to-be-exconnection will not be notified.) Please feel free to “Ignore” connection requests from people who don’t meet your criteria. With LinkedIn, a requester will not know that you’ve ignored his or her request. There’s no explicit notification of that, either.


Although choosing connections you trust creates a powerful network, you still might not want all of your connections to see all of your other connections. To prevent this, I recommend turning off connection visibility. Again, not to worry. People will still be able to see shared connections, the most valuable aspect of LinkedIn. But shared connections represent just a small fraction (perhaps less than 1 percent) of your network relative to any given searcher. To block connection visibility, hover your cursor over your miniature photo in the upper-right screen area and select “Privacy & Settings.” You’ll land on a screen that includes a variety of privacy controls. Click on “Select who can see your connections” and set it to “Only you.”


With these steps completed, build your network and accelerate your business with Advanced People Search. It’s amazing to traverse the six degrees of separation to reach anyone on the planet. But you won’t need six degrees, you’ll need just two. The people you know directly will introduce you to the people they know – people who can become your customers; people who can give you great competitive insights; people who can answer your most challenging questions. The LinkedIn possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

It’s amazing to traverse the six degrees of separation to reach anyone on the planet. But you won’t need six degrees, you’ll need just two. The people you know directly will introduce you to the people they know.

Summer 2016


News from GAWDA Headquarters

Membership Campaign Aims for a Bigger, Stronger GAWDA GAWDA Distributors, Suppliers Helping in Recruitment Effort


n an initiative being led by members of the Membership Services Committee, assisted by headquarters staff and involving the entire membership, the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) has announced a new-member recruitment program. Called the “Member-Get-A-Member” program, the initiative is designed to strengthen, grow, and diversify the distributor and supplier business organization, according to John Ospina, GAWDA executive director. “Increasing the organization’s membership numbers is one of several strategic initiatives GAWDA President Bill Visintainer has identified for 2016,” Ospina said. “As a program that involves member recommen-


dations and originates from members’ own work on behalf of the association, we believe it has excellent chances of achieving success,” he added. The effort is inspired by a similar, highly successful program led several years ago by longtime GAWDA and Membership Services Committee member Ken Tidwell, of Horton Insurance, who helped draft plans for this initiative. Using the wide reach of all of GAWDA’s members to advocate the association to others makes good sense, according to Steve Dodge, of Flame Technologies, and Melissa Perkins, of Electronic Fluorocarbons, LLC, co-chairs of the Membership Services Committee. Studies show that people

Summer 2016

News from GAWDA Headquarters

are more likely to join an association when they are asked to do so by someone they already know, Dodge and Perkins note. Not only can current members convincingly discuss the benefits of joining the organization, but their diverse field locations position them widely and broadly to reach potential new members. It also means that hundreds of members, rather than the limited number on the committee, are involved in the effort, Perkins says. “You can publicize the benefits of membership, but one of the best ways to get a [new] member is to actually have a known and trusted peer/supplier go to an area, talk to that person and ask, ‘Do you know about GAWDA and its benefits; this is how GAWDA has helped me and my organization, so why not check it out?’” says Dodge.


Once a referral of a potential new member is made, GAWDA staff will follow up with membership information and formal explanations of the wide range of benefits, services, and programs that are available. They also remain available to answer prospects’ questions. (continued on next page)


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Summer 2016


News from GAWDA Headquarters


In the spirit of competition, GAWDA has provided its members with incentives to boost referral participation. The member who brings in the largest number of new members between Annual Convention periods earns a special recognition, the GAWDA Presidential Appreciation Award. The award’s recognitions include: • Presentation of a plaque on stage at the Annual Convention by the Association president • The winning member’s picture, name and title, company name, and the number of members enlisted exhibited on a big screen during a special segment of the Annual Convention program • Announcement of that information in the GAWDA Connection newsletter and in GAWDA’s Welding and Gases Today magazine. • As an added financial incentive, current members who bring in new distributor members will receive $100 from GAWDA for each new distributor member who joins the organization, Ospina said.


Membership in GAWDA is available in several categories: distributorship; international distributorship; supplier; manufacturer’s representative; individual. For reference when speaking about the recruitment program, a chart of GAWDA member benefits is published on the adjacent page. Membership application forms are available online for completion here: Anyone interested in additional information about membership may get in touch with GAWDA’s membership services manager Stephen Hill at GAWDA Headquarters: 954-3677728, ext. 220; (or toll free, 844-251-3219); and via email:



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Summer 2016





GAWDA Member Benefit Chart PROFESSIONAL CONSULTANT SUPPORT Professional Consultants

EVENTS AND MEETINGS GAWDA Annual Convention & Spring Management Conference (AC/SMC) Contact Booths at AC/SMC Hospitality Opportunities at AC/SMC GAWDA Regionals Sponsorship Opportunities at AC/SMC/Regionals Education Offerings

RESOURCES Copy of Buyers Guide Listing in Buyers Guide Copy of Member Directory SOP, Safety & Reference Materials Online Career Center CGA Safety Documents GAWDA Scholarships Discount Business Services

KNOWLEDGEABLE COMMUNICATIONS Quarterly Welding & Gases Today Subscription



Twice-Monthly GAWDA Connection Monthly Safety Bulletin Advertising in GAWDA Publications * (one copy)

To learn more about other benefits of joining the Gases and Welding Distributors Association call Membership Services Manager Stephen Hill at 954-367-7728 x220. Summer 2016


The Difference a Decade Makes: Marking Major Anniversaries, GAWDA Members Share How They Get Better, Not Just Older by charles mcchesney senior editor


very business, like everybody, gets 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year (or 366 in this and other leap years). For businesses, the challenge is to not just grow older but to actually grow during the time given. So what keeps companies growing and successful, year after year? Welding and Gases Today spoke with GAWDA member companies that are marking significant anniversaries. We asked what they have done to achieve growth in the past 10 years. As you read, recall that these companies found ways to succeed through some of the toughest economic times since “that man in the White House� was Franklin Roosevelt. Their answers may surprise you, delight you and perhaps provide you some insight as to what steps you might take to grow your business, whatever the next decade brings.


Summer 2016

Summer 2016





Ever notice the bubbles rising up in an aquarium? (Sometimes they come from the little plastic diver. Other times the little plastic treasure chest will rise up and then close again after air has escaped.) What works in an aquarium is a necessity on fish farms, where the injection of the right mix of gases is called “sparging.” That need has helped fuel growth at Andy Oxy Co. Trout farms are a growing industry in the parts of North Carolina and South Carolina served by the company, says Vice President/ General Manager Britt Lovin. The company has also started a cryogenic division, reengineered how it makes gases for its customers and invested heavily so that Andy Oxy can transport its own liquids. The work has resulted in a steady growth in the face of challenging times, Lovin says, and the company has seen year-over-year growth of 6 percent.


Investing has meant keeping up the fleet (now eight trucks) and expanding the workforce (from 15 to 18) in order to continue to serve a mix of customers.



Bemidji Welders Supply Inc. BEMIDJI, MN


Three hours north and another hour west from Minneapolis, Bemidji, Minnesota is a pretty rural place, says Brian Hartje, vice president of Bemidji Welders Supply. The company has branches in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and another over the state line in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It is a three-hour drive from the easternmost store to the company’s westernmost one. To serve clients and grow the business, Bemidji has expanded its offerings in industrial supplies, adding things like containers from Jobox. Investing has meant keeping up the fleet (now eight trucks) and expanding the workforce (from 15 to 18) in order to continue to serve a mix of customers, including oil pipelines, industry and hospitals. The work has netted the company revenue growth of 15 percent over the decade, Hartje says. 96

Summer 2016



Cross Texas Supply



You could probably think of an industry that has had a tougher time over the past few years than oil producers, but you’d have to ponder that for awhile, given how oil prices in early 2016 were half of what they were a decade earlier, and down two-thirds from 2012. In San Angelo, Texas, just east of Texas’s oil-rich Permian Basin, Cross Texas Supply has diversified to find growth. “The downturn in oil prices has had a – I wouldn’t say devastating – but a noticeable effect on sales,” says Jay Dyches, Cross Texas’s chief operating officer. “We have a lot of customers in the oil field.” Still, Cross Texas has managed to grow from 10 employees to 12 on a rise in sales of about 26 percent, says Becky Dyches, company president. In 2012, the company opened a new store, twice the size of the previous facility, and has added lines of equipment to serve everyone from landscape services to RV owners. The Dyches are hoping for further growth from the company’s recent acceptance into a federal purchasing program. Completing the work to get on the General Services Administration schedule was not easy or fast. Becky Dyches figures it took about 3 ½ years to get through all the paperwork and approvals. “Ask me in a couple of years and we can tell you if it was worth it,” Becky Dyches says.


Cross Texas Supply expanded from this original store in San Angelo, Texas.

Trucks and cylinders lined up at Cross Texas Supply’s facility.

The four-year-old “new” store that has helped Cross Texas grow revenues, despite a dramatic downturn in oil prices. Summer 2016




Economy Welding

Today, beverage service is big enough to merit its own division. That growth has come organically as Economy has served restaurants and bars as well as craft beer makers and wineries.


Like many distributors, Economy Welding President Donald Rosenthal saw sales take a hit in ’08 and ’09. He estimates sales dropped about 30 percent from what had been a couple of very good years. “But,” he says, “we never lost money.” The Sewickley, Pennsylvania, company has grown its business, building on its mostly industrial customer base and expanding into the beverage industry. Today, beverage service is big enough to merit its own division. That growth has come organically as Economy has served restaurants and bars as well as craft beer makers and wineries. Rosenthal explains that wineries use nitrogen in processing and bottling as well as in serving wine. To keep up with growth, the company has been investing heavily in trucks, cylinders and equipment. In addition,


Economy Welding has greatly expanded its product offerings, adding significant lines so that it now carries most of the major brands. That, Rosenthal says, came about because he has been very active in the Association of Independent Welding Distributors, where he was once president and now his son, Stephen, is on the AIWD board. Broader lines and a deeper reach into beverages have moved the company from four employees to 14 and from one location to three. Today, Economy has a three-person sales force. “We never had a sales force before,” Rosenthal says. “We’ve had a pretty good run with pretty strong growth.”

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Summer 2016



Eleet Cryogenics



President Garry Sears, who founded the company in 1996, says what Eleet Cryogenics does – refurbish cryogenic tanks – hasn’t changed in the past decade, and that who they do it for – gas companies – hasn’t changed either. What has changed is that their customers are bringing the company more business. Sears reports revenues have risen about 50 percent in the past decade, and that the work force employed by the Bolivar, Ohio company has doubled in size. To handle that growth, Eleet has spent more than $9 million on buildings, Sears says. The buildings are where tanks, in sizes as big as 50,000 pounds, are reconditioned before being returned to customers. It is also where tanks are stored. There’s a need for the covered space because “We get snow here four months of the year,” Sears notes. Customers have responded to Eleet’s investments, Sears says. “It’s unbelievable the way it’s grown. Ten years ago when we decided to build the largest building, I had a couple





Eleet Cryogenics has seen revenues rise as its capabilities have grown. New, larger buildings allow the company to work indoors on tanks in sizes up to 50,000 pounds.

hundred tanks in inventory, now I have over a thousand.” Most of those tanks belong to customers who sent them to Eleet to be reconditioned for further use. Sears says he has declined sales offers and is planning for his children to carry the business forward someday. He has also declined to grow the business by expanding into other lines, such as reconditioning transportation trailers or working on fill plants. “We don’t try to be everything to everybody,” he says. “But we do feel we’re the best at what we do.”

Harris Industrial Gases


Kathleen Harris, president of Harris Industrial Gases in Citrus Heights, California, has spotted a California trend that might be spreading to your part of the world: cryotherapy. Customers get into a telephone booth-size unit and super-cold air is pumped in. After about two minutes, the cold air is pumped out and the person is, well, colder. It is used to help athletes recover from workouts, as well as help with some specific medical conditions. To make the phone booth cold enough, those running the equipment turn to Harris for liquid nitrogen. Harris doesn’t just count on trendy treatments for growth at her family-owned company she runs with her son, Aaron Haupt. She counts on employees. Harris says she is personally involved in the hiring of every person at the company and speaks with great pride of workers who have been with Harris Industrial Gases for 30 years or more. She says the hiring philosophy is this: Summer 2016

Harris Industrial Gases has found growth across the state line from California, expanding into Nevada.

“We hire family, friends, friends of family and family of friends.” As the recession wracked the country, the company suffered declining revenues in ’08, ’09 and ’10, but Harris says she stood by her employees. There was a company-wide pay cut, she says, but everybody still had a job. By 2014 revenues returned to pre-recession level, although the burden of California state regulations still affected pay levels. Encouraged by local and state officials across the state line, Harris opened a new facility in Nevada City, Nevada in 2014. It is a quarter mile from the main entrance to the new Tesla Gigafactory, set to open in 2017. 99





IACX is in the midst of rapid expansion. From 2006 to now it has grown from just its three founders to more than 40 employees and from zero to 25 constructed facilities in eight states. Growth has come from serving the gases industry with grade-five gaseous helium as well as lift-grade helium. IACX, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a mid-stream natural gas company involved in purifying gases, says Brian Witt, the company’s director of business development. Today, IACX supplies helium to customers from the Federal




From 2006 to now [IACX ] has grown from just its three founders to more than 40 employees and from zero to 25 constructed facilities in eight states. Helium Program, as well as from natural gas feedstock. Witt says IACX can “provide an alternative helium supply from the conventional, traditional industrial gas companies.” While the big companies provide a plethora of gases, Witt says IACX has just one: “Our focus is just on helium.” To achieve further growth, “the plan is to continue to push into the distributor market, providing a diversity of supply,” Witt says.

Lampton Welding Supply


“Our team is always out there looking to grow the business,” says Lampton Welding Supply President Guy Marlin. In recent years, the Wichita, Kansas-based company has been expanding its footprint, adding a store in North Kansas City, Missouri, and updating its other stores, Marlin says. The company moved a store in Hutchinson, Kansas to another location in the same town. “When we got it done our walk-in trade almost quadrupled,” he said. Lampton also recently completed its purchase of Alloy Welding Supply and rebranded the Sapulpa, Oklahoma, business as a Lampton store. In 2012, the company built a new $5.5 million automated fill plant and more recently bought a palletized trailer. The company has three field engineers on staff who serve clients throughout the four-state footprint. Marlin says, “One is into robotics and cutting tables and that kind of thing, another is into specialty gases and the third is into medical gases.” The company president, whose work includes overseeing the opening of new stores, says the latest design includes custom-made counters. “They are made out of diamond plate aluminum for the front and sides and brushed stainless for the top,” Marlin says. “We like to make sure customers have a nice place to write a check,” he chuckles.



Lampton Welding Supply has rolled out a new truck that not only carries its products across the company’s large footprint, it acts as a rolling billboard.

Remodeled Lampton stores feature long counters faced with aluminum diamond plate and topped with smooth stainless steel. Summer 2016

Mahany Welding Supply ROCHESTER, NY

When was the last time someone paid to have their bachelorette party at your business? For Mahany Welding Supply, hosting date night, corporate team-building classes and bachelorette parties are part of the day to day. Mahany Welding Supply President Michael Krupnicki created a training lab at his Rochester, New York, store and has used it as one of the drivers of substantial growth for the business. “The training end of the business has grown beyond expectations,” Krupnicki explains. It started when he began offering eight-hour Saturday crash courses on MIG, stick, TIG, and sculptural welding. When area high schools no longer offered evening continuing-education classes, he satisfied the demand. Then came credit-bearing classes for local universities, and a welding certificate program in partnership with the local community college. After an estimated 3,500 students participated in classes in just nine years at Mahany, Krupnicki expanded the facility and opened the Rochester Arc + Flame Center in 2012, connected directly to his distributorship.




ANNIVERSARIES more than 100 students participating in the wide variety of courses available. “The two businesses really complement each other,” Krupnicki says. Welding supply customers take classes from the school, and students of the school often become Mahany customers. Krupnicki’s greatest pride comes from his successful 360hour welding certificate program, which to date has produced more than 300 graduates who have been hired by more than 100 businesses. Those graduates add, he estimates, some $8 million annually to local payrolls. The effort has helped triple sales in the past decades, Krupnicki says. To celebrate Mahany’s 70th anniversary, Krupnicki is reinvesting in the business by doubling the square footage of the school in order to offer greater variety and quantity of classes to the local community.

Mahany created the Arc + Flame Center, attached to its store, as an inviting place for learning.

Mahany Welding Supply has filled a void in the local market, offering welding training for students of all levels.

A separate business entity to conduct the training classes, the new center includes spaces for welding classes for professionals and hobbyists. In addition, people from around the Northeast travel to the Arc + Flame Center to take classes in forging and metal smithing, glass flame working and glass fusing. Krupnicki says it’s not unusual on any given week for the school, (open six days a week, and some Sundays) to have Summer 2016

Among the programs offered at the Arc + Flame Center are date-night classes in blacksmithing. 101



Mathey Dearman, Inc.


In the face of global economic uncertainty and gyrations in the energy business, Mathey Dearman has remained focused on its core business of providing tools for those who join pipes together. That has meant investing in product development, explains Brandon Boyd, global sales manager for the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company. “We’ve spent the past five years modernizing the product line,” Boyd says. That has meant integrating computers into equipment and improving the computing ability of equipment that was already integrated. The company has five engineers, with a variety of backgrounds, to work on improvements. New or improved machines include CNC saddle machines that are field portable, something Boyd says is unique in the industry. The company has reached out to organizations to help it become better known in new markets, focusing on buying groups as well as the Mechanical Contractors Association



of America. In addition, like nearly every manufacturer that survived the past decade, Mathey Dearman has looked at its processes to improve quality and eliminate unnecessary waste. That effort has allowed the company to maintain a work force of between 90 and 100 workers even as its revenues rose better than 30 percent since 2006, Boyd says.

Mathey Dearman has been updating the equipment it makes for joining together or repairing pipe, says Global Sales Manager Brandon Boyd.

Summer 2016






Pandjiris engineers and workers not only faced the challenge of building this 18-meter flat sheet seamer, but also had to figure out how to build it so it could be broken down to be shipped to the customer on the other side of the world.

A meter is bit longer than a yard – 39.37 inches, in case anyone asks – so the 18-meter flat sheet seamer Pandjiris built for an Asian shipbuilder is big. While the actual area being joined is 59.55 feet, the machine itself is another 10 or so feet longer, explains Steve Candela, vice president of sales and engineering. That size creates engineering, manufacturing and even shipping challenges, but it is what clients want. “They like longer, bigger welds,” Candela says. “We’d never built one that large,” he says, but it is what the customer asked for. So Pandjiris built it – in two halves, so it could fit on a ship – and sent a team to assemble it at the client’s location. “It was a unique challenge,” he says. On the other end of the scale, Pandjiris has brought new, smaller products to the market, including smaller positioners and a small welding lathe. These products have allowed the company to reach out to new customers. In addition, the company has continued to advance its electronic controllers without abandoning “touch and weld controls,” Candela says. “It’s a little bit more sophisticated.” Noting Pandjiris has “kind of a mature product line,” Candela says the company has spent much of the past decade investing in process improvements at its St. Louis, Missouri facility. The goal has been to get costs down and maintain prices. The result has been 50 percent revenue growth in the past 10 years with the same size work force. Summer 2016


Roberts Oxygen ROCKVILLE, MD



A decade ago, you could visit a Roberts Oxygen facility from Pennsylvania in the North as far south as Virginia. In the years since, Roberts has added stores, expanding the company’s reach south to the Carolinas and Florida. Geographic growth has been the plan for Roberts Oxygen, says Bob Roberts, the president and CEO of the business founded by his father. “We’ve made continual investment in expansion,” he explains. The company has grown through acquisitions as well as scratch starts. That growth has seen revenues climb 63 percent in the past decade, and store count rose from 31 to 44. While Roberts Oxygen once provided medical gases and equipment, it split off that part of the operation to create a separate business, Roberts Home Medical, about a decade ago. “That focuses on the homecare market,” Roberts says, “we focus on all the other markets.” Those initiatives have meant the Rockville, Maryland-based company has invested not just in expansions, but in computers




Roberts Oxygen has grown its footprint all the way to Florida in the past decade.

and software to improve back-office efficiencies as well as direct dealings with customers. The company also invests in training its 325 employees, Roberts says, “so they are ready to take additional responsibilities as we expand.”

Weldcote Metals KINGS MTN., NC

Supplying independent distributors across the country with metals and other consumables, Weldcote Metals grew rapidly in the first couple years of its existence. From a single site in North Carolina, Weldcote added warehouses in Indiana, Southern California, Eastern Massachusetts and Houston, Texas. That geographic growth allows the company to provide next-day service for the lion’s share of its products, says President William Roland. “Worse case is two days,” he adds. In the face of the sudden downturn in the economy just two years after its founding, Weldcote proved to be a survivor. The company, which started with just four workers, now has 27 employees, along with 10 manufacturer representatives. Weldcote provides some 1,800 SKUs under the company’s own label and serves major industry buying groups. With such diverse offerings, Roland says Weldcote’s growth depends on the overall health of the U.S. economy. “We have to get the economy going,” he says. “As the economy grows, we grow.”



In its first 10 years, Weldcote Metals has built a network of warehouses that allows the company to offer next-day service to much of the country. Summer 2016

Weldship Corporation BETHLEHEM, PA




Weldship, founded as a ship builder, today creates ISO containers and truck racks for horizontal pressurized vessels.

Domestically, Weldship Corporation is known for making tube trailers and tank trailers that they sell and lease to those in gases industry. However, President Robert Arcieri says that in the past decade the company has used international markets to greatly expand revenue. After spotting a flattening in demand for tube trucks in the domestic market, Weldship pushed into international markets by expanding sales to industrial gas companies that use Weldshipmade ISO containers, packed with horizontal pressurized vessels, to ship their gases to customers around the world. The trailers and ISO containers are similar in a key aspect. “Tubes are the common denominator,” says Arcieri. With offices in Massachusetts and facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas, Weldship builds ISO containers of varying sizes. They match up in size with regular shipping containers so they can be loaded and unloaded on ships bound for markets worldwide. That allows Weldship’s customers to fill the tubes with whatever gases their customers are demanding “We like to say we supply the bags, then our customers fill the bags and deliver them to their customers,” Arcieri says. Providing equipment for shipping is a return, of sorts, to Weldship’s roots. “The company was founded to weld ships,” Arcieri explains. “Weldship built barges for use on the Hudson River.” In time the company moved out of that business into Summer 2016

supplying gas producers and distributors with tube trailers, tank trailers and storage. Arcieri says getting back aboard the maritime shipping business has helped the company double sales in the past decade. He says more than a century of industry experience among the company’s top leaders has helped them recognize changing markets and react. “We’ve been through a few cycles.”

ISO racks allow Weldship customers to ship gases around the world in container-sized configurations. 105





Growth has been steady at Aurora, Illinoisbased Weldstar, says COO/Owner Joseph Winkle. The company added a store in Machesney Park in 2014 and has seen overall sales climb 25 percent, despite being set back some by the Great Recession. Growth comes from continuing expansion of the hardgoods lines, Winkle says. “We are always expanding in hardgoods.” The company also is involved in a two-year project to upgrade

its spec gas operations. That work includes upgrading a 10-year-old lab to meet growing demand for emissions gases and bump test gases, Winkle says. “You’d be amazed at how many people use bump test gases for air quality gases. Anytime you dig a hole you’ve got to go in and make sure it’s not filled with nitrogen, you’re not going to suffocate and there’s nothing poisonous down there. So anybody doing restoration in old buildings or working at refineries or a lot of construction people — that’s a market we’re really finding now.”


Weldstar has updated its gas lab to handle rising demand for emissions and bump test gases.

itter! Follow Welding & Gases Today on Tw

@GAWDAMEDIA @WeldGasToday www.WeldingAndGasesToday.o 106

rg Summer 2016






In the past decade, Welsco has invested heavily in updating its stores, giving them a uniform appearance. The company has also closed two stores, opened a new one in Hot Springs, Arkansas and moved another within Springdale, Arkansas. CEO Angela Harrison says Welsco also updated its fill plant, which is now palletized and automated, and updated its specialty gas laboratory. But the biggest investment was in reclaiming five acres of land that had been largely covered by three lime ponds. The ponds, left from the days when lime slurry was a byproduct of acetylene production, were something that her father wanted to reclaim for many years. She surprised him with the completed project at a board meeting, she says. These investments were made possible by growth and business improvements, including improvements in credit monitoring that brought a 90 percent decrease in bad debt write-offs, Harrison says. But Harrison credits the company’s doubling of sales (from $20 million to $40 million) in the past decade to high morale among employees. “Everybody enjoys their job,” she says.


“If you come to work for us, or if you work for us, there are two books you have to read,” she explains. One of them is ‘Whale Done’ and the other is ‘Raving Fans.” The books, by business author Ken Blanchard, stress positive relations among workers and bosses and customers. “It’s kind of our philosophy of how we do business, and just having fun,” says Harrison. A decade ago, Welsco’s site included three lime ponds left from past processes.

During the past decade, Welsco has drained and filled those ponds, reclaiming the space for operations.

Welsco’s annual Arkansas Welding Expo is a regular feature for the company and one reason sales have doubled in the past decade. Summer 2016



HERE’S WHAT’S Dig Into A Few New Suggestions To Get More From Your Smartphone by diane stirling , senior editor


his second quarter Welding and Gases Today introduced “Here’s What’s ‘Appening’” to showcase apps designed to make it easier and faster to do business, book travel, and enjoy downtime and entertainment. Here’s another set of recommendations for fun, functional apps for iOS and Android devices. Dig into these offerings: apps you might enjoy that can expand your business management options; make it faster and easier to get where you’re going and help you find and enjoy a wide range of free-time interests. Want us to feature your favorite app? Share your ideas with GAWDA members by calling us at 315-445-2347; emailing; or tweeting us at @GAWDAmedia.

BUSINESS Provides: This popular app (for Android only) is a password manager and digital vault to protect and manage passwords and other information from your devices. The website for Keeper says it offers “impenetrable security for your passwords and digital assets.” You can use it to keep safe, encrypt and remember your passwords. It permits fingerprint login and offers a number of other safety and encryption features.

Provides: You can get all the news you want, from a variety of sources, all in one place. With Feedly, you can organize your favorite publications, podcasts, and YouTube channels into collections, then you’ll receive updates when new stories and videos are published. The open system lets you add any RSS feed into your stream and share easily and in multiple ways. The app integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Buffer, OneNote, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Cost: Free trial, then subscription

Cost: Free

All the apps mentioned are available on the App Store and/or Google Play 108

Summer 2016


4 Generations Strong Since 1958

TRAVEL Provides: Super-handy app if you’re a last-minute planner, get bumped off your latenight flight, or want a quick getaway, Hotel Tonight lets you book rooms in the moment in 10 seconds from your mobile device, at guaranteed best rates. The app locates last-minute discounts on un-booked rooms in hotels all over the world. Room types vary in price and style choices (from basic to luxury); custom descriptions provide full information; and there is 24/7 live customer support. Cost: Free

ENTERTAINMENT Provides: Have you always wanted to learn to play chess? Chess Free is one of the highest-ranked of more than 100 free chess programs. The tutoring app helps develop strategy and player skills, shows recommended moves, and lets you analyze the moves you make. Eight chess boards and seven chess piece sets are offered for variety, and it’s made for phone or tablet.

Chess Free

Load-N-Roll Video:

Cost: Free

ENTERTAINMENT Provides: Real Guitar app simulates acoustic and electric guitar on your phone or tablet screen. It’s easy to use and puts out studio-quality audio with three varieties of guitar sounds: acoustic, electric, and distortion-guitar. There are three modes of play: chords easy, chords normal, and solo. You also can track live music with the app’s recording mode feature.

Real Guitar

Cost: F  ree

Often Copied / Never Equaled 877-721-7211

Summer 2016


News from GAWDA Headquarters

Welcome New Members! GAWDA is pleased to welcome the following companies that recently joined the Gases and Welding Distributors Association as new members. For more information about the benefits and services available to members, please contact the Association at 844-251-3219 (Stephen Hill) or visit



An independent gas welding distributorship located in Lynn, Massachusetts, and Rochester, New Hampshire, All Welding Supplies is a family-owned and operated-business that has been serving the region for more than 50 years, providing welding equipment, gases and safety supplies.

With three locations in Eastern Pennsylvania, Dailey Resources has been in business for more than 40 years distributing compressed and liquid gases, welding supplies, industrial supplies and medical supplies.

101 Harbor St. Lynn, Massachusetts 01902-4447 617-595-6000


406 S.W. Fourth St. Oklahoma City, OK 73109 405-239-2068 A third-generation family-owned company, City Carbonic specializes in the service and safety of compressed gas cylinders. City Carbonic installed its first hydro test equipment and became a U.S. Department of Transportation approved facility in 1982.  In 2008 it received an Oklahoma Department of Health Fire Extinguisher license.

1213 Wheeler Ave. Dunmore, PA 18512 570-344-1303 Fax: 570-347 2570


2319 West Meighan Blvd. Gadsden, Alabama 35904 256-543-3360 A second-generation family-owned company, Nealco Products provides welding supplies, medical gases, industrial gases – including microbulk – and has a longtime involvement in motorsports. Nealco serves customers from facilities in Gadsden and Albertville, Alabama.



The Association of Independent Welding Distributors (AIWD) is a buying group that began in 1999 when the Western Distributors Association (WDA) and the Independent Distributors Cooperative (IDC) merged to form a group of 50 members. In 2005 the group incorporated as the AIWD, Inc. Since then, the AIWD has grown to more than 140 members in 37 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, as well as 95 vendors.

Providing cylinder testing and refinishing, Cyrogenic Solutions sells and services a range of medical gases equipment. Services also include repairs for oxygen concentrators and CPAP and BiPAP equipment.

P.O. Box 154 Statesboro, Georgia 31 913-963-9135


1936 S. Lynhurst Drive Suite P Indianapolis, Indiana 46241 317-839-8100 Fax: 317-241-5533

Summer 2016

News from GAWDA Headquarters


724 Robbins Road Grand Haven, Michigan 49417 800-937-3253 Fax: 800-846-3253 From its beginning manufacturing steam engines for the forestry industry in the 1880s, Dake Corp. has grown to a supplier of a complete line of industrial-strength machines, including: arbor presses, hydraulic presses, drill presses, power hammers, horizontal bandsaws, vertical bandsaws, cold saws, bench presses, tire presses, laboratory presses, belt grinders, tube benders, auto feed systems and special presses.


795 Sam T Barkley Drive New Albany, Mississippi 38652 847-718-9300 A leader in aluminum impact extruder technology, Metal Impact serves diverse markets, including medical oxygen cylinders, industrial gas cylinders and building products. It is part of Thunderbird LLC’s portfolio of companies that manufacture their products in America but are aiming for a larger world market. They specialize in industries including automotive, military, power, metal fabrication, and more.

OTTO ARC SYSTEMS INC. 3921 Sandstone Park Drive El Dorado Hills, CA 95762 916-939-3400

Founded in 1988, Otto Arc Systems Inc. provides orbital welding, beveling and facing equipment plus CNC cutting machines, positioners and manipulators for use in industries such as food, medical, shipbuilding and many others ranging from small to large projects. Accessories such as tool bits, weld heads and saws also are available.

SOUTHERN PINES TRUCKING AND CRYOGENIC SERVICES 423 Frankfort Road Monaca, Pennsylvania 15061 800-377-1049

With a fleet of more than 30 trucks nationwide, Southern Pines Trucking and Cryogenic Services operates from key locations throughout the country and is an industry leader for safe and on-time deliveries of industrial gases and hazardous shipments.

TYROLIT INDUSTRIAL ABRASIVES 333 Prospect St. Elyria, OH 44035-6121 844-897-6548

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of grinding, cutting, drilling and dressing tools and machines for the construction industry, Tyrolit Industrial Abrasives is a family-owned company founded in 1919, and is a member of the Swarovski Group.


2151 Dreer St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125-1997 215-739-7474 Fax: 215-426-1260 Weldsale Company sells downdraft tables, welding fume extraction equipment, welding fume extractors, and general platen-style welding downdraft tables. Weldsale downdraft systems pull smoke and fumes through the downdraft welding table away from the welder. The company also has available a number of products for welders, including cutting tables, clamps and magnets.


8228 N. 19th Ave., 409S Phoenix, AZ 85021-5247 623-326-9048 Summer 2016


Industry News

Industry News CGA Recognizes Butler Gas for Fleet Safety

Butler Gas Products received the Fleet Safety Excellence Award for 2015 at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Compressed Gas Association. The award originated from a 3-year safety data comparison across companies in the industry distributing cylinder gases less than or equal to 3 million miles. It rewards the lowest total moving accident rate.

system is a significant step forward for the entire MOCVD market focused on AlGaN and AlN technology,” said TNSC Executive Corporate Officer Koh Matsumoto. With its main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California, Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

F&M MAFCO Names Monahan Industrial Gases Business Manager

Butler Gas President/CEO Jack Butler accepted the award on behalf of the company. “Our first question that demands a ‘yes’ is always, ‘Is it safe?’,” Butler shared at the company’s distribution team celebration breakfast in May. “All our distribution professionals, safety committee members, strategic leaders and all BGP associates made this award happen. This is a very big deal and I am very proud of our team.”

Sandia National Labs Qualifies, Accepts Matheson/Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp. System

Sandia National Laboratories has qualified and accepted Matheson’s SR-4000HT commercial grade gallium nitride (GaN) metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) system for its continued compound semiconductor device developmental work with aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) and aluminum nitride (AlN). Matheson, based in New Jersey, and parent company Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC) announced the news. “As a prominent leading national institution, this customer’s qualification and acceptance of the SR-4000HT MOCVD 112

Roch Monahan has been named business manager of industrial gases, reporting to co-owner and Executive Vice President Greg Friedmann. Monahan will take responsibility for F&M MAFCO’s Industrial Gas Division. Along with his plant and operational responsibilities, Monahan will also be directly responsible for the industrial gases sales division within F&M MAFCO, with total P&L responsibility related to the gases and welding industry. Monahan has an extensive background in the gases and welding industry and has previously held executive positions in operations and sales. He will reside in the Cincinnati area and can be contacted at the F&M MAFCO Inc. headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

O.E. Meyer Expands into Columbus, Ohio

O.E. Meyer Co., of Sandusky, Ohio, recently acquired a facility and property in greater Columbus. This facility serves as a warehouse, distribution center and retail store for both industrial and medical business units. The new facility is expected to open in October. When it does, it will be O.E. Myer’s eighth retail storefront.

Sheward and Wilson Join Hobart Institute

Brian Sheward

Brian Sheward and Justin Wilson have joined the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio. Sheward is teaching the skill of welding to students in the Structural Welding Program and in the Combination Structural and Pipe Welding Program. A 1989 Summer 2016

Industry News graduate of Hobart, he returns to the Institute with more than 25 years of welding experience. He previously worked for National Oilwell Varco as a UAW journeyman millwright. Wilson is a new technical training instructor. He is an American Justin Wilson Welding Society Certified welding inspector with more than 10 years of welding and inspection experience. He is a 2005 graduate of Hobart and worked for Effox in Cincinnati.

Lemaire Promoted to Sales ManagerEurope by ACD

ACD, a Cryogenics Industries Company, has promoted Brice Lemaire to Sales Manager-European Market based out of ACDCryo offices in Muenchenstein, Switzerland. Lemaire will lead ACD’s efforts to expand business in the existing and the new emerging markets. He has been with ACDCryo as the technical sales engineer for nearly three years and now is tasked with developing and managing the sales team throughout Europe. “Brice has proven himself over the past three years to be exactly the type of leader we were looking for and I am looking forward to watching this young man flourish in both our company and the industry,” said James Estes, ACD general manager.

Indiana Oxygen Plans to Expand in Fort Wayne

Indiana Oxygen Company has announced plans to expand to the Fort Wayne, Indiana, market with a new distribution center in the near future. This will mark the company’s 10th facility in the State of Indiana and its 11th in the Midwest. Independently owned Indiana Oxygen, headquartered in Indianapolis, is the oldest gas and welding supply distributor in the country and serves the Midwest market.

Grabner Promoted to Operations Manager at US Gas

Jim Grabner

Jim Grabner is taking on the responsibilities of operations manager at US Gas’s facility in Alsip, Illinois. Grabner has been with US Gas for 11 years. He has worked in production and distribution working as a filler and a driver. Grabner’s promotion is part of an expansion at US Gas.

Summer 2016

CTR Receives CGA Safety Award

During the Compressed Gas Association’s (CGA) annual meeting, hosted in St. Petersburg, Florida, CTR Inc. was presented with the Leonard Parker Pool Safety Award. CTR President Jim Payne said, “CTR is honored to receive the Leonard Parker Pool Safety award. We want to thank the Compressed Gas Association and all of its members for the recognition. If it wasn’t for the effort and attention to a safe workplace that all of our employees put forth, this would not be possible. Thanks to all of the CTR employees; they deserve the credit for this prestigious award.” The award, sponsored by Air Products and Chemicals Inc., was created in 1978 in memory of Leonard Parker Pool, the founder and former chief executive of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. CGA presents the award annually to participating member companies that have recorded the greatest improvement in safety performance during the previous two years. CTR was the winner of the two million or fewer employee exposure hours.

Electronic Fluorocarbons Building New Pennsylvania Facility

Electronic Fluorocarbons announces that construction is well underway on the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing and purification facility on a 15-acre greenfield site in Hatfield Township, Pennsylvania. The facility is expected to begin operations in the third quarter. Upon completion, EFC will combine and move its current production facility in Ivyland, Pennsylvania, to the larger Hatfield Township site. “This purpose-built facility represents a major milestone for Electronic Fluorocarbons. It positions us well to execute on technical and strategic initiatives in several high-growth markets, and to provide our customers with higher capacity and improved redundancy,” said Pavel Perlov, Electronic Fluorocarbons’ CEO and founder.

Southwire Company Adds Holmes and Shaw to Welding Division

Chris Holmes joined Southwire Company as national sales manager — welding. He has been in the welding industry since 2012 and formerly managed welding distributor accounts in 23 states along the East and Gulf Coasts. He and his wife, Emily, recently had their first child, Samuel, last October. Meredith Shaw joined Southwire Company in 2013 as an intern. She graduated with honors from the University of West Georgia in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in business management and is the new sales account manager for welding and irrigation. She and her husband reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. 113

Industry News

Moore Named Butler Gas Executive Vice President

Ohio. In his most recent position, Lewis was instrumental in the expansion into electronic-grade gas products.

Abydee Butler Moore has been named executive vice president of Butler Gas Products. Formerly vice president at Butler Gas, she oversees the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-area company’s strategic plan, internal and external marketing efforts, sales and customer service, Abydee Butler Moore and recruitment efforts. Those include coordinating onboarding and training programs for all new hires and teaching at Butler Gas University, the company’s program of continual business and personal career development for all associates. She also designs and manages the company’s advertising campaigns, e-newsletters and website. Moore purchased 20 percent of her family’s 68-year-old business at age 28. Within GAWDA, Moore is a Board vice president, chair of the Seven Springs, Pennsylvania regional meeting, and serves on the Membership Services Committee.

The Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative announced that Keith Werkley has joined the IWDC as director, Vendor Management and Supply Chain. In this role, Werkley is responsible for driving profitable growth of vendor partner brands, Weldmark brand and Keith Werkley warehouse and importing operations. Werkley recently served as district sales manager/TIG specialist for Techniweld USA. He previously spent nine years at ITW’s Weldcraft/Miller Electric line of business in positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to ITW he was with Jackson Products as their district sales manager. He and his wife Libby reside in the Indianapolis area.

Pandjiris Announces Tainter’s Retirement

Mercer Abrasives is Now Mercer Industries

James Tainter, who has served as vice president of sales and marketing for Pandjiris, retired April 1 after 40 years of service to the company. Tainter will continue to work on a contract basis for Pandjiris, doing sales training and participating at trade shows and exhibitions. Steve Candela, with 25 years of service at Pandjiris, will take over as vice president of sales and marketing.

California Cylinder Moves to Larger Facility

California Cylinder has moved into a new and larger facility in Upland, California. The new facility includes automation and an expansion of the company’s inventory of new and reconditioned steel and aluminum high-pressure cylinders, along with new and reconditioned liquid cylinders, low-pressure liquid propane and propylene cylinders.

Electronic Fluorocarbons Names Lewis North American Sales Director

Greg Lewis

Electronic Fluorocarbons, LLC (EFC) has hired Greg Lewis as its North American sales director. He comes to EFC with more than 25 years of experience in the specialty gas industry, most recently working as a specialty gas and equipment specialist for Airgas in


Werkley Joins the Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative

In response to a shift in corporate strategy and product expansion over the last several years, Mercer Abrasives of Ronkonkoma, New York, has been renamed Mercer Industries. The company has launched a new website as well. “Mercer continuously strives to provide quality products, exceptional service and consistent value,” said Jim Wallick, president. “The goal is to be an important partner to our distributors and help them grow sales and improve their bottom line. To reflect our broad, ever-increasing product selection, our company name has changed to Mercer Industries.” “Mercer is not just about abrasives anymore,” said Ryan Trimble, product manager. “Our product portfolio continues to expand into new categories, such as carbide blades, diamond blades and safety products. We’re seeing tremendous growth in areas that weren’t even a thought a few years ago.”

Bartyzel Joins Sales at Mathey Dearman

Daniel Bartyzel has joined the extended sales team at Mathey Dearman, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bartyzel has joined Intermountain Marketing Group as an outside sales representative and will be responsible for accounts in New Mexico and Colorado. He attended Technical Vocational Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico from 19931995, and has received sales training from the Brooks Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina. Bartyzel brings 14 years of sales experience to his new Summer 2016

Industry News position. Prior to accepting this position, he served as the sales engineer/accounts manager for Daiken AC and as a manufacturer’s representative for McCoy Sales and the Heiter Corporation.

Dean and Foster Join Atlas Welding Supply

Chuck Dean and Jimmy Foster have joined Atlas Welding Supply in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Dean has more than 20 years of sales and sales management experience. He is new to the welding and gases industry. Bill Visintainer, president and CEO, said, “Chuck brings to us a reputation and proven results in his ability to recruit, develop and lead sales teams towards success.” Foster has experience in welding and will be completing his degree in welding science this summer and will complete his CWI designation shortly thereafter. “We feel Jimmy has exactly the skills we need to move towards the future,” said Visintainer.

Kingsley Joins Cyl-Tec as Regional Sales Manager – Central

Bill Kingsley

Bill Kingsley has joined CylTec, Inc. as regional sales manager – Central. B e f o r e j o i n i n g C y l - Te c , Kingsley spent more than 27 years with The Harris Products Group, a Lincoln Electric company in Mason, Ohio, as regional sales manager for the Central and Western United States.

Indiana Oxygen Makes List of Best Places to Work in Indiana

For the second consecutive year, Indiana Oxygen Company has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana. Each year the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, with the help of the Best Companies Group, reviews hundreds of applications from companies throughout the state of Indiana in order to compile a list of the top 100 best places to work. In 2016, a record number of companies applied for the honor. Once the top 100 are selected, they are then broken into four categories based on the size of the company. These include: small companies of between 15 and 74 employees; medium companies of between 75 and 249 employees; large companies of between 250 and 999 employees; and major companies with 1,000 or more employees.

Summer 2016

Crew Joins Central McGowan as Director of Business Development

Robert Crew has joined Central McGowan, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, as a director of business development. Crew brings more than 25 years of experience in the industry. His career in the industry began in 1990 working in finance for a company that was acRobert Crew quired by GenEx/Praxair. From there he worked in sales with an emphasis on spec gas, liquid and bulk gas systems. In 1999, he was promoted to sales manager. Most recently he was division general manager for the North Central Region of Praxair Distribution Inc. in Roseville, Minnesota.

Taylor-Wharton Renews Partnerships with Ratermann, Eleet

Taylor Wharton, recently acquired by Air Water Inc., has extended its agreements with Eleet Cryogenics Inc. and Ratermann Manufacturing, Inc. Eleet will be the company’s exclusive stocking and sales channel for micro-bulk tanks over 1,000 liters, standard atmospheric and hydrogen bulk tanks for the United States and Canada with stock at Eleet’s facility in Ohio. Ratermann will be the exclusive stocking partner for liquid cylinders and beverage carbonation. Ratermann will service the distributor and end-user market and Taylor-Wharton will cover sales to the major gas producers with order fulfillment by Ratermann. Ratermann will keep stock on hand at facilities in California and Tennessee.

Cyl-Tec, Inc. Names Milligan Regional Sales Manager – East

Cyl-Tec, Inc. of Aurora, Illinois, has hired Amy Milligan as regional sales manager – East. She brings 20 years of sales and management experience to the position. She began in the gas and welding industry first as the national sales and marketing director for Dynaflux, Amy Milligan Inc. in Cartersville, Georgia, then took a role as the Southeastern regional sales manager for Chart Industries Distribution and Storage Division. Most recently, Milligan worked for Chart Industries as the marketing communications and applications development manager. She founded the Women in Welding Initiative and serves on GAWDA’s Membership Services Committee. 115

Industry News

Kairys Joins Southern Pines Trucking and Cryogenic Services

Southern Pines Trucking and Cryogenic Services has hired industry veteran Tom Kairys as vice president of sales. Kairys brings a wealth of industry experience to his role at Southern Pines. He most recently served in sales leadership roles at Tom Kairys INOXCVA and Butler Gas Products. Southern Pines Trucking and Cryogenic Services is a contract cryogenic carrier and short-term and long-term cryogenic transportation equipment leasing company based in Monaca, Pennsylvania. The company hauls product throughout the United States for a diversified customer base.

nexAir Announces Plan To Move Headquarters

nexAir has announced plans to lease office space in Crosstown Concourse, the re-development of the former Sears, Roebuck & Company Crosstown catalog order plant and retail store in Memphis. nexAir’s headquarters office will move to the historic, 1.1 million-square-foot structure in early 2017, and at 33,000 square feet, will be the largest for-profit tenant at the Concourse. Approximately 65 employees will relocate there. The company’s fill plants, distribution centers and retail stores are not affected by the move. “Our company was founded here in Memphis in 1940, and as we began to outgrow our current offices, we were looking to relocate somewhere that spoke to our city’s rich culture of innovation and creativity,” said Kevin McEniry, nexAir CEO.

Kaplan Adds Goodman As West Coast Sales Manager

Kaplan Industries has appointed Devon Goodman as West Coast regional sales manager. Goodman will be responsible for account management and market growth and will be part of the Kaplan marketing team. He recently served as West Devon Goodman Coast Account Executive for Direct Wire and Cable, Inc. He has a degree in financial economics from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

Chemweld Announces Software Partnership

Chemweld, Inc. has announced a partnership with software provider edify to bring a mobile knowledge reinforcement platform to the Norcross, Georgia gases and welding company’s operation. The software platform is used to reinforce employee safety, compliance, and job skills, and can increase employee engagement and knowledge retention via a combination of competition, rewards, and recognition, according to Chemweld President Linda Smith. “Being the owner of a company in the gases and welding industry, I know firsthand the tremendous resources spent on safety and compliance training. Pulling employees out of the field for training is time consuming, costly, and frankly boring.” Instead, she said, this software “is fast, fun and accessible from anywhere” and “will provide owners and managers with measureable results as it changes the way employees are educated.”




9-10 GAWDA Regional Meeting // North Stonington, CT 24-25 GAWDA Regional Meeting // Gettysburg, PA 12-13 GAWDA Regional Meeting // Kansas City, MO 25-28 GAWDA Annual Convention // Maui, HI 11-14 IWDC Owners Meeting // California 23-27 IOMA’s 2016 Annual Meeting // San Diego, CA. 14-16 FABTECH // Las Vegas, NV


Summer 2016

M & A SCORECARD Air Liquide Completes Acquisition of Airgas

specialty gases used in petrochemical refining and sold

Air Liquide has completed the acquisition of Airgas,

throughout the United States, as well as export markets

Inc., one of the leading suppliers of industrial gases

such as Mexico, South America and the Middle East.

and associated products and services in the U.S., it announced in May. Globally, the combined businesses will generate annual sales of more than $22 billion, employ approximately 68,000 people around the world, and serve well over 3 million customers and patients.

ISGAS’ products provide Red Ball the opportunity to diversify its specialty gas business, the company said. Red Ball TGS primarily produces EPA Protocol gases for emissions monitoring and high purity gases used in gas chromatography. The hydrocarbon, sulfur, and other

Under the terms of the merger, Airgas shareholders

custom mixtures produced by ISGAS will add to Red

received $143 in cash for each share of common stock

Ball’s offerings.

of Airgas. Airgas common stock has been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Airgas will operate as a subsidiary of Air Liquide within the company’s U.S. operations and, commercially, will be known as Airgas, an Air Liquide company.

“We are very excited to partner with such a high-caliber specialty gas and hydrocarbon manufacturer,” said Red Ball Oxygen CEO Alex Kennedy.

The merger brought changes in leadership. Peter

Acme Cryogenics Acquired by Investment Firm Graham Partners

McCausland, executive chairman of Airgas, retired

Graham Partners announced May 18 it has acquired

upon closing of the transaction. Pierre Dufour, senior

Acme Cryogenics, Inc. of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

executive vice president and board director of Air Liquide, was appointed chairman of the board of Airgas. Michael Graff, member of the Air Liquide Group’s executive committee and executive vice president of the Houston Hub, was appointed vice chairman of

Acme described Graham Partners as a private investment firm focused on investing in businesses with advanced manufacturing technologies, innovative product development capabilities and strong growth potential.

the board of Airgas. Pascal Vinet, a member of the

Graham Partners said it has identified several

Air Liquide Group’s executive committee, is being

opportunities for value creation during its ownership of

appointed CEO of Airgas after a brief, post-closing

Acme, including pursuing strategic add-on acquisitions to

transition phase. During the transition phase, Michael

expand into adjacent markets, implementing operational

Molinini continues his current responsibilities, serving

improvements and new product development.

as interim CEO of Airgas, and retiring later this year.

Acme President Joel Hansen said, “Graham Partners

Andrew Cichocki has been promoted to the role of chief operating officer of Airgas.

is a highly professional group of very smart people who were very respectful of Acme, its customers, and its employees during the entire sales process.

Red Ball Expands with Acquisition of Ideal Specialty Gases and Analytical Services

Furthermore, they were very reasonable negotiators

Red Ball Oxygen of Shreveport, Louisiana, has

transaction timing.”

announced the acquisition of Ideal Specialty Gases and Analytical Services (ISGAS), a Houston, Texasbased company.

and met every commitment they made including

Acme Cryogenics, Inc. was established in 1969. The company provides engineering design, fabrication, installation, and repair services to the food packaging,

ISGAS was founded in 2004 and is a manufacturer of

pharmaceutical, semi-conductor, aerospace, medical

hydrocarbon standards, sulfur standards, and other

gas and industrial gas industries.

Summer 2016


New Products, Services & Technologies Postle Industries Introduces New Matrix Welding Wire for Tungsten Carbide Embedding

Postle Industries has introduced PS98, a hardfacing alloy to be used as a matrix welding wire for tungsten carbide embedding, also known as MIG Carbide Embedding. Using vibratory feeding equipment in conjunction with the gas metal arc welding process (GMAW), tungsten carbide particles are fed from an overhead hopper directly into the PS98 molten weld pool. The resulting weld deposit, which the company says has a hardness of 55 to 60 HRC, contains a large volume of tungsten carbide particles embedded in a hardface matrix alloy. Unlike soft mild steel welding wires which are commonly used with the MIG Carbide embedding process, the high hardness tool steel microstructure of Postalloy PS-98 is designed to encapsulate and protect the tungsten carbide particles from premature erosion. The unique chemical composition of PS98, with chromium and molybdenum, is a triple deoxidized iron base hardfacing matrix alloy that will consistently provide an even distribution of carbide particles throughout the entire weld deposit, Postle says.

FasTest Introduces SMART Technology

FastTest, Inc. has introduced new SMART Technology for its standard CGA-580 connectors. The new technology provides operators with visual verification that a positive connection has been made and that it is safe to begin the filling process. Each connector with SMART Technology is equipped with LED lights that change color depending on the connector’s connection status: red – fully disconnected, yellow – partially connected, green – fully connected. FasTest’s says the SMART Technology can be easily integrated into automated or manual filling processes. Each connector uses an electrical output signal to relay connection status to a hub device that compiles the status of each individual connector. The hub device analyzes each input and only allows the operator to begin the filling process once all connections have been properly made. “We created this technology to make the filling process safer and more efficient for operators using our CGA connectors,” said Matthew 118

Nolting, compressed gas national sales manager. “We believe our SMART technology will revolutionize the filling process and we look forward to continuing to incorporate the technology into our wide range of connectors for the gas filling industry.”

PFERD Rolls Out New Grinding Wheels, Finishing Set

PFERD Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has introduced its latest depressed-center grinding wheels with a pure ceramic oxide grain. The company says it delivers excellent stock removal rates, long service life and costcutting performance. Suited for working with steel and stainless steel, the new PFERD Inc. wheels have a hardness grade Q. The grinding wheels achieve optimal results on high-powered angle grinders, and are available in sizes ranging from 4.5-inch diameter and quarter-inch thickness and a maximum rpm of 13,300 to 9-inch diameter and quarter-inch thickness and a maximum rpm of 6,600, the company says. PFERD also announced a new linear finishing set for applications including rough stock removal, surface conditioning and cosmetic finishing on all metals and hardwoods. The set includes PFERD’s 5-inch diameter POLINOX non-woven PNZ finishing drum, featuring interleaved layers of non-woven material and abrasive cloth. This large-diameter drum provides up to 25 percent longer life than the standard 4-inch diameter drum, PFERD said. The set also features a selection of PFERD POLIVLIES non-woven surface conditioning belts, an aluminum oxide coated abrasive belt, a pneumatic drum holder for belts and a new electric linear finishing tool. This 120-volt variable-speed tool features a step-less speed range of 850 RPM to 3800 RPM at a power output of 900 watts. A removable keyed drive spindle also allows for mounting wheels and drums with keyed arbor holes, as well as threaded products. The tool has restart protection in the event of power interruption and a shutdown device that deactivates the motor in case of extreme overload. It complies Summer 2016

New Products, Services & Technologies with ANSI B7.1-2000 standards and OSHA regulations. PFERD Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of August Rüggeberg GmbH & Co. of Marienheide, Germany.

voestalpine Böhler Offers Welding Wire by the Drum

Welding wires from voestalpine Böhler Welding can now be ordered in cardboard drums with filling contents from 250 kilograms up to 500 kilograms. The wire volume systems provide efficient MIG/MAG welding by largely avoiding downtime for spool exchange, especially in mechanized and robotic operations, voestalpine Böhler says. Drum solutions are offered for non- and low-alloyed wire grades, stainless, aluminum, nickel-base and copper-base wire types for welding, cladding, hardfacing and brazing.

Acme Cryogenics Pre-engineered, Vacuum-Jacket Pipe Sections Introduced

Acme Cryogenics has introduced Quik-Fab Vacuum Insulated Pipe. The company says the product provides a low-cost, high-thermal-efficiency solution for the transfer of cryogenic liquids. The pre-engineered vacuum-jacketed piping sections come in a variety of straight lengths, with 90-degree elbows and T-sections that can be configured to meet most applications, according to the company. “Quik-Fab pipe is connected with a foam joint protected by a rugged stainless steel sleeve,” Acme Cryogenics explains, “then sealed to provide a moisture barrier.” Installation requires field welding and a pneumatic pressure test in accordance with ASME B31.3.and typical orders can ship within two weeks, the company says in a release.

It only takes one leak to compromise your operations. For over a century, CPV Manufacturing has provided safe and reliable valves and fittings worldwide. With state-of-the-art design, quality control, and attention to service, CPV Manufacturing provides assurance that valves and fittings fit perfectly, function effectively, and provide years of trouble-free service. Don’t put your plant or facility at risk. Count on the valves and fittings that provide safe and reliable performance for your daily operations. Put the CPV trusted brand to work for you. For more information: Phone: 866-708-1950 Email: Web:

Summer 2016


Advertisers Index ABICOR Binzel USA..................................................31

Hobart Institute of Welding Technology.......................84

Acme Cryogenics.....................................................62



Kaplan Industries.....................................................45

ALM Positioners.......................................................98

The Lincoln Electric Company.....................................7

American Torch Tip...................................................69



Mercer Abrasives.......................................................3

AmWINS Program Underwriters.................................52


Anthony Welded Products.................................33, 109


Arcos Industries......................................................IBC

Norton Abrasives......................................................21

ASM- American Standard Manufacturing...................48

Ray Murray Inc.........................................................67

California Cylinder....................................................25

Reelcraft Industries..................................................43

Carborundum Abrasives...........................................75

RegO Cryo-Flow Products.........................................10

Catalina Cylinders....................................................96

Rotarex North America..............................................59

Cavagna North America............................................91


CGW- Camel Grinding Wheels...................................50

Select-Arc, Inc........................................................ BC

Chart Industries.........................................................9

Sherwood Valve.......................................................22

CPV Manufacturing................................................119

Tech Air...................................................................64




Thermco Instrument Corp.........................................90


Uniweld Products...................................................103

ELCo Enterprises......................................................31

Veite Cryogenic Equipment & Service Corp..................1


Watson Coatings, Inc................................................34

FIBA Technologies....................................................92

WDPG Business Insurance/The Horton Group.............83

Gas Innovations/WWS..............................................46

WEH Technologies....................................................85



Generant Company................................................102

Weldcote Metals......................................................66

Gullco International................................................102

Welding Alloys.........................................................36

H & H Sales Company..............................................85

Weldship Corporation...............................................63

The Harris Products Group.......................................IFC

Winton Products Co..................................................84


Summer 2016

Arcos Delivers Solutions to High Nickel Alloy Welding Challenges.

Arcos Industries, LLC offers over 30 high nickel alloy electrode products to handle the wide variety of critical welding applications that you face each day. Our reputation for excellent quality and superb service ensures that you can rely on Arcos to provide you with the best in bare wire, covered and tubular high nickel alloy welding electrodes.

Discover for yourself how Arcos high nickel alloy electrodes can help you solve your critical welding problems. Call us today at 800-233-8460 or visit our website at

“Hands down, Select 78 is the best wire I’ve used in 25 years.”

Marc Young Advantage Steel and Construction Ironworkers Local 3

Select-Arc, Inc. has introduced Select 78, a new T-8 product that has shook up the self-shielded electrode market. Select 78 (E71T8-H8) provides superior arc stability and low spatter emission enabling high deposition rates whether in-position or out-ofposition. In contrast to other T-8 wires, Select 78 has a broad operating window that allows both experienced and apprentice welders to utilize it with ease. It offers exceptional weldability and

produces an excellent bead shape with easily removed slag. Select 78 is expertly designed for use in critical applications such as ship and barge construction, structural steel erection and bridge fabrication. Better yet, as Marc Young attested, “Being an ironworker means putting in long hours and laborious days under any known conditions to build North America. Select 78 allows you to put in an honest day’s work instead of a hard day’s work.”

Now discover for yourself why Select 78 sets the new standard in T-8 welding electrode technology. Call us today at 1-800-341-5215 or visit our website at

Welding & Gases Today Q3 2016  

GAWDA: Welding & Gases Today Q3 2016

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