Welding & Gases Today | Q1 2022

Page 1

The Official Publication of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association





Meet the 2022 Board of Directors

First Quarter 2022


S.J. Smith


GAWDA’s Committees Provide Updates


Leaders Mentoring Leaders



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contents First Quarter • Winter 2022 • Volume 21, No. 1



PRESIDENT’S VIEW Leaders Mentoring Leaders BY BOB EWING


DIRECTOR’S DESK Taking the Time to Fortify Your Company in 2022 BY JOHN OSPINA


EDITOR’S NOTE The People That Make the Difference





COMMITTEE CORNER GAWDA Committee Chairs Give an Update on Memberhsip





Companies Should be Ready for Customers Attempting to Misuse Gases for Self-Harm BY RICK SCHWEITZER




Fall Protection: Walking/Working Surfaces BY MARILYN DEMPSEY

23 26

Placarding BY MIKE DODD

GA & GAWDA’s Young C & Emerging Professionals Summit Returns for a Second Successful Year BY RICH GOTTWALD


I TR FIRST-QUARTER OUTLOOK Consumer Checkup Heading into 2022: 3 Things to Keep in Mind BY BRIAN BEAULIEU



.J. Smith Company S The Service You Expect and Deserve. BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

2 • Winter 2022


Distributor Forecast


64 Supplier Forecast



AWS Forecast


CGA Forecast


Interview with ITR Economics




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contents First Quarter • Winter 2022 • Volume 21, No. 1


John Ospina jospina@gawda.org PUBLISHER

Bill Brod billb@gawdamedia.com

FEATURES 2021-2022 GAWDA 32 Meet President Bob Ewing BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

Your 2022 GAWDA 34 Meet Board of Directors BY STEVE GUGLIELMO



Steve Guglielmo steveg@gawdamedia.com


Andrea Levy alevy@gawda.org

Robin Barnes robinb@gawdamedia.com


Calm and Carry On 109 Keep BY JOHN TAPLEY




Search Engine Trends for the Gases and Welding Industry


A Successful Sales Manager Can be a Great Deal Coach


for channel conflict – or Harmony?





Enterprise Selling in the 21st Century BY ART WASKEY

Increases & Cost 101 Price Reductions: A recipe


Combating Cybersecurity: Don’t Leave Your Digital Door Unlocked

Eyes Up in Colorado: 2021 Annual Convention Recap Launching a Website? Here’s What You Need to Know


Natasha Alexis nalexis@gawda.org


Hand Safety and Glove Selection BY PAUL BERNIER

Customer Segmentation that Actually Works BY RANDY MACLEAN


Renate Wood Karley Harmon Paul Brunell VICE PRESIDENT, SALES

Tim Hudson timh@gawdamedia.com RELATIONSHIP MANAGERS

Hannah Gray hannahg@gawdamedia.com Lesli Mitchell leslim@gawdamedia.com Anne DeSantis anned@gawdamedia.com



4 • Winter 2022






122 127








135 136


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 Holdings, LLC. on behalf of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association. • Periodicals postage paid at Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and at additional mailing offices (ISSN 1558-5344). • Editorial correspondence should be sent to Editors c/o editorial@gawdamedia.com • Advertising correspondence and materials should be sent to William Brod, Data Key Holdings, LLC., 1415 W. Genesee St., 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 ©2022 Data Key Holdings, LLC. • 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 Editors, c/o editorial@gawdamedia.com. • Data Key Holdings, LLC. reserves the right to print portions of all or any correspondence mailed to the editors without liability on its part and no such correspondence will be returned. • Visit Welding & Gases Today Online at www.gawdamedia.com.


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Leaders Mentoring Leaders BY BOB EWING

I Bob Ewing is GAWDA’s 2021-2022 president as well as president of Red Ball Oxygen. He can be reached at 318-4256313 as well as bob. ewing@redballoxygen. com.

was inspired recently by the words of Robby Young, Vice President of Young Welding Supply, recorded in the pages of this magazine on their 75th (!) anniversary: “As an independent distributor, we wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for the other independent distributors in our surrounding area. I would like to thank each one for answering the phone when we need help. I can’t think of a single independent around us that hasn’t significantly helped us at one time or another. From my family to yours, thank you!” I think Robby is on to something. To build a business that lasts three quarters of a century, you can’t sacrifice first principles for short-term competitive gain. He respects his competition, and they reciprocate that respect. He feels gratitude, not animosity, towards those in his own backyard who are sharing the journey with him. He has tapped into a powerful reservoir of good-will that continues to fuel his business. I think that’s pretty cool, and pretty old-school. The industry giants who built our association had a similar outlook. Gratitude for an industry that has allowed us and our families to prosper, and a spirit of helping each other along the way is the whole reason our association exists.


At some point, we must ask ourselves what kind of game are we playing? Are we playing a zero-sum game, in which every gain my competitor makes comes at my expense? Or is our situation more complex and fluid than that, presenting us with many win-win opportunities? Zero-sum thinking says, “I can’t share with a competitor, or they will use it against me.” Win-Win thinking says, “I don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. 6 • Winter 2022

By opening up, I’m likely to get smarter than I ever could on my own.” Networks of cooperative distributors are a powerful force for good in our industry (and in our national economy.) In a dynamic and disruptive market, it’s likely that the winning solution includes networked distributors who are more open to sharing information, working together, and spreading new ideas, all in the service of the customers we care so much about. By being open and honest about what’s working and what’s not, by forming partnerships that add specific areas of capability, we evolve more quickly. In short, generosity is a growth strategy!


Wouldn’t it be foolish not to participate in a situation where it is quite impossible to give more than you receive? This is a generous industry. Volunteers that contribute time, energy, and ideas drive everything we do. In our meetings, nothing meaningful happens until someone steps up and shares. We truly are an industry of “Leaders Mentoring Leaders.” We challenge and inspire one another when we share our experiences. We all face similar problems, and thankfully, we have no shortage of wise, optimistic, and resourceful people who are more than willing to help. It is no exaggeration to say that our association is fueled by the generosity of its members, and that tapping into that generosity is the single greatest benefit of membership. We are receiving a pure gift when another leader takes the time and interest to help us along, and our industry is overflowing with such gifts. Let us resolve to never take them for granted. Thank you, Robby, for the kind reminder.

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Taking the Time to Fortify Your Company in 2022 BY JOHN OSPINA

A John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached at GAWDA Headquarters in Hollywood, FL, via telephone at 844-251-3219 or via email at jospina@gawda.org.

8 • Winter 2022

s you read the economic forecasts starting on page 54 you will see talk about slowing in growth for 2022. Slowing growth, but growth, nonetheless. This gives us all a chance to fortify company policies and operations while things are still moving in the right direction.. We’re already facing labor shortage issues which have been aggravated by outbreaks of COVID variants. Unfortunately, we may have to deal with this issue for some time to come. So, what can you do to ensure that you keep as many good employees as possible? Be mindful of what issues they’re facing. Make sure you have clear safety policies in place that address current regulations and best practices. Keep employees engaged. Invest in employee education opportunities to help them be more productive and cope with today’s unique challenges. Share helpful information like recordings and presentations from our Safety Managers Safety Meetings, GAWDA safety alerts, best practices from our Safety Committee, articles from your healthcare providers or your HR contractor. Another area to strengthen is customer and vendor relations. Be aware of their individual situations. Do products or parts come from out of the country? What’s the supply chain approach? Is it just in time or just in case? Are there any shortage concerns looming out there? How are the challenges with growing transport costs being mitigated? Networking with fellow members to understand how companies are approaching all these issues can make a world of difference to your success. Make the effort to attend our national and regional meetings. Keep an eye out for webinars that address

these issues and have appropriate employees sign up to attend. Make sure they share what they learn with the rest of your team. The U.S. government has spent trillions of dollars over the past few years. Legislators are actively looking to see how they can create revenue streams in the form of fines, fees, and taxes. Regulatory and compliance changes are getting increasingly complex. To keep up with them, you have to actively participate in regular updates from a trusted source like the GAWDA consultants to keep your company compliant. Regulatory agencies are gearing up to go out into the field. Expect to see a growing number of enforcement efforts as we go into 2022. If you have any questions about preparing for an inspection or need help with an inspection issue, please contact our consultants. They are your best option for staying out of trouble. Other areas legislators are focusing on are corporate taxes, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and step-up in basis related issues. These are all prime revenue sources that will be looked at over the coming year. Staying informed on proposed legislation and being involved in efforts to stave off potentially disastrous tax hikes on corporate and family businesses is another way to ensure you don’t get blind sighted. As always, GAWDA will continue to keep you informed on any issues that come up throughout the year. We are always happy to answer any questions or concerns you have. Thank you for your continued membership and support of our organization and the industry. I look forward to seeing many of you in Indianapolis for the Spring Management Conference.

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The People That Make the Difference BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

A Steve Guglielmo is GAWDA Media’s Editor-in-Chief. He has more than a decade of experience working with industrial associations. He can be reached at steveg@gawdamedia.com.

10 • Winter 2022

s a writer, I try to avoid clichés. I even noticed, recently, that Grammarly, an online editor that I use when I’m writing online, literally checks for “common phrases.” It says, “Sometimes, common phrases actually undermine your writing by making you look less confident or making your point less clear.” But clichés don’t become clichés on accident. The phrase, “These are unprecedented times,” may make you physically sick two years into the pandemic, but it is true. Go back to February 2020 and could you possibly imagine what the next two years (and counting!) would hold? But, as an industry and as a society, we have endured. We’re not only “surviving” but if the GAWDA Distributor (page 54) and Supplier (page 64) forecasts are to be believed, we are actually thriving. And though we are all dealing with the “new normal” (another cringe-inducing cliché!), and we have gotten used to doing business like this, I do think it’s important to take a step back to acknowledge the truly Herculean effort it has taken for businesses to be thriving and growing by double-digits during a global pandemic. Let’s “stop and smell the roses” (I’m on a roll!) and reflect on our accomplishments. This point really crystalized for me when I saw Bob Ewing’s speech in Colorado Springs when he officially became President of GAWDA. He said, when describing this year’s theme of Leaders Mentoring Leaders, “It’s trying to help each other succeed. It’s an open-hearted and open-armed desire to win the game of life and business together. 99% of life is just showing

up, and I would add showing up with the right mindset. Come here to get better. Come here to share. If you do that, you can just sit back and watch the magic happen. It is rocket fuel for your business.” He continued, “A brilliant mind working in isolation can be defeated by a network of average minds that are actively collaborating. Our greatest imperative is for able and honest people to prepare themselves to lead, and to accept the opportunity to lead when offered!” I’m proud to work with an association where people are actively working together to tackle the problems of the day. And we’re dealing with some big problems of the day right now. To say nothing of the pandemic, we are dealing with supply chain issues, inflation, labor shortages, among other things. But it doesn’t do anybody any good to dwell on those issues or to throw a pity party. Reading the answers to this year’s Meet Your Board (page 34) as well as the forecast responses, everybody acknowledges the issues and has come up with ways to meet them head on. GAWDA does a great job of facilitating the kind of open collaboration that helps us solve these issues. And GAWDA Media can act as a vehicle for that message. We’d love to hear from you about how your company is dealing with these ongoing issues. Come on GAWDA TV, write an article for the magazine or even let us know how your company is coping so we can write about it in the GAWDA Connection. It’s the people that make the difference, and we want to highlight our outstanding people.

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Consultant Roundtable:

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022 GAWDA’s consultants discuss upcoming regulatory and legislative trends they expect to see in 2022 BY TOM BADSTUBNER, MARILYN DEMPSEY, MIKE DODD, RICK SCHWEITZER AND STEVE GUGLIELMO


he GAWDA Consultant Program is a GAWDA member benefit that is included as part of your member dues to the association. It is consistently rated as one of the most valuable member benefits that GAWDA provides. Between the four of them, GAWDA’s consultants bring more than 100 years of industry-specific experience to the association. For this issue, we spoke with the consultants about a variety of topics that will impact your business in 2022. From recently

12 • Winter 2022

passed or upcoming legislation, to the continued impact of COVID, to an increased frequency of inspections. Thank you to Tom Bastubner, GAWDA’s FDA and Medical Gases Consultant, Marilyn Dempsey, DHS, EPS and OSHA Consultant, Michael Dodd, DOT Consultant, and Rick Schweitzer, Government Affairs and Human Resources Consultant, for lending their time and expertise to discuss these important topics. The following is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation.


WELDING & GASES TODAY: With this being our First Quarter Issue of 2022, I wanted to start today by discussing the things you think will impact members the most this year. Things they need to do in the early part of the year and things you see coming down the pike. MARILYN DEMPSEY: I’ll start with what we discussed at the Annual Convention in our committee meetings. The Safety Committee and Government Affairs committees met together. I think one of the high points of that meeting was that Andrea Levy joined, which makes the dissemination of information much more fluid. Having sat in on the meetings, she understands what the committee is talking about firsthand and so she is able to get the safety practices and other information up onto the website in the correct format. She’s making it easier to access the information, especially the best safety practices. The biggest accomplishment, in my opinion, is all the hard work the Safety Committee has accomplished. They have either reviewed or created 16 best safety practices in 2021. And that is amazing! There is so much information for the members. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel. They can take the best

practices from their peers, and they can run with them. Whether it’s policies, training, or practices. It’s truly amazing. WGT: You mentioned that the Safety and Government Affairs committees met together. Rick, from your perspective, what added benefit has that brought? RICK SCHWEITZER: There is a lot of synergy and commonality between the two committees. Essentially, the Government Affairs Committee tries to look at the future and what the new regulations might look like. And the Safety Committee is there both to help companies with regulatory compliance and in their basic safety practices as well. So, they work together as committees with perhaps just a little different focus. MIKE DODD: One thing I want to add is that it was just like Nashville. It was extremely great to see everybody there. Everybody meeting in person, talking, communicating, handshakes, bear hugs, it was just nice to be back to somewhat normal again. And I’m looking forward to the meeting this year being the exact same thing.

Winter 2022 • 13



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WGT: Looking ahead into 2022, is there anything from the regulatory agencies that you expect will impact our members this year? TOM BADSTUBNER: The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) had a small provision in it requiring the FDA to mitigate drug supply chain shortages,

14 • Winter 2022

especially in cases of emergencies. That means that medical gas manufacturers need to inform the FDA of their monthly drug production and releases. By February 15, 2022, we need to submit our released volumes to the FDA for 2020. And, by May 16, 2022, we need to submit our released volumes for 2021. And then, in following years, we will submit our releases in February for the prior year. We think that the medical gas industry has done a fine job of managing through this pandemic, but the CARES Act is for all pharmaceuticals. The medical gas industry has asked to be exempt from the reporting, but we were not made exempt. So, that is a new reporting and compliance issue that will start in 2022. We are always hopeful that the FDA will issue the new and appropriate medical gas regulations. The last commitment from the FDA to issue the new regulations was August 2021. The agency did not meet that deadline. We will keep members informed when, and if, new and appropriate medical gas regulations are proposed. We need new regulations because the existing regulations are appropriate for traditional pharmaceuticals, but, in some cases,

are not adequate and, in some cases, the existing regulations are less safe than industry standard practices. We’re expecting more inspections in 2022. So far, we have not seen a lot of inspection activity. This is likely to change as the pandemic is becoming less significant. The prudent compliance measure is to verify your compliance right now. Consider reviewing your calibrations, training, and your records – just to be certain that you meet Current Good Manufacturing Practices. If you need sample self-inspection protocols, contact tom@asteriskllc.com. The last message I think I’d like to leave our members with going into 2022 is that, if you have signed up in the past for the GAWDA/CGA Safety Program and you have access to CGA’s library of documents and training materials, make sure that you send in your OSHA forms. Send a copy of the forms to CGA, so that your membership in this outstanding GAWDA benefit can be renewed for 2022. If you have not signed up for the free program, I encourage you to go to GAWDA.org or CGAnet.com. Both websites have links for how GAWDA members can sign up for the CGA/ GAWDA Safety Program.

MIKE: I wanted to follow up on that point about the CGA/ GAWDA partnership. We emphasize the publications a lot because they’re extremely useful. There’s a couple of dozen that are used over my area. I know Tom has several in his area. Another thing that I want to mention is that there are some excellent training videos now. They’ve had the publications for years, but they’ve issued probably a dozen very good, high-quality training videos that members get to access for free as part of their membership. They’re extremely valuable. WGT: Marilyn, anything from your agencies? MARILYN: There are two things for Homeland Security. The first is a bulletin about the National Terrorism Advisory System. This bulletin is a notice of the heightened state of security active through February 8, 2022, due to the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. They’re asking people to be aware. If you see something, say something. Second, DHS launched an innovative hiring program to recruit and retrain world-class cyber-talent. The EPA also has their “For Hire” sign out. EPA has posted initiatives within the bipartisan infrastructure deal. These initiatives will be good for our industry. It also means that EPA is going to be more active. In the infrastructure bill, there is $50 billion for clean water projects, to either improve or upgrade the water systems within communities. There is $5 billion for the decarbonization of the bus fleet. I don’t know if they are going to move into electric or natural gas, there are some challenges but also opportunities. And then there is $100 million for pollution prevention. The EPA states they will launch a new program focused on “delivering environmental justice” which will help businesses reduce toxic pollutants. The term “delivering environmental justice” tells me that we’re going to have more inspections. And then, of course, there’s OSHA. OSHA is also hiring. They are going to come out with more inspections; both remote and on-site. As we all know, these three agencies haven’t been doing as many inspections in the past two years, primarily due to COVID. I do expect the number of inspections will increase significantly. GAWDA members have great resources at their hands to alleviate the strife of inspections; they can actually have a successful inspection if they use the tools that are provided within the GAWDA website, CGA, NFPA, and the consultants. Then, the inspection may be burdensome, but it is not a beating. WGT: Rick, Marilyn brought up the infrastructure bill. What is that going to mean for GAWDA members? RICK: It’s going to mean a lot of additional funding for

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highway repair and maintenance, and bridges. And then there are a number of studies in there, including on whether or not, and how, they might implement a vehicle miles traveled tax. It looks like that will be used to replace the fuel tax in the next five-year highway bill. There are also studies on updating the heavy truck causation study that the FMCSA put out in 2006. And then studies on autonomous vehicle technology and studies on the use of marijuana and its effect on impairment in both personal and commercial driving. And then driver compensation and its impact on driver retention. That’s obviously a huge issue. WGT: How about policy matters or new legislation that might be coming in 2022? MARILYN: COVID is not going to go away immediately. Today, there is a stay on the vaccine mandate so we don’t have to gather all the vaccinated/non-vaccinated employee data; but there are other things that we should do. For instance, create a pandemic plan. It’s the same as preparing for a hurricane or a snowstorm. OSHA

has put out some templates and GAWDA also put out a business continuity plan. Use those two documents and build a pandemic policy and program. OSHA has a rule coming out to protect workers from heat hazards. Heat stress will be a top priority for OSHA, and you can find out more information on Heat stress in the May 2021 Safety Organizer article. MIKE: I think sometimes we’re guilty of focusing too much on the present and don’t consider, as much as we should those things that are ongoing. So, I wanted to remind our members that the clearinghouse is still out there. Many of our members are following that clearinghouse, but I still have many members that are asking questions and telling me that they’re not fully engaged with the clearinghouse procedures yet. So, members need to know that they can get hold of me or Rick and we can help them work through the process of the clearinghouse and the deadlines that they need to be making with their drivers. I also want to remind members about special permits. Many of our DOT auditors are coming in and are focusing

on special permits. They never did that before. There are some simple things that our members can do to be ready for those questions. I’ve written bulletins about them and talked about them during the safety roundtables. Those are both on the members-only page. And then I’ve also discussed in those webinars the fact that there is a difference between DOT cylinders and UN cylinders when it comes to manifolded cradle packs. Some substantial differences that give real advantages to the UN cylinders. So be aware of those things, because they’re going to be areas of emphasis this year and it can be a source of real savings for our membership. WGT: Rick, how about other legislation in the works? Anything you see that has a realistic chance of becoming a reality that you think might impact GAWDA members in 2022 or beyond? RICK: We are dealing with these COVID-related activities. We have these two mandates, one for large employers with over 100 employees and the other for federal contractors. They’re each

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tied up in the courts right now. It’s difficult to say whether or not the courts will ultimately allow these to go into place. But, if they do, they are going to impose some very significant obligations. Particularly the federal contractor’s standards, because you have to require your employees to get vaccinated. There is no testing alternative, like there is for large employers. However, having said that, if your company has fewer than 100 employees and you’re not a federal contractor, you still have to deal with COVID in the workplace. And I’m still getting calls and emails from member companies on how to handle things like paid time off, quarantining, how to deal with an employee who has someone at home who has contracted COVID. If you have long-term symptoms, how do you deal with those disability issues? All of those are unique questions that we’ve never had to deal with before in this context and we’re working through them on a case-by-case basis. I am very sympathetic to GAWDA members who are dealing with this, because it’s just something now that you have to deal with on top of your other responsibilities. And we’re sort of making up the answers as we go along as best we know-how.

WGT: You hosted the Audit Excellence Seminar in October. For members who weren’t able to attend, what was covered and why they should take part in this next year? TOM: It will be happening again in March in the Southeast. We had outstanding attendance in 2021. For 2022, the Professional Compliance Seminar will be a three-day on-site event for those people who want to meet face-to-face. The seminar will also be virtual for those people who are not in a position to travel. MIKE: And those who want to attend face-to-face will have to get their reservations in early because I really think it’s going to sell out. TOM: We focused not only on how to survive an audit, but how to really do well in an audit. We discuss what the inspectors are doing today and where industry standards are more appropriate.

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Companies Should be Ready for Customers Attempting to Misuse Gases for Self-Harm BY RICHARD P. SCHWEITZER, ESQ.

R GAWDA’s Government Affairs and Human Resources Legal Consultant Rick Schweitzer is president of Richard P. Schweitzer, PLLC in Washington, DC. He is also GAWDA’s general counsel. Members can reach him at 202-223-3040 and rpschweitzer@rpslegal. com.

18 • Winter 2022

ecently, a GAWDA distributor member received a phone call raising suspicion that the caller was trying to purchase gas to end her life. The caller first asked for helium, then asked for nitrogen, then argon, and, finally, nitrous oxide, in turn. The caller would not give the distributor any exact use for the gases except for the possibility of using helium for balloons. The distributor suggested the caller go to Target or Walmart or another party supply store and get a Balloon Time cylinder for a party, but the caller insisted she needed 100% helium. Balloon Time helium cylinders contain 20% oxygen, which would support respiration (and prevent the user from committing suicide) if the cylinder is emptied in a confined space. Fortunately, the distributor did not sell the customer any product and she hung up frustrated. The distributor did contact the authorities and they handled the situation from there. The distributor then conducted an internet search on, “How to commit suicide” and found websites referring to these gases and very specific instructions on where to get gases and how to use them. This scenario was handled correctly by the distributor, and other GAWDA members should be ready if you receive a similar phone call or inquiry from a walk-in customer. Anyone requesting a one-time purchase of helium, argon, nitrogen, or nitrous oxide, should raise a red flag for your salesperson. Ask for a company name and try to set up a corporate

account. If the purchaser is an individual, ask for the intended use of the product. A potential customer seeking helium to fill party balloons should be directed to a party supply or big box store to purchase a recyclable cylinder containing a helium mixture that cannot be used for asphyxiation. Further, anyone insisting on 100% or “pure” helium, without being able to document a legitimate medical, research, or industrial use, should raise another red flag. You should never sell product to such a customer. It is also appropriate to contact the police and local mental health authorities to advise them about the caller and suggest they follow up so that the person does not harm themselves.

There are two ways in which helium may be harmful. First, the inhalation of helium can cut off a person’s oxygen supply and can cause dizziness and unconsciousness. If the concentration of oxygen is decreased below 18% within the human body, symptoms and signs of asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) can occur. Helium gas can totally displace the available oxygen, and if this is maintained for even a few seconds, asphyxia and death can and will occur. Second, helium in a cylinder is maintained in a highly compressed state. The flow of compressed gas is usually managed by a regulator device attached to the valve at the top of the cylinder. But if the flow of compressed gas from the cylinder is too rapid, or if the regulator is not present, a person inhaling helium (to talk in a comic, squeaky voice) or any other gas from a cylinder can literally burst the person’s lungs and cause death by internal bleeding. Unfortunately, a number of deaths reported each year, often of teenagers and young adults, are from intentional or accidental misuse of helium. The hazards of helium inhalation are set out in a CGA Publication entitled Hazards of Oxygen-Deficient Atmospheres, and a video sponsored by CGA and GAWDA: https://www. consumered.org/stop-helium-abuse is available on the internet. This is an excellent resource for training your sales and other personnel, and for referral to legitimate customers. Rick Schweitzer GAWDA General Counsel (703) 946-2548 rpschweitzer@rpslegal.com Winter 2022 • 19


Fall Protection: SAFETY TOPIC Walking/Working Surfaces Safety Meetings are important!

BY MARILYN R. DEMPSEY, GAWDA DHS/EPA/OSHA CONSULTANT They: get your employees actively involved


encourage safety awareness help identify problems before they become accidents motivate employees to follow proper safety procedures The following is an excerpt from the happy GAWDA Safety We are to provide you with a monthly topic for your Organizer, a monthly bulletin sent to GAWDA members. For more information on the GAWDA Safety Organizer, or to read past issues, visit the GAWDA.org Members-Only Section. November 2021

Marilyn R. Dempsey Safety Dragons Workplace Consultants, LLC 940-999-8466 marilyn@safetydragons. com.

T 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

he National Safety Council published Fall Protection the Top 10 OSHA violations for 2021:


Walking/Working Surfaces



No    

Nov 2

Safety Meetings are important!

ROUTE TO: Fall Protection was the Number 1 cited OSHA safety violation for the 11th year in a row. They: get your employees actively involved Manager Fall protection is defined as any means used to protect workers fromfallsGeneral during work in area encourage safety awareness Fall Protection – General Requirements fall hazards exist. Fall protection is essentially a system that protects workers who could lose  Safety Coordinator help identify problems before they become accidents at any given height (four feet in General Industry; e.g. docks) from falling, usually res (1926.501):motivate 5,295 violations employeesbalance to follow proper safety procedures  Supervisor Dept.pub ___ injuries. One way to help train employees on Fall Protection is to implement the recently We are happy to provide you with a monthly topic for your agenda. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527 safety practice from the GAWDA Safety Committee. This document covers where falls are lik  Other ____________ Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026 occur and how to protect against falls in those areas, including:  Date of Meeting ___

ScaffoldingNovember (1926.451): 2021 1,948 *Guardrails *Safety Nets *Mezzanines/Elevated Storage Areas Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947 *Stairs *Ramps *Loading Docks Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698 *Skylights Fall Protection Fall Protection – Training Requirements Walking/Working WalkingSurfaces Working surfaces, although not specifically listed on the OSHA Top 10, are included i (1926.503): 1,666 Protection, Ladders, Scaffolding and the Fall Protection Training requirements. The main part 8. Personal Protective and LifesavingSurfaces rule are hazard assessment, inspections, training, and equipment. Walking-Working industry employers must: Equipment – Eye and Face Protection The National Safety Council published the Top 10 OSHA violations for 2021. (1926.102): 1,452 ● Conduct hazard assessments to determine their workplace fall and falling object haza 9. Powered Industrial Trucks ●(1910.178): Inspect all walking and working surfaces for fall or falling object hazards on a regular 1. Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations as necessary. 1,420 2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527 ● 1,113 Train and retrain when necessary their employees on fall protection systems and equ 10. Machine Guarding (1910.212):

3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026 ○ Fall protection systems include: 4. Scaffolding 1,948 ■ (1926.451): Personal fall protection, FALL PROTECTION 5. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947 ■ Safety nets, Fall protection was the number one cited ■ Ladder 6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698 safety systems, OSHA safety violation for the 11th yearProtection in a ■ Portable guardrailRequirements systems, 7. Fall – Training (1926.503): 1,666 row. Fall protection is defined as8.any means ■ Dockboard systems, and Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protec ■ covers Designated areas. used to protect workers from Safety falls 9. during work falls are likely to1,420 occur and how to The National Council published thewhere Top 10 OSHA violations for 2021. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): ○ Equipment that requires training includes: in areas where fall hazards exist. 10. Machine Guarding protect against falls in those areas, including: (1910.212): 1,113

20 • Winter 2022

■ All ladder types, and 1. Fall Protection – General Requirements • Guardrails(1926.501): 5,295 violations Fall protection is, essentially, a system that ■ Personal fall protection equipment. 2. Respiratory Protection (1910.134): 2,527 • Safety protects workers who could lose their balance at Nets A more in-depth analysis of the Top 10 violations for 2021 will be publ 3. Ladders (1926.1053): 2,026 • any given height (four feet in Generaledition Industry;of e.g. Mezzanines/Elevated Storage Safety Areas Council publicatio Safety+Health magazine, a National GASES AND WELDING DISTRIBUTORS ASSOCIATION 4. Scaffolding (1926.451): 1,948 • Blvd., Stairs docks) from falling, usually resulting in injuries. One One Oakwood Suite 195, Hollywood, FL 33020 P(954)367-7728 F(954)367-7790 5. Hazard Communication (1910.1200): 1,947 • Ramps way to help train employees on Fall Protection is 6. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147): 1,698 • Loading Docks to implement the recently7.published safety practice Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503): 1,666 • Skylights from the GAWDA Safety Committee. This document 8. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection (1926.102): 1 9. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178): 1,420 10. Machine Guarding (1910.212): 1,113

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A more in-depth analysis of the Top 10 violations for 2021 will be published in the Decem edition of Safety+Health magazine, a National Safety Council publication.




Although not specifically listed in the OSHA Top 10, walking working surfaces are included in Fall Protection, Ladders, Scaffolding and the Fall Protection Training requirements. The main parts of the Walking-Working Surfaces rule are hazard assessment, inspections, training, and equipment. All general industry employers must: • Conduct hazard assessments to determine their workplace fall and falling object hazards. • Inspect all walking and working surfaces for fall or falling object hazards on a regular basis and as necessary. • Train and retrain when necessary their employees on fall protection systems and equipment. FALL PROTECTION SYSTEMS INCLUDE:  Personal fall protection,  Safety nets,  Ladder safety systems,  Portable guardrail systems,  Dockboard systems, and  Designated areas.

Equipment that requires training includes:  All ladder types, and  Personal fall protection equipment. The GAWDA Safety Committee published a safety practice to aid compliance and training on Walking Working Surfaces. Some areas that can be particularly dangerous include: production areas, entryways, height transition areas and liquid fill areas. 


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Also, the type of footwear and weather conditions can present their own type of hazards (for more information on weather related walking/working issues please review the October GAWDA Safety Organizer.) Both the Fall Protection and Walking Working Surface Safety Practices may be found on the Member’s Only page under the Sample Safety Practices tab. If you have any questions about these topics, or any other DHS, EPA or OSHA topic, please contact: Marilyn Dempsey GAWDA DHS/EPA/OSHA Consultant Safety Dragons Workplace Consultants, LLC Cell: 940-999-8466 Marilyn@SafetyDragons.com


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 The following is an excerpt from the GAWDA Safety Organizer, a monthly bulletin sent to GAWDA members. For more information on the GAWDA Safety Organizer, or to read past issues, visit the GAWDA.org Members-Only Section.

GAWDA DOT & Safety Consultant Michael Dodd is president of MLD Safety Associates in Poplar Bluff, MO. Members can reach him at 573-718-2887 and at MLDSafety@hotmail.com.


he Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) sections 172.500-560 cover the requirements for placarding. This bulletin will narrow the focus to the requirements for the typical gas distributor and try to give you some simple guidelines to follow. (See Simple Placarding Rules below.) Placards alert people to the potential dangers associated with the particular HAZMAT contained in a motor vehicle, rail car, freight container, cargo tank, or portable tank. Placards help emergency response personnel properly identify and respond to potential hazards when responding to a hazardous materials incident.


172.504 starts off by saying that you must placard for any quantity of a hazardous material but then proceeds to give several exceptions to the rules. I will give you some simple rules later. (See Simple Placarding Rules on next page.) The shipper (that is you) is responsible for supplying or affixing the appropriate placards. Carriers (your vehicles or the customer vehicles) may not transport a shipment unless it is placarded in accordance with the regulations.


No person may move a transport vehicle carrying hazardous materials unless it is properly placarded. However, in an emergency, transportation may occur if: • The vehicle is escorted by a representative of a state or local government, or • The carrier has received permission to move the vehicle from the Department of Transportation, or • Movement of the vehicle is necessary to protect life and property.


This section covers the size, color and design specifications that govern the production and use of hazardous materials placards. The main things to remember are to purchase your placards from someone like JJ Keller and then later make sure the colors haven’t faded. If they have, replace them.


Each bulk packaging, freight container, unit load device, transport vehicle, or rail car containing hazardous material must be placarded on each side and each end (with some exceptions) with the type of placards specified in Table 1 or Table 2 of section 172.504. Winter 2022 • 23


Placards must be readily visible from the direction they face, except from the direction of another vehicle or rail car to which the motor vehicle or rail car is coupled. Placards displayed on freight containers, or on portable tanks loaded on a vehicle or rail car, may satisfy this requirement. The placard placement for the front of a motor vehicle may be on the front of the truck-tractor instead of, or in addition to, the placard on the front of the cargo-carrying body (trailer, semi trailer, etc.) Each placard on a transport vehicle, bulk packaging, freight container or aircraft unit load device must be: • Located clear of any appurtenances and devices (e.g., ladders, pipes, etc.). • Located away from any markings (such as advertising) that might substantially reduce its effectiveness (a minimum distance of 76 mm (3 inches) is required). • Maintained by the carrier so that the format, legibility, color, and visibility of the placard will not be reduced in any way – due to damage, deterioration, or obscured by dirt, etc. • Displayed to be read horizontally. • Placed, as far as practicable, so that dirt or water is not directed to it from the wheels of the vehicle. • Affixed to a background of contrasting color, or have a dotted or solid line outer border that contrasts with the background color. • Securely attached or affixed or placed in a placard holder. The regulations prescribed recommended specifications for placard holders (Appendix C to Part 172). Placard holders are not required.


The placarding tables tell you when you must placard. The key word is “must.” Remember, you may placard any amount of hazardous material on your vehicle so long as there is at least some quantity of that hazard on board. (See Simple Placarding Rules at right.) Any quantity of a hazardous material falling within the categories of material listed in Table 1 must be placarded. For our members, this is typically poison gas (hazard class 2.3) and calcium carbide (hazard class 4.3). Any quantity of a hazardous material falling within the categories of material listed in Table 2 must be placarded, with the following exceptions: • A transport vehicle or freight container, which contains less than 454 kg (1,001lb.) aggregate gross weight of hazardous materials covered by Table 2, is not required to display placards. (This exception does not apply to 24 • Winter 2022

bulk packages or materials subject to Section 172.505 - Placarding for Subsidiary Hazards.) If a vehicle, rail car, freight container, or unit load device contains non-bulk packaging of two or more categories of Table 2 materials, the DANGEROUS placard may be displayed instead of the separate placards specified in Table 2. However, when 1,000 kg (2,205 lb.) or more of one hazard category is loaded at one facility, the placard specified in Table 2 must be displayed. (I don’t recommend this one. See Simple Placarding Rules below.) Non-bulk packaging that contains only the residue of a Table 2 material need not be included in determining the required placards.


A NON-FLAMMABLE GAS placard is not required on a transport vehicle containing a nonflammable gas if the vehicle also contains flammable gas or oxygen and is placarded FLAMMABLE GAS or OXYGEN, as required. The OXYGEN placard may be used on domestic shipments of oxygen (compressed or refrigerated liquid) in place of a NON-FLAMMABLE GAS placard. For domestic transportation, a POISON INHALATION HAZARD placard is not required on a transport vehicle or freight container that is already placarded with a POISON GAS placard.


Here are the simple rules for our distributors whenever they are transporting either flammable, nonflammable, or poison gas cylinders. (If you haul other hazard classes, other rules may apply.) First simple rule: Yellow equals green and red covers green. Therefore, if you have only flammable gas, nonflammable gas



and oxygen cylinders on your truck, then you would only need to have the red FLAMMABLE GAS placard showing on all four sides. Remember, this rule works as long as you have at least one flammable gas cylinder on the vehicle. Explanation: The OXYGEN placard is 100% optional in this country. The hazard class for oxygen is nonflammable gas; green. Not carrying the OXYGEN placard is one less placard to have to worry about. The regulations also say that if you are showing the FLAMMABLE GAS placard (red), then you don’t have to show the NONFLAMMABLE GAS placard (green). Add any amount of a poison gas to the vehicle and you must display the POISON GAS placard. Second simple rule: If you placard the truck to match the labels (the miniature placards) on the cylinder decals you have loaded on the vehicle, you will never be wrong. You will need more placards on all four sides, but you will never be wrong. One last thought, you must have at least some amount of the hazard on the vehicle in order to display the placard on the vehicle. You can be fined for placarding a vehicle when the hazard is not present, i.e., an empty truck. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. Michael Dodd GAWDA DOT Consultant P.O. Box 93 Poplar Bluff, MO 63902 573-718-2887 Email: MLDSafety@hotmail.com







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CGA & GAWDA’s Young &Emerging Professionals Summit Returns for a Second Successful Year BY RICH GOTTWALD, CGA PRESIDENT & CEO

I Richard Gottwald is President and CEO of the Compressed Gas Association (CGA). He can be reached at 703-7882748 or rgottwald@ cganet.com.

26 • Winter 2022

n 2020, the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) and GAWDA debuted a groundbreaking series of technical webinars designed to give the industry’s next generation an opportunity to interact with subject matter experts. In its inaugural year, the Young & Emerging Professionals Summit drew more than 2,000 attendees from all over the world who gave the event overwhelmingly high marks. Industry leaders acknowledged the event as a tremendous success and an unparalleled learning opportunity. For his part, Ben Polavin, Safety and Compliance Officer with GAWDA member Purity Cylinder Gases, found it “absolutely worth it” to participate in the 2020 Summit. Ben attended almost all 10 of the sessions, “and I left with something of value after every single one of them,” he reported. “The thought put into each session, and the level of knowledge shared, was impressive. They really helped to shorten my learning curve.” As preparations for the 2021 Summit began, CGA’s Young & Emerging Professionals Committee formed a task force to evaluate

feedback from the 2020 event and develop an improved program. The task force, led by Zach Fowler of Linde PLC, identified a need for programming that suited attendees at varying levels of industry experience. As a result, an innovative new format was deployed featuring one topic per week. Each week included a day of overview presentations and panel discussions, followed by a session with deeper technical reviews. As plans for the Summit came together, CGA Committee Project Manager Tom Deary worked to solicit presentations and identify panelists. Thirty-five CGA and GAWDA members answered the call, agreeing to share their time and expertise with the industry’s young and emerging professionals. Weldcoa generously stepped forward to sponsor the event for a second year. This sponsorship ensured that all qualifying participants were able to attend the Summit at no charge. “CGA and GAWDA moved mountains to make this year’s event more meaningful than last year’s incredibly successful Summit. Weldcoa was proud to be part

MEMBER BENEFIT of the process and to serve our industry in such a positive way,” said Hector Villarreal, President of Weldcoa. Eight webinars covered a diverse range of industry topics, including: acetylene and liquefied petroleum gas, inert gases, hydrogen, and oxygen. Speakers early in the week set the stage by providing high-level reviews of the production, storage, and safe use of each product followed by a panel discussion with CGA and GAWDA members who shared their experiences of working in the field. Each week closed with a deep-dive session reviewing incidents and the resulting impacts on industry best practices. The Summit closed out with an open conversation between Abydee Butler Moore, 2021 GAWDA President and CGA Young & Emerging Professionals Committee Vice Chair, and Laura Brumsey, CGA Vice President of Operations & Administration. Abydee and Laura discussed the pressing need to engage the next generation of industry professionals in CGA and GAWDA and work to provide a pipeline for knowledge transfer and succession planning. They also reviewed opportunities for involvement and encouraged any young and emerging professionals interested in learning more to contact staff at either association. The 2021 Young & Emerging Professionals Summit continues to be CGA’s largest educational event. This year, we hosted nearly 1,500 participants from 85 companies around the globe, including many returning attendees who signed up for Summit sessions for the second year in a row. Feedback indicated that the event successfully delivered high value content, with participants rating the Summit a 4.7 out of 5 stars overall. Attendees enjoyed hearing from the variety of speakers and panelists from all sectors of the industry, and particularly benefitted from the practical experiences and advice shared in the sessions. The deep dive sessions were a strong point of interest; many participants commented on the high value of information shared in these discussions and the opportunity to further their understanding of why certain best practices and requirements are in place. We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to the speakers and panelists who generously spent their time with us, to GAWDA for their partnership on the Summit, to Weldcoa for returning to sponsor the event for the second year, to the participants who dialed in from around the world, and to the CGA staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make each session a success. Planning for the 2022 Young & Emerging Professionals Summit has already begun, and a call for presenters was circulated in late 2021. CGA’s Young & Emerging Professionals Committee continues to look for ways to improve this event, and we look forward to working with the industry’s leading experts to continue the knowledge transfer that started at this year’s event. 28 • Winter 2022

SUMMIT SCHEDULE & SPEAKERS SUMMIT WEEK 1: ACETYLENE & LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS SESSION 1 - TUESDAY, AUGUST 3 Acetylene: Properties, Production, Filling, Transport & Safe Use • Speaker: Rob Stauder, Linde Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG): Properties, Production, Filling, Transport & Safe Use • Speaker: Jason Bombard, Western International Gas & Cylinders, Inc. • Panel Discussion: Brock Miller, Indiana Oxygen Company Sally Mitchell, Norris Cylinder Company Abydee Butler Moore, Butler Gas Products Company; Travis Strebig, Rexarc

SESSION 2 - THURSDAY, AUGUST 5 Acetylene Compressor Incident • Speaker: Daniel Tregear, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. St. Louis Fire • Speaker: Shaun LaGrange, Linde PLC

SUMMIT WEEK 2: INERT GASES SESSION 3 - TUESDAY, AUGUST 10 Inert Gases: Properties, Production & Applications • Speaker: Bernard Malnarick, Airgas, Inc., an Air Liquide company Inert Gas Cylinder Filling • Speaker: Kevin Klotz, Weldcoa Inert Gases: Cryogenic Safety • Speaker: John P. Smith, Messer • Panel Discussion: John Bernard, CGA Consultant Barry Brown, CTR Inc. Markus Graf, Matheson Brad Peterson, Absolute Air

SESSION 4 - THURSDAY, AUGUST 12 Case Studies: Oil Fires in Compressors • Speaker: Patrick J. Smith, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. Asphyxiation Fatalities • Speaker: Greg Herrera, Linde PLC



Hydrogen: Properties, Production, & Applications • Speaker: Bill Lindberg, CGA Consultant Bulk Liquid and Gaseous Storage of Hydrogen • Speaker: Pablo Guzman, Airgas, an Air Liquide company Hydrogen Used in Vehicles – Past, Present, and Future • Speaker: Jennifer Hamilton, California Fuel Cell Partnership • Panel Discussion: Tom Drube, Chart Industries, Inc. Elias Margonis, Norco Inc. Alessandra Martin, Messer Americas Josh Weinmann, DeLille Oxygen Company

Oxygen: Properties, Production, & Applications • Speaker: Alan Burton, Messer Americas Filling Medical and Industrial Oxygen • Speaker: Kevin Klotz, Weldcoa Oxygen Safety Considerations • Speaker: Kate O’Handly, Matheson • Panel Discussion: Greg Eytchison, Western Enterprises Zachary Fowler, Linde Ron Kirby, Roberts Oxygen Company, Inc. Dino Sciullo, Sherwood Valve LLC


Safe ASU Reboiler Operations • Speaker: Dr. John Somavarapu, Air Liquide LOX Bulk Storage Tank Incident • Speaker: Sudhir Phakey, Linde

Metal Dusting in HYCO Facilities • Speaker: Jason Faulkner, Air Liquide Roofs Over Hydrogen Storage, Siting, and Area Classifications • Speaker: Rob Early, CGA


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Seasoned senior executive with 35+ years of experience in the industrial gas industry with 20+ years of managing a broad spectrum of businesses with direct P&L accountablility including former President of Praxair Distribution Inc. Business managed ranged in size from $20MM-$2Bn in annual revenue.

Over a decade working for a major compressed gas company. Owned and operated compressed gas distributorship in Alabama for 13 years. Served as GAWDA President 2015-2016. Partnered with Meritus to leverage his expertise globally rather than regionally, diversifying his portfolio while benefitting from Meritus’ growth.

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“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.” Dispatcher, 1995-96 Special Projects Manager, 1996 Distribution Manager, 1996-97 Vice President, Operations, 1997-2002 Vice President, Sales and Operations, 2002-2008 President, 2008, Present


WHAT JOB BEST PREPARED YOU FOR LEADERSHIP? As Special Projects Manager, I had the responsibility for implementing a new ERP system. That was a great experience to have early in my career, because I learned how all the different pieces of the company fit together. After that project, I had a much greater appreciation for the importance of everyone doing their job well if we’re going to keep customers happy.

FAVORITE HOBBIES • • • • • • •

Throwing the football with my sons Chess (lately with my sons as well) Reading Grilling Gardening LSU Football Dining out - Thursday night is date night with Lauren – highlight of the week.

32 • Winter 2022

Where did you go to school? PRINCETON UNIVERSITY What did you study? ANTHROPOLOGY WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE JOINING RED BALL? I spent four years as an Infantry Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Red Ball Oxygen was my first (and only) job after leaving the military. I did a lot of growing up in those four years. Going in, I was a selfish, ill-disciplined kid. I came out the other side with a whole different perspective on life. The safety and well-being of soldiers, many of whom were older and more experienced than I was, frankly, more responsibility than I was prepared for. I had to learn quickly, stay humble, and rely heavily on the people I was charged with leading. People have a misguided notion that militarystyle leadership is all about barking orders. The truth is quite the opposite. I learned that I needed to listen more than I needed to talk. But, when it’s time to take charge, you’ve got to step up and do your job, or everyone suffers.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE THEME “LEADERS MENTORING LEADERS?” I have so much gratitude for the mentors that took an interest in me and spent time and energy helping me grow. The shared experience of other leaders in this industry is a priceless resource. As an association tasked with increasing the vitality of gas and welding distributors, there are few things we could do that would be more impactful than mentoring each other. Sometimes, I have been hardheaded, and only learned by making my own mistakes. Let me tell you, learning from other people’s mistakes is a lot less painful! If someone is open and vulnerable enough to share their mistakes, grab hold of them and don’t let go.



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ollowing a year where our country and our association returned to some semblance of normalcy, GAWDA looks to continue that momentum into 2022. This year, we returned to in-person events, while the push to digital networking that was accelerated by the pandemic drove GAWDA to introducing more webinars. As we’ve been able to fuse those two mediums, GAWDA finds itself stronger than ever! Now, it is incumbent on the association to continue to grow and evolve. 34 • Winter 2022

And that begins at the Board of Directors level. Our volunteer leaders are on the front lines of the industry and can take the issues facing our industry and help to craft an effective strategy for the association. Members of the Board of Directors are here to serve the membership. The next few pages provide an opportunity for members to get to know the member-based leadership team, as we take a forward look at 2022. We thank the 2021-2022 GAWDA Board for their help in putting this together and for their service on the Board.

THE QUESTION We asked the 2021-22 GAWDA Board of Directors two questions. One fun, get to know you question, and one question that is on the minds of everybody in our industry. 1. What was your first job? 2. How has your company dealt with supply chain issues this year? How have you communicated these challenges to your customers? These were their answers.




Red Ball Oxygen Company Inc.

Indiana Oxygen Company


1. My first job was selling cokes at the county fair and rodeo. It was a commissioned sales job, and I got a dime for each coke that I sold. If you spilled one, you had to buy it yourself! To this day, whenever I see someone working the stands selling concessions, I always buy something from them! 2. We’re fortunate in that we have some great supplier-partners who kept us well informed, and we were careful to calibrate expectations with our customers. For the most part, customers were very understanding, as long as they weren’t surprised. We certainly adjusted order points to account for the longer lead-times and brought in more inventory. In many cases, in order to cushion our customers from the impacts, we had to buy ahead of price increases and stock up. We also developed some new supplier relationships in our search for substitutes when product wasn’t available. So, in a sense, we’ll emerge from this with a stronger supply chain. It’s times like these that we further validate our position in the channel, as we were able to keep our customers running smoothly.


ROBERT ANDERS Holston Gases, Inc.

1. My first real job with a paycheck was working at Sonny’s Full-Service Car Wash. It was 1976 and I was making $2.30 per hour. Ironically, the song Car Wash by Rose Royce came out that same year. 2. I think, at times, we get into our own little bubble in this industry thinking that our customers only focus on the products we supply them. They are dealing with supply chain/shortages in almost every aspect of their businesses and understand that a paradigm shift has occurred — hopefully a temporary one. What they need from us is timely updates - even if the news is bad — to run their businesses. We are the conduit between the manufacturers and the end user, and our job is to facilitate communication up and down the supply chain — that’s really what we have been and continue to focus on as we work our way through this mess.

Gary Halter

1. I had two jobs when I first began my working career – detasseling corn and repairing cafeteria tables. For what it’s worth, shortly after these jobs were completed I worked at the Finish Line selling shoes and apparel. 2. Dealing with the supply chain issues has not been easy. Our sales team did an outstanding job of getting in front of this difficult situation by being transparent with our customer base by sending out letters, emails, texts, face-to-face meetings, and through phone calls. Even though it has been tough, and it is far from over, our customers, for the most part, have been understanding. Our purchasing department has also stayed on top of this situation by constantly communicating with our supply partners, increasing our inventory on critical items that our customers must have for their applications, and communicating internally with our branches and sales team of extended lead times, price increases and alternatives to keep the customers in production.



O.E. Meyer Company 1. My first job was washing dishes at Ponderosa. 2. We have increased the amount of inventory stocked in our branches and warehouses and loosened our inventory turns to account for the lead time challenges we are presented today. Our customers are seeing these long lead times for everything they are buying; therefore, they were aware and our need to notify them hasn’t been an issue or our responsibility.



1. I wrote my dad a letter when I was 10 asking for a job at Butler Gas. He paid me $5 per hour and my summer projects included organizing the office Winter 2022 • 35

NEWS FROM GAWDA closet, creating a Hall of Fame in our reception area, stuffing invoices, cleaning offices, helping with our company newsletter, and cylinder issues. Outside Butler Gas, my first job was babysitting and coaching summer camp basketball. 2. As if a pandemic, labor shortages, and supply chain meltdowns were not disruptive enough, we chose to go live on a new ERP this year. Needless to say, painful. Our strategy for combatting the supply chain issues is to lean on more strategic gas partners. We rely on reciprocal supply relationships where mutually advantageous, as this utilizes both the arrival and departure trip for trucking. We are thankful for our 73-years of gas asset investments, strive to be as open and honest as possible in setting expectations with customers, and do our best to harness the silver linings — “never let a good crisis go to waste!”


Brad Peterson

Mississippi Welders Supply Company 1. My first paying job was mowing the lawn at a business adjoining the Mississippi Welders Supply property. 2. We’ve tried to order ahead, we’ve worked with our vendors, and we’ve let our customers know by phone/in-person/email that the challenges continue. No one is immune to this, so customers are more understanding than they would be if it was an isolated issue or us alone.


Rafael Arvelo Equigas, Inc.

1. Good question and great memories until winter came. In my first job, I was 13 years old, and I delivered the afternoon newspaper in Findlay, OH. I enjoyed it very much. Every afternoon I got home from school, wrapped each newspaper with a rubber band or a plastic bag depending on the weather, jumped on my BMX bike, and delivered 80 to 100 papers a day. Since then, I learned to establish a strong relationship with the customers. Back in the 80s, good service plus strong relationships equaled great tips on Christmas! 2. This is the $64,000 question. First thing we did, we had to be open minded to quickly adapt to changes. We established a stronger and more frequent communication with our vendors, added a couple more months in inventory and sought alternative brands in order to keep our customers operations running. Even though we have maintained a proactive communication with our customers, we have struggled, in some cases, to fulfill our orders on time.



General Air Service & Supply Co.

Earlbeck Gases & Technologies

Brad Armstrong

1. My first job was as a golf caddy. 2. The pandemic has created several issues for businesses across industries. Supply chain delays have been particularly impactful to us. In February of 2021 we tried to prepare for the coming storm as much as possible by increasing our inventory and bolstering our purchasing department. These efforts early on allowed us to maintain a robust inventory for the majority of our product offerings. Even with comprehensive planning, delays have been inevitable throughout the past year. When possible, we have sought alternate resources, but, often, we find that increasing 36 • Winter 2022

communication with both the supplier and the customer has helped to ease concerns. Providing as many details as possible to our customers about why an item is unavailable, its current status, and an estimated delivery date has been a successful strategy to alleviate tensions.

Allie Earlbeck

1. I worked as a cashier at a dry cleaner. 2. We’ve started to place orders well in advance to factor in the longer than usual lead times. Most importantly, we’ve started to coach our sales reps on suitable alternatives if an item isn’t available. Many times, the SKU they’re specifically requesting may not be available, but there is still something that would work in its place. Taking the opportunity to dig a little deeper and find a substitute allows us to keep our customers from the frustration of calling around to find what they’re looking for.


Joshua Haun

Haun Welding Supply, Inc. 1. My first job was working at Haun Welding Supply in the Service Department. I sandblasted and painted torches and regulators. My first non-Haun job was working as a ski instructor during high

school. 2. It has certainly been a challenge navigating the supply issues along with the constant price increases. We have tried to communicate specifics to our sales team and customers, but it has been tough to keep up with. If a customer delays their decision on a purchase, it is subject to longer lead times and higher prices. We increased our stock on certain items to combat this, but there is always a new issue popping up. Customers have been fairly understanding of the situation, as this is not novel to our industry and it’s all over the news. Hopefully, short term, we can mitigate some of these issues, and long term we can bring back more domestic production.


Colleen Kohler

Noble Gas Solutions, Inc. 1. I got my first job when I was 13 working at the local ice cream parlor serving ice cream. 2. We work overtime to do whatever it takes to source product from various suppliers. We started running a second shift and we do whatever is in our power to get product to our customers.

2. Roberts Oxygen has always maintained a high level of inventory. When customers walk into our stores, we want them to walk out with the product they need. When COVID began in 2020, we increased our stocking levels to help prepare for a short-term disruption. As the disruptions continued, our Purchasing team worked to shift inventory from locations where it wasn’t selling to locations where it was in demand. Most customers are aware of the supply chain disruptions, and we work to set realistic expectations for when product will be available. For fast moving items tied to a customer PO, we may buy ahead knowing that if the customer changes their mind we’ll still be able to sell the inventory quickly.


Stephen Rosenthal Economy Welding and Industrial Supply

1. I worked in a video store around the corner from my parents’ home in Philadelphia. It was a lot of fun and got me hooked on wanting to be my own boss and having my own small business. 2. Frustration abounds, both with our customers and vendors. This is a full assault on the way we and everyone else does business. I don’t see it getting much better until 2023/24. We have tried to be proactive with our customers and urge them to make larger purchases of items that we feel will be out of stock longer or see large price increases. With our vendors, it is hard to get good answers as to when items will arrive and when they will start getting items out the door in a timely manner.



Roberts Oxygen Company, Inc.

Chemweld, Inc.

Will Roberts

1. My first job was working in the IT department at Roberts Oxygen for a few weeks one summer in high school. I was physically cleaning and upgrading old computers. The next summer I worked as a Software Engineer intern for Raytheon Solipsys and continued doing that until I graduated from college, at which point I joined Solipsys full time.

Linda Smith

1. My first job was as salesclerk at JC Penney’s in the Junior’s department. They found out I could sew, so they moved me to the fabric department. Not a cool department for a 16-year-old! 2. We have installed tank monitors on many of our bulk installations, so we would have a better handle on supply levels. We raised critical alert levels in areas experiencing delays to allow extra time for deliveries. Winter 2022 • 37


Committee Corner


s part of its continued push to help GAWDA members get the most out of their membership dues in the association and stay on the front lines of emerging industry trends and hot-button issues, GAWDA has several volunteer committees devoted to specific areas of the industry. The volunteer committees include: Government Affairs, Human Resources, Industry Partnering, Insurance Trustees, Leadership Development, Member Services, Safety, Women of Gases and Welding, and Young Professionals. This new feature in Welding & Gases Today will update readers on the latest news and events from each committee. We thank all the committee chairs for their help and input as well as their service to the association and its members.

If you are interested in enhancing your GAWDA experience and joining a committee, visit gawda.org/about/ committees to fill out a GAWDA volunteer form today. 38 • Winter 2022


Co-Chair Chuck Beal, American Welding & Gas The GAWDA Government Affairs Committee met at the 2021 GAWDA Annual Convention in Colorado Springs. The Committee continues to work on seven priorities: 1. Work with CGA to encourage the FDA to adopt separate and reasonable regulations for medical gases as soon as possible. a. FDA has indicated its willingness to issue new regulations on medical gases; CGA and GAWDA worked together to provide a draft set of regulations to the agency in 2018 and have responded to additional requests for information from the agency. The timing of publishing the new regulations is still unknown. 2. Preserve the DOT driver hours of service revisions that went into effect in 2020. a. DOT’s final rule to revise the driver hours of service regula-

Co-Chair Rick Schweitzer, GAWDA Legal Counsel tions became effective September 27, 2020. The final rule: expanded the short haul exemption from 12 to 14 hours and from 100 air miles to 150 air miles for all CDL drivers; extended the on-duty limitation from 14 hours to 16 hours when a driver encounters adverse driving conditions; revised the mandatory 30-minute break to occur after 8 hours of driving and to allow the driver to perform non-driving work during the break. House Democrats want to revisit and perhaps withdraw these revisions. b. The effective date of DOT’s final rule on entry-level driver training was extended to February 7, 2022. Drivers seeking a new CDL, or to upgrade from Class B to Class A, or seeking a hazmat endorsement, must complete training in an accredited course







before taking the skills test. Once operational, the FMCSA Training Provider Registry will retain a record of which CDL applicants have completed the new training and certification process. Preserve the DOT’s preemption of state law meal and rest break requirements for drivers of vehicles carrying placarded amounts of hazardous materials. Support enactment of a pilot program to allow 18-20 year-old individuals to drive commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce after completing a strict training and apprenticeship program. Support a DOT rulemaking to allow use of electronic shipping papers for hazardous materials transportation by highway mode. Work with NAW and other business groups to defeat passage of PRO Act in the Senate. a. The House of Representatives has passed the PRO Act, which would adopt a strict three-part test for classifying workers as independent contractors. It also would impose new limitations on management interference with union organizing activity and create additional unfair labor practices. Passage in the Senate is uncertain. Continue to provide current information to member companies on changes in federal and state laws and court decisions, including protection of workers from COVID-19, use of marijuana in the workplace, and COVID vaccine requirements. a. P r e s i d e n t B i d e n d i r e c t e d OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard requiring all companies with 100 or more employees to mandate all employees

are vaccinated for COVID-19. This mandate is currently being challenged in court.


Co-Chair Justin Johnson, Keen Compressed Gas

Co-Chair Terry Scanlan, Messer

The Industry Partnering Committee held its quarterly meeting at the GAWDA Annual Convention. The meeting began by reviewing the notes from the SMC meeting and reviewing the action items which included: reporting on the success of the AWS Excellence in Welding Nominations; Developing an Exhibitor Best Practice Checklist; Implementing a ½ pass program to local distributors at the SMC and the success of the program; Reintroducing the two-way scorecard; and more. The conversation at Convention included revisiting the concept of the ½ pass program to discuss if it is a program that continues to make sense going forward. The committee also reviewed the Badge Scanning results from the Contact Booth Program to discuss areas where participation could be improved.

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COMMITTEE CORNER The committee continues to be heavily involved in the AWS Excellence in Welding Awards Program and continues to explore ways to increase GAWDA distributor participation in the program including by streamlining the submission and voting process. Finally, the committee discussed other ways to keep attendees engaged including the reintroduction of the Prize Program at the Contact Booth Program and other incentives that can be offered during the Convention to facilitate participation and networking.

als. The Group Life Insurance page on GAWDA.org was recently revamped and an article on the Life Insurance Program was featured in the 3rd Quarter Issue of Welding & Gases Today. All audits have been completed and tax liabilities have been satisfied. The committee continues to brainstorm on how best to compete with standard issue insurance programs and on better ways to sell our program.

If you are interested in joining this committee, visit gawda.org/about/ committees to fill out the GAWDA volunteer form.



Co-Chair Jimmy Walker, Jr., SafTCart

Co-Chair Brian McLaughlin, GAWDA Group Life Insurance Consultant The Insurance Trustees Committee m e t a t G AW D A’s 2 0 2 1 A n n u a l Convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The committee continues to recruit new members to join the committee, with a list of prospective committee members being actively developed. If you are interested in joining this committee, visit gawda.org/about/committees to fill out the GAWDA volunteer form. The committee is working with Met Life to enhance its marketing materi40 • Winter 2022

Co-Chair Rick Young, Cryostar USA

Co-Chair Dana Sorensen, Minneapolis Oxygen Company

The Member Services Committee continues to focus on member involvement from new to established members, including those “at risk” who may not understand the value of GAWDA. Two subcommittees have been established to focus on the initiatives and prioritize activities: the “Engagement” subcommittee, chaired by John Tapley, and the “Growing Membership” subcommittee chaired by Jason Reigner. Both are working closely with Rick Young and Dana Sorensen, who co-chair the MSC. The goals for the MSC and the two subcommittees continue to be more proactive towards overall member engagement and member growth. Other initiatives include a strong alignment with other GAWDA committees and ensuring the New Comers Event (formerly known as 3-TWO-1) is a positive experience for new members and an effective tool to help new members network and feel welcome. The MSC identified prospects from

other like-minded organizations like the AIWD, IWDC, and Messer Distributors Group, who would be good fits for GAWDA but are not members of the association. The MSC is reaching out to these prospects with emails, participating in their annual conventions and using the Test Drive video to recruit. If members take advantage of all the programs discussed in the Test Drive, it could result in savings of $11,000-$15,000 per year. Another area discussed at the annual meeting was recruiting new members to the MSC to help balance the committee (distributors vs. suppliers) and bring on new ideas and energy to help drive the new initiatives. Rick is focused on getting all members of the MSC active and involved in one of the committee’s focus areas. There is too much talent on the MSC to sit on the sidelines. If anyone is interested in joining the MSC, please visit GAWDA.org/about/committees/ member-services. continued on page 40




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Co-Chair Jim Herring, SafTCart

Co-Chair Bill Woods, American Welding & Gas The GAWDA Safety Committee meets monthly via the Go-To-Meeting platform. The committee met at the 2021 GAWDA Annual Convention in conjunction with the Government Affairs Committee. The committee is comprised of 22 members from all aspects of the welding industry from distributors to manufacturers to insurance experts including four GAWDA consultants, one CGA representative, and two GAWDA board members. We consistently tackle the safety issues that plague the GAWDA membership. We do this by breaking our committee into four subcommittees that have revolving chairmen and assign existing sample safety practices for a dustup to keep it relevant and a new topic based on input from the membership. The entire process evolves over five to six months until we agree to publish the results of the subcommittee. Our method of development allows each Safety Committee member to have a voice in the documents we produce. We divide our group twice a year and generally publish eight different safety practices which can be found on the GAWDA website under members only documents. 42 • Winter 2022

The safety practices we are currently republishing are as follows: • Transport of Pressurized Containers on Elevators • Flood Emergency Preparedness • Regulatory Agency Visit Guidelines • Ergonomics in the Workplace The new topics are: • Walking-Working Surfaces • OSHA Recordkeeping • Fall Protection • Proper Lifting and Movement For more information about our committee or if you are interested in joining, please visit the GAWDA website.


Co-Chair Judy Miller, WESCO Gas & Welding Supply

Co-Chair Sue Reiter, Air Products & Chemicals The Women of Gases and Welding (WGW), GAWDA’s newest committee, continues to work toward our mission objectives through personal and professional development as well as educational and networking opportunities. Several meetings have occurred throughout the year in an effort to add- ress our busy agenda focusing on rejuvenating our strategic committee goals and objectives, planning, and coordinating efforts for the upcoming WGW event, and developing the new

WGW Educational Grant Program. The committee had a very productive meeting at the 2021 Annual Convention in Colorado Springs. WGW Event at the Annual Conference The Women of Gases & Welding Committee held their event on Thursday, October 7, hiking the majestic waterfalls of Seven Falls. The event was sold out, as more than 80 GAWDA members and guests came together to partake in the challenging hike. Throughout the hike, the group banded together to encourage each other to keep going to reach the top. Thank you to all who participated. Educational Grant Program WGW Committee has also been working on establishing a new Educational Grant to provide opportunities for GAWDA female members through educational advancement. The GAWDA Women of Gases and Welding Educational Grant will be awarded to employees of active GAWDA member companies. All applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements. Our WGW Educational Grant Proposal includes the following: Women of Gases & Welding (WGW) Educational Grant Program Guidelines Mission Statement The Women of Gases & Welding (WGW) Educational Grant Program will provide financial support to a GAWDA female member to attend the University of Innovative Distribution in March 2023 & March 2024. Grant Recipient Selection Process All applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements.

COMMITTEE CORNER • Applicant must be a GAWDA member or employee of a GAWDA member. • Applicant must be a female. • Applicant must provide a letter of reference from their employer. • Applicant must include an essay explaining how they will use this education in their professional life. Conflict of interest Statement • GAWDA members may advertise that they support “the WGW Grant program” but may not connect its support with any specific fund-raising effort. • No one on the “selection committee” can be a principal or have control of the approved educational program. Distribution of funds The Grant Program will be set up as a Board designated Grant Program. Funds will remain separate from other GAWDA funds. The amount available varies from year to year depending on the available amount in the grant account. WGW may want to add additional educational offerings to the approved list in the future. Any changes will need to be approved by the GAWDA Board. The WGW Grant funds will only be distributed to the educational institution to be used towards the registration fee for the University of Innovative Distribution. The funds are to be used for the program within the stated year, any unused funds must be returned to GAWDA. This award is intended to be in addition to any other financial assistance for which the awardee might be eligible, and not as an offset or reduction from such other assistance. If the recipient should choose to not attend the program, then any remaining balance of funds should be returned to GAWDA.

Timeline • Annual Meeting 2021 - SMC 2022: Promote WGW Educational Grant • May 1 – June 30, 2022: Application Open • July - August 2022: Review applications/Select recipient • August 2022: Notify recipient • September 2022 Annual Meeting: Announce Recipient • October 2022: University of Innovative Distribution Registration Opens • March 2023: Recipient attends UID

committee or become involved more in some fashion. In our next couple meetings, we will discuss how to we can broaden our committee team and/ or establish a platform for members to get more involved within WGW.

Selection Committee • Selection Committee will be comprised of 2 members on the WGW committee and one member of the GAWDA EC board. • There will be a term limit of 2 years. • No one on the selection committee can be a principal or have control of the approved educational program selected. The one pending topic still being resolved is how travel expenses will be covered, if any. An update on that will be provided once determined.

Co-Chair Liz Standley, ILMO Products

Other Current Projects: • 2021 Marketing for WGW Committee Committee member, Melissa Heard, has been working with both Andrea Levy with GAWDA and Steve Guglielmo at GAWDA Media to promote the committee initiatives and events. This effort will continue. Committee co-chair Sue Reiter participated in the January 1 Episode of GAWDA TV promoting the committee and scholarship. WGW Committee Interest It has been brought to our attention that there are several GAWDA members who would like to either join our


Co-Chair Cody Patrick, Gas Equipment Company While the Young Professionals Committee did not formally meet at the GAWDA Annual Convention, it did host its networking event on Friday, October 8, at Ivywild, a former elementary school converted into a place where visitors can mix and mingle over local cuisine and craft beverages. Attendees played games like Jenga and Corn Hole and were treated to a “Lesson in Brew” during the tour of the brewery. The event was sold out and was enjoyed by all members who attended. The committee has begun to put together its agenda for 2022 and continues to recruit new members to the committee. For more information or to join, visit GAWDA.org.

Winter 2022 • 43


S.J. Smith: The Service You Expect and Deserve BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

When S.J. Smith was first established in 1950, Sylvester “S.J.” and Helen Smith, and their employees, used this WWII-era International KB truck to make deliveries.


J. Smith Company was founded in 1950 by Sylvester “S.J.” Smith. Smith was working as an outside sales rep for Airco at the time and was approached by the company to become an Airco distributor. Smith took the opportunity and began working as a distributor when Airco had a shift in strategy and decided that they no longer wanted to run vendor-owned distributorships anymore. Smith was faced with a choice: Return to Airco or venture out on his own as an independent distributor. While Smith was on the fence about the choice, his wife, Helen Smith, encouraged Smith to take the leap and S.J. Smith Company was born in Davenport, Iowa. “At the time, there was very minimal staffing,” says S.J. Smith President and CEO Richelle Smith-Brecht, Sylvester’s granddaughter. “The company had a driver and my grandma did the books. It did not start out with aspirations of becoming a multi-branch regional company.” In 1969, Richard Smith, Helen and Sylvester’s son, joined the company fresh out of college in his early 20s. Shortly after joining the company, Sylvester retired due to a health condition and Richard was named president of the company. 44 • Winter 2022

“My father was named president at a very young age,” says Smith-Brecht. “And it was really under his leadership in the ‘70s and ‘80s that the company began to resemble the company that it is today. He had a lot of motivation for acquisition and additions.”


From modest beginnings, Richard helped guide the company beyond its Davenport, Iowa, location. Today, S.J. Smith has 12 locations in three different states with more than 130 employees. “We have done a number of acquisitions throughout the years and a number of scratch starts as well,” Smith-Brecht notes. “It’s been a combination.” In addition to its 12 locations across Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, the company is a turn-key provider of gas, welding and safety solutions. And while the company bears little resemblance to the plucky startup from 1950, it still operates on the same core tenets and culture that Helen and S.J. put into place more than 70 years ago.


The company prides itself on being a family-owned and operated business. Today, Richard’s three children, Richelle, Christopher, and Eric are all executives within S.J. Smith. And while all three of them have high-level positions today, all had to work their way to their current positions, and each took a unique route to where they are today. “We all joined the company at different times and in different ways,” Richelle says. Christopher Smith, Assistant Pricing Manager/Expeditor working in the company’s purchasing department, began his career at S.J. Smith directly out of high school in the company’s repair shop, learning the company from that side of the business before moving into customer service and eventually outside sales. Eric Smith, Director of Operations, worked outside of the company after receiving a degree in finance before joining S.J. Smith. Likewise, Richelle Smith-Brecht, also worked outside of the business after graduating college, before joining S.J. Smith. “When I first joined the business, I think a lot of people had this idea that this was where I was destined to end up my whole life,” Smith-Brecht says. “I actually had no intention of working at S.J. Smith. When my father initially broached the idea, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin. And my initial thought was, ‘What would I even do?’” Like Christopher and Eric, Richelle worked her way up through the company, learning every aspect of the business before becoming president and, eventually, CEO. “I worked in outside sales for two years, I worked the front counter, I answered the phone, and did admin work, I worked in one of our branches for about continued on next page

L to R: Eric Smith, Vice President of Operations; Richelle Smith-Brecht, President and Chief Executive Officer; Christopher Smith, Assistant Purchasing Manager/Expediter. In photos, L to R, Richard Smith, CEO, 1969-2017; Company Founder Sylvester “S.J.” and Helen Smith. Taken at S.J. Smith Company, Inc., Davenport, Iowa.

L to R: Eric Smith, Vice President of Operations; Richelle Smith-Brecht, President and Chief Executive Officer; Christopher Smith, Assistant Purchasing Manager/Expediter, at S.J. Smith Company, Inc., Davenport, Iowa. Winter 2022 • 45


Delivery truck from S.J. Smith, Clinton, Iowa.

nine months and I worked in our Davenport warehouse for a year,” Smith-Brecht says. “At the time, young and inexperienced, I couldn’t understand why I was being asked to work in all these areas. But, looking back on it, I’m so happy that I did. It was so valuable. To this day, I remember lessons I learned there and experiences I had there. I learned so much about the business, and what traits make people a good fit for all our positions.” Richelle was named President of S.J. Smith in 2011 and CEO in 2017. “Growing up, there was never any pressure that someday we were going to take over the company or somehow be respon46 • Winter 2022

Oxygen installation.

sible for continuing Dad’s legacy,” Smith-Brecht says. “This company was his baby. He built it. But he never pushed us to continue it. He let us all come to that decision on our own and to learn and build our own careers within the company. I’m really grateful for that.” Cumulatively, the third generation of the Smith family has more than 64 years’ experience combined and are dedicated to keeping the company family-owned and operated, built on the same tenets that Sylvester and Helen started and Richard continued.


Since S.J. Smith was founded, the company has been laser-focused on providing individualized service to each of its customers. Even with all the growth and expansion, the company has never lost sight of its mission of “making customers successful through cutting-edge solutions and quality products.” “Probably the most prevalent thing in our culture is our service to the customer,” says Smith-Brecht. “I’m blown away by stories I hear about our people, sometimes. The steps they take to make sure that the customer is getting what they need are amazing. They are just so dedicated to the customer.” Culture is something that is emphasized heavily at S.J. Smith. It’s a priority in hiring and something that is valued first and foremost in evaluating talent within the company. “Not everybody fits that culture,” Smith-Brecht admits. “I tell our HR staff this all the time, but culture fit and the willingness to learn are the two most important things I look for. We can train anyone that fits that description. If you’re willing to learn and you’re going to show up every day and you fit our culture, we’ll teach you what you need to know. The ‘skills gap’ is not a big concern of mine. What we do is so specialized, that it’s very rare that you’ll walk down the street and find a salesperson that has experience in welding supplies and industrial gas. So, it’s more about finding people that believe in our mission and are willing to work hard and learn. It’s honestly that simple.” Beyond the willingness to learn, the most important part of being a culture-fit for S.J. Smith is working with honesty and integrity. The company’s philosophy is to treat its customers and vendors with professionalism, responsiveness, and honesty. “Of course, we’re a for profit organization, but we insist on doing it with honesty and fairness,” Smith-Brecht emphasizes. “I run my life that way and I try to lead in that way. We always ask the question, ‘What is the right thing to do? Does it fit our values? Is it honest? Are we doing it with integrity? Is it safe? Are we looking out for our customers?’ If you build your foundation on that, you’re bound to keep moving forward.”


And that philosophy applies to its vendors as well as its customers. S.J. Smith has had some of its vendor relationships span more than 50 years. “The vendor relationship is just as important as the customer relationship,” Smith-Brecht says. “Especially now when it’s very difficult to get product. You have to have open lines of communication.” She continues, “We demand open communication, espe-

cially with our largest vendors. We ask for quarterly updates, communications on new products, and constant employee training. We want to keep everybody up-to-date on what is going on with our vendors. It’s a two-way street. I always tell our vendors that we’re an extension of them. Tell us what we can be doing better. Come out, let’s visit customers together and show off your latest product. It has to be a balance. It’s a team effort. We’re an extension of the vendor and, of course, they want us to properly sell their products.”


That culture and those relationships with the greatest vendors in the industry are part of why S.J. Smith has thrived for three-quarters of a century. But another huge reason for the company’s success is that the company is not a simple order taker. They are a dynamic problem-solving organization that uses the latest technology to help serve its customers. “Customers today are very savvy and very educated due to the internet,” Smith-Brecht says “Oftentimes, they’re telling us what they want and we have to feel comfortable enough to tell them, ‘That might not be the best solution.’ We’re not there to tell them they’re wrong, but we are there to educate them on what might work best.” The company’s decades of experience make it comfortable drawing on that expertise to creatively solve customer problems in the most efficient way possible, even when it requires outside-of-the-box thinking. “Our customers value the service and knowledge of our sales team, and our employees. It’s part of the relationship we have, and work to build.”


S.J. Smith has always been a very goal-oriented company. The company sets annual, five-year, and even ten-year goals. “Several of our goals going forward are centered around technology,” says Smith-Brecht. The company continues to strive toward becoming completely paperless. “Any time we can integrate outside systems with our ERP system to make it easier for our customers to do business, we will strive to take those steps,” says Smith-Brecht. “We also want to expand our B2B platform and our portal. Anything we can do to make life easier for our customers. We shouldn’t be the frustration point for them. We need to be the solution, not the problem.” S.J. Smith has grown exponentially from the small Airco distributor that began in 1950. And as it grows and builds on the bedrock of culture that the company has in place, it will continue to evolve as we move into the future. Winter 2022 • 47



2021 Annual Convention Recap


AWDA’s 2021 Annual Convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a fitting capper to an unpredictable two years for the Association. After canceling both National Meetings in 2020, GAWDA returned with gusto in 2021 and this year’s Convention felt like old times, as more than 770 attendees came together for four days of fun, networking, education, and reminiscing, against the backdrop of some of the most beautiful scenery the country has to offer. Read below to see some of the many highlights from this year’s GAWDA Convention and to get a sneak peek of what the association and its leadership have lined up for 2022. Thank you to all who attended for continuing to raise the bar on this annual event.

GAWDA BOARD AND VOLUNTEER COMMITTEES MEET AHEAD OF THE CONVENTION On Wednesday, October 6, a day before the Convention officially kicked off, the GAWDA Board of Directors and GAWDA Committees met to discuss their progress in 2021 and to plan on how to continue to grow and improve the amazing member benefits and value that GAWDA brings to its members. After a morning of meetings with the full committees, the committee chairs and co48 • Winter 2022



To t a l A t t e n d e e s


Distributor Attendees


Supplier Attendees


Exhibitors at the Contact Booth Program

chairs presented their plans to the GAWDA Executive Committee. The Industry Partnering, Insurance Trustee, Member Services, Safety & Government Affairs, and Women of Gases & Welding Committees all met to set their agenda for 2022.

CONVENTION COMMENCES WITH 3-TWO-1 RECEPTION AND PRESIDENT’S WELCOME RECEPTION Following the Wednesday Board and Committee meetings, GAWDA members gathered for an evening of drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and networking next to the beautiful lake on The Broadmoor’s property and in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. The 3-TWO-1 invited the more than 70 members in attendance at this year’s Convention who have attended less than three national Conventions to network with seasoned industry and association veterans in an effort to learn more about the benefits of the association and to forge industry connections. After the 3-TWO-1, all attendees headed to the Lakeside Pool for the President’s Welcome Reception. The Reception was a great tone-setter for the week, as members were able to mix and mingle and listen to the great live music. Thank you to all Members who attended the 3-TWO-1 and/or President’s Welcome Reception.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS Thursday’s Opening General Business Session kicked off with a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem from Julie Bradley, followed by 1994 GAWDA President Jack Dammann welcoming

the group to Colorado Springs and leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance. After that, the “Since We Last Met” video played, updating GAWDA members on world and industry events that have taken place since we gathered together in Nashville for SMC. 2021 GAWDA President Abydee Butler Moore welcomed attendees to Convention and reiterated the “homework” that she set out for this Convention, challenging attendees to gather the “take-home” knowledge that would justify the investment that companies made in attendance. The Thursday Session consisted of The CEO Track, a moderated discussion with industry CEOs: Wally Brant, Richelle Smith-Brecht, Jason Krieger, Alex Kennedy, Jenny McCall, and Mark Raimy. Following the CEO Track was the emotional presentation of $126,960 plus children’s books to this year’s GAWDA Gives Back recipient: Children’s Literacy Center. Winter 2022 • 49

GAWDA Gives Back Awarded $126,960 plus children’s books to the Children’s Literacy Center.

The session concluded with an insightful presentation from Harvard Business School Professor Deepak Malhotra discussing the art of negotiation. In addition to the presentations, GAWDA also announced its new Board Members for next year: Will Roberts and Rafael Arvelo, and its “Mr. X” to join the Executive Committee, Eric Wood.

And the New Mr. X is…

Eric Wood from O.E. Meyer Co. is now the Second Vice President and will become GAWDA President after Bob Ewing, Robert Anders, and Gary Halter. Eric will follow in his father, Craig Wood’s, footsteps as a second-generation GAWDA President.

50 • Winter 2022

CONTACT BOOTH PROGRAM A SMASH SUCCESS This year’s Contact Booth Program took place from 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. on Friday, October 8, in Broadmoor Hall. In an effort to facilitate even more networking than ever, breakfast and Bloody Mary’s were served on the show floor this year. More than 500 GAWDA members were in attendance and were able to walk the show floor to see the 120 exhibitors and network and discuss the latest and greatest innovations our industry has to offer. We thank all the GAWDA Members who attended. In addition to the amazing networking opportunities, attendees also had the opportunity to win prizes at the Contact Booth Program. Congratulations to Andy Riordan from American Welding & Gas who won the Eleet Cryogenics raffle. Andy won a beautiful 3000L VHP TaylorWharton micro-bulk tank from the Eleet Cryogenics booth in recognition of the company’s 25th Anniversary.


Congratulations also to the following GAWDA Members who have won a free registration to an upcoming GAWDA National Meeting. We thank all who participated in this year’s raffle! • • • • •

Larry Meyers, Genstar Technologies Felim O’Malley, AWISCO Mike Buell, Central Welding Supply Britt Lovin, Andy Oxy Co. Carey Grohs, Airtec Gases

A FITTING SEND OFF 2020-2021 GAWDA President Abydee Butler Moore hosted her official President’s Farewell Gala on Friday evening from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. The evening began with a Cocktail Hour on the Front Terrace of the International Building before GAWDA members were invited inside the ballroom for a night of dinner, music, dancing, and networking. Thank you to all GAWDA members who attended and made this a night to remember!

CONVENTION CONCLUDES WITH TWO WONDERFUL PRESENTATIONS Convention came to an end with the Saturday Business Session. The session was jam-packed with info, as we had the industry keynote speaker, Francesco Maione, discussing his journey within Air Products and the importance of collaboration. Following Francesco’s presentation was an emotionally charged presentation from CNBC’s Marcus Lemonis who discussed the importance of empathy in business during this interactive and, at times, tear-jerking performance.

After the two business presentations were the presentations of the CGA Awards to Northern Gases & Supplies, Inc. (100,000 or fewer employee exposure hours), and Westair Gases and Equipment (More than 100,000 employee exposure hours.) Then came the WEMCO Excellence in Welding Awards, which were given to Craig Wood, O.E. Meyer, for winning the WEMCO Award in the Individual Category; SafTCart for winning the WEMCO Award in the Small Business Category; and Terrace Supply Company for winning the WEMCO Award in the Distributor Category. Finally, a special honor, as Abydee Butler Moore recognized industry-legend Ken Thompson with the GAWDA President’s Award of Excellence, the highest honor in GAWDA. It was only the 10th time the honor has been given.

THE CHANGING OF THE GUARD Finally, 2019 GAWDA President Brad Peterson recognized some of GAWDA’s outgoing volunteer committee and board members. Thank you so much to Eric Wood and Ned Lane for your tireless work on behalf of our association and our industry. Following the awards, Brad invited Abydee Butler Moore on stage to receive her official GAWDA President’s Jacket in recognition of her service as President of the Association. Thank you to Abydee for her two-year term, guiding the association through the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. After officially ratifying this year’s slate of Board Members and Officers, Lauren Ewing and Alex Kennedy joined John Ospina and Brad Peterson on stage. Winter 2022 • 51


Lauren gave a beautiful address to the crowd, accompanying a slideshow of Bob Ewing’s growth as a man and a professional. Alex Kennedy then discussed his relationship with Bob and the impact Bob has had on him and the company, as he worked his way up through Red Ball Oxygen over his 26-year career. “His list of accomplishments is not what makes Bob, Bob. It’s his character and his loyalty that make Bob special,” Alex said. “He’s a truly unique man and I’m very proud to be able to work with him and I’m very happy that all of you in GAWDA will get to see what I have seen for 26 years.” After the two speeches, Bob’s sons, George and John Hollis officially proclaimed Bob Ewing as this year’s President, and Bob was escorted to the stage by the GAWDA Past Presidents in attendance. John presented Bob with his President’s plaque and gavel, his president’s pin, and his official Office of the President Banner. Bob took the podium and, after thanking several important people in the industry and association, laid out the vision for his Presidency. “What can we do to promote the economic vitality of distributors?” Bob asked the audience. “I think we’re doing a lot of that already. Content-rich meetings with 52 • Winter 2022

an emphasis on best practices. High-quality networking opportunities with an emphasis on partnerships. Spotlighting industry talent and developing future leaders. Multi-level engagement with in-person, virtual and hybrid-virtual programs.” He continued, “I think if you think of those varieties of things that we’re doing to drive economic vitality, the common theme is mentorship. Leaders Mentoring Leaders. It’s trying to help each other succeed. It’s an open-hearted and open-armed desire to win the game of life and business together. 99% of life is just showing up, and I would add showing up with the right mindset. Come here to get better. Come here to share. If you do that, you can just sit back and watch the magic happen. It is rocket fuel for your business.” He concluded, “A brilliant mind working in isolation can be defeated by a network of average minds that are actively collaborating. Our greatest imperative is for able and honest people to prepare themselves to lead, and to accept the opportunity to lead when offered!”

OTHER CONVENTION EVENTS In addition to the GAWDA events that were open to all attendees, there were other networking events that took place throughout the week.

THANK YOU to all the sponsors who made this SMC possible! The Women of Gases & Welding Committee held their event on Thursday afternoon, hiking the majestic waterfalls of Seven Falls. The event was sold out, as more than 80 GAWDA members and guests came together to partake in the challenging hike. Throughout the hike, the group banded together to encourage each other to keep going to reach the top. Thank you to all who participated. The Past President’s Luncheon also took place on Thursday afternoon in the Crystal Room of the Broadmoor, as 12 of GAWDA’s Past Presidents were in attendance to hear a report from GAWDA’s Executive Committee. The Young Professionals held their event on Friday afternoon at Ivywild, a former elementary school converted into a place where visitors can mix and mingle over local cuisine and craft beverages. Attendees played games like Jenga and Corn Hole and were treated to a “Lesson in Brew” during the tour of the brewery.




Finally, there was a Spouse and Family Brunch on the West Tower Lawn on Friday. Thank you to all who attended these events. Winter 2022 • 53





EAST +5.62%


WEST +9.5%

SOUTH +11.74%

54 • Winter 2021 2022


GAWDA DISTRIBUTORS PROJECT GROWTH ACROSS THE BOARD FOR 2022 Every region surveyed projects growth of more than 5% in the new year BY STEVE GUGLIELMO


very year in the 1st Quarter Issue of Welding & Gases Today, we reach out to all GAWDA members to try to get a sense of the economic landscape for the upcoming year. We speak not only to GAWDA distributors (below) and suppliers (page 64), but also to GAWDA’s Chief Economists at ITR Economics (page 82), and sister organizations American Welding Society (page 74) and the Compressed Gas Association (page 78). Taken together, we can paint a complete picture of how the industry will shake out in 2022. And, across the board, there are calls for growth in the new year. This year, as we have the past two years, we opted to break down the distributor forecast by region. This takes into account that not every region is experiencing the same economic climate, as government regulations on business and commerce vary from region to region, especially during the pandemic. While there have been calls for “slowing growth” in 2022, GAWDA’s distributors are up across the board this year, with every region projecting growth, often significant growth, over the same region in 2021. However, even with that optimism in place, trends emerged. Almost universally, GAWDA members cautioned that inflation, supply chain issues, staffing shortages, or burdensome regulations could temper expected growth in 2022. But even with those caveats in place, 2022 is shaping up to be a very strong year for the industry and the association. The following are responses from GAWDA distributors across North America about what they expect to see in 2022. Thank you to those who participated.


Last year, not only was the Eastern region of the country the least optimistic of all the regions surveyed, it actually was the only region to project negative growth. In 2022, the East is once again projected to have the smallest growth, but this year, it projects a cumulative 5.62% growth, compared to -0.5% projected for 2021.

` LLOYD ROBINSON, PRESIDENT, AWISCO “The infrastructure bill will lead to a large increase in business for our construction customers,” says AWISCO President Lloyd Robinson. “Supply chain has been the number one issue and AWISCO has increased inventory by over 20% to deal with it.” The company continues to look for opportunities to expand through acquisition. “We also see a lot of opportunities in the automation market,” says Robinson. “Many customers are really serious about spending real dollars to automate their fab shops.” For the year, Robinson expects to see sales increase by 6.5%.

` BRYAN KEEN, PRESIDENT, KEEN COMPRESSED GAS CO. “Demand is high,” notes Keen Compressed Gas Co. President Bryan Keen. “The biggest question is, can the supply chains function at a high enough level to satisfy our customer needs? Will inflation and high energy costs put the brakes on an economy that wants to take off?” Keen expects the company to see a “5% or more” increase this year. He notes, “Automation is a huge driver of change with our customers these days. Companies are investing in their future through capital equipment and labor-saving technologies. Distributors have to be in on the ground floor of these investments, or they risk losing a large sale in the short term and the benefits of a relationship that can last for years.” Regarding COVID, Keen says, “I don’t think any company can afford to go ‘back to normal’ because normal has been disrupted. We all need to find our new normal and the opportunities that go along with it.”

` CHARLIE MUNDT, PRESIDENT, CHURCHTOWNE GAS AND WELDING SUPPLY Continued demand will fuel a 10% growth for Churchtowne Gas and Welding Supply in 2022. “We continue to Winter 2022 • 55


bulk up inventories when possible,” says President Charlie Mundt. “We raise prices based on current purchase prices.” A growth market for Churchtowne in recent years has been propane home heat, a trend that Mundt expects to continue in 2022. He, too, notes that inflation continues to be an issue plaguing the industry. “Many dollars chasing too few goods,” he says.

` MATTHEW CARLSON, VICE PRESIDENT, ACE WELDING SUPPLY, INC. “Economic uncertainty due to COVID as well as supply chain issues,” lead Ace Welding Supply, Inc. Vice President Matthew Carlson to forecast a level year for the Freeport, NY, distributor. He also points to external pressures from online sales and local competition from distributors as challenges in the new year. As with Ace, Carlson projects a level year for the overall industry in 2022. “Long lead times are affecting sales and forcing inventory levels to be increased,” he says.

` DALE FERGUSON, PRESIDENT, TOTAL WELDING SUPPLY Supply chain issues and gas shortages in products like CO2 and Argon will lead to a level year for Total Welding Supply. President Dale Ferguson anticipates a down year for the industry in 2022, noting that there is a new challenge every day! The company has recently seen success in the robotic and advanced cutting machines markets that they have entered into.

56 • Winter 2022

` ALLISON EARLBECK, COO, EARLBECK GASES & TECHNOLOGIES “Product availability will continue to temper the rapid rebound we saw in 2021,” says Earlbeck Gases & Technologies COO Allison Earlbeck. “Customers are now more interested in automation, so we expect that area of our business to continue to perform.” The company projects a 5% growth in 2022. “We expect to see supply chain issues continue, along with rising interest rates. We are planning ahead by making investments now and building out our infrastructure for the next five years to take advantage of the current rates as it seems unlikely that pricing will cool off,” Earlbeck says. “More than ever, we are working with our customers to help them solve production issues that may occur. That has always been a core pillar of our business, but, more than ever, customers are open to assistance achieving more with less and vendors that can help them improve efficiency.” Earlbeck plans to open an additional location in 2022 and will add product lines that enable its customers to automate their processes.

` JOHN LARSEN, VICE PRESIDENT, WEST PENN LACO West Penn Laco will see a projected rise of 5-10% in 2022, even as the company projects a level year for the industry. Vice President John Larsen attributes that growth to “being fully staffed, increases in production, and supply chain.” As others have noted, inflation and increased prices continue to plague the industry. “We pass some on to our customers, we


eat some of the increase, and, if possible, look for alternative solutions,” says Larsen. West Penn Laco has a customer who works in the cannabis industry, so the company will look for additional growth in that market.


Once again, the Central region had the most responses to this year’s survey. While last year, the region projected as the most optimistic in the country, this year it actually projects to have the second smallest growth. However, it still projects to have higher growth than it did last year, when it had the highest projection (8.37% in 2021 vs. 8.9% in 2022). This speaks to the overall more optimistic nature of this year’s responses.

` JOHN D’AMARO, CFO, ILMO PRODUCTS COMPANY ILMO Products Company expects to see sales growth of 5-10% in 2022, according to CFO John D’amaro. “We see demand for product continue to rise, our geographic area hasn’t had this type of economic growth in quite a few years,” he says. “Much of the demand is pent up or deferred, so not sure how long this economic growth will continue. The SBA PPP program has been a solid benefit to many businesses. Inflation, product availability, shipping costs and disruptions will be negative factors that may taper down demand. Many unknowns.” ILMO plans to expand its business in 2022 after acquiring a manufacturer/distributor in late 2021 that will allow the company to enter new markets. Overall, he sees economic growth for both ILMO and the industry as a whole.

` BRAD DAVIS, VICE PRESIDENT, CENTRAL OHIO WELDING INC. “We have a new branch opening in Northeast Columbus in 2022,” says Central Ohio Welding Inc. Vice President Brad Davis. That new branch will play a part in the company’s expected 15% growth this year. “Our manufacturing customers are continuing to see significant increases in their raw material costs, which they have mostly been able to pass on. Should costs continue to rise, they may have more trouble doing that, and consequently their businesses would slow down,” Davis says. “The Central Ohio region has a strong economy, so even with the cost increases and inflation related issues, we expect growth in the double digits.” The company predicts that supply chain issues and inflation will remain significant issues through the second quarter of the year but then start to subside in the second half of 2022. “If inflation remains high, the Fed will most likely raise rates and slow the economy down a bit. Our supply chains will also adjust in time and start to normalize

after they have had enough time to find a few solutions to the issues that are plaguing them,” he says. “COVID-19 changed the way our customers do business, and it changed the way our organization provides a value to those customers. We were seeing employee shortages at local manufacturers prior to 2020, but COVID-19 accelerated that to a much higher level. Consequently, we invested in the back end of our business, including shipping, order processing, and purchasing. Our customers have less time and fewer people. We try to make their purchases with us the easiest thing they do all day.”

` SCOTT BELL, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN GASES CORP. American Gases Corp. put in a new gas filling plant, which will be the primary driver of an expected 10% increase this year. President Scott Bell expects the macro-economic trends like inflation, supply chain issues, increased prices and longer lead times to continue to be with us. “I think they will be here for a while, which will change pricing on a daily basis,” says Bell. During COVID, American Gases made a shift to more phone calls, but Bell notes that the company is getting back to in-person calls, which should boost business this year. He expects the industry to be up in 2022.

` BARRY NANZ, PRESIDENT, TRADE & INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY Based on already booked new business, Trade & Industrial Supply Inc. expects to see growth of 20-30% in 2022. “In addition to new business, we see our current customers ramping up,” says President Barry Nanz. Even with those robust growth expectations, Nanz notes that inflation and continued supply chain issues continue to pose a challenge in the upcoming year. The company continues to look for new opportunities and more product depth within its existing customer base to supplement growth. During COVID, Trade & Industrial Supply made it a point to maintain a steady work week for all its employees and to be understanding of slowed payment for those customers who were most impacted by the pandemic.

` JOSH WEINMANN, PRESIDENT, DELILLE OXYGEN COMPANY Delille Oxygen Company projects a 3-5% growth in its organic business. “I think the market will begin to slow down in growth compared to what we’ve seen in the past and it is mostly due to product and employee shortages that are making customers more reluctant to take on new projects to increase their growth,” says President Josh Weinmann. “I think everything we’re seeing the last couple of quarters of Winter 2022 • 57


2021 will continue throughout 2022. Inflation, supply chain issues, employee shortages will all continue and impact even more before getting better. We have made sure to extend our relationships with different suppliers to make sure we can have supplies needed compared to what we’ve traditionally done. This has also been an attempt to keep the inflation at minimum.” Delille has a new plant and product line that will be launching in the first quarter of 2022. It also has additional product launches slated for the third quarter of this year. Says Weinmann, “We will have a new product out this year that will enter us into a new market that will increase our growth significantly. We’re also looking into changing the way we handle existing markets to promote growth.”

` NED LANE, PRESIDENT/ CEO, CK SUPPLY “We are attempting a more accurate forecasting methodology to allow purchasing to get a better gauge of proper stocking levels,” says CK Supply President and CEO Ned Lane. “The increased lead times from vendors have left us with lower inventory levels on resale products and cylinder/tank inventory.” For 2022, CK projects 8% growth over 2021, primarily based on “continued price escalation on hardgoods and gases, but also a projection of volume growth.” During COVID, CK placed an increased emphasis on digital marketing strategies, which will continue to benefit the company in the new year. CK also recently entered markets which continue to pay dividends, including CO2, Dry Ice

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` SCOTT MYRAN, PRESIDENT, MISSISSIPPI WELDERS SUPPLY Product availability, price increases and customer demand at higher prices, and availability of labor will be some of the biggest things that Mississippi Welders Supply will be paying attention to in 2022. President Scott Myran anticipates an 8-9% increase for the year. One of the changes that MWSCO has made is, “more planning months ahead for inventory,” Myran says. “Price increases are quickly passed along. We are actively recruiting for multiple departments.” During COVID, the company reduced its inventory, but Myran notes that it is now very close to what it was pre-COVID. The company expects the industry to see an increase this year, noting, “supply chain independence will help members.”

` SCOTT GRISKAVICH, PRESIDENT, BADGER WELDING SUPPLIES As Badger Welding Supplies finds more success getting products and parts heading in 2022, President Scott Griskavich anticipates growth of 2-5% this year. He expects the current macro-economic challenges to continue, “until the docks come out of gridlock.” He notes that, due to Badger’s role as an essential service, during COVID, “We didn’t change. The rest of the world changed. We never closed or lost one hour. Our walk-in counters never shuttered. While we offered curbside pickup, we never encouraged it. We never left ‘normal.’” As others have noted, avail-


ability of employees remains a challenge that the industry will have to address in order to continue to grow.

` JON BERGER, VP OF OPERATIONS, BERGER WELDING SUPPLY INC. Berger Welding Supply Inc. anticipates a growth of 25% in 2022 in part due to increased customer interest in moving from “larger, corporate America type companies,” according to VP of Operations Jon Berger. Though Berger will see robust growth, Berger expects the industry as a whole to be level with 2021. “Supply chain issues continue to impact our industry,” he says. “Long lead times have caused us to look at aftermarket items and stocking more product.” Berger will have stability heading in 2022, as the company did not change its operations much during COVID.

` LINDA FETTE, VICE PRESIDENT, HELGET GAS PRODUCTS, INC. “Helping our customers through COVID has benefited our relationships, so even though we had customers close, our help and support generated a large amount of word-of-mouth referrals for us,” say Helget Gas Products, Inc. Vice President Linda Fette. Those new relationships will be a key factor in an expected 5-10% growth for Helget in 2022. “Inflation and increased prices will still continue to increase in 2022,” says Fette. “We have fared well on the supply chain side. Our biggest challenge has been the trucks for distribution that we ordered a year ago and are still not here yet and still no ETA.” Helget is a growing company and plans on continuing to grow both organically and by acquisition in 2022 and going forward.

` PAUL RENSING, PRESIDENT, WELD PLUS, INC. An increased need for automation as customers are discussing an increased job load for 2022 will be a primary driver for an expected 8-10% growth for this year for Weld Plus, Inc. “Once supply chain issues get fixed and items get delivered to vendors, manufacturing should be able to decrease delivery times,” says President Paul Rensing. “Now that we see our dependence on Chinese goods has been exposed, some of that manufacturing will be brought back to the USA.” Rensing notes that the company is looking to expand into some new vendors and prioritize its current vendors “and SELL their product instead of providing what a customer thinks they

want.” This will also help drive sales this year. Weld Plus, Inc. has entered into aerospace related welding items, where it has found success. Rensing concludes, “I am hoping to see more manufacturing coming back to the USA.”

` NATHAN STRINGER, PRESIDENT, B&R INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY, INC. Like nearly every other GAWDA member mentioned, supply chain price increases will be the biggest issue B&R Industrial Supply, Inc. faces in 2022. President Nathan Stringer still anticipates a 10% growth in the new year. He also believes that the industry as a whole will see growth. “Price increases will continue in the first and second

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quarter next year,” he says. “We are adding more supply chain suppliers to help with back orders.” The company is actively looking to expand into new locations. “We have grown our coverage and expect it to help going forward,” says Stringer.

` JOSEPH WINKLE, OWNER, WELDSTAR Inflation, pent up demand, and new markets are three contributing factors to a 12% growth for Weldstar. “We have recently opened two new locations, so getting them up and running at full speed will be a priority,” says Owner Joseph Winkle. “We will also look for new opportunities. We have recently added a new product, which is opening new doors for us. We believe this and other products will help us expand business within our current geographical area.” Winkle concludes, “Nobody knows how inflation and rising taxes will affect the future. However, whether positive or negative, we believe they will create opportunities.”

` JOSH DAVIDHIZAR, CFO, INDIANA OXYGEN COMPANY Price increases impacting gas and rent rates, new gas business in 2022, and a full year of revenue from an acquisition that closed in Q4 2021 will help propel Indiana Oxygen Company to a 10% growth in 2022. “We are looking at several areas of expansion into areas where we do not currently produce the product and are subject to our providers timing and pricing,” says CFO Josh Davidhizar. “We also made an acquisition of a company in Q4 2021 that got us into another area of the business we had not been in before. These additions will allow us to maintain our independence and become more of a ‘one stop’ gas and welding supplier.” He continues, “We, like a lot of others in the industry, experienced various threats when it comes to our CDL drivers. Through increased wages, total compensation tools, and various conversations, we have been able to maintain our excellent fleet of drivers. We also shifted our advertising of open positions which includes business cards telling potential new hires who we are as well as seeking referrals from current employees.” To combat supply chain disruptions and longer lead times, Indiana Oxygen shifted its ordering strategy in 2021, which will continue into 2022.

` DOUG LAMPTON, PRESIDENT, LAMPTON WELDING SUPPLY Lampton Welding Supply expects to see growth of 12-15% in 2022, according to President Doug Lampton. To achieve this, Lampton notes that the company must stabilize its supply chain, find great and trainable people with the right attitudes 60 • Winter 2022

to join the Lampton team, open new doors and bring value to new customers that have been under-served by their current supplier, continue supplying large automation and/or advanced welding solutions to the company’s expanding footprint, and add to its new e-commerce platform. “We will be expanding our business,” says Lampton. “We have targeted growth plans in many areas that should definitely enhance our value to our customers, both current and new. We have developed a few new areas and products and they have been thriving as predicted. We will continue to invest in our infrastructure and enhance these opportunities in the future.” Lampton had already planned to introduce its new e-commerce platform, but the pandemic made that take on a higher priority, which will enhance the customer experience.


In 2021, the Southern region projected as the second most optimistic, forecasting a 6.13% growth. This year, the region nearly doubles that expectation, projecting a cumulative 11.74% growth. And that growth can’t be attributed to one or two outliers. Of all the respondents, only one company projected less than double-digit growth for 2022. The economic climate in the south is shaping up for robust growth in the new year.

` SCOTT KALTRIDER, CHAIRMAN, MERITUS GAS PARTNERS Meritus Gas Partners was founded in December 2020. Since it was opened, the company has added six distributors to its federation, with further expansion planned for 2022. “We plan to expand geographically through acquisition as well as investment in new locations and new product offerings within our partner businesses,” says Chairman Scott Kaltrider. “This approach to growth both organically and inorganically is a fundamental premise of the Meritus model and will position the business for sustained performance well into the future.” He continues, “Meritus has been very fortunate to partner with businesses that have exceptional reputations in their respective markets and that are located in very good growth geographies. All of our partners have growth opportunities unique to their specific geographies and substantial enough to deliver solid growth.” Meritus anticipates the economy will hold through the first half of the year but that growth may begin to slow in the second half based on inflation, supply chain and labor issues. Overall, Kaltrider forecasts high single digit to low double-digit growth for Meritus. To date, Meritus has partnered with Atlas Welding Supply Co., Gas Innovations, OzArc Gas, Volunteer Welding Supply, Tulsa Gas & Gear and Mitchell Welding.

` ROBERT ANDERS, PRESIDENT/CEO, HOLSTON GASES, INC. Holston Gases, Inc. anticipates robust growth of 12-15% in 2022, according to President/CEO Robert Anders. “We moved into several new geographic markets over the last 18 months, and we expect to experience significant growth from those new locations,” he says. “That, coupled with solid demand in our mature markets, should allow us to recognize double digit growth.” While he expects solid growth in the new year, Anders believes that the company’s biggest source of pain that will persist into 2022, “is the long lead time for trucks, cylinders and bulk tanks. If this continues, it could begin to affect our ability to expand and grow.” The company will continue to expand in 2022, with two new locations slated to open this year and plans to add bulk propane to the markets that opened in 2021.

on hand to provide a better service to the markets it serves. “This is the key to success and competing against our competitors,” de la Cruz says.

` BRITT LOVIN, VICE PRESIDENT, ANDY OXY CO., INC. Continued economic recovery in the new year leads Andy Oxy Co., Inc. to an expected 10-15% growth in 2022. The company continues to deal with inflation, supply chain issues and increased lead times, as does everyone in the association. Andy Oxy keeps up constant communication on these issues and has been able to pass on increases. In addition to its internal growth, Vice President Britt Lovin projects an overall growth for the industry.

` BOB EWING, PRESIDENT, RED BALL OXYGEN “We are seeing a very significant petro-chemical investment cycle take off in our market,” says Red Ball Oxygen President Bob Ewing. “We’ve got more projects on the books than we’ve ever seen at one time.” This is one of the biggest drivers of an expected 10% or more growth in 2022. “We have been able to cope with supply chain issues pretty well, but we’ve had to be flexible. That means anticipating requirements well in advance and finding substitutes when appropriate. The biggest issue for us has been workforce. We’re experiencing more turnover, and it takes longer to fill vacancies. We are having to get pretty creative on the recruiting front.” This year, Red Ball is constructing a new

` WIGBERTO DE LA CRUZ, GENERAL MANAGER, EMPRESAS DE SOLDADURAS Puerto Rico’s Empresas de Soldaduras is aiming for 5% growth in 2022, according to General Manager Wigberto de la Cruz. “There are new projects for the renewal of bridges and roads, but the most important is our improvements in the gas business operations,” says de la Cruz. “All the problems like inflation, supply chain issues or price increases and lead times are well known to our customers. Those are situations that most of us have seen in the past and, because of that, many companies learn to work with bad times by planning for future events. We have plans for two new sales locations and participation on other segments of the gas business.” In addition to those new locations, the company is keeping more inventory

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facility to support its operations in Houston. It also continues to invest in its specialty gas business. “We’re really excited about our line of disposable calibration cylinders, LightingCal,” says Ewing. “We’re expecting great growth there.” In addition to its new facility, the company expects to see growth in South Louisiana and Oklahoma, two markets that are relatively new to the company.

` PABLO LABORDE, SALES DIRECTOR, AOC MEXICO New customers combined with the development of markets in specialty and medical gas will add up to a 20% growth for AOC Mexico in 2022. Like the U.S., Mexico has seen major inflation this year, which Sales Director Pablo Laborde believes will continue to be an issue. He also notes that the supply chain has been a challenge, with lots of problems coming out of Asia and specifically the price of containers and time to deliver items. The company intends to add capacity to its existing branches this year and will also add one or two more locations in 2022. AOC Mexico projects for overall growth in the industry.

` JOHN MARK LEWIS, OWNER/PRESIDENT, JOHN’S SALES & SERVICE, INC. John’s Sales & Service, Inc. is located in an area dominated by oil and gas. Owner/President John Mark Lewis laments the fact that, in his estimation, the current administration’s policies are hurting the oil and gas industry. Even with that in mind, the company still projects a growth of 10% in 2022. “Supply chain issues are creating longer lead times and constantly increase the cost of goods,” says Lewis. “We have to maintain a higher inventory level and keep multiple suppliers to source product.” John’s Sales & Service acquired a retiring competitor in the fall of 2021, and it plans to expand their product offering and further penetrate their market by being more aggressive than they have been in the past. Adding that territory required the company to add a new driver.

` BEN KITTLESON, PRESIDENT, MAVERICK OXYGEN New area expansions with additional sales reps will help contribute to an expected 10-15% growth in 2022 for Maverick Oxygen. “We are increasing our inventory stock levels to prevent having to delay orders or delay starting new business or working with new customers,” says President Ben Kittleson. The company has two expansions into new territories as well as new bulk tanks for additional gases to increase the amount of work that it can do in house. These 62 • Winter 2022

developments are exciting for Maverick and will help propel the business forward. “With expansions into Northern Kentucky and Southwestern Ohio, we will see growth moving forward,” says Kittleson. “Recently, we added our own nitrous oxide usp bulk tank and fill station, which will continue to see growth. We also purchased our own UE cylinder testing system, which will also reduce internal costs and act as a growth driver.” One area where the company sees challenges is finding qualified HAZMAT drivers. “That’s a very tough task at the current moment,” Kittleson notes.

` BILL PROCTOR, PRESIDENT/COO, NEXAIR “We believe demand will continue to be strong through 2022,” says nexAir President/COO Bill Proctor. Other factors that will lead to an expected 10.4% growth in the new year are, “Diverse customer base, geographic expansion, capital equipment sales related to the tight labor market, and end-user price increases.” During COVID, nexAir accelerated some of its digital initiatives and remote work policies. Says Proctor, “The digital portion will continue to be a focus for nexAir, and we will have some flexibility to accommodate remote work where feasible.” The company has plans for new locations and will continue its focus on products that help its customers address their lack of skilled traded workers. Concludes Proctor, “Our businesses will continue to experience inflationary pressures, supply chain disruptions and a tight labor market. We are being very diligent about passing through increases monthly. We will continue to promote from within and emphasize our internal culture as well as increased hiring for key positions:


Last year, the Western region was the second least optimistic, projecting 4.65% growth in 2021. This year, the region is the second most optimistic, with growth expectations of double, at 9.5% growth. Like the South, this seems to be a uniform expectation, not one or two large growth companies bringing up the average.

` DARREN BRADLEY, PRESIDENT, SPECTRUM GAS PRODUCTS Spectrum Gas Products projects a 12-15% increase in 2022, according to President Darren Bradley. Bradley notes that Spectrum has a “fully staffed team and inventory in stock and ready to ship.” Part of the reason Spectrum is so prepared to hit the ground running in 2022 is because of its response to COVID. “We never changed,” Bradley says. “While our competitors made changes to personnel and inventory, we


kept business as normal. When you are the only one available, customers will come to you.” As others have noted, price increases continue to be the norm this year and lead times continue to be a factor. “We have been looking at historical data and ordering accordingly,” says Bradley. The company will explore an additional location this year.

` VERONICA M. BONE, BUSINESS MANAGER, VERN LEWIS WELDING SUPPLY While Vern Lewis Welding Supply expects to see an increase of 5% this year, the company projects a level year for the gases and welding industry. The primary issue that the industry faces is the continued supply chain issues. “We try and buy ahead and prepare our customers as much as possible for longer lead times,” says Business Manager Veronica M. Bone. “We also believe the lack of workforce is going to have a bigger impact on every business.” The company plans to target geographies with growth potential in 2022, which will contribute to its growth this year.

` DAVE BURNETT, PRESIDENT, DJB GAS SERVICES, INC. Though government policies will be a factor in the new year, DJB Gas Services, Inc. still anticipates growth of 8-10% in 2022. President Dave Burnett points to inflation and supply chain issues as other growth inhibitors. The company did not deviate from its go-to-market strategy during COVID and “don’t plan to.” Some growth drivers for DJB in 2022 will be new planned locations and its recent foray into the dry ice market, which has been beneficial.

` ERIN R. BECKLEY, CEO, ADVANCED GASES & EQUIPMENT INC. Advanced Gases & Equipment, Inc. expects to see growth of 7-10% in 2022. CEO Erin R. Beckley attributes that growth to the ability to get goods in on time in the new year. Beckley notes that COVID taught the company how to do “more with less people. People are hard to find.” The company expects to expand its reach in 2022, doing better distribution in new and other areas, which will contribute to expected growth. Overall, the company expects 2022 to be a growth year for the industry.

` CHRIS CRAIG, OWNER, CALIFORNIA TOOL & WELDING SUPPLY “Procuring necessary hardgoods, coupled with finding employees and training them to effectively fit into our culture,” will help propel California Tool & Welding Supply to an expected 5-7% growth in 2022. “I don’t believe we will solve the inflation trend anytime soon, so, by default our industry will rise from these increases,” says Owner Chris Craig. “We are not doing anything extraordinary; we are passing as much cost through to the consumer while it is readily accepted and monitoring the customer’s temperature for their tolerance of such increases as to make sure we share the pain.” California Tool & Welding Supply will continue to look for expansion opportunities in the new year, coupled with an exploration into the e-commerce marketplace. “We expect some challenges in both of these avenues, but we do not foresee any issues that are insurmountable, and both directives will contribute to solidified, long-term growth for Cal Tool,” Craig says.

` BENJAMIN BISCONER, CEO, COMPLETE WELDERS SUPPLY Complete Welders Supply expects to see a growth of 15% in 2022, according to CEO Benjamin Bisconer. One of the drivers behind that expected growth are opportunities in the cannabis industry. “The cannabis industry in our area is developing and proves to be a growth factor,” says Bisconer. However, there is still considerable volatility in this market.” Other factors that could potentially hinder growth in the new year are the availability of raw materials, inflationary pressures, and pricing instability due to manufacturing and distribution delays. To help combat these, Bisconer notes that the company is “bringing more transportation in house and building inventory when possible.” Bisconer also points to the onerous regulatory market that the company believes will continue to have a negative impact on operability, along with instability in the staffing market. Still, the company projects a strong growth year and remains on the lookout for expansion opportunities in 2022. Winter 2022 • 63




The following are responses from GAWDA suppliers across North America about what they expect to see in 2022. 2021 represented a return to normal business for many of GAWDA’s suppliers and many reported seeing huge increases in business over 2021. But there are still issues to deal with, including persistent supply chain and labor shortage issues as well as the continued threat of COVID-related shutdowns or employee absences. We thank all of the GAWDA suppliers who participated in this year’s forecast. Be sure to check out the GAWDA Online Buyers Guide to see individual company responses as well as video interviews with those who participated.

64 • Winter 2022


` TROY SAYLOR, VICE PRESIDENT OF WELDING, ALLIANCE DISTRIBUTION PARTNERS Alliance Distribution (XTRWELD & All-Pro Brands) Vice President of Welding Troy Saylor anticipates over 20% growth for the company in 2022. Saylor says that the biggest growth drivers will be, “New distributor customers and new products and brands in the industrial wholesale and welding markets, along with more human capital in the sales and general staff of the company to help with our growth demands. Alliance is opening up to the welding industry in 2022, a change from focusing on industrial and safety distributors in past years.” Saylor mentions that product supply, inflation, and freight costs will continue to be an issue in the new year, which he expects to push prices up through 2022. “We are dealing with it by adding smart technology, as well as working with our large OEM vendors like 3M, Jackson, and XTRweld to buy better and help reduce their costs, as well as stocking more products to ship complete shipments from our centrally located warehouses.” Alliance Distribution is excited about its ability to add more welding products and staff to the company this year and to open up to the welding distribution market as well as the welding buying groups it is in.

` JOEY SALVUCCI, MARKETING COORDINATOR, ANTHONY WELDED PRODUCTS “We are planning on expanding our Texas facility, which will provide us with more room for production as well as much needed stock space,” says Anthony Welded Products Marketing Coordinator Joey Salvucci. “The decision to expand our Texas plant was rooted in logistics concerns. As fuel prices have skyrocketed, it was imperative that we invest in our most centrally located plant.” That decision will be a key driver in an anticipated 5-10% growth for the company in 2022. Says Salvucci, “We will be offering a wider breadth of products to broaden our customer base. In order to better serve our customers, we will shorten delivery times by increasing the overall efficiency within our factories.” He continues, “Inflation and supply chain issues are the biggest hurdles we see in 2022. Going into the new year we are prepared to minimize those factors by buying material in even larger quantities with the goal of keeping our prices competitive in the interim.”

` DOUG IVERSEN, DIRECTOR-SALES & MARKETING, COMPUTERS UNLIMITED “Computers Unlimited/TIMS has several new initiatives

planned for 2022, including building our mobile apps out even further, and a few other developments that will greatly improve and advance the technology available to distributors of packaged, bulk, and spec gases,” says Director of Sales & Marketing Doug Iversen. During COVID, “distributors demanded high-functioning e-commerce, and touchless/paperless mobile applications,” Iversen notes. “A new normal has been established, and it’s greatly improved.” The biggest trend that is impacting CU and the industry, according to Iversen, is finding and retaining experienced personnel. “Our customers are rapidly adopting the latest technology to enable their personnel to quickly be much more efficient. Seeing an immediate opportunity to reduce operational expenses have given distributors more confidence with pay adjustments that retain their experienced personnel. Distributors’ employee turn-over will present challenges to companies not prepared to educate and train the new personnel. CU has an extended content library designed specifically for training new personnel and refreshing existing personnel switching to new roles and tasks within the distributor’s organization. These learning videos and other collateral can be consumed ad hoc and on-demand. These resources have been more popular than ever before.” All of these factors will contribute to a greater than 20% growth for the company in 2022.


Bill McCloy, Managing Director for Amwins Program Underwriters, anticipates a level year in 2022, driven in large part by continued consolidation within the industry. “In the insurance sector, there are still rate issues from the CAT issues in the property market, due to unprecedented weather events in 2021,” says McCloy. “On the casualty side, we see slowing on rate but the ‘nuclear verdicts’ have not subsided.” Recently, Amwins Program Underwriters introduced a new version of its “Escape of Gas” endorsement, which is broadcast in the industry. “APU was the first in the industry to offer the Escaped Gas coverage,” McCloy notes. “We are constantly looking at program expansion and new opportunities, but none are imminent in 2022.”

` KEVIN LYNCH, VICE PRESIDENT OF INDUSTRIAL GASES, ANOVA ANOVA expects to see a double-digit increase in sales in 2022, according to VP of Industrial Gases Kevin Lynch. “We’re still seeing a lot of activity in the medical oxygen space,” Lynch says. “A lot of hospital tanks are not monitored properly, so customers are working to get the entire medical Winter 2022 • 65


tank installation fleet outfitted with monitoring and telemetry.” Another area that ANOVA expects to see growth in is the bev carb industry. “It’s a very large market with a lot of upside to it and I think the solutions have reached a point where the value proposition has really been embraced by a lot of distributors.” However, Lynch cautions that, “The wildcard in all this is that COVID is still with us. More specifically, the government response to COVID. What kind of response will be made by various governments that could shut things down? That could impact us directly.” Going forward, Lynch expects to see a lot of manufacturing move back on shore within developed Western economies, including North America. He specifically notes, “A just in time economy doesn’t really work if there is any unpredictability in transport, and especially doesn’t work over long distances. J-I-T was developed/perfected in Japan with suppliers and customers clustered around each other. COVID has revealed the fragility of long-distance supply chains run with a lean inventory philosophy. That should bring good news to certain countries and regions that have recently been overlooked.”

` JIM BROUGHTON, PRESIDENT, JBL SOLUTIONS LLC (DATAWELD INC.) During the COVID pandemic, “JBL Solutions, LLC focused on new products for our customer base,” says Jim Broughton, President of JBL Solutions LLC (DataWeld Inc.) “We introduced new products that allow our distributors the flexibility to do work remotely and not have to go into the office.” Those new products, combined with new products that the company will introduce in the first quarter of 2022, lead the company to project an 8% increase for 2022. “We feel that, moving forward, distributors will have to compete in the world of e-commerce. Gartner Group projects an extremely high percentage of B2B transactions to be online by 2025.” This trend bodes well for JBL’s future prospects.

` DAVID GRAVES, PRESIDENT, CONTROLLED EFFICIENCIES, LLC Controlled Efficiencies, LLC expects to see a growth of 20% in 2022. “I feel like the need for our product is still very

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strong and with the labor shortage that everyone is dealing with, our technology helps ease that strain,” says President David W. Graves. Controlled Efficiencies continues to develop new products to enhance its primary offering that will contribute to that expected growth this year. Graves expects CE to continue to thrive by, “staying on top of the current issues that impact both our company and our customers and adjusting and scheduling according to the current issues we happen to be dealing with.” Graves expects the industry as a whole to be up in 2022.

` KURT JOHANNES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION, NORTON/SAINT-GOBAIN ABRASIVES Labor availability, transportation normalization and continued recovery in U.S. oil and gas production and exploration will be the biggest drivers behind an expected growth in sales for Norton/Saint-Gobain Abrasives in 2022. “In addition to continuously improving and enhancing our traditional product lines, we will be leveraging channel synergies with our core

products to bring new complimentary product lines to market in North America, such as Farecla polishing compounds and Tekbond adhesives and sealants,” says Director of National Distribution Kurt Johannes. “These lines will continue to enhance our value proposition to both distributors and end-users, while creating new sources of revenue.” This year, Norton will work more closely than ever with its customers and distributors to provide accurate forecasting so that it can have the right inventory available, and investments in transportation technology to maximize the efficiency of available transportation while lowering its carbon footprint.

` JOHN KAYLOR, PRESIDENT, ABICOR BINZEL USA John Kaylor, President of Abicor Binzel USA, projects an 8% growth in 2022. Kaylor projects an easing of supply chain issues combined with new product launches and U.S. production expansion will be the biggest growth drivers for Abicor Binzel this year. “Inflation and labor shortages will continue for most of the year,” Kaylor predicts. “But supply

Winter 2022 • 67


chain and lead times should improve by mid-year.” Abicor is excited about its new product launches in 2022 that will allow it to penetrate new industrial segments. He predicts a “hybrid model” for business that will balance the pre-COVID model with the things that were successful in 2020 and 2021.

` DAVID BELL, PRESIDENT, WITT GAS CONTROLS Witt Gas Controls LP anticipates a level year in 2022 compared to where the company finished 2021. That expectation is based on the lingering impact of COVID and an expected overall economic downtown, according to President David Bell. “Supply chain is the number one issue, as it impacts everything else,” he says. “We will focus on core products and existing customer demands.” The company will continue to add new employees in the new year, but Bell cautions, “It has been and continues to be a major issue to obtain skilled employees.” The company was able to quickly adapt to COVID, “with additional safety protocols for employees and visitors alike, more use of internet messages/communication/training with the use of

MSTEAMS and GOTO Meeting/GOTO Webinar for both internal and external practices. We will continue with these practices with the possible expansion of internet meetings/ seminars.” Bell concludes that, “As COVID continues, the economy will also continue to be negatively affected.”

` BETH DAHLKE, SEGMENT VICE PRESIDENT SAFETY, BUNZL (PARENT COMPANY OF JOHN TILLMAN) Bunzl, the parent company of John Tillman, anticipates a 4% growth in 2022, according to Beth Dahlke, Segment Vice President Safety. While the company expects growth, Dahlke cautions that ongoing inflationary pressures require close monitoring. “Inflation is expected to continue at least through mid-year 2022,” says Dahlke. “This will require continuous monitoring of product costs, labor pricing and freight charges.” For Bunzl, product development is a key initiative for 2022, “assuming supply chain disruptions minimize.” Says Dahlke, “This will create the base for continued growth in the future and set us apart from the competition.”


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` ALEXIS MCDERMOTT, WELDING CHANNEL SPECIALIST, DYNABRADE, INC. “Our incoming orders have never been stronger, but the disparity between our incoming and invoiced orders has never been greater,” says Dynabrade Inc. Welding Channel Specialist Alexis McDermott. “We are assembling products as soon as parts arrive, but we are at the mercy of the supply chain being able to support the increased demand. That is the single biggest factor that will impact our ability to ship and invoice in 2022.” Even with that in mind, Dynabrade anticipates growth of 10-15% in 2022. The company has plans for at least 10 new tools or configurations this year, including the expansion of the company’s Nitro Series product line. “Dynabrade has products for a variety of applications across multiple market segments. Some examples of new products launched in the last couple of years include tools for the welding industry, aerospace industry, auto aftermarket industry, the foundry industry, and the wind industry. Dynabrade’s product range includes 1,000+ tools for different surface preparation and

finishing applications,” McDermott says. She adds, “We are always looking to add distributor partners in 2022. We feel that the right distributor partner, properly trained, is a great extension to our market reach. With our sales team of 35 across the U.S., in person and virtual training abilities, Dynabrade is always here for support.”

` RAFAEL ARVELO, GENERAL MANAGER, EQUIGAS, INC. EQUIGAS Inc. will see a 20% increase in 2022, according to General Manager Rafael Arvelo. That growth will be primarily driven by a new line of products, new line of business, and growth of staff in the new year. “With the continued growth of industrial production in the United States during the first two quarters, demand will still be increasing, and the supply chain will still be an issue, it will get worse before it gets better,” Arvelo says. “Labor shortages, cost of opportunity and speculation will be key factors for inflation and price increases. EQUIGAS is working closely with customers and suppliers in improving the forecast for every quarter to avoid

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late deliveries.” He continues, “EQUIGAS is continuously expanding inside and outside. We will continue to expand our portfolio of products and services in 2022, bringing a positive impact to our business in revenue and market share. We keep concentrating on being the best in the markets and territories that we are currently servicing. We thrive on our relationship with our customers and commercial partners.” He concludes, “When you act with honesty and passion, the market will always trust you, and this will always contribute positively to the overall year over year.”

` JEFF HOLYOAK, VP OF SALES AND MARKET DEVELOPMENT, TOMCO SYSTEMS In 2021, TOMCO Systems entered new and exciting markets including: carbon capture, sequestration water treatment in industrial industries, and on-demand dry ice production. This year, TOMCO will expand into life sciences and further expand in carbon capture and water treatment. “The future is in applications, not on equipment,” says TOMCO Systems VP of Sales and Market Development Jeff Holyoak. The company expects to see growth of 7-10% in 2022. Holyoak says that the biggest factors in that projection are inflation, price increases and new products. He notes that during COVID, TOMCO, “streamlined our processes and focused on new product development related to automation and headcount reduction.” While he anticipates growth for TOMCO, he says that the industry overall will be level compared to 2021. “Rising prices and short supply, coupled with labor disruptions, run the risk of negatively impacting the global economy, impacting new business growth. This would impact product sales on a six-month lag indicator.”

` KENT HUGHES, VICE PRESIDENT, SALES & MARKETING COSEN SAWS NORTH AMERICA “We have entered into many new markets both in Canada and the USA that will continue to drive growth opportunities,” says Kent Hughes, VP of Sales & Marketing for Cosen Saws North America. Those expansions, combined with plans for a new warehouse in Mexico and new product launches in 2022, lead the company to project 10% growth this year. Like others, Cosen is closely monitoring economic trends like “raw materials supplies, inflation, container and shipping rates, trucking rates, and slow deliveries from worker shortages at factories.” But even with those concerns, Cosen expects growth both internally and for the industry at large. 70 • Winter 2022

` MICHAEL TRUEBA, JR., PRESIDENT, MPT INDUSTRIES MPT Industries will see 15-20% growth in 2022, according to President Michael Trueba, Jr. “We introduced some new products during 2021 that we are just beginning to ship now,” Trueba says. “This will help increase our revenues for 2022.” Like many in the industry, MPT has been forced to raise its prices in 2022, due to considerable increases in the cost of raw materials and labor costs. One of the growth drivers in 2022 will be an expansion in MPT’s fire extinguishing product line, which Trueba hopes will expand the company’s customer base. Overall, MPT anticipates a strong year both for the company and for the industry, though Trueba does note, “These new COVID variants keep popping up. Hopefully, the vaccine booster shots will address them very soon. If not, it could stall the economy.”

` MICHAEL TIPPER, PRESIDENT, US TANK & CRYOGENIC EQUIPMENT, INC. Increased man-power and parts will be the drivers of an expected 20-25% growth for US Tank & Cryogenic Equipment, according to President Michael Tipper. He notes that during the pandemic, “We never missed a beat. Medical oxygen tanks increased as beverage tanks decreased.” Like others, Tipper notes that inflation, supply chain issues and increased prices and lead times will have an impact on the economy this year. “We are managing it ok at this time, but more than likely we will have to pass on all the price increases if we continue to receive them from our suppliers.”

` CHRIS FINN, SALES DIRECTOR, FIBA TECHNOLOGIES, INC. “We are investing in our retest locations to improve efficiencies and expanding our manufacturing to increase our output by 20%,” says FIBA Technologies, Inc. Sales Director Chris Finn. “We are also looking internationally to expand our capabilities in Europe and Asia.” In 2022, FIBA projects a 10% growth, citing increased demand and expansion into new markets. Says Finn, “There have been no significant changes to our company due to COVID. Demand increased and, seeing as we were an essential business, we remained open and productive.” The company expects inflation and supply chain issues to continue to be a challenge through 2022, but is mitigating those challenges by increase its inventory. continued on page 72

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` BILL DWYRE, VP, GLOBAL SALES AND MARKETING, WEILER ABRASIVES Weiler Abrasives will see sales growth of more than 10% in 2022 on the back of market share gains, industry growth and price increases. “Innovation remains a top priority for Weiler in 2022,” says VP of Global Sales and Marketing Bill Dwyre. “We have several launches planned for the year, starting with a new range of products for the foundry industry.” Currently, Weiler operates in 80 countries globally and it intends to aggressively grow in the Americas as well as its EMEA markets. In response to COVID, Dwyre says, “we had to be more agile, invest in digital and build capabilities in our sales teams to add value in the ‘new normal.’” As others have noted, inflation will continue to be a key concern for Weiler, as will supply chain challenges impacted by labor shortages.

` DOUG MORTON, VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES, ELEET CRYOGENICS, INC. “The demand for cryogenic bulk and micro-bulk tanks is very strong right now,” says Eleet Cryogenics, Inc. Vice President of Sales Doug Morton. “We have increased the volume of tanks significantly to be better able to fulfill this requirement.” That trend will be the primary driver of an expected double-digit increase in 2022 for Eleet. “Eleet has enjoyed consistent manageable growth year-over-year since we were established 25 years ago,” Morton notes. “We focus on our strengths and only provide products and services that are within our core competencies. We are moving into our

72 • Winter 2022

brand new, state of the art facility in Conroe, TX where we will be able to rehab and provide much larger tanks than we were able to from the previous location. We will have a training center, additional office space, and tank storage to best serve this region well.” To combat the supply chain issues, Eleet has invested heavily in its inventory of micro-bulk and bulk tanks. It has also placed much larger orders than usual for the associated parts needed to pipe the tanks and has invested in higher stocking levels of the ambient vaporizers with multiple stocking locations to offer distributors. Says Morton, “Eleet launched the 7,500L micro-bulk unit which is the largest on the market and has been very well received. We have had great success with the Scorpion 900g portable trailer mounted unit. Customers have already bought additional units after experiencing the revenue opportunities realized with their first one. The Dura-Bulk chassis or trailer mounted delivery units have also been in very high demand.”

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hat a difference a year makes! In this case, it marks my first full calendar year as Executive Director and CEO, and the first year in which I could finally spend time in the field. As I commented during the opening remarks at FABTECH 2021, I was attracted to AWS by the support that our volunteers and members give to the welding community. This year, as I visited companies, schools, and conferences, their passion shone like a beacon. These volunteers also ensure the strength of the future by recruiting the next generation of volunteers. AWS has nearly 2,000 voting volunteer members across more than 250 committees and subcommittees. To revitalize the volunteer pool continuously, our current goal is to recruit 125 new applicants annually to support our standards committees, educational 74 • Winter 2022

content, certifications, sections, and more. For everyone who has technical or practical expertise and wants to make a difference, we encourage you to join one of our committees and make your voice heard. We welcome new perspectives; plus, some of our more senior members are eager to pass the torch to a new generation before they retire. Another incentive to participate is that AWS meetings, technical conferences, and other events offer a chance to socially connect with others in the welding community. Maybe I’m a bit old-school in this regard, but, a generation ago, social activities were also an extension of our work life. I marked AWS events on the calendar and looked forward to a day or an evening with friends. As we move back to in-person local section meetings, I would especially encourage our newer and younger members to attend. The section meetings gather

representatives from across the local welding community and may be the best networking experience of your career.


Coming out of COVID, the ability to reconnect face-to-face was especially welcoming. I felt this throughout the halls of FABTECH. We were back to shaking hands instead of bumping elbows. Those who attended the show consistently reported high quality contacts and called it one of the best shows they have experienced. People turned out because they wanted to find newer, more productive technologies, which are more critical than ever. Our industry’s pent-up demand is also being reflected in the enthusiasm for FABTECH 2022 in Atlanta, where we’re ahead of our numbers vs. the 2018 event. T h e 2 0 2 1 G AW D A A n n u a l Convention also reflected a high degree


of energy. This was my first time at the annual convention. It was attended by a “Who’s Who” of the welding distributor and welding products manufacturing community, plus it had fantastic keynote speakers. I’ll be honest, though: I didn’t schedule enough time at the convention. Based on my experience, I’m clearing more time on my calendar for the 2022 convention dates next October. Between now and then, we will explore ways to mutually benefit GAWDA and AWS members. Through our individual offerings, we serve the same end-users, and a better alignment of efforts benefits everyone. For any GAWDA member who has advice or ideas, my door is open.


As much as we relied on virtual education and events over the last two

years, we recognize that they can’t be our only vehicle for disseminating technical information. For 2022, we’ll use a hybrid approach for many of our AWS Conferences. We start the year with a virtual Plastic Welding Conference on January 27, then move to in-person for the Updates to the Codes Conference (Dallas, February 22), Inspection Expo & Conference (Dallas, February 23 - 25), Shipbuilding & Aluminum Conference (San Diego, May 3-5), Advances in Welding & Additive Manufacturing Research (Miami, June 12-17) and FABTECH (Atlanta, Nov. 8-10). Our instructor-led educational seminars offer maximum flexibility, notably our CWI exam preparation seminars. The 1-week and 2-week in-person seminars continue to be well-attended despite the pandemic. And our new 2-week and 8-week online CWI seminars have

proven to be popular additions to our course catalog.


For virtual offerings, we designed Solution Selling for Welding, a new online course specifically for welding sales professionals. Manufacturersupplied training classes tend to focus on content that applies specifically to their products and services. For this new course, AWS started with voice-of-customer research focused on pain points distributors have when developing their salespeople. Unlike the days when route drivers, welders and maintenance technicians with welding experience moved into a sales role, many new salespeople come from outside of the industry and have little to no welding knowledge. With that background, we then worked with subject matter experts

FABTECH. Winter 2022 • 75


from the distribution world to develop the Solution Selling curriculum. The training stacks knowledge in a logical order, discussing welding and safety concepts, equipment, variables, and more. What’s unique about this course is that, after receiving an overview of welding fundamentals, salespeople are taught how to apply this knowledge to help their customers become more productive. Instead of trying to sell a product (often similar to what the customer is already using), the salesperson uses tools and concepts provided in the course to analyze the operation, discover bottlenecks and inefficiencies, recommend a different technology or practice and then demonstrate the ROI. We’re hopeful that Solution Selling for Welding can start a groundswell for developing better-qualified welding salespeople, who can then be advocates helping their customers become more competitive in the global marketplace. An example of one key approach that distributors can use to recommend sales solutions comes from my own background. Everyone knows about the labor shortage. Because my background is in automation, I used to think that cobots (collaborative robots) would never work in welding. Now, cobot technology has advanced so significantly and become so intuitive and suitable for welding that not only can they bridge the gap between finding skilled welding technicians and production downtime, they are now a productivity multiplier. As a result, AWS presented a new virtual conference in December, Cobots for Automated Welding. For GAWDA members, an AWS Welding Distributor Corporate Membership unlocks resources that further support Solution Selling efforts, including choice of two of the following AWS mainstays: the Welding Handbook, Jefferson’s Welding Encyclopedia, Welding Metallurgy and Design or Planning Manual for Cost-Effective Welding, as well as other helpful features.


Speaking of digital technologies, AWS continues to expand its digital footprint. We have updated our Welding Digest blog, which features news bites from the editors at the Welding Journal, as well as AWS members. Presented in an easy-toread format, the information is available to the public (as opposed to the Welding Journal, one of the premier benefits of AWS membership). We are also excited to raise the profile and recognition of welding as a skilled trade by connecting with some of the industry’s top social media influencers. For example, over the past two years we completed Arc 2 Art, a collaboration between social influencers, Barbie the Welder and Stephanie Hoffman. Together, they celebrated women in welding and reimagined 76 • Winter 2022

Lady Liberty as a welder, crafting a 4-ft.-tall sculpture that was on display in the AWS Careers in Welding trailer during its 2021 road tour, as well as at FABTECH. As evidenced by the lines for the Arc 2 Art meet-and-greet at FABTECH with Barbie and Stephanie, we inspired a lot of people. That goes double for Stephanie’s role as a judge on Metal Shop Masters, which also had a FABTECH meet-and-greet with Stephanie, co-judge and world-renowned metal artist David Madero, winner Tom Patsis, runner-up Ivan Iler and fan favorite Rae Ripple. In fact, we had a strong turnout for all panel discussions at FABTECH, which gave show attendees a chance for personal interaction with social media luminaries. These panel discussions, now available on the AWS YouTube channel, included starting your own welding business, using social media to promote your welding business and the benefits of becoming AWS Certified.


As we all know, the welding, fabrication and manufacturing industries face a chronic shortage of skilled workers that has only become more difficult this past year. One bright spot is the effort to recruit military veterans, who tend to


Welding distributors bring a unique vision of what their local markets need because they visit customer after customer, school after school. make good welders because they come from disciplined backgrounds and are comfortable working with their hands. However, re-integrating with civilian life after a career in the military poses a host of challenges. AWS believes finding a good career should not be one of those challenges, which is why we support Operation Next, a public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense, industry and academia to support manufacturing technologies and talent development. Operation Next typically involves a community college near a military base. In the six months before their service ends, military members attend school full-time to learn welding. They follow the AWS welding curriculum to earn one or more AWS Certified Welder credentials. By earning a nationally portable, standards-based and industry-recognized certification, the soon-to-be civilian has a marketable skillset and more job opportunities upon discharge. The pilot program at Ft. Campbell, KY, chose 101 participants to honor the 101st Airborne housed at the base. Of the 101 participants, 82% moved on to manufacturing-related positions and 11% continued their education, resulting in a 93% success rate. For more information, the AWS Foundation has a page dedicated to job resources for

veterans; visit careersinwelding.com/ veterans to learn more. Another recent development by the AWS Foundation to highlight the employment needs of the welding workforce as well as other statistical data is a new website called weldingworkforcedata. com. This website acts as a single source of reliable data, using Emsi software to pull labor market information on welding from the BLS as well as the U.S. Census Bureau so that we can present consistent, unified messaging on labor force statistics as we interact with the broader industrial community.


I’d like to close with a focus on our communities. Welding distributors bring a unique vision of what their local

markets need because they visit customer after customer, school after school. Welding distributors will see trends in the local market faster than anyone else. That’s why I encourage distributors to participate in advisory committees at secondary and post-secondary schools. Also, schools always need new equipment and materials to weld. If you know of any fabricators that can donate scrap, or can introduce schools to suppliers, many of whom have educational discounts, you can play matchmaker between those seeking jobs and companies with a culture well-suited for them. I think after the last two years, we’re all more attuned to looking out for each other. Being tuned into others starts with listening to their needs, and that’s right in a distributor’s wheelhouse.

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Winter 2022 • 77


Compressed Gas Association Expands Focus in 2022 BY RICH GOTTWALD, CGA PRESIDENT & CEO


Richard Gottwald is President and CEO of the Compressed Gas Association (CGA). He can be reached at 703-7882748 or rgottwald@ cganet.com.

78 • Winter 2022

In September 2021, the CGA Board of Directors approved a significantly expanded investment in hydrogen safety communications and outreach for the next year. The goal of this work is to further establish CGA as a leading authority on hydrogen safety issues. As interest in hydrogen energy grows for curbing industrial emissions and for powering cars, trucks, and ships, it is critical that it is produced, transported, and used safely. CGA members have been doing this for many years – in fact, CGA produced our first safety standard for hydrogen in 1955. CGA’s hydrogen safety communications efforts will focus initially on key audiences within the hydrogen and fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) sector, including practitioners (e.g., fueling station designers, operators, and consultants), federal and state regulatory and legislative authorities, hydrogen and FCEV trade associations, other standards developing organizations, and targeted members of the general public. Our information for the public will focus on the safety of hydrogen and putting hazards into context, describing mitigations to make hydrogen safe to use. We will also continue to explore opportunities to collaborate with like-minded groups in the hydrogen space, such as the reciprocal memberships already established between CGA and the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) and the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). At the same time, we’ll evaluate opportunities to attend and speak at hydrogen events, such as the American Hydrogen Forum, to bring a focus to safety as a critical element to the growth of the hydrogen sector.


Throughout the past two years, our association has worked to address the shifting pressures created by the COVID-19 pandemic, including collaborating with our members to support the continued availability of medical oxygen, representing the industry in discussions with government agencies in the U.S. and Canada, and working with members to understand and share best practices for protecting employees. These efforts will continue as needed in 2022. As a recent example, in late October, CGA’s Board of Directors Chair, Chris Ebeling, and I met with White House representatives to express concerns about the unintended consequences of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide a weekly negative test result if not vaccinated. We continue to advocate along with other industry groups for an exemption from the vaccination requirement for compressed gas industry truck drivers. Such a requirement could aggravate an already stressed supply chain for critical medical gases. Many of these drivers are secluded in their truck cabs most of the time and make deliveries to customers that involve minimal contact with others.

EDUCATIONAL & SAFETY RESOURCES Safety Posters We will continue our efforts to provide new industry employees and end users with the information they need to safely interact with our members’ products, as we further expand our


series of free safety posters and related product information. In 2021, we published new end-user safety posters and related online information – including for those in the cannabis industry – on carbon dioxide; cylinder and equipment; flammable gas; and refrigerated and cryogenic liquid safety. We also published a new poster on precautions for liquid nitrogen use in cryogenic therapies. In 2022, we will continue expanding this library of safety resources. CGA also offers free industrial safety posters aimed at explaining basic safety concepts to anyone new to handling compressed gases and related equipment. For more information and to download these free safety posters, see: https://www.cganet.com/ resources/safety-posters/.














CGA P-76

continued on next page

Winter 2022 • 79


• CGA TM-6, eLearning: Filling of High Pressure Industrial Gas Cylinders • CGA TM-7, eLearning: Introduction to Compressed Gas Cylinder Valves • CGA TM-8, eLearning: Oxygen Safety Each module provides a helpful resource for employees who may need more coaching in how to safely handle and work with compressed gases. We will continue adding new titles to this library in 2022. As a reminder, these training modules are included as a benefit in the CGA-GAWDA partnership. Participating GAWDA members gain free access to this eLearning library for their employees. We’ll Continue to Evolve CGA’s Virtual, In-Person, and Hybrid Events in 2022 CGA staff are developing another full calendar of virtual, in-person, and hybrid events for 2022. These events will again focus on advancing participants’ technical safety knowledge, while fostering cross-industry collaboration and networking. In August 2021, we again partnered with GAWDA to cohost the return of the groundbreaking Young and Emerging Professionals Summit – a series of eights online events that drew industry participants from around the globe, who are committed to increasing their technical safety knowledge. We also offered a successful hybrid version of the long-running CGA Safety & Reliability of Industrial Gases, Equipment, and Facilities Seminar, as well as the all-virtual CGA Cylinder Requalification Operations Safety Seminar, which returned for the first time since 2016. All three events will be offered again in 2022, and we look forward to welcoming attendees back to in-person formats. Online CGA Handbook of Compressed Gases In 2022, we will continue efforts to transition the CGA Handbook of Compressed Gases from a traditional textbook to an interactive online tool. The Handbook includes chapters on topics such as gas safety, regulations, valves, cylinders, containers, bulk shipments, and delivery system equipment as well as monographs for more than 60 gases. Our committee members are actively working on text updates for the Handbook chapters and gas monographs to ensure technical accuracy and realign the content for digital consumption. In 2022, CGA plans to release an initial version of our virtual Handbook that will display basic information from the gas monographs. 80 • Winter 2022

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up c omin g industry events Here are some of the events scheduled for 2022. Check the EVENTS tab on the GAWDA website at www.gawda.org for more information.

MARCH 2022

JULY 2022

University of Innovative Distribution (UID) Indianapolis, IN MARCH 21-24, 2022

GAWDA Northwest Regional Meeting Stevenson, WA JULY 27-29, 2022

APRIL 2022


GAWDA Spring Management Conference Indianapolis, IN APRIL 3-5, 2022

GAWDA Central Regional Meeting Maumee Bay, Toledo, OH AUGUST 8-9, 2022

CGA Annual Meeting Naples, FL APRIL 10-14, 2022 GAWDA Southwest Regional Meeting League City, TX APRIL 18-19, 2022 AIWD Convention Washington, D.C. APRIL 22-25, 2022

MAY 2022 GAWDA Northeast Regional Meeting Galloway, NJ MAY 10-12, 2022 IWDC Sales & Purchasing Convention Minneapolis, MN MAY 24-26, 2022

JUNE 2022 GAWDA East/Midwest Regional Meeting Seven Springs, PA JUNE 21-23, 2022

IOMA Annual Meeting Sintra, Portugal OCTOBER 15-19, 2022

NOVEMBER 2022 IWDC Owners Meeting Park City, UT NOVEMBER 2-5, 2022 FABTECH Atlanta, GA NOVEMBER 8-10, 2022

OCTOBER 2022 GAWDA Annual Convention San Diego, CA OCTOBER 5-8, 2022




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Slower Growth Expected in 2022 Growth will continue next year, but at a slower rate than 2021 BY STEVE GUGLIELMO AND JACKIE GREENE


fter a year of robust recovery for the gases and welding industry following the slowdown in 2020 caused primarily by COVID, we had the opportunity to speak with ITR Economics Vice President of Economics Jackie Greene about what ITR expects to see in the economy and our industry in 2022. ITR Economics serves as GAWDA’s Chief Economists and their record for economic forecasting is unparalleled in the industry. Check out the full First Quarter ITR Quarterly Report on pages 85-96 to see what the firm sees in the first quarter of this year. Also, check out the January 1 episode of GAWDA TV to see an interview with Jackie on her expectations for the upcoming year. We thank Jackie for her help and insight in putting this article together. WELDING AND GASES TODAY: What would you say is the overall economic outlook coming out of ITR for the gases and welding industry in 2022? JACKIE GREENE: The overall outlook really mirrors the macro-outlook. And for that we are expecting, in general, 82 • Winter 2022

slowing growth in 2022 and into 2023. I want to be clear with that. It’s slowing growth. It’s still growth, it’s just at a slower rate than you had in 2021. There are going to be ongoing labor issues. That isn’t going to go away immediately. We should see some easing of the supply chain issues. That will be beneficial. Overall, plan for slower growth. WGT: With COVID the last couple of years, we have had a super influx of federal money and programs to address the pandemic. Has all of that influx of cash changed your economic outlook at all for next year or long term? JG: The proposals changed the outlook when they came to pass. We don’t change our forecast based on what could be. We wait until it’s actually put into action. The influx of cash had quite an impact on inflation rates and consumer spending. So once that actually came to be, we started changing those forecasts. The infrastructure bill has had an impact on the forecast now that it has come to pass as well. But, even then, it’s not an across-the-board change of the forecast. It’s very specific


markets that are being impacted. So, we’re very specific about which forecasts are being impacted. That’s for the short-term. For the long-term, it hasn’t changed our big picture view. Frankly, part of that is because we were already seeing inflation as a long-term issue going into the 2030 depression time period. And increasing program spending like this really feeds into that outlook as well. So, no, it didn’t change our view. Instead, it really bolstered our view for the long-term outlook. WGT: This year, GAWDA partnered with other associations on a monthly webinar series with ITR. For GAWDA members who weren’t able to attend, those monthly sessions are all available on the GAWDA.org Members Only page. What would you say the biggest theme of those monthly webinars was and why should members who weren’t able to attend go back and watch those sessions? JG: The biggest theme was planning for 2022. Knowing what it is going to look like. Are you going to have enough capacity for 2022? I’ve been talking about slower growth, and you’ve been hearing about slower growth from ITR. But, if you were out of capacity in 2021, you’re still likely to be out of capacity in 2022. So, those are some of the things that are going on in those videos. I highly recommend you watch those. Other things we addressed were being aware of the labor pool. Supply Chain constraints. Just how to plan better and be more prepared for what is coming. Not just for 2022 but to set you up for 2023 as well. WGT: If you were in an elevator with a GAWDA member and you only had one minute with them and they asked you, “Give me one thing I can walk out of this conversation with?” what would you say the one biggest takeaway you want them to take with them is? JG: Picking one is hard. With just one minute, I would ask, “Are you sleeping well enough?” If you’re sleeping well enough, chances are you have not taken out enough money to be investing in your business. Interest rates are low. There is a lot of growth ahead of you. 2022 is still growth. 2023 is still growth. It’s a slower rate, but it’s still general growth. So, have you invested enough in your business? Are you confident enough in your own future that you are leading your team through that? They’re going to be feeling scared at times, when things look slower than they were in

The overall outlook really mirrors the macro-outlook. And for that we are expecting, in general, slowing growth in 2022 and into 2023.

2021, but lead with optimism and make sure you are investing in your own future. Be prepared for change. There is going to be change coming. The labor market, we all know that’s an ongoing issue. The supply chain is going to be less of a problem, but it’s not going to magically be gone. This is changing where people are looking for suppliers. They want to be better prepared in case this happens again. So, make sure you have good relationships with multiple vendors and suppliers for your own business and see if there are opportunities you can find with people who are looking for more local suppliers of their own. WGT: For GAWDA members, are there any specific growth markets that presented themselves throughout the pandemic? Anything they should be involved in if they aren’t already? JG: Sadly, medical is an area that really brought about some additional growth opportunities. Not all medical. Those things more specifically geared toward COVID. A lot of elective procedures were put on hold. Supply chain certainly became a big area of opportunity. The U.S. is short thousands of truckers to keep our supply chain moving right now. So, if you can be involved in smoothing out the supply chain for people, that’s a big growth industry. Consumerism is up and it will continue to grow, so finding ways to be involved in that has been a growth industry and it will continue to be a growth industry. WGT: You mentioned the 2030 depression earlier. ITR has been very consistent for several years in predicting a coming depression around that time. Is that still your expectation and is there any course of action that can be realistically taken between now and then that could head that off? continued on next page

Winter 2022 • 83


JG: We are forecasting out that far. Earlier this year, Brian and Alan Beaulieu did a webinar together where they actually laid out that whole forecast about when we would hit that tipping point. That is the expectation. And it is around 2030. A lot of our debt burden is going to be a big factor in the cause of this depression. So, reducing some of our debt burden, reducing our programs that are so expensive for the U.S. government are going to be some of those factors. Now, that’s not an easy thing to do. And it’s not so likely at this point in time. But it is something that could happen. We are also running out of runway for that to make a real impact. Brian and Alan were writing the book Prosperity in the Age of Decline addressing this six or seven years ago. And it was one of the things that they were talking about then. And six or seven years ago, we had a lot more timeline to make those adjustments than we do as we get closer to the 2030s. We are going to hit a tipping point where there is no going back. WGT: I’m not an economist, so if you could help me understand this, that would be helpful. Eric Post’s presentation for the annual GAWDA Industry Analysis mentioned that the U.S. has a huge debt burden, Japan has a huge debt burden, India has a huge debt burden, China has a huge debt burden. So, if all of the world’s superpowers all have huge debt burdens, who, exactly, are we indebted to? JG: It’s a house of cards in a lot of ways. We’re operating on trust, in a lot of ways. Everybody assumes that we’re going to continue paying off the interest. And there’s a faith there. If anybody stops doing that and decides, “We don’t really value your currency the way that we used to,” the whole thing starts to come crumbling down. WGT: So, is China still the largest holder of our debt? JG: Japan is actually the largest foreign holder of US debt, with China coming in second. The public debt, owned by Japan, China, and many others, makes up roughly 30% of U.S. government debt. The other category, intragovernmental debt, includes things like Social Security and Medicare. 84 • Winter 2022

Oil is going to go up. That’s one of the big things because it sets the trend for other prices.

WGT: When we look back, as a country, over these last two years, what do you think is going to be the biggest lesson that we’re going to take away from this time period from an economic perspective? JG: I’m not sure it will be the lesson that we will take away, but it’s what I hope we do, is that stimulus spending, while everyone enjoyed getting those extra checks and all the shopping they were able to do, it was a big piece of what caused so much inflation. And then they were very unhappy with the inflation. So, it’s just a reminder that there’s always that unintended consequence. Be very mindful that those checks don’t come without ramifications. WGT: Is there anything else that we didn’t touch on that you think GAWDA members should know as we enter 2022? JG: Be careful with pricing. It’s going to be an ongoing thing. Find the balance of supply and demand. Oil is going to go up. That’s one of the big things because it sets the trend for other prices. But oil will be going up into the first half of the year. We expect it to get into the mid to upper $80s. We will see a little relief coming later in the year, but be careful because those pricing pressures are not going away right away.



Consumer Checkup Heading Into 2022: 3 Things to Keep in Mind BY BRIAN BEAULIEU


he U.S. economy is shifting gears for 2022 from very high growth to decelerating growth. The underlying economics are normalizing, to the extent allowed by ongoing COVID issues. The projected slowing growth trend is depicted in the U.S. Industrial Production chart (below). The Production 12/12 rate-of-change will decline from the anticipated first-quarter-of-2022 peak through the remainder of 2022 and into the second half of 2023. Our forecast has the 12/12 staying above the zero line, meaning that the year-over-year growth rate diminishes but remains positive. We refer to this as a “soft landing” for the economy. By contrast, the cycle ending in 2026–27 (not pictured) is projected to have a “hard landing,” with the 12/12 going below zero. The upcoming soft landing in this cycle translates to rise in the Production 12MMA during that time period.

There is a high likelihood of 12/12 decline in 2022 based on the preponderance of input from the leading indicators. Of concern is that cyclical decline in the economy in 2022 will mean that it is more susceptible to negative pressures. Expressed in microeconomic terms, a wrong move/decision that during the upside of the cycle would be glossed over by the increasing business coming through the door is magnified and exposes the company to real adversity when in the declining phase(s) of the business cycle. The same is true for the overall economy; therefore, we are particularly vigilant about underlying issues such as consumers’ economic wellbeing. One measure of consumers’ economic wellbeing is U.S. Real Disposable Personal Income Per Capita (DPI), which measures after-tax income and is adjusted for inflation. The next chart shows that the economy experiences recession (shaded

U.S.Industrial IndustrialProduction Production U.S. Rate-of-Change Rate-of-Change






5 4.2




-5 12/12 Forecast Range



12/12 3/12

-15 '14


-15 '16








'24 Winter 2022 • 85


in grey) concurrent with a lack of ascent, and in many cases outright descent, in DPI. The 2020 and early-2021 data shows a tremendous spike in our ability to spend money as DPI soared. That played a major role in the supply chain issues we are still contending with. Those days are behind us – recent data shows that DPI has edged downward, likely caused by the withdrawal of COVID-related income supports and the spike in inflation. Our analysis suggests that inflation will abate but not disappear and that wages will continue to rise as businesses strive to retain and attract workers. Combined, these factors suggest the DPI trend will normalize along the lines of the pre-COVID trajectory within the next several months. If it does not, it could mean we have a problem regarding the soft-landing scenario for this business cycle. That risk is somewhat mitigated (at least for now) because the DPI 3MMA for October 2021 is about 1.4% “above trend” relative to the pre-COVID trajectory. The risk of a hard landing would increase if we were to run below the pre-COVID trend. We will be sure let you know if that occurs. Another means at our disposal for monitoring consumer wellbeing is the ratio between household debt service payments and DPI (nominal dollars this time). The level of debt service as a percentage of DPI is very low at this time.

U.S. Real Disposable Income U.S. Real Disposable Income Per Capita

Thousands of 2012 $










20 Recession 3MMA

10 0

















U.S. Real Disposable Income Thousands of 2012 $


Per Capita

U.S. Real Disposable Income Per Capita



45 Monthly 40


86 • Winter 2022









ITR FOR GAWDA Household Debt Service Payments as a Percentage of Disposable Personal Income Percentage


Household Debt Service Payments as a Percentage of Disposable Personal Income


The chart shows that debt service requirements are exceptionally low. The 9.2% for 2Q21 is tied to debt forgiveness and enforcement hiatus. The 1Q21 debt ratio of 8.4% was the lowest in slightly over 40 years. How much the debt burden will climb back remains to be seen; however, we think it is noteworthy that the level is currently well below the 2019 rate of 9.9%. A return to a debt service level of approximately 9.9% will still leave us at the average ratio for the last 10 years (healthy). Given reports that consumers are willing to go into debt this holiday season, we will be monitoring this trend for you. The numbers are healthy right now. It will pay dividends for 2022 to keep in mind that:















Recession 3MMA












Even a diminishing rate of growth for the economy at large will mean pain for some businesses/industries, and that pain will make the headlines and create consternation. Economic indications and consumer health are favorable for the soft landing we are projecting. There are risks regarding Disposable Personal Income slipping too low and debt service levels rising too high, but we will rigorously monitor these trends.

LEADING INDICATORS ITR Leading Indicator™ ITR LEADING INDICATOR™ LEADING INDICATOR POINTS TO EARLY-2022 12/12 PEAK FOR INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION The ITR Leading Indicator™ moved lower in November. The Indicator suggests an early-2022 peak for the U.S. Industrial Production 12/12 rate-of-change, followed by 12/12 decline into at least mid-2022.




Leading Indicator














U.S. Industrial Production - 12/12


ITR Leading Indicator


-21 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 Winter 2022 • 87


U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate-of-Change

U.S. TOTAL INDUSTRY CAPACITY UTILIZATION RATE RATE 1/12 TICKS UP; GENERAL DECLINE SIGNALS SLOWING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN 2022 The U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate 1/12 ticked up in October. Volatility is not uncommon for the Rate 1/12; the general trajectory is descent. The Rate 1/12’s overall movement points to an imminent business cycle peak for U.S. Industrial Production (slightly earlier than the consensus of our leading indicators) and subsequent Phase C, Slowing Growth, through at least early next year.


















U.S. Industrial Production - 12/12 U.S. Total Capacity Utilization Rate - 1/12



'09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23

The OECD U.S. Leading Indicator Rate-of-Change

THE OECD U.S. LEADING INDICATOR INDICATOR 1/12 SIGNALS 1H22 SLOWING GROWTH FOR U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION The Leading Indicator 1/12 rate-ofchange moved lower in October. The Indicator 1/12 suggests a near-term cyclical peak for U.S. Industrial Production, followed by cyclical decline through at least mid-2022.




Leading Indicator


10 5

10 5

4.2 1.5





-10 -15

U.S. Industrial Production - 12/12 U.S. Leading Indicator - 1/12

'09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23

88 • Winter 2022

-10 -15





U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Rates-of-Change Managers Index)





The U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) 1/12 rate-of-changed ticked up in November. A single month of upward movement does not by itself suggest a change in trends. The PMI 1/12 signals U.S. Industrial Production will transition to Phase C, Slowing Growth, around the second quarter of 2022, with cyclical decline lasting into at least late 2022.

50 4.2


25 5.9

0 -5

0 -25

U.S. Industrial Production - 12/12



U.S. Purchasing Managers Index - 1/12



'09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23






The ITR Checking Points™ system, as well as the majority of leading indicators, suggest that Production will transition to Phase C, Slowing Growth, around 2Q22.




We expect pricing pressures to let off somewhat as 2022 progresses. Economic growth is expected to slow, and gradual supply-chain improvements may help.




Macroeconomic growth is expected for 2022, and supply increases are slated to be gradual, keeping Prices elevated in 2022.



The tight labor market will continue to drive the need for automation in the coming years, boding well for rising New Orders.



Expect New Orders to rise through 2022 while the U.S. industrial sector expands. Copper Prices suggest the imminent Phase B, Accelerating Growth, trend will be brief.



Limited supply is impacting metals prices; rising costs will contribute to rise in dollar-denominated New Orders in the near term.




Expect New Orders to transition to Phase C, Slowing Growth, around early 2022 as consumer and business-to-business activity transitions to slowing growth.




Ongoing decline in the Indicator supports our expectation that the U.S. industrial sector will move along the back side of the business cycle during much of 2022.

7.6 (Monthly)




Winter 2022 • 89


U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product, which earlier this year made a full recovery from the pandemic-induced shutdowns, transitioned to a slowing growth trend with third-quarter data. Our system of leading indicators has been foreshadowing this transition for months, and we expect slowing growth in the retail and industrial sectors starting in the first half of 2022. We are not expecting business cycle decline to lead to recession; most sectors will undergo slowing growth or a plateau in activity, not



5.3% 2.8% 1.6%

Index 110








100.0* 102.7* 104.4*

* Index based to 2017 = 100. HIGHLIGHTS: ■ Monthly Production in October rebounded sharply following a weak performance in September ■

Financially healthy consumers and businesses will boost demand for Production in 2022–23

Anticipate a transition to Phase C, Slowing Growth, around the second quarter of 2022

Following a weak September, monthly U.S. Industrial Production rebounded a record 1.6% in October, which is typically a month of decline. The Production 12MMA came in 4.2% higher than the year-ago level. We anticipate further 12MMA rise through at least year-end 2023. With consumers and businesses both in strong financial health, consumer spending and capex will drive demand for Production higher in 2022 and 2023. However, a multitude of leading indicators – including U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization and the U.S. OECD Leading Indicator – indicate that the majority of 2022 will be characterized by slowing growth in the overall industrial economy. If your business trends closely with Production, expect more moderate growth rates in 2022–23 relative to 2021. 90 • Winter 2022

U.S. Industrial Production

U.S. Industrial Production Index Data Trend Index Data Trend 12MMA Forecast 12MMA 3MMA


2021 2022 2023

Index 110

contraction. The financial health of consumers and businesses underpin this no-recession outlook. The softening of demand-side pressures and gradual improvements to the supply chain will help moderate inflation through 2022, especially in the second half of the year. In many cases, prices will stay elevated relative to pre-pandemic norms, but the rate of rise will diminish. Select commodities prices, such as steel scrap and oil, will decline late in the year.

'12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 '24

U.S. Industrial Production Index U.S. Industrial Production Rate-of-Change Rate-of-Change






5 4.2

0 -5 -10

12/12 Forecast Range 12/12

0 -5 -10

3/12 -15

-15 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 '24

Management Note: Brainstorm ways to sharpen your competitive advantage and increase customer loyalty as you prepare to navigate the back side of the business cycle in 2022–23.





2021 2022 2023

13.0% 6.4% 2.8%

$898.4 billion* $955.5 billion $981.7 billion*

U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods New Orders (excluding aircraft)

Bils of $ 300

U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods Data Trend New Orders (excluding aircraft) Data Trend


12MMT Forecast 12MMT 3MMT

Bils of $ 1200







ITR Checking Points™ and leading indicators signal Phase C, Slowing Growth, is rapidly approaching for New Orders


Strong corporate profitability will sustain additional New Orders 12MMT rise


Firms need capital equipment to meet robust demand and combat the scarcity and expense of labor

U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods New Orders (excluding aircraft) are posting double-digit year-over-year growth rates, but the latest month of data reveals that the 3/12 is now trending below the 12/12. This negative ITR Checking Point joins the downward movements in various leading indicators – including the ITR Leading Indicator™ and the U.S. Business Confidence Index 1/12 – in support of our expectation for waning business cycle momentum for New Orders in 2022. We expect New Orders to rise through at least 2023 on a 12MMT basis as inflation and strong economic fundamentals (outlined below) keep the dataset out of Phase D, Recession. Record third-quarter U.S. Corporate Profits (with capital consumption adjustments) nearly reached the $3 trillion mark. Profits were up 23.5% relative to the third quarter of 2019, indicating significant rise even from the pre-pandemic baseline. Corporate coffers are flush with cash, in-

400 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 '24

U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods New Orders (excluding aircraft) U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods



New Orders (excluding aircraft) Rate-of-Change


12/12 Forecast Range 20

12/12 3/12










-20 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 '24

terest rates are low, labor is expensive and scarce, and demand exceeds supply across a range of industries – grounds are fertile for further New Orders ascent. Management Note: Invest in efficiencies throughout your business to ensure you are prepared for record levels of New Orders through 2023. Winter 2022 • 91





Dec 2021 Mar 2022 Jun 2022 Sep 2022

$81.03 per barrel $85.00 per barrel $88.90 per barrel $82.73 per barrel

HIGHLIGHTS: ■ Daily Prices plunged as markets digested omicron variant-related news ■

The fundamentals still point to a tight supply-demand balance

U.S. Oil Futures Commodity Prices

92 • Winter 2022

$/bbl. 120

3MMA Forecast 3MMA Actual

100 80

100 80









0 '12

Expect Prices to track the lower end of the forecast range in the near term

On a daily basis, U.S. Crude Oil Spot Prices recently dropped as low as the mid-$60s per barrel on concerns over the omicron variant’s impact on demand but have since rebounded into the $70s. Results will likely come in toward the lower end of the forecast range in the near term. The World Oil Supply 3MMA, at 96.4 million barrels per day, is rising but still 3.7% below the January 2020 high. Investor preferences for companies that score highly on ESG (environmental, social, and governance) metrics, which tend to rate oil companies poorly, will limit appetites for funding traditional operations. With global demand at 98.8 million barrels per day on a 3MMA basis, and more rise ahead given the growth (albeit slowing growth) we are forecasting for the global economy next year, the fundamentals point to elevated Prices into 2022. Management Note: Fundamentals suggest viewing the recent pullback in Prices as temporary rather than enduring. Manage your business accordingly.

Data Trend

U.S. Oil Futures Commodity Prices Data Trend

$/bbl. 120











U.S. Oil Futures Commodity Prices U.S. Oil Futures Commodity Prices Rate-of-Change Rate-of-Change



12/12 Forecast Range 150


12/12 3/12




50 63.7






-100 '12















Sep 2021 702.29* Dec 2021 768.19* Mar 2022 717.16* Jun 2022 706.82* * Index based to 1982 = 100. HIGHLIGHTS: ■ We lifted the forecast on supply limitations ■

Some grades of steel are posting dramatically higher growth rates than the 70.0% 3/12 for steel scrap

The price of steel scrap, which has flattened as of late, tends to lead prices of other grades of steel through the business cycle

U.S. Steel Scrap Prices have flattened in recent months but are up 70.0% compared to the year-ago level on a 3MMA basis. We lifted the forecast on supply limitations. The Prices 3MMA will vacillate through at least the third quarter of 2022 as Phase C, Slowing Growth, nears and takes hold for industrial activity. Prices will stay approximately 27–38% above the mid-2018 3MMA peak during that time. Certain grades of steel are exhibiting pricing ascent that is dramatically more robust than that for steel scrap. U.S. Hot Rolled Steel Sheets and Strips Producer Prices, for example, posted a 229.1% increase in the most recent three months relative to the same three months one year earlier. Takeaways are: (1) know the supply situation for the types of steel you use, and (2) understand that steel scrap, an input, tends to move earlier in the business cycle

U.S. Steel Crap Futures Commodity Prices Data Trend

U.S. Steel Scrap Futures Commodity Prices Data Trend

$/GT 900

3MMA Forecast 3MMA Actual


$/GT 900

716.9 700






100 '12











U.S. Steel Scrap Futures Commodity Prices U.S. Steel Scrap Futures Commodity Prices Rate-of-Change Rate-of-Change


12/12 Forecast Range












-100 '12











than finished steel, so the former’s flattening trend foreshadows potential analogous trends for many grades of finished steel in the coming months. Management Note: Avoid linear thinking. The recent strength of ascent in pricing will not persist in 2022. Winter 2022 • 93





2021 21.0% 2022 4.2% 2023 1.5%

$434.9 billion $453.2 billion $460.0 billion

HIGHLIGHTS: ■ New Orders may trend on the lower end of the forecast range in the near term due to automotive and heavy truck production being held up by the semiconductor shortage ■

U.S. Fabricated Metal Products New Orders Bils of $ 150


U.S. Fabricated Metal Products New Orders in the 12 months through October totaled $421.6 billion in October, up 17.8% from one year ago. New Orders will likely come in on the lower end of the forecast range in the near term due to the semiconductor shortage that is plaguing automotive and heavy truck production. However, we concluded that the forecast remains the most likely outcome for New Orders given trends in machinery markets. Expect the New Orders 12MMT to generally rise through at least year-end 2023, but for a plateau during the majority of that year. U.S. Gross Domestic Production is moving along the back side of the business cycle, and we expect diminishing growth rates in the industrial sector as well during 2022 and into 2023. This will contribute 94 • Winter 2022

12MMT Forecast 12MMT 3MMT

Bils of $ 600








200 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 '24

New Orders will reach a business cycle (growth rate) peak imminently and then will be in Phase C, Slowing Growth, for much of 2022 and 2023 The New Orders 12MMT will rise into 2023 and then plateau for much of that year

Data Trend

U.S. Fabricated Metal Products New Orders Data Trend

U.S. Fabricated Metal Products New Orders Data Trend







0 -10 -20 -30

10 0

12/12 Forecast Range 12/12 3/12

-10 -20 -30

'12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23 '24

to Phase C, Slowing Growth, in New Orders during that time. Trends in the ITR Leading Indicator™ and in Fabricated Metal Products Manufacturing Capacity Utilization, as well as slowing growth in U.S. Housing Starts and relative weakness in the U.S. auto industry, provide further evidence for lower growth rates during 2022 than in 2021. Management Note: Conduct market research to identify what your customers value most and work on your competitive advantages to try to gain market share.




U.S. Construction Machinery New Orders Data Trend

Bils of $ 15



HIGHLIGHTS: ■ The New Orders 12MMT will rise into the second half of 2022 ■

Leading indicators suggest an imminent transition to Phase C, Slowing Growth

The infrastructure package bodes well for New Orders rise in the coming years

U.S. Construction Machinery New Orders in the 12 months through October totaled $41.7 billion, 31.2% above the same period one year ago. General 12MMT rise will persist into the latter half of 2022. A mild declining trend will then take hold and persist into late 2023. Rate-of-change decline in nearly all the macroeconomic leading indicators as well as in residential construction points to an imminent transition to Phase C, Slowing Growth, for New Orders. The recently signed federal infrastructure package is an upside risk to our expectations for this sector. However, funds will be gradually distributed over five years, with some going to projects that are not machinery-intensive, and public construction comprises only a portion of the overall construction machinery market. Management Note: Pursue market share gains ahead of the likely 12MMT decline expected to commence in late 2022. Advertise your competitive advantages now to differentiate yourself from competitors.

U.S. Construction Machinery New Orders Data Trend

Bils of $ 60







0 '12












U.S. Construction Machinery New Orders U.S. Construction Machinery Rate-of-Change New Orders Rate-of-Change

75 50

75 50












-50 -75













Winter 2022 • 95




Moving totals/averages are used to smooth out the volatility inherent to monthly data at the product/company level.

A 12-month moving total (12MMT) or average (12MMA) is the total (or average) of the monthly data for the past 12 months. The 12MMT(A) removes the seasonal variation in order to derive the underlying cyclical trend. It is also referred to as the annual total or average.

MONTHLY MOVING TOTAL (MMT) VS. MONTHLY MOVING AVERAGE (MMA): There are times when it is desirable to calculate a monthly moving average instead of a total. Averages are used when the data cannot be compounded, such as an index, percent, price level or interest rates. Totals are used for things where it makes sense to add the data together (for example, units sold or total dollars spent).

3MMT/A: A three-month moving total (3MMT) or average (3MMA) is the total (or average) of the monthly data for the most recent three months. Three-month moving totals (3MMT) or averages (3MMA) illustrate the seasonal changes inherent to the data series.

RATE-OF-CHANGE: A rate-of-change figure is the ratio comparing a data series during a specified time period to the same period one year ago. Rates-of-change are expressed in terms of the annual percent change in an MMT or MMA. Rates-of-change reveal whether activity levels are getting progressively better or worse compared to last year. Consecutive rate-of-change illustrates and measures cyclical change and trends. ITR Economics’ three commonly used rates-of-change are the 1/12, 3/12 and 12/12, which represent the year-over-year percent change of a single month, 3MMT(A) and 12MMT(A), respectively. A rate-of-change above zero indicates a rise in the data relative to one year prior, while a rate-of-change below zero indicates decline.

BUSINESS CYCLE POSITIONS: The data trends and rates-of-change identify positions in the business cycle. Those positions are: 12/12 is rising below zero and the data trend is either heading toward a low or is in the early stages of recovery.



This is the first positive phase of the business cycle.



12/12 is rising above zero, data trend is accelerating in its ascent, and growth is occurring above year-ago levels. This is the second positive phase of the business cycle.





12/12 is declining but remains above zero, data trend is decelerating in its ascent or has stopped its rise, but it is still above last year.

12/12 is below zero and the data trend is at levels below the year-earlier level.

This is the first negative phase of the business cycle.

This is the final phase and second negative phase of the business cycle.

ITR Economics for GAWDA | Welding & Gases Today ITR ECONOMICS | P: 603-796-2500 | www.itreconomics.com 96 • Winter 2022


Launching a Website? Here’s What You Need to Know Tips for Tackling Your New Website Project and Best Practices to Improve Website Speed, Performance, and Optimization. BY THOMAS J. ARMITAGE, SITE-SEEKER, INC.

W Tom Armitage is part of the sales team at Site-Seeker, a boutique digital marketing agency based in Upstate NY. He earned his master’s in integrated marketing communication from West Virginia University and bachelor’s in public relations from Utica College of Syracuse University. After holding marketing/PR roles at Sovena and Overit, Tom joined the Site-Seeker team in 2013.

ebsites have come a long way over the past two decades. It might sound cliche, but things were a lot easier then. It was possible to get away with a simple site and basic search engine optimization (SEO) before seeing loads of success in terms of traffic, form fills, and sales. But, like anything in the technology world, things have gotten a lot more complicated. Websites can now be fully customized and come equipped with all sorts of rich features that can improve customer experience. It’s important that website managers are mindful of the necessary steps involved in properly launching and maintaining a website — lest they run the risk of seeing negative impacts in search engine rankings and conversion rates.


Despite a rapidly changing landscape, websites continue to be the lifeblood of most organizations’ marketing programs. Marketing and sales can take place in all sorts of places and platforms - from in-person to social media to email - but websites remain the “home base” where conversions take place. That’s why so much time, effort, and resources are put into websites. B2B companies should continue building a new website every 3-5 years. That’s because, over that time, company goals may be updated, trends tend to change, new features become popular, Google’s algorithm is tweaked, companies go through branding

redoes, and, sometimes it’s good to just have a fresh new look.


There are a number of items that go into building a new website. Most teams follow a similar process. It usually consists of some version of the following: • Planning • Sitemap • Wireframe • Design • Development • SEO and content • Testing • Tracking setup • Launch It can be an intense amount of work, especially if the website is large. But, beyond those notable steps/items, here are some other - often overlooked - areas to be mindful of. 1) Choosing A Theme

Most websites sit on some sort of content management system (CMS). Wordpress is the most popular of the bunch - powering more than 450 million websites and the clear market share leader. Websites built through Wordpress (or another CMS) can be either custom-built or lean on a templated framework. Templates, sometimes called Themes, have grown in popularity, as the number of options and features have become almost endless. Winter 2022 • 97

TRENDS & TECHNOLOGY The unfortunate truth is that many Themes look great but perform horribly. They come equipped with too many features (in an attempt to cater to a diverse set of businesses) and sacrifice speed and performance as a result. It’s important you start with a Theme that doesn’t have bloated code and offers top-tier performance. 2) Hosting

Unlike your domain (which is the name of your website and purchased through a domain registrar), hosting is where your website resides and where the files are digitally stored. Every website requires a hosting environment. And there’s several of them out there to choose from. It’s wise to consider where you host your site, how much storage space you need, and whether you can use a shared environment or require one that’s dedicated. A VPS, or virtual private server, offers a dedicated or private server and can improve website speed and security. 3) SSL

SSL stands for “secure sockets layer.” If a site has an SSL certificate, there will be a little lock icon next to the domain name within the browser. SSL is a protocol for establishing authenticated and encrypted links between networked computers. Simply put, it helps make your site more secure. It’s an absolute must for sites that invite users to submit information - either by way of form or transaction. It’s still highly recommended for any other site, too, since it provides peace of mind for users and is used as a ranking signal for SEO. Cost is minimal - about $50 for the year - and

would normally be set up at the host level. 4) Redirects

When companies move from an old site to a new one, there’s naturally going to be pages that are either deleted or moved. In both cases, redirects need to be used. This tells both search engines and users where the new pages are located and avoids 404 errors. Beyond that, internal links should be reviewed and corrected if they use testing or staging URLs. And www vs. non-www domains should have site-wide redirects implemented. 5) SMTP and Email

SMTP stands for “simple mail transfer protocol.” It’s a protocol used to send emails more securely (and with more accuracy) from account to account. By enabling it at the website level, it helps improve the process of receipts of successful form submissions being sent via email to end-users (either notification emails for internal team members, or external confirmations to those who submitted). Set up SMTP and update your form software with the appropriate credentials.


A new website is like a new car. You wouldn’t drive off the lot without a plan to properly maintain it, right? It needs to be kept clean. You need to fuel it with premium gas. You need to get it inspected at least once per year. You should rust-proof it, change the tires, and swap out filters on a regular basis. Treat your business website the same way. It’s an engine that needs to be fueled. A machine that needs upkeep. By continued on next page

B2B companies should continue building a new website every 3-5 years.

98 • Winter 2022


Keep relevancy in mind at all times. Make sure your keywords and the content you are choosing to create will resonate with your target audience.

maintaining it, your website will perform better, faster, and warrant higher quality results for your business. 1) Plugins

Plugins are pieces of software that can be added to a website to provide extra features or functionality. With an open-source CMS like Wordpress, there are tons of available plugins. Some bad, some good, some free, some paid. Some plugins can impact performance. In particular, these can improve site speed through caching or code optimization. Some examples for Wordpress include WP Super Cache, Autoptimize, and Async JS. 2) CDN

Website speed is a critical component today for SEO. It’s one of the factors Google is now looking at as part of its core web vitals update (issued in summer 2021) when deciding on how it ranks websites in its search engine result pages. CDN stands for “content delivery network.” This is a shared group of servers where images or other rich media reside. When loading, these media files are called in from a location on the delivery network closest to the visitor. And it usually allows them to load faster and improves overall site speed. 3) Updates

It’s important to continually check a website for updates. That goes for both the website Theme and the plugins being used. Both have regular updates. You’ll want to install the updates but also

make sure there are no conflicts between existing plugins or with the Theme, as this could negatively affect the website. Check for updates but regularly monitor. 4) Web Accessibility

One in five people has some sort of disability today. It’s important that websites are built/updated in such a way that allows better accessibility for all types of users. Not only is it a best practice but it’s required by law. By building your site with web accessibility in mind, or leaning on a third-party web accessibility tool, you can help your site become more compliant and reduce the risk of an ADA-related lawsuit. It can help with SEO too. 5) Ongoing SEO and Content

Without content, your website would be an empty shell. Nothing to look at, nothing to experience. Naturally, you’ll need to perform content and SEO work ahead of launch — or else nothing will be on your site. It’s best to start with a keyword strategy and build (or re-build) your content based on those areas of focus. You’ll also want to write custom title and description tags, alt tags (for images), proper headlines (H1, H2, etc.) with those keywords in mind. Consider rich snippets too (code level markup that tells search engines what type of content to expect on certain pages). SEO and content aren’t done when the site goes live though... Search engines dislike stale sites and

it’s important to be constantly building new content that’s optimized and can drive more and better visitors to the site. Keep relevancy in mind at all times. Make sure your keywords and the content you are choosing to create will resonate with your target audience. Consider blogs, articles, case studies, additional product pages, event listings, team bios, etc. These are some examples of pages that can help play a role in driving traffic and conversions.


In marketing and sales, it’s understood that there are many touchpoints to make a sale. Regardless of the business, the website is almost always involved in that process. Whether that’s part of the awareness, research, consideration, or purchase (or all four!) — the website acts as a cornerstone within the buyers’ journey. That’s why it needs to be treated with high levels of attention and care, both during the website build and as part of ongoing management. Website managers often overlook critical steps throughout a website’s life cycle. This list highlights some of the important areas to take into consideration to increase speed and performance of your site which leads to greater levels of traffic, conversions, and ultimately more sales. Winter 2022 • 99

Keeping the Gas & Welding Distributors Association connected, one video at a time. New videos expected to be released the 1st and 15th of every month.


Most Watched in 2021 Episode 1 – COVID 19 Episode 3 – CANNABIS Episode 8 – GAWDA PRESIDENTS Episode 10 – SMC RECAP Episode 11 – MADE IN THE USA Episode 15 – ADDRESSING THE LABOR SHORTAGE Episode 16 – GAWDA GIVES BACK Episode 17 – TELEMETRY Episode 21 – PLANNING FOR YOUR BUSINESS Episode 22 – HAPPY HOLIDAYS 100 • Winter 2022

Have an interesting story to tell? Contact Steve Guglielmo about being interviewed for an upcoming episode.

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Price Increases & Cost Reductions


A recipe for Channel Conflict – or Harmony? BY MIKE MARKS, INDIAN RIVER CONSULTING GROUP

A Mike Marks is co-founder and managing partner of Indian River Consulting Group, a consulting firm to distributors and manufacturers. He specializes in helping distributors and manufacturers accurately diagnose problems and identify risk-bound alternatives. Contact him at mmarks@ircg.com or visit ircg.com.

s we face ongoing shocks to the economy, everybody in the value chain will face the same challenges: Some price increases won’t stick, some cost reductions won’t be enough, and businesses that are undercapitalized will continue to fail. Many will negotiate extended terms before they file. And as customers try to navigate their own challenges, many will change distributors and even brands. Those companies that make it through this pandemic will have earned or changed their reputation, for better or worse, based on their actions. Price increases and cost reductions were one of the earliest and most persistent actions taken in the channel. Those firms driven by strategy rather than short-term earnings considered the long run when making price and cost decisions.


Whether they like them or not, distributors and customers recognize the need for price increases when their upstream partner needs them for survival. With channel harmony in mind, here’s how a supplier acting strategically implements price increases: • A good price increase announcement is genuine and presents a truthful case. • It isn’t done too early as a “just-in-case my profit is affected,” because, if you do that, you are telling channel partners that, “It is all about me and you guys figure it out on your own.”

• No one knows if extra costs due to productivity declines during social distancing will be here long term, so smart distributors and manufacturers will acknowledge the uncertainty and the goal of rescinding related price increases when possible, similar to the fuel delivery surcharges in the ‘70s. • Alternatives are provided that could get rid of the need for an increase. For example, put boundaries on minimum order size, order frequency, direct digital links or other factors that reduce the need for the increase. • An advance notice period must allow for delivery shipments that are backordered.


A distributor has three options when faced with a price increase from a manufacturer: Pass it along, absorb it by cutting costs, or absorb it and dilute profit. It is harder for distributors to pass on price increases than it is to do a cost reduction. In a distributor’s business model, a high percentage of their cost structure is variable. A manufacturer has few variable costs, and, because so much is fixed, they will find it relatively easier to do a price increase. A distributor that is stressed will first go to their strategic suppliers and ask for some support. They will simultaneously try to develop a plan to set some customer price increases. Most will want to wait until they believe that the increase will stick – along with their key customers. If they can’t wiggle out, then a cost reduction is next. Winter 2022 • 101

SALES & MARKETING A cost reduction in the form of a layoff or furlough means that fewer people are doing the same work, so service levels will most likely decline. Because of mistakes and responsibility transfers, a cost reduction is often also a cost transfer to potentially both the upstream and downstream channel partners. These are often material as many executives overestimate the amount of available discretionary energy in their workforce. When pay cuts or furloughs are used, does the team understand the criteria for when they go back to normal? Employee uncertainty reduces productivity and often the best people are the ones who leave. Does the organization have confidence in their leadership and their new normal sales plan? Many distributors are well down the road on their own sales transformation efforts. A manufacturer with a realistic plan will know which distributors to support.


• Any disruption of the scale we saw with this pandemic lowers switching costs between channel partners. With

a bit of humility, companies can gain share from those that are overconfident, complacent, or arrogant. • Decide whether your firm is playing a short game or a long game. • Be genuine and consistent in your behaviors and how you choose to make exceptions. • Decide what you want your upstream and downstream channel partners to say about you when you are not around. Behave to make it so. A combination of trust and honesty adds significant economic value to the channel. For example, a customer that can’t handle the price increase will come back to the distributor with the problem and potentially pitch some other ways to stay together. This same trust and honesty can turn cost reductions into channel partner discussions on how to work together to lower the cost to serve, the cost to acquire and the cost to use. What if these collaborations became part of the new normal? In simple terms, this starts at the top with the right values. Time will tell, as this is going to be a bumpy ride.

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Customer Segmentation that Actually Works Profit-value segmentation delivers where all others have failed. BY RANDY MACLEAN, PRESIDENT OF WAYPOINT ANALYTICS

I Randy MacLean is the founder of WayPoint Analytics, the inventor of LIPA, and best-selling author of a series of profit practices books. For more than a decade he’s been analyzing company results, thinking about, writing about and advising on profit issues in distribution and manufacturing. WayPoint software is used by hundreds of companies to control their profits, and their destinies.

think most executives can remember a carefully planned marketing or pricing initiative that didn’t really pan out. Some years ago, we saw yet another example of this and decided to find out why so many projects weren’t paying off. The answer turned out to be the ineffectual customer segmentation models the programs were based on. There had to be a better way – a methodology directly serving the very purpose of effective segmentation – so we engineered something much, much better. This has been a renaissance in the effectiveness of these programs and has had a real impact on the profit rates of many companies.


Wise and effective use of company resources requires identification of customer segments which have similar needs and logistical requirements, presenting similar opportunities to produce high profit rates. The first two of these elements demand thinking through and developing streamlined service models for each type of business or customer the company serves. “Service Model” is the term for a particular set of processes and practices that encompass the way your company interacts with certain customer groups. It describes what you offer and how, what supporting services (like trade credit and delivery) are included, the level of sales coverage, etc. Differentiated service models for different sets of customer needs are an absolute requirement

to improve your competitive position and drive profit growth. Integrating the opportunity and efficiency components into your plans is where profit-value segmentation comes in.


Because no company has the bandwidth to develop individual service models for every customer, effective segmentation shares the invested time across many customers. Segmentation is a management trick – it’s supposed to group customers with similar needs and logistics so your initiatives will be right for most or all of the customers in each segment. This increases efficiency because you need only develop a limited number of programs or policies, and a large number of customers can be affected. Too often, segmentation efforts get mired in the surface attributes of the customers – things like customer size, sector, or zip code. This results in diverse populations within the segments, which is the opposite of the objective. We found that, by far, the most effective segmentation looks at customer profit opportunity and customer relationship efficiency. In other words, identifying customers more- or less-likely to produce profit, and whether they actually do so. So, how is this done?


Profit-value segmentation delivers a reliable and effective way to properly segment customers, and to match the right mix of offerings and processes to each group. Winter 2022 • 103


Ineffective segmentation based on cosmetic or surface attributes like company size, market, or geography, aren’t correlated to opportunity or efficiency and will create diverse Customers segmented by cosmetic attributes (like size) produce segments with mixed populations within the customer values. segments. Programs targeted at the “average” needs of each group will be wrong for most of the segment population, causing programs to fail. You’ll know the segmentation has failed when your dependent initiative requires course corrections and a myriad of exceptions.


Profit-value segmentation is based on the two critical dimensions and produces segments with customers very cleanly distributed into very actionable segments. Segments developed with profit-value segmentation use

profit opportunity and relationship efficiency to group customers. This value-based methodology groups customers with very diverse attributes into each group and is a much more precise fit for tailored offerings and operations. Profit-value segmentation groups Groups with marcustomers that are very similar. ginal profit opportunity can be made more profitable by creating more streamlined or no-frills service models, which will ameliorate losses and can change money-losing small accounts into money-makers. Groups that are the actual core of the company’s profit generation get concierge service and a high-level treatment that brings resiliency to the relationship and makes it easier for the sales force to get more of them.


Profit-value segmentation uses customer profit potential and efficiency values to map them into a matrix, segregating them into groups where the two dimensions are similar within the group.

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The profit-value segmentation matrix.

This creates six segments. The five segments on the left are exclusive of each other, where a customer can only exist in one. The sixth segment (on the right) is a second dimension that will contain customers already in one of the segments on the left.


In the world of LIPA (Line-Item Profit Analytics), our field of specialty, we have a vernacular so we can effectively communicate the values that really control profitability and growth. So, for clarity, a few definitions: • OpCash (Operating Cash) is usually called gross profit and represents the profit ceiling for a sale or account. • CTS (Cost-To-Serve) is the sum of operating costs associated with doing business with a customer, excluding the cost of the sales force. • NBC (Net Before Compensation) is the operating profit, before the costs of the sales force are applied. • ROX (Return on Expenses) is the actual NBC return for dollars spent in operations and administration. You might think of this as ROI for expenditures. With that out of the way, let’s look at the segments produced by the profit-value segmentation model. HLA – High-Leverage Accounts: high-volume accounts with above-average NBC production rates. HLAs generate profits at a much higher rate than all other accounts, and are both the fastest path to increased profit, and the way to increase the company’s overall profit rate. Increasing the proportion of sales in these accounts is the only way to increase the company’s profit production rate. This is vital for company leaders to drive sustained profit and cash-flow gains. HLA accounts are the first part of your Platinum account group – the accounts you prioritize and protect. HEA – High-Efficiency Accounts: high-volume accounts with below-average cost rates. HEAs convert large OpCash values into profit at a CTS well below their peers. They’re the best accounts for growth because adding accounts to this group

grows OpCash and NBC faster than it grows expenses. This drives higher ROX values, and this segment is second part of your Platinum account group. HPA – High-Potential Accounts: accounts with above-average OpCash, but below-average profit performance. HPAs have the potential to be very large money-makers or very large money-losers. (You can’t make or lose a lot of money on a small account.) The initiatives you develop for this class of customers will streamline to operational costs for the group, and likely include incentive design to encourage large, less-frequent orders. PDA – Profit-Drain Accounts: accounts with above-average OpCash production, but also out-of-range expenses. They feature an inverted spread between margin and CTS% (CTS% is higher than margin, producing losses). PDAs are the accounts which need to be reformed or replaced, as they consume profits made elsewhere. Reg+ – Money-making small accounts. Accounts in this group are profitable, but don’t represent enough OpCash to have a large individual effect on profit performance, but their usually large numbers can add up. There will also be accounts in this section that are on the fringe of being HLAs and can be moved into the category with some focus. Reg- – Money-losing small accounts. Accounts in this group are unprofitable, but don’t represent enough OpCash to have a large individual effect on profit performance, but their usually large numbers can add up. Improved service models, customer incentives and policy changes can move the least bad of these into the Reg+ category, and encourage the worst to patronize your competitors where they’ll tie up resources and drain profits.


Profit-value segmentation is the core of developing the differentiated service models that most effectively match resources and activities to the right customers, streamlining your organization so it produces gains in profit and customer service, while eliminating wasteful activities and related costs. This is so critical to success that it’s a core function in WayPoint, and drives customer selection and service models in the companies that out-perform their industries. This article is adapted from a section in Profit-Driven Analysis & Practices: The CEO’s Guide to Record Profits by Randy MacLean (ISBN: 979-8589295375). Winter 2022 • 105





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Combating Cybersecurity Risks Don’t Leave Your Digital Door Unlocked. BY PAUL BANUSKI

O Paul Banuski is a human resource consultant for HR One, a full-service payroll and human resource consulting firm. For more information, call the company’s Helpline at 1-800-457-8829. This article was used with permission from HR One.

ne question I love to ask employers is, “What is your greatest organizational asset?” Almost invariably, the answer they give me is, “Our people.” And it’s true. People represent one of the greatest assets most businesses have. Then, I flip the question around. “And what’s your greatest liability as an employer?” And, amazingly, the answer is usually the same. “Our people.” Between payroll, benefits, and administration, employees represent an enormous portion of company resources. And that’s before you consider turnover, absenteeism, disciplinary issues, insurance claims and unemployment costs. Then, there are the cyber security risks… Organizations large and small have been the target of various hacks, ransomware, viruses and other forms of cyber attacks in the past few years. These attacks can cost millions of dollars to fix. According to international insurer Allianz, cyber attacks have been on the rise every year since 2016, and the claims paid in that time total nearly $900 million. While there are individuals and networks of savvy criminals ultimately responsible, more often than not, they’re able to find their way into a company’s network because an employee has left the digital door unlocked. Employees don’t mean to do this, of course. But, sometimes they make a mistake and forget to follow security procedures and protocols (assuming, of course, an employer has those safeguards in place). And some cyber criminals aren’t looking for a seven-figure payout; they’re comfortable targeting smaller organizations for

smaller amounts of money. For example, in 2019 the Onondaga County (NY) District Attorney’s office warned of a payroll scam targeting employers using fraudulent email addresses to have direct deposit information changed from an employee to an account set up by the scammer or from hackers using an employee’s account to redirect the paycheck. The district attorney said in a news release, “These requests may look valid, since they often come from the employee’s actual email account which has been compromised, or a spoof email that is designed to appear similar to the user’s email handle (for example, using the number “1” in place of a lowercase “L”). Alternatively, the request may use the appropriate internal organizational forms to change banking information lending the appearance of credibility.” But sometimes the trick isn’t even that devious. It’s not necessarily a nefarious genius with a high-tech set-up trying to hack your employees or your company. It’s just that too many people volunteer important information on social media and make it easy for people to commit crimes of opportunity. Think about it. If you have online accounts to manage your banking, credit cards, or payroll, consider the password security questions for those accounts. Often the questions that must be answered when you reset a password on a website are about first cars, names of favorite teachers or pets. Take a quick glance at your Facebook feed and see how many people just in your own network give that kind of information away to Winter 2022 • 107

SALES & MARKETING the world, either by having a public account or by voluntarily sharing that type of information in various polls or surveys. There are two primary actions that an organization can take to reduce its risk of being caught in scams like these.


Your organization should have procedures in place for managing transactions like changing direct deposit information, wire transfers and even address changes. If you aren’t using an employee self-service payroll platform, you can require employees to make requests to change direct deposit information in writing using an internal form. Verify all requests with the employee before making any changes to someone’s account. Any deviation from established procedure is at least a warning to be vigilant for a scam.


It’s not enough for the HR manager or payroll administrator to use best practices if employees are susceptible to


We all know it can be mind-boggling to create and remember every password to each account we have, but it is critical to keeping your information safe. However, taking the time to do so can be the difference between keeping your information secure or making it all too easy for someone to access your information. According to Experian, over half of data breaches involved weak, stolen or default passwords. Here are some general tips for creating a stronger password: • Use longer passwords: The longer the password, the harder it takes for hackers to crack the code. According to CSO, which provides news, analysis and research on security and risk management, a 10-character password takes years to figure out, whereas an 8-character password can take only minutes. • Include special characters: Some hackers search for passwords using common words, so mix up your passwords with special characters (e.g., $ instead of “S”), a random capital letter or symbol in your password (e.g., W31d1ng&Gas3s! instead of weldingandgases). • Use a two-step authentication process if available. Yes, it takes a few minutes to set up, but it will be completely worth it if it avoids you being hacked. Not only will you set up a password, but you’ll also 108 • Winter 2022

having their email or a payroll self-service account hacked. Require employees to use strong passwords when setting up accounts and to change those passwords on a regular basis. Experian, the credit bureau, offers tips for generating strong passwords. Make sure your employees know the procedures for making a change. One technique that all employers should be using when it comes to their payroll services is to make sure they offer two-factor authentication before someone can log-in to their accounts. Two-factor authentication requires not only a user ID and password but also the use of a verification code that is sent to the person’s cell phone as a text message. Sometimes steps like this can appear cumbersome, but they are well worth the extra few moments to protect your organization and your people. (Source: Allianz: Companies need to strengthen cyber controls to counter ransomware pandemic https://www.agcs.allianz.com/newsand-insights/news/cyber-risk-trends-2021-press.html October 13, 2021)

have to provide your fingerprint or access a code texted to your phone in order to sign into your accounts. This adds another layer of protection from hackers. • Don’t use the same password for every account. Again, passwords can be hard to remember, but do your best to use different passwords for every account. Try to create passwords that are unrelated, too, so that one hacked account doesn’t give a clue to your other accounts. And, never create a document on your computer listing all of your passwords. Keep that separate from your electronic devices. • Don’t include information in your password that could easily be figured out elsewhere. For example, don’t use your house number or digits from your phone number in a password, as these are too easy to figure out. Also, avoid passwords like “12345678” or “password.” That’s practically inviting someone to hack into your account. • Finally, don’t fall for those surveys on social media. Surveys, particularly on Facebook, that asks you to answer ten or more questions like “What’s your pet’s name?” or “What’s was your first car?” These might seem like fun ways to interact with friends, but they are also giving out specific personal information that a hacker might find very useful.



I John Tapley is a Business Development Manager at Chart Industries with expertise in new business startup, innovative business growth and marketing strategies and digital/social media marketing. He has significant experience in all facets of the industrial gas industry, both domestic and global and can be reached at john. tapley@chartindustries. com and 470-332-4686.

t’s that time of year where we’re thinking and planning for the next one. But will the next one be anything like the last two? How can we feel confident in developing sales goals, building a business plan and understanding our marketing strategy if the chaos continues? Will there be more supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and continued variant fears? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing in that line from the Wizard of Oz paralleling the three fears. Are we listening through the fear, or can we tune it out and stay focused and on task? Maybe we haven’t been exactly here before, but the world has survived worse crises and come out stronger for it. Decision making under pressure and in panic mode is not a good formula. Clear heads must prevail. So, while you’re looking ahead to next year and your favorite Starbucks is closed, the shelves at Kroger are bare, gas prices are up 50%, your shoe size hasn’t been on the shelf in forever, and on and on, it’s not easy to “keep calm and carry on.” A message made famous by the British government in advance of WWII, this is something we can all relate to today during these pandemic weary times. But the show must go on and smoother times will return, and my Starbucks

will reopen. I once heard a Navy Seal use a quote by Robert Frost in explaining their mindset, “the only way out is through it” and he added on, there is always a way through, you just have to find it. Adversity drives innovation, so you can imagine, with all the adversity we’ve been through the past two years, there are areas rich with innovation to overcome obstacles we continue to face. Here are a couple to consider and factor into your plans for the upcoming year.


If you haven’t heard, let me introduce you to Industry 4.0, the digital transformation in manufacturing and production and the value creation behind that. Think Tesla and the self-driving car comes to the shop floor. Smart manufacturing is here. Workers handle the exceptions and autonomous machines will handle the rest. Automation can be a beautiful thing when labor is scarce. And right in the heart of the industrial gas business is where AI is a good fit. Industry 4.0 in the world of metal working is driving change. And in metal fab, one of the largest investments on the shop floor is a laser cutting system with an investment in the millions. And with that kind of cost, it best run as expected and at full capacity Winter 2022 • 109

SALES & MARKETING onstream as called for. And, for obvious reasons, AI is top of mind among the big laser equipment manufacturers. Anything to reduce downtime with intelligent machines and well-trained workers to manage the exceptions if they do happen.


Always evolving, sometimes more than we’d like, social media and, in particular, its impact on digital marketing, can be a guiding force navigating through challenges we continue to face, some we don’t even know about yet. New trends, like social audio apps and the metaverse are emerging because of the pandemic. But we’ll confine our discussion here to the one social app that’s most used in a business setting, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is sometimes referred to as, “The Professional Social Network.” One of the areas that the business community will benefit from with significant labor shortages is remote recruitment. Although some will return to the office, the shift to remote work is here to stay in many cases and brings new challenges in recruiting. LinkedIn is unmatched in its ability to feature jobs for those searching and candidates for recruiters to matchup with. And, unique for the remote search, they have expanded their video tools with video conferencing as part of the messaging experience. Members can schedule video meetings without the need to download a client or sign up to any service. And more to come for LinkedIn Stories which shutdown in September to be replaced with its next video project in 2022. The original Stories concept was to enable sharing of fun and quick video updates. The new version will include extended life beyond the 24 hours previously and the addition of more creative tools.

110 • Winter 2022

Stay tuned as LinkedIn continues to evolve and improve. There are many more features for the business community to leverage in your sales, marketing and business growth initiatives. And there are more initiatives to keep your focus on business strategies and looking ahead vs. the distractions of the pandemic we know will end eventually and escape back to our normal again. When it’s all said and done, focus on being kind and do it with intention. Be nice, be genuine, smile at everyone you see, even if it’s through the mask. In the checkout line, pay attention to the name tag and say thank you using their name. Offer help when someone needs it. We may not be able to change the whole world but for the person in front of us, we can change their whole world with an act of kindness. As you step off into the new year, new plan and new strategy, another bit of advice from our British friends, “mind the gap.”

One of the areas that the business community will benefit from with significant labor shortages is remote recruitment.


Enterprise Selling in the 21st Century A Need to Change BY ART WASKEY

A Art Waskey has over 45 years’ experience in the welding and industrial gas industry. He travels across the country consulting and giving seminars on business skills and has published 3 books of sales skills stories. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Ministry in Leadership Development, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry. You can subscribe to Art’s weekly sales tips and monthly articles on his website. Also, check out his Posts on LinkedIn. For services, contact Art at 720-341-9405, artwaskey@ ispeakd.com, www. impactspeakingdynamics. com

distributor asked for advice on creating new opportunities. His company was experiencing sales erosion to alternative channels. While sales of the company’s added value items that require technical assistance remained strong, its higher profit-margin products were not being ordered. The distributor bemoaned, “Since the pandemic, 15-20% of our revenue has been lost due to reductions in sales of our basic products.” The company’s bread and butter items— like consumables, safety products, and hand tools — were being shopped online elsewhere. The company needed a change.


Sales techniques have always adjusted to economic and business trends. The industrial revolution made products available in large volumes for the first time and a network of distributors was developed to stock inventory locally. This represented a big change in distribution and a company’s approach to sales. Corporate sales cycles were introduced in the ‘60s and ‘70s by companies like IBM, General Electric, and General Motors. These commercial giants wanted goods sold on their timeline. Purchasing agents found this type of selling formulaically abusive and started resisting in the ‘90s. This ushered in the advent of relationship selling, working deals based on promoting higher levels of trust between sales and purchasing. In the 21st century, solution and consult-based selling techniques were introduced. All these transactional sales methods have had their purpose. Today, in response to digitization, a change in the sales process needs to be considered.


The impact of online sales to the distributor channel is being felt. In their November 4, 2021, podcast, the Distribution Strategy Group (DSG) (distributionstrategy.com) predicted a 5-year revenue channel shift in commercial sales. DSG sees traditional distributor revenues potentially dropping an additional 13%, from 65% to 52% of all commercial sales. On the other hand, they expect to see a rise in the other channels: retail channels from 6% to 7%; manufacturer direct sales, 17% to 18%; marketplace with multiple sellers (e.g., Amazon business), 5% to 9%; and pure digital distributors, also 5% to 9%. Gains in these other channel sales are projected to be up 10%, rising from 35% to 48% of total sales. This analysis serves as a wakeup call for distributors. Like the innovative software solutions necessary to handle internal affairs in the digital age, distributors must realign outside salesforce practices to meet the challenge of shifting sales channels created by digitization.


A simple SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis yields insight to the changes needed in the distributor sales force network. The Strength of the distributor is its local connection to the customer, which allows for better communication and options for delivery from nearby warehouses and facilities. The largest Weakness for the independent distributor is its relatively small e-commerce presence, which can lead to the loss of market share. The bright spot is the Opportunity distributors have to offer significant and unique solutions to their Winter 2022 • 111

SALES & MARKETING that 53% of loyalty was by the sales experience – namely the supplier’s ability to deliver unique insight to the customer.”

Enterprise Selling works when customer needs are met with your innovative capabilities.


Enterprise Selling is the business of capturing sales in today’s fast paced digital economy and it requires renewed effort. The Enterprise sales strategy was first used to sell large, sophisticated purchases in the 1950s. Its best practices have evolved over time and today’s top salespeople have taken Enterprise Selling one step further — using it to act as business advisors to the client.

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS customer’s needs as a result of their local relationship. The Threat of market share loss can be mitigated with a rapid sales process adjustment.


Information technology is at the root of why so much has changed in the way we do business, both internally and externally. I was reminded of the importance of staying current on software trends during a workshop I recently attended. Computers Unlimited, the software developer hosting the event, specializes in providing independent gas distributors with customized, integrated ERP software solutions. Their products help streamline the many internal processes essential to running a gas distribution business. Attendees represented the owners of progressive companies and IT personnel charged with implementing software systems. I was impressed with the care taken by the developers to study this distribution group in order to create software applications that met their specific needs. The workshop brought to light the importance of being able to adjust to change. The internal innovations provided by the software developers are indicative of how distributors must also be ready to make changes to their outside sales process.


Today’s customer is awash in information — and it can all look alike. To make a good decision, he/she needs insight from a knowledgeable supplier. Introduce ways your customer can save money and increase earnings using your products. In The Challenger Sales, Taking Control of Customer Conversation, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson relate, “We have found 112 • Winter 2022

From the discovery stage to closing, Enterprise Selling relies on a sales rep’s personal attention to detail and ability to customize solutions to close a deal. Building on progressive insights, such as the writings of Roy Chitwood in World Class Selling and Matthew Dixon and Brent Adams in The Challenger Sales, Taking Control of the Customer Conversation (challengerinc.com), the next generation sales process must occur with collaborative partnerships. To recapture revenue lost to alternate channels and retain existing sales, a relationship among key influencers must be developed. Enterprise Selling occurs when you demonstrate where customer needs meet your company’s innovative capabilities. According to Mark Dancer, “B2B companies should work more closely with partners not to specify how they work, but to understand how they work. By comparing methods across multiple partners, new insights may be gained that can lead to unexpected innovation opportunities.” Spend time getting to know your customer’s business. Analyze that business in terms of your capabilities. A salesperson’s priority is to understand where each player fits in terms of the customer’s and the distributor’s business objectives. Build customer relationships with key executives in sales, marketing, operations, and administration. Question each on their specific needs.


Enterprise Selling involves the use of new sales methods. To make this type of selling work, both salespeople and customers need to learn about these new ways to transact business. Train your sales team in Enterprise Selling techniques. Lead customers through any new external sales processes so they are aware of its value to their bottom line. For example, once a distributor makes the transition to e-commerce, it must teach

SALES & MARKETING the client how to use it to benefit its customers. Capitalize on your long-term local customer relationships and your team’s command of the latest technological developments. Find the opportunities inside the customer by asking their executive team these questions: • What are your company’s strategic objectives for the next one to three years? • Where are you the strongest against your competitors? Where are you lagging? • What business problems are you focusing on with your customers? • What are some of the latest trends in your industry? • How will these trends affect your company? • What is unique about your position in the marketplace? • Where are you most vulnerable? The goal of Enterprise Selling is to implement changes that enhance the traditional role of the distributor’s value chain partnership. To make this work, you need to ask questions. Are you training your field sales force to understand and take advantage of these changing trends in the industry? Are your

reps speaking to the customer about how to achieve better outcomes in their own language? Do reps know the stakeholders and their reasons for deciding to use your products or services?


You have the same sales opportunity today as you did pre-digitization, but you need a new plan of attack. Use Enterprise Selling to offer significant and unique solutions for your customers’ needs. Become a strategic partner to your customers. Get creative in your approach to selling. For example, Mark Dancer suggests, “Local distributors and manufacturers could band together to pitch ‘quality of business,’ which is achieved through their coordinated local products and services.” Use your product knowledge and insight to create new opportunities and recover revenue lost to digital channels. As new ideas gain traction, intentional mindfulness is needed to stay aware of how value is created for customers. Remember, Enterprise Selling works when customer needs are met with your innovative capabilities.

Leader in Gas Transportation, Storage, Vaporizers and Services FIBA Technologies, Inc. 508.887.7100 info@fibatech.com Products and Services available nationwide from sites in CA, KY, LA, MA, OK & PA

www.FIBATECH.com Winter 2022 • 113




art of developing a comprehensive digital marketing campaign is understanding how customers and potential customers are using the Internet to find your products and your website. The graphs and information below all come from Google Trends, which analyzes the popularity of search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. The graphs scale “Interest Over Time” which represent search interest relative to the highest point in the chart for the given region and time-period. So, a value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. Another alternative is “Google Keyword Planner.” To use

for the Gases & Welding Industry BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

this tool, you must have a Google Ads account. The Keyword Planner lets you search keywords and suggests other words or phrases related to your products and services. It lets you research the trend information for how often certain words are searched and how those searches have changed over time and also gives you suggested bid estimates for each keyword so you can determine your advertising budget. In today’s digital environment, we strongly encourage members to capitalize on this growing trend and ensure that your company is visible in the place where people search the most.


• Average Search Volume has increased 131.3% YoY • Average Search Volume has increased 175.9% over the past 5 years

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Supply Chain Management Supply Chain Logistics Supply Chain Issues 2021 Supply Chain Collapse What is causing supply chain issues?


• Average Search Volume has increased 385.7% YoY • Average Search Volume has increased 1,350% over the past 5 years


1. Truck Driver Shortage 2. Driver shortage 2021 3. Why is there a truck driver shortage?


• Average Search Volume has increased 62.5% YoY • Average Search Volume has increased 200% over the past 5 years


Carbon Capture Technology What is Carbon Capture? Carbon Capture and Storage Carbon Capture Companies Carbon Capture and Sequestration


• Average Search Volume has increased 240.9% YoY • Average Search Volume has increased 200% over the past 5 years


Cryogenic Freezing Cryogenic Tank Cryogenic Chamber Cryogenic Therapy Cryogenic Freezer

Winter 2022 • 115


A Successful Sales Manager Can be a Great Deal Coach BY JAY SPIELVOGEL, VENATOR SALES GROUP, LLC

T Jay Spielvogel is CEO of Venator Sales Group (GAWDA member), a sales consulting and training firm specializing in boosting Welding and Gas distribution sales performance. Contact him at: Jay@ venatorsalesgroup.com

116 • Winter 2022

he greatest challenge most distributor sales managers face is the lack of time to deal with all the management, sales strategy, training, recruiting, and other operational tasks their job demands of them. Compounding this challenge is that many sales managers are time constrained due to an inefficient process which includes jumping into high value opportunities or accounts and acting on behalf of their salespeople to clean up account issues, take over difficult cylinder rental contract negotiations or simply acting to close challenging opportunities. Add in the typical reporting, forecasting and other internal work heaped on sales managers, and you’ve got the primary culprit that keeps sales managers from being great coaches and leaders. Unless a proactive approach is implemented, sales managers easily fall into this pattern, since they are former “A-player” salespeople who pride themselves on their sales and account relationship skills. Much like the coach of a sports team, a good sales manager must have a strategy and process for coaching their sales team from the sidelines, rather than jumping onto the playing field and running the play themselves. It is nearly impossible for the coach to run the team successfully while also playing the game. Great sales coaching starts with a sales manager

truly caring about the development of their direct reports and a plan for coaching them on how to achieve that success, especially when it comes to deal coaching. Most distributor salespeople are trained to look for positive account signals, such as having a “great” relationship with an internal champion. Unfortunately, salespeople often ignore the challenges that may exist within the account, such as a technical or financial stakeholder that is an advocate for the competition, an existing contract in place, or a committee of decision makers that tie buying decisions to an existing vendor relationship.


At Venator, we use a process called “interrogating reality,” which digs below the surface of an opportunity to find out what is going on behind the scenes. In other words, to discover the intangibles that often go unrecognized and create obstacles in managing the account or closing new business. To properly interrogate the reality of a sales

SALES & MARKETING opportunity, a manager needs a process for debriefing the salesperson to uncover critical information that has yet to be discovered. When done effectively, the manager helps the salesperson gain a 360-degree perspective on the opportunity, including any possible landmines that may exist. The ideal process entails consistent management debriefs that examine the realities versus what a salesperson wants to believe is true. Below are three core components that should be included in a successful deal coaching process.

To properly interrogate the reality of a sales opportunity, a manager needs a process for debriefing

1. An ability to uncover critical business-driver information

the salesperson

that may have been overlooked during a previous sales call

to uncover critical

through debrief questions.

Some example questions include: • Is the need or issue affecting other departmental timelines or goals? • How is the issue impacting the company operationally and financially? • Did they ever approach the existing vendor with their concerns? • Is there pressure on their department to fix this? • Has the issue scaled outside of their company? • Is it affecting their customer relations or their ability to grow their business?

2. A method to ensure that the salesperson has a comprehensive perspective on all stakeholders that will be involved in the decision, as well as a stakeholder map to discover interrelationships between all key stakeholders.

Some sample questions a manager can use to help a salesperson navigate stakeholders include: • What other departments are impacted by this? • Have you met with these different stakeholders or obtained any information about their personal issues, concerns, and vision? Is there consensus regarding the issue? • Have they had discussions internally about the issues or the fact that they are looking at us to replace the existing distributor? • Is there a formal budgetary or vendor change process and who controls it? 3. A process for exposing any roadblocks or landmines that will stand in the way of closing the sale or compromise account success.

Some sample debrief questions in this category include: • What are other priorities that could interfere with this initiative?

information that has yet to be discovered.

• What does the prospect see as the biggest roadblock? Budgetary constraints? • If there was a possible stumbling block that they see or that their management may present, what is it? • Are they looking at alternative solutions or other distributors? And if so, who? • Are they giving the existing distributor a shot at fixing the issues or adjusting their prices? • What is the plan if the existing distributor comes back with their “A-game” to save the account? Using a debriefing and coaching process, a manager can coach their salespeople, rather than feeling the need to run onto the playing field to play for them. The manager can help develop well-structured account-specific strategies and tactics that allow the salesperson to interrogate the deal reality and effectively close more sales on their own. With an effective coaching strategy, the organization can scale and everyone wins. Venator Sales Group is a Sales Consulting, Optimization, & Training firm with a laser-focus on improving every aspect of a client’s sales culture and sales performance. Founded over a decade ago by high-performing, professional sales practitioners, Venator combines a strategic sales management approach with real-world understanding of the factors necessary for success in today’s selling environment. Venator helps companies turn around inconsistent or lackluster sales performance by infusing a sales culture based on accountability, compliance, and critical thinking. Winter 2022 • 117



W Paul Bernier, ASP, is the Safety Manager for Southern Colorado at General Air Service & Supply. He has worked in the safety industry since 1996.

hen it comes to work-related accidents, hands are the most injured part of the body and rank second behind back and head injuries for causing the most lost time. It’s vital that companies are aware of those statistics. What’s more disturbing is that the majority of injuries, 71% according to OSHA, could be prevented with the proper PPE, i.e., gloves. In our industry, we understand that avoiding burns caused by heat and electrical hazards is the primary reason our customers are wearing protective gloves. However, many of our workers encounter other hazards such as harsh chemicals, sharp objects, and pinch points to mention a few. With a multitude of hazards comes a multitude of different types of gloves. While it presents some challenges for warehousing and showroom space, the OSHA standard 1910.138 requirement states that employers must select and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when potential hazards are present. So, knowing the many different industries we supply, it is important to provide these consumable products to our customer, or someone else certainly will.

HERE ARE SOME KEY STATISTICS: Approximately 110,000 lost time hand injuries per year Hand injuries send more than 1,000,000 workers to ER each year

70% of the

workers who had hand injuries were

not wearing gloves

Of the remaining 30% who did wear gloves, the gloves were inadequate, damaged, or the wrong selection for the hazard

118 • Winter 2022


The selection process and standards can be overwhelming and confusing to say the least, not to mention constantly changing. In this article, we will dissect the ANSI 2106 cut standard and the EN388 number system found on the gloves. ANSI cut levels are printed within a shield and range from A1 to A9, A1 being the lowest cut resistance, A9 being the highest. The ranges can generally be broken into light, medium and heavy-duty protection where A1, A2, and A3 give light-duty protection; A4, A5, and A6 are for medium-duty work; and lastly A7, A8, and A9 provide a heavy-duty protection level. EN388 is also found on the glove with a pictogram of a hammer type object. The EN388 will also have a set of seemingly arbitrary numbers, but once understood can be a quick reference guide. This image will help explain what each digit means

• The first digit shows how well the glove tested for abrasion, from 1 to 4, lowest level of 1 protection to highest being 4. • The second digit shows the cut resistance from 1 to 5 using the Coup test method. If there is an “X” marked here, it means the glove was not tested under the Coup method, it was tested under the TDM method which is indicated in the 5th digit, and vice versa. • The third digit indicates the tear resistance on a scale from 1-4. • The fourth digit show how well the glove protects against puncture, also 1-4. • The fifth digit represents the TDM cut level, the scale is from A-F, the lowest is A and F is the highest level. • Finally, there may be a sixth digit if the glove was tested for impact protection. A “P” indicates passed and “F” if failed, and an “X” or left blank if not tested.

In this image, taken from the back of a glove, you can quickly determine the following • It is a cut level A4 • It has very good abrasion resistance, 3 out of a scale from 1-4 • The manufacturer opted for the better cut test, TDM so put an X here • This glove has the highest level of tear resistance, 4 being the highest rated • This glove also has very good puncture resistance, again 3 out of a possible 4 • Finally, this glove has a mid-level cut resistance, D. Scale is from A-F for TDM test • Also note that there is not a 6th digit, so this glove was not tested for impact resistance In our industry, gloves are not only a great way to increase revenue for the distributor, but also provide cost-savings for our customers. For example, a large fabrication shop in our area works with sheets of ¾ in. plate that are beveled on all sides and the sharp shavings that came off must be picked up and placed in metal barrels for recycling. The workers wore leather work gloves that had minimal, if any, cut resistance. Each worker would go through two pairs per shift, plus some bandages when needed. The leather gloves cost $12 per pair, and there are 12 workers per shift, 3 shifts per day. Needless to say, the costs added up very quickly. We brought them a $3 pair of A4 cut level, lightweight gloves, and each worker wears the gloves for 3 to 4 shifts before replacing them. This results in thousands of dollars saved every month for the customer. Hopefully this guide clarifies the codes listed on gloves, helping you make the right recommendation to your customer and to build stronger, more trusting partnerships in turn. Winter 2022 • 119



G HELD AT THE JW Marriott Indianapolis

10 S. West St. • Indianapolis, IN 42604 317-860-5800 http://bit.ly/GAWDASMC22Hotel

AWDA’s 2022 Spring Management Conference comes to Indianapolis, Indiana, from April 3-5, 2022. Hosted at the beautiful JW Marriott Indianapolis, just 20 minutes from Indianapolis International Airport, this year’s meeting will focus on Leaders Mentoring Leaders. What better place to celebrate leadership and mentoring than the home of the NCAA Hall of Champions, where this year’s Newcomers Reception and President’s Welcome Reception will be held? After a rousing debut at the 2021 SMC in Nashville, we will bring back the Educational Track Sessions for this year’s SMC. Attendees can choose between educational seminars in the areas of: Sales, Leadership and People Development, and Supply Chain. GAWDA’s Spring Management Conference is designed to promote interaction between Owners/CEOs, management, and operations decision makers, and to serve as an ideal platform for tactical networking, process-oriented business education, and actionable take-home solutions.


120 • Winter 2022

Victoria Brifo







T U E S D AY, A P R I L 5 , 2 0 2 2

S AT U R D AY, A P R I L 2 , 2 0 2 2 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Early Badge Pickup JW Grand Ballroom Foyer

S U N D AY, A P R I L 3 , 2 0 2 2 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Conference Registration JW Grand Ballroom Foyer

8:00 am – 11:00 am

Board Meeting with Committee Chairs


7:00 am – 12:00 pm

Conference Registration

7:00 am – 8:00 am

Networking Breakfast

8:00 am – 12:00 pm

General Business Session

JW Grand Ballroom Foyer JW Grand Ballrooms 6-10 JW Grand Ballrooms 1-5

Room 309

12:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Committee Meetings

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Exhibitor - Move in

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Newcomers Reception

5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

President’s Welcome Tailgate

Room 307, 308, 309, 310, 312 JW Grand Ballrooms 5-10 JW Marriott Offsite: NCAA Hall of Champions

M O N D AY, A P R I L 4 , 2 0 2 2 6:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Conference Registration

6:00 am – 12:30 pm

Exhibitor - Move in

7:00 am – 7:30 am

Networking Breakfast

7:30 am – 7:50 am

GAWDA Presentation

8:00 am – 11:20 am

Educational Sessions

11:20 am – 12:30 pm

Group Lunch

12:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Contact Booth Program

4:30 pm

Industry Hospitalities

JW Grand Ballroom Foyer JW Grand Ballrooms 5-10 Griffin Hall Griffin Hall JW Grand Ballrooms 1, 2/3, 4 Griffin Hall JW Grand Ballrooms 5-10

Winter 2022 • 121

INDUSTRY NEWS Abydee Butler Moore Named Third Generation CEO of Butler Gas

The Butler Gas Products Company Board of Directors voted in support of a new slate of officers. Longstanding former CEO and second-generation owner Jack Butler will advance into the role of Chairman. His daughter, Abydee Butler Moore, Butler Abydee Butler Moore Gas President and former COO will step into the role of CEO. Abydee’s mother, Elissa Butler, continues as Treasurer. After growing up in the business, Abydee joined the Butler Gas Products team full-time in 2009 and purchased 20% of the company in 2015. As third-generation owner, she is responsible for the successful implementation of the company’s 100 Year Plan. In his role as Chairman, Jack looks forward to remaining extremely active in the business.

Rise honors women leading the way for the next generation with their outstanding contributions to the business community. This year’s award recognizes six rising business leaders in industries that range from law to health care to career and workplace development to software. These women have only just begun to make their mark on the Capital Region.”

Ratermann Manufacturing Announces Chad Goodwin as Midwest Account Manager

Chad Goodwin has joined Ratermann as Account Manager for the Midwest United States. He has worked in the industry for over 30 years at both majors and independents. “His industry experience and customer-focused mindset make him a tremendous fit for our team as we execute our growth strategies and provide reliable solutions in the U.S.,” said National Sales Manager, Craig Pagano.

IWDC Promotes Keith Werkley to VP of Sales & Vendor Management

Haun Welding Supply – Passing the Torch to the Next Generation

Haun Welding Supply and Specialty Gases is thrilled to announce that Josh Haun and Erich Haun will be jointly stepping into the role of Co-President and officially making Haun a fourth-generation owned and operated company. Josh and Erich have both served in multiple roles within the company, from store counters and sales to inner office departments. They bring with them a fresh new perspective while preserving the company’s core values instilled in them by their father and grandfather. Mark Haun, President Emeritus, will be taking on an advisory role in the company while he prepares for retirement.

Colleen Kohler Named One of Albany Business Review’s Women on the Rise

Colleen Kohler 122 • Winter 2022

Noble Gas Solutions President Colleen Kohler was one of six honorees of Albany Business Review’s Women on the Rise. According to the website, “Women on the

The IWDC announced the promotion of Keith Werkley to Vice President of Sales & Vendor Management. Keith joined IWDC on March 31, 2016, and has played a key role in IWDC’s growth over the last five years. Moreover, as a key member of its Management Team, he has helped Keith Werkley IWDC execute several strategic initiatives during his tenure: the launch of IWDC University – an online training platform; design and launch of the Strategic Account Management program, which Keith leads; build-out of IWDC’s Weldmark product line; expansion of its Distribution Center business including regional sales support and engaging vendor support of its Product Information Management program launched in February 2021. In addition to his accomplishments and contributions, with IWDC’s recent organizational changes, Keith has also assumed responsibility for IWDC’s “Asset” category, which includes cylinders and tanks.

Atlas Welding Supply Welcomes Eoin O’Malley

Atlas Welding Supply is excited to welcome Eoin O’Malley to the Atlas team! Eoin recently graduated from the University

of Tennessee where he studied Business Management, Entrepreneurship and International Business. Born and raised in New York, Eoin was exposed to the welding and industrial gas industry early on and has unique insight into the products, services and processes that lead to success. Eoin will be working with Atlas VP & CFO James Cain on a variety of special projects.

Lincoln Electric and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) Join Forces

ESAB is proud to be the sole provider of welding equipment for Season One of Metal Shop Masters, a new Netflix reality TV series that premiered globally

First Quarter • Winter 2021

ESAB is Sole Provider of Welding Equipment for Netflix Series Metal Shop Masters

on Friday, September 10, 2021. The show features seven competitors, five men and two women, who face off in elimination-style fabrication challenges. At the end of six challenges, the last fabricator standing will have earned the title of Metal Shop Master and win a $50,000 prize. The show is hosted by Jo Koy, an award-winning comedian and star of several Netflix stand-up specials. “Every episode gives these distinguished fabricators, welders and artists a worldwide stage to show what they can create from metal using ESAB equipment,” says Steve Molenda, Sr. Director of Global MarCom and Marketing Strategies, ESAB. “It’s an honor as well as a huge opportunity to promote the welding industry to new audiences, showcasing it as a career, hobby and means of artistic expression.” WELDING & GASES TODAY

Welding education institutions can take a big step toward developing the next generation of certified welders by becoming a Lincoln Electric Educational Partner Schools (LEEPS). Lincoln Electric and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) have joined forces to provide the curriculum and learning management resources necessary for benchmarking and standardizing welding performance. Designed for institutions looking to offer a full slate of stackable welding certifications focused on career preparation, the LEEPS program combines a comprehensive set of instructional tools, resources and the support, including some e-learning formats, needed to meet today’s welding challenges. LEEPS institutions have access to these resources plus a vital Train the Trainer program for educators to ensure welding students are receiving the right skills training backed by the deepest industry knowledge.


The Official Publication of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association



Meet the 2021 Board of Directors

First Quarter 2021


nexAir: 80 Years of Change


Regulatory Changes in a New Administration


Operation Warp Speed & Dry Ice

Welding & Gases Today Recognized with “Best Trade Publication” Award

Welding & Gases Today was recognized by the Syracuse Press Club at their annual Local Journalism Award ceremony with first place in the category of “Best Newsletter/Trade Publication.” Members of Press Clubs around the country were involved in the judging for the awards. The judges’ comments about Welding & Gases Today were, “This publication was an engaging mixture of traditionally-written informative articles and more

A New Take on Angle Grinder Wheels

E.T 20°

Built In Grinding Angle For More Comfort, Less Fatigue

flexovitabrasives.com 1-800-689-3539 Corporate Offices & Manufacturing Facility

1305 Eden Evans Center Rd Angola, NY 14006 Winter 2022 • 123

INDUSTRY NEWS concise pieces. The layout was neat yet creative with an array of style choices that somehow were also cohesive. The articles varied from the historical to the modern to the technical and it made for a well-rounded magazine. Very nicely done.”

Mississippi Welders Supply Receives “Portfolio Level Achievement” Award from ITW Welding

Commemorating “outstanding performance in 2020,” MWSCO received the award for “Portfolio Level Achievement” from ITW Welding. This award recognizes MWSCO’s strength in sales, product knowledge, and technical support for all four companies in the ITW Welding portfolio: Miller Electric, Hobart, Bernard, and Tregaskiss.

Praxair Distribution, Inc. Names Roch Monahan Associate Director M&A – Business Development

Praxair Distribution, Inc. has named Roch Monahan Associate Director of M&A – Business Development, U.S., reporting to Mark Herrington, Director of M&A. In his new

role, Monahan will play an instrumental role in identifying and investigating potential acquisition targets. Monahan has more than 30 years of experience in the Industrial Gas Industry serving as Chief Operating Officer & VP of Sales and Marketing for OKI Bering, Director of Metal Fabrication for Praxair Roch Monahan Distribution Inc., National Account & Regional Manager for Miller Electric – ITW, and Midwest General Manager for BOC Gases. Monahan will be based out of Burr Ridge, Illinois.

AWS Foundation Grant Provides Starter Welding Kits to High Schools

The need for welders has reached a critical point, and the American Welding Society (AWS) Foundation, in partnership with Miller Electric Mfg. LLC, is bringing the welding experience back to high school with the Light a Spark Grant. The Light a Spark Grant is a turnkey package designed to introduce welding into existing secondary or post-secondary Ag-Ed, Career and Technical Education, or Practical Skills

SHARE YOUR NEWS If you’ve hired new people, moved your facility, acquired a company, added a product line, have new offerings or anything else newsworthy is happening at your business, please let us know. We’d like to share those updates with your fellow GAWDA members. GAWDA publishes a twice-monthly e-newsletter (The GAWDA Connection) and a quarterly magazine for its membership audience. Simply forward your information to GAWDA Media at: editorial@gawdamedia.com or call us at 315-445-2347, x120. 124 • Winter 2022

INDUSTRY NEWS Course. Up to seven starter packages valued at more than $14,000 each will be awarded.

Tim White Joins Wright Brothers, Inc. as VP of Sales & Operations

Wright Brothers Inc. announced the addition of Tim White in the role of VP Sales & Operations. He is based in Cincinnati at Wright Brothers principal site of operations. Tim brings a diverse background to the leadership team at Wright Brothers, which he will apply to help engage customers in a more holistic way, lead the operations team to continue its hyper-focus on customer satisfaction as well as innovation, and identify new avenues for business growth.

Astaras, Inc. Welcomes Andy Stawski as Marketing Leader

GEC is a company with a long and proud history. Established in 1937 by Milt LaDue, it has been under the leadership of his grandson Skeeter for the past 23 years. But now, Skeeter has handed over the reins to his successor, Gijs Majoor, who is the new CEO of GEC since October 2021. Gijs is no stranger to the gas market, coming from a position as the Vice President of Supply Chain and Sustainable Fuels at Pinnacle Propane, which is a subsidiary of the global leader in LPG supply SHV Energy. Originally from the Netherlands, he has lived in Texas since 2017. Although he has stepped down from the top, Skeeter is not going away yet. In line with the MAKEEN Energy philosophy of generational change, he will step into an advisory role from the beginning of 2022, to offer his experience and knowledge of the North American LPG industry.

Astaras, Inc. is proud to announce Andy Stawski as the company’s Senior Marketing Manager. Stawski will be responsible for Marketing team leadership, driving growth of private label products for North American distributor partners and assisting with the marketing expansion of Andy Stawski Weld.com, a global welding community hub offering education, networking, career resources and more for the welding industry. Stawski joins Astaras from Miller Electric, Mfg. Co. where he served as the Commercial Marketing Manager for 13 years, focusing on the commercial welding business, specifically walk-in shoppers at welding distributor stores like Airgas, Air Liquide, Linde, and Matheson. He has developed a unique understanding of the channel by visiting more than 500 welding stores in North America and additionally spending more than six months in stores interacting with store personnel and walk-in customers.

ORS Nasco and MEDCO Tool Appoint Pott and Adrean

Vern Lewis Welding Supply Donates to Kansas High School

Gas Equipment Company Names Gijs Majoor as CEO

ORS Nasco and MEDCO Tool appointed Rick Pott to the Executive Team as VP of Strategy and Development, reporting to Kevin Short, President and CEO. Prior to joining the company, Rick held various senior leadership roles in financial planning and analysis, pricing, mergers and acquisitions, and private label strategy in the US and abroad for Grainger. ORS Nasco and MEDCO Tool also appointed Valerie Adrean as VP of Merchandising. Prior to joining ORS Nasco and MEDCO Tool, Valerie held a variety of leadership roles with Integrated Supply Network including supply chain, pricing, merchandising and private label where she focused on brand and channel development.

Ve r n L e w i s made his name in the welding industry by starting the company, Vern Lewis We l d i n g S u p p l y in 1969. Now, his legacy will live on forever at the newly opened Vernon F. Lewis Welding Lab at the very same high school that he attended in the early 1950s. “This started three years ago, we came back here to do some Winter 2022 • 125

INDUSTRY NEWS estate planning for him down the street,” said the General Manager of the company, John Bone. “We were peeking through all the windows looking at the AG shop that Vern had went to many, many years ago and that was the beginning.” Thus came the idea of completely renovating the agriculture building of Doniphan West High School in Highland, KS, in honor of Vern Lewis. A ribbon cutting took place on October 1 to commemorate the opening of the new lab, which was stocked with donated items from Flexovit, Harris Products Group, JPW Industries, Metabo, Metal Man Work Gear, Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric, Norton, Profax, and Washington Alloy. With both the vendor’s and company’s contributions, it totaled to $175,000 worth of equipment and renovations.

Nick Brown Promoted to VP at Red Ball Oxygen

Red Ball Oxygen announced that Nick Brown has been promoted to VicePresident, Operations. Mr. Brown, originally from Lufkin, Texas, has been with the company since 2008. He has served in a variety of roles, including Inside Sales Representative, Branch Manager, Area Nick Brown Manager, and has been a vital part of the Purchasing team. He has also provided essential leadership on the company’s safety, quality, and enterprise software teams. “As we continue to grow and add products and capabilities to our portfolio, Nick keeps our focus right where it needs to be – effective, safe, high-quality execution. He personifies our culture because he understands the importance of being a responsive, reliable partner to our customers,” says Alex Kennedy, the company’s CEO.

nexAir Opens New Miami, Florida Location

nexAir opened a new 25,000 sq. ft. building with 7,000 sq. ft. of retail space and offices and 18,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space in Miami, Florida. The new facility will serve as nexAir’s Florida Centralized Warehouse, replacing the current warehouse located in Okeechobee. With the relocation, the new warehouse will ensure even faster product delivery to nexAir customers.

Nikkiso Cryogenic Service Moves to Newly Renovated Facility

Nikkiso Cryogenic Service moved its Houston service center to a newly renovated 25,200 sq. ft. facility. The facility allows

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Nikkiso Cryogenic to expand its repair capabilities and stock more pumps and parts. It will also be able to offer its in-house comprehensive pump training classes for more customers. The new address is 21250 Spell Circle, Tomball, TX 77375.

Computers Unlimited Hosts Successful Users Group Forum

Computers Unlimited (CU), developers of TIMS Software, recently hosted their annual Users Group Conference delivering both live and virtual experiences. The hybrid conferences created the opportunity for TIMS users to discuss the newest capabilities to the current software, new product development, and user led forums for planning of future developments. Having not gathered in person for a live Users Group presentation last year, fellow gas distributors enjoyed some much-needed networking as well. The virtual Users Group Conference directly followed the live Conference and concentrated on training for both new employees and those that may have changed positions within their distributorships. The over-all message expressed at Users Group 2021 was that TIMS technology offers distributors ‘ease of use,’ not only for their own daily operations, but for greater customer service and the security of knowing that these same tech enhancements create a trickle-down effect leading to the equal ‘ease of use’ scenarios for their customers. The gas and welding industry is evolving - it’s products and services need to follow. The developers of TIMS have an ongoing commitment to ensure our users have the best means possible to succeed.

FIBA Expands Workforce & Facilities

FIBA Technologies Inc. is investing several million dollars in expanding its manufacturing facilities, installing new equipment and expanding its skilled production workforce. Demand for high-pressure gas storage and gas distribution vessels continues to grow globally, so FIBA has already begun a construction project to expand its manufacturing facility at its Littleton, Massachusetts headquarters to 250,000 sq. ft. The company aims to double its production capacity to prepare for growth in hydrogen storage and equipment such as HCL tube trailers for the electronics sector.


IN MEMORIAM EDWARD A. HENNE GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of Edward A. Henne, who passed away on August 25. Ed worked for 53 years in the industrial gas industry. After graduating from North Catholic High School and serving in the Air Force, Ed went to work for Welders Supply, Philadelphia, in 1969 as a pumper and driver. The company was acquired by BOC, and he worked many jobs, eventually rising to Director of Operations covering North, Central and South America. From there, he accepted the position of VP Operations for Welco/ GTS, a Praxair subsidiary located in Newark, NJ. In 2006 he came to work at South Jersey Welding Supply as Sales Manager on a five-year plan until retirement. The five years ended up being fourteen years. His friendship, along with his corporate, product and safety knowledge were invaluable to the company. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Barbara and four children, Jeffrey, Pamela, Patricia and Danielle along with three grandchildren.


GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of Rod Fink, who passed away on October 7. Rod passed away peacefully in his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, after a brief battle with cancer. Mr. Fink was born on March 18, 1938, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to Florence and Roderic Fink. He attended William Allen High School in Allentown and Wilmington College in Ohio. For over thirty-five years, he was the principal owner, Chairman and CEO of Acme Cryogenics, Inc. a Lehigh Valley-based company, which manufactured cryogenic products for the industrial gas industry. Throughout his career, Mr. Fink continually pursued additional business opportunities and acquisitions, including: Consolidated Precision Controls, Inc., Quality Cryogenics, Inc., CVI Control Valves and Medical Gas Management, Inc. Mr. Fink was a former executive committee member and President of the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), from

which he was honored with a Lifetime Service Award. He is remembered by his family as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Madeline, his daughter Kimberly (Tom) Ridgick; his son, Michael (Maggi) Fink; his daughter Nicole (Tom) Kairys; his daughter Linda (Kevin) Riley; grandchildren Michael, Alexandra, Jennifer, James, Jack, Nicholas, Aidan and Madeline; and great grandchildren Paige, Jordyn, and Jaxson. Said Acme Cryogenics President & CEO David Fritz, “Rod was a leader and pioneer in our industry. For me, personally, I worked with Rod for many years while I was at Air Products. Acme Cryogenics was a key supplier to my North American Gases Team. Today, I’m incredibly proud and humbled to lead the company he built over 50 years ago.”


GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of Victor Arthur Suhr who passed away on October 18, 2021. Vic, as he was affectionately called, was a kind, loving, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to a large family who will miss him dearly. On June 14, 1932, Victor was born on the family farm in Cochrane, WI, to Arthur and Julia Suhr. Vic spent his youth working on the farm where he learned the value of a strong work ethic that he carried throughout his entire life. There was never a more committed employee which he exemplified in his work in the welding and medical gas filling business among other various jobs. Vic retired from Mississippi Welders of Winona, MN, in 2015 after nearly 30 combined years with the company at the age of 83. Victor is survived by his sons Carl (Kim), Tom, Dave (Heather), Scott (Roxanne), Rick (Anessa), Mike (Tracy), and Dan (Betty). He is also survived by 23 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren as well as other extended family. Victor was preceded in death by the love of his life, Gloria Jean (Malles) Suhr, his beloved daughter, Kathi, a dear granddaughter, Ali, his parents, his sister Lois, and a half-brother Myron.

Winter 2022 • 127



Chart Industries Acquires Water Treatment Company, AdEdge

Chart Industries, Inc. announced the acquisition of AdEdge Holdings, LLC, a water treatment technology and solution provider specializing in the design, development, fabrication and supply of water treatment solutions, specialty medias, legacy and innovative technologies that remove a wide range of contaminants from water. The equity purchase was completed for a purchase price of $40 million in cash at closing (subject to customary adjustments) and further details are included in the supplemental presentation at the end of this release. Chart recently announced the formation of ChartWater™, a division within Specialty Products that offers an elite portfolio of proven, innovative water treatment solutions. AdEdge will join BlueInGreen, which Chart acquired in November 2020, in Chart’s full solution offering of water treatment and desalination technology options that couple with Chart’s water treatment equipment.

ITR Economics Partners with ButcherJoseph & Co.

ITR Economics is excited to announce its new partnership with investment banking firm ButcherJoseph & Co. ButcherJoseph & Co. specializes in ESOPs, mergers and acquisitions, private capital sourcing, and valuation advisory services for middle-market companies. Their industry-recognized team of professionals has executed 200-plus transactions, exceeding $15 billion in total value. ButcherJoseph is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, with a presence in Washington, D.C., and offices in Chicago; Charlotte, NC; Scottsdale, AZ; and Nashville, TN. This partnership will help ITR Economics expand into the M&A space, where it will provide valuable economic insights to those looking to acquire or sell a business. ITR is greatly looking forward to extending the value of this partnership to its clients and subscribers.

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Ratermann Forges New Partnership with Wise Telemetry

Wise telemetry offers the most complete and affordable telemetry solution in the industrial gas market, and it will now be offered through Ratermann’s reliable service. Eric Wise, President of Wise telemetry explains their choice in choosing Ratermann as their partner, “When considering possible distribution partners, Ratermann had what we were looking for right in their slogan: reliability. Our customers depend on the data from our devices, so reliability is key in our work. Ratermann’s 23 years of providing excellent, reliable service to the industrial gas market is a great fit for us.” Brent Lockhart, President of Ratermann responds, “Ratermann believes Wise Telemetry is the most progressive telemetry product offering on the market and will bring additional efficiency to our customers operations. Wise Telemetry offers the lowest cost of ownership in the industry and at the same time is the longest lasting and most reliable making it unparallel to other telemetry offerings and we now can offer the tanks we sell pre-installed with telemetry units. “

Dynabrade Acquires its Strategic Supplier, Manth Mfg.

Dynabrade, Inc. recently completed the acquisition of one of its strategic suppliers, Manth Mfg. Inc., located in Tonawanda, NY. Manth Mfg. will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dynabrade. “This is an excellent opportunity for Dynabrade to expand the scope of our vertical integration strategy,” says Dynabrade President, Michael Buffamonti. “Manth has been a legacy business partner of ours for over 45 years and we are excited to enhance our operational and financial flexibility that will allow us to continue to grow as a company. This acquisition will strategically position us to build out the manufacturing team and further scale our production.”

Meritus Gas Partners Announces Partnership with OzArc Gas

Meritus Gas Partners announced that it entered into a partnership with OzArc Gas Equipment & Supply, Inc., headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. OzArc operates nine locations throughout southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky and northeastern Arkansas. The business has been owned and operated by the Garner family since its founding in 1945. Bob Garner will retire as part of the transaction while his co-owner and son, James Garner, will remain as President. James Garner’s brother and sister, co-owners Michael Beattie and Tracey Akers, will remain as Vice Presidents. James, Michael and Tracey will all maintain significant equity ownership in Meritus. “We are fortunate to welcome OzArc, the Garner family and their dedicated employees into Meritus,” said Meritus Chairman, Scott Kaltrider. “For over 75 years, the Garners have established OzArc as a leading independent distributor in the Midwest and Mid-South geographies. OzArc has an excellent reputation in the areas it services and we see immediate opportunities to help expand its current product and service offerings and geographical footprint to grow the business substantially.”

Gullco International, Inc. Has Moved

Gullco International, Inc. has moved to a new location. The new company address is: 8157 Bavaria Road E. Macedonia Ohio, 44056

Praxair Distribution, Inc. Officially Changing Name to Linde Gas & Equipment, Inc.

Linde announced that its U.S. welding, industrial, medical and specialty gas distribution business, Praxair Distribution Inc., will legally change its name to Linde Gas & Equipment Inc., effective October 11. At the same time, Linde Gas North America LLC will merge into the new company. The change capitalizes on the strength of the Linde name and aligning with the One Linde philosophy adopted when Linde AG and Praxair, Inc. merged in October 2018. “We have been preparing for this moment to ensure the legal transition is a seamless success for our customers and business partners,” said Linde Gas & Equipment Inc. President Ben Glazer.

Plug Power Completes Applied Cryo Technologies Acquisition

Plug Power Inc. completed the acquisition of Applied Cryo Technologies, Inc., following the definitive agreement announced on October 14, 2021. The acquisition of Applied Cryo Technologies adds significant capabilities, expertise, and technologies to Plug Power, including a liquid hydrogen delivery network and fleet, liquid hydrogen storage, and hydrogen mobility fueling, which will enable the company to expand its green hydrogen ecosystem and lower the cost of hydrogen infrastructure and logistics networks.

Central McGowan Acquires Preferred Welder Sales

Central McGowan announced it has completed the acquisition of Preferred Welder Sales in Mankato, MN— bringing its acquisition roster for 2021 to three. The company acquired Metro Welding Supply in Minneapolis, MN in April and Fessler Carbonic Gas in Des Moines, IA in March. According to Joe Francis, President/CEO, these acquisitions complement Central McGowan’s current business while strengthening its presence in key market areas. All three of these companies were independently operated, highly successful businesses with owners seeking to retire and wanting a way to continue what they each started. “We are fortunate to be able to carry on their legacies,” Francis said, “And to learn from their respective teams as to what made them successful and leverage that across our company.” Combined, these acquisitions have grown Central McGowan’s footprint and customer base, and expanded its employee roster to over 130. According to Francis, the company’s intent is to preserve what made each business successful, focusing especially on the people and processes while integrating operations to improve efficiency and customer supply and service.

ILMO Products Company Acquires Gano Welding Supplies

ILMO Products Company announced the acquisition of Gano Welding Supplies, Inc. effective November 1, 2021. Gano Welding Supplies is a family-owned and operated business originally started by Ken and Oscar Gano. Headquartered in Charleston, IL, and serving the surrounding area since the 1920s, Gano carries a full line of welding equipment and supplies, and a wide range of industrial and medical gases. Winter 2022 • 129

INDUSTRY NEWS Pat Slaughter will transition from an ownership roll to an operations roll, overseeing the state-of-the-art acetylene production facility in Charleston, Illinois. Pat’s son, Frank Slaughter, brings his experience and qualifications as a Class-A HAZMAT driver to the roll of Route Driver. “We are pleased to welcome Gano Welding Supplies and their dedicated employees to the ILMO Products Company team,” said ILMO President/CEO, Brad Floreth. “Gano has an excellent reputation in eastern Illinois as a supplier for end users, and as a wholesaler of acetylene and other industrial gases. Learning the process of producing acetylene will be a new challenge, and we know that Gano has an experienced team to lead the way.”

Volunteer Welding Joins Meritus Gas Partners’ Federation

Meritus Gas Partners announced that it entered into a partnership with Volunteer Welding Supply, Inc., headquartered in Nashville, TN. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Volunteer is a leading independent distributor of industrial and specialty gases, welding and safety supplies, with four locations in Tennessee (Nashville, Tullahoma, Baxte r, and Knoxville, the latter under the brand of its affiliate, A-Welders Supply & Medical Gases). Volunteer has been owned and operated by the McMurtry family since its inception. Coowners and brothers, David and John Mark McMurtry, will continue to lead the business while maintaining significant equity ownership in Meritus. We are so pleased to welcome Volunteer into the Meritus family of companies,” said Meritus’ Vice Chairman, Rob D’Alessandro. “The McMurtrys have built a premier distributorship over 40+ years. Volunteer’s calling card is its commitment to superior customer service, and it has capitalized on

Let’s get

130 • Winter 2022

the tremendous growth opportunities available to it by being based in Nashville, one of the top growing welding and packaged gas markets in the US. Volunteer has a newly renovated facility in Nashville, including a brand-new specialty gas laboratory, and continues to invest in microbulk technologies. It is poised to continue its exciting growth trajectory and we are looking forward to supporting the McMurtrys and their employees on this path.”

Meritus Gas Partners Welcomes Tulsa Gas & Gear to Federation

Meritus Gas Partners announced that it entered into a partnership with Tulsa Gas & Gear LLC, headquartered in Tulsa, OK. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. TGG was founded in 2011 by Don Stobaugh, Lloyd Hyle, Johnny Stamps, Steve Stobaugh, John Scott, John Wallace, and Scott Row, a group of accomplished industrial gas industry entrepreneurs. Under their direction, TGG has grown to become a leading independent distributor of industrial and specialty gases, welding and safety supplies in Northeast Oklahoma, specializing in welding applications technology to the diversified equipment manufacturers based in the region. Upon transaction close, Don Stobaugh and Lloyd Hyle will retire, while Steve Stobaugh, Don’s son, will become the company’s President. Johnny Stamps and John Scott will become Vice Presidents of Sales and Operations, respectively. All former owners will roll-over significant equity ownership in Meritus. “In keeping with our previously articulated strategy of building a best-in-class federation of high-performing independent industrial gas distributors, we are pleased to welcome TGG as the most recent addition to Meritus’ rapidly expanding network of partner companies,” said Meritus Chairman, Scott Kaltrider.





The following businesses recently joined the Gases and Welding Distributors Association. For more information about the benefits and services available to members, please contact GAWDA at 844-251-3219 or visit www.gawda.org.


339 N Munsert Ave. Oconto Falls, WI 54154 920-604-2918 www.nozzleclean.com Mike Allard, Owner mikea@nozzleclean.com


531 Goetz Ave. Santa Ana, CA 92707 714-979-4000 www.giantco2.com Sandy Sanberg, President sandy@giantco2.com


1305 40th St. NW Faribault, MN 55021 208-631-1531 www.absolute-air.com Ned Pontious, President ned.pontious@absolute-air.com


3310 Commercial Parkway Memphis, TN 38116 901-345-6011 www.1sourcevend.com Mark Hill, President mhill@1sourcevend.com


300 Tice Boulevard Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677 845-512-6054 www.hudsontech.com Kate Houghton, Vice President, Sales and Marketing khoughton@hudsontech.com

Winter 2022 • 131





1. TWECO MXH Push-Pull Torches for MIG Aluminum, Feeding Wire at Distance Up to 33 Ft.

For fabricators that want to improve results when MIG welding with soft aluminum wires, as well as for those who need to improve reliability when feeding smaller diameter wires over long distances, Tweco®, an ESAB brand, has launched the MXH 315PP and MXH 420W PP push-pull torches. These torches maintain constant wire tension between two sets of drive rolls: one set in the feeder and one set in the MXH torch. As a result, Tweco MXH solves common feeding problems such as wire slippage, erratic arc performances, wire burning back to the contact tip, cold lap and bird nesting at the feeder rolls. Tweco offers the MXH torch in two versions, both of which feed 0.035 to 1/16 in. diameter wires at speeds of 96 to 709 ipm and come in cable length options of 20 or 33 ft. The gascooled MXH 315PP has a rated output of 270A at 60 percent duty cycle with mixed gas and 310A at 60 percent with CO2. The water-cooled MXH 420W PP has a rated output of 400A at 100 percent duty cycle with mixed gas and 430A at 100 percent with CO2. There are two torch neck options, a straight neck and a 45-degree bent neck which rotates 360 degrees. The MXH sports a comfortable pistol grip and well-balanced design. The operator can manipulate the torch with less fatigue, as well as adjust wire feed speed at the torch with a potentiometer for even more control. The reliable drive system ensures excellent feeding properties. It has minimal, easily exchangeable parts that are easy to access, including the quick change of feeder rolls without tools.

2. Newly Enhance Norton BlueFire Abrasives Cut Faster, Last Longer

Saint-Gobain Abrasives has introduced newly upgraded Norton BlueFire Abrasives including Belts, Cloth QuickChange and Flap Discs, and Mini Flap Discs. Featuring a new, proprietary self-sharpening zirconia alumina grain shape

132 • Winter 2022

and chemistry, and an upgraded resin bond for faster cut rates and durability, the new BlueFire R860 and R887D abrasive products provide exceptional performance on a wide range of materials in light to heavy-pressure applications. An improved, heavy-duty polyester backing is designed for long life and will withstand challenging applications. In addition to metal fabrication and welding, new Norton BlueFire abrasive products are well-suited for key industries such as foundry, aerospace, automotive, oil/gas, wind turbines and general metalworking. “We are very pleased to offer our customers the enhanced Norton BlueFire abrasives in our Better Tier of products,” said Patrick Carroll, Sr. Product Manager for BlueFire R860, Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives. “Users have experienced over 50% performance improvement and faster cut rate in the newly upgraded Norton BlueFire Line compared with other zirconia alumina products.” “For applications in stainless steel and other hard-to-grind materials, BlueFire 887D Discs and Belts offer long abrasives life due to a supersized grinding aid,” said John Benkoczy, Sr. Product Manager for BlueFire R887D, Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives. “Also, heavy grinding can be performed without worry of delamination, because the strong polyester quickchange disc backing stands up to extreme pressure.”

3. Hypertherm Introduces Three New Plasma Systems

Hypertherm announced three new air plasma systems called Powermax SYNC™. Featuring built-in intelligence and a revolutionary single-piece cartridge consumable, this next generation of Powermax65/85/105 systems, is unlike any other plasma in the world. Powermax SYNC and its SmartSYNC™ torch replaces the traditional five-piece consumable stack-up with a single color-coded cartridge. Technology embedded in each cartridge automatically sets the correct amperage, air pressure, and operating mode and lets operators know when a new cartridge is


5 6 4

needed. Additionally, controls on the SmartSYNC torch allow operators to adjust the amperage and change the cartridge without returning to the power supply. The cartridge is manufactured as a single piece so everything within it is perfectly aligned and optimized. As a result, the Hypertherm cartridge for Powermax® systems will last up to twice as long and deliver cleaner cuts versus traditional consumables. The cartridge can even track data, like starts and arc-on time, to identify trends and make a user’s operation more efficient.

4. Lincoln Electric Establishes a New Face for Weld Fume Control Products

Lincoln Electric® has refreshed the exteriors of all weld fume control products, moving from red housing to an all-black look. All products will offer the same features and benefits. Only the look has changed. The color scheme transition, which was prompted by customer feedback, gives a more industrial appearance to Lincoln Electric’s diverse line of weld fume control products Along with this refreshed look, the product categories now have a simplified name. Lincoln Electric offers a complete line of portable, stationary, and engineered solutions for welding fume control. These include all X-Tractor® Mini and Prism fume control products and accessories. The transition is part of Lincoln Electric’s ongoing efforts to make fume management easier and help improve safety, productivity and efficiency in the welding environment.

5. Champion Cutting Tool Introduces BD100 MegaBrute

Champion is proud to introduce the newest addition to our RotoBrute line of magnetic drill press systems, the BD100 MegaBrute. “The BD100 replaces the RB65E, as our next generation, highest capacity, and most versatile mag drill.”-Lowell Frey, President

The RotoBrute BD100 is engineered to support the needs of serious steel fabricators’ most demanding jobs. The BD100 has an extremely powerful motor and a large annular cutter capacity (4” Diam x 4” Depth). The mag drill’s variable speed, multiple speed, and forward / reverse capabilities are desirable features for users who wish to use twist drills or other cutting tools on their job. The super strong electromagnet provides a secure connection to the work piece and the convenient fluid reservoir, which is included with every drill, efficiently carries the cutting lubricant down through the annular cutter for mess-free drilling. When used in conjunction with RotoBrute Carbide Tipped Annular Cutters and BruteLube Fluid, operators can expect to power through their toughest jobs while simultaneously increasing productivity, saving time, and saving money. The RotoBrute BD100 is currently in stock and available to ship.

6. Cosen’s V-1822 – A Manual, Vertical Tilt-

Frame Band Saw

Cosen is proud to introduce the all new V-1822 Vertical Tilt-Frame Band Saw to our extensive product line. In an ever changing and growing fabrication market, the need for cost effective cutting solutions at different capacities and price points is evident. With vertical saw designs becoming more popular amongst fabricators, the V-1822 takes Cosen’s popular tilt-frame design and applies it to a rigid, yet small, footprint that allows for quick adjustments. Visit us at cosensaws.com for more information or call us at 704-943-1030.

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7. Weldcote Introduces TIG Striker 200 FullFeatured Welding Machine

Weldcote introduces its Striker 200 welding inverter for TIG and stick welding. The new, full-featured digital AC/DC welding machine provides great performance and technology at an excellent value. Weldcote’s TIG Striker 200 adopts the latest pulse width modulation (PWM) technology, as well as insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT); technologies that provide more precise results. Weighing 24.7 pounds, the TIG Striker 200 machine is a small, compact, dual voltage (115 volt or 230 volt) inverter unit with digital readouts that automatically identifies the power grid voltage and operates accordingly. The Striker TIG 200 machine features power factor corrector (PFC), which increases power efficiency, reduces input power requirements, and stabilizes the welding current, maximizing efficiency on extension cords and generators. As a safety precaution, it has a voltage reduction device (VRD) that reduces the voltage across the outputs when idling. Targeted for light industrial, automotive and home use, Weldcote’s TIG Striker 200 has a robust duty cycle, on average 10 percent higher, when compared to competitive units. The duty cycle establishes how long a machine can hold a continuous arc in a 10-minute cycle. The welding machine’s micro control unit (MCU) corrects the arc length and synergizes its operations to optimize the welding experience for the user. The unit also gives users the option for foot control or push-button hand amptrol, to control the current.

8. Harris’s Flagship 355-2 Flowmeter

Regulator Offers One-Two Punch for Welders

One challenge that welders face on the job is setting gas flow to the exact rate they need. Another is the need to regulate the pressure so that the flow stays consistent. Having these two capabilities in one unit makes the welder’s job easier and 134 • Winter 2022


contributes to a better finished result. Yet many welders find themselves buying two separate products, perhaps unaware that there’s another option: a combined flowmeter regulator. The 355-2 Flowmeter Regulator from Harris Products Group delivers that convenient option while also offering heavy-duty performance, long life, and a reasonable price. “Most gas regulator products on the market do not offer this option of having the flowmeter built into the design, but it’s a great option for welders,” said Timothy Reading, District Sales Manager at Harris. “The 355-2 is designed to give precise flow control of a number of the more common high pressure cylinder gases.” The regulator is pre-set to a low compensated pressure of 20 PSIG, which allows a higher flow rate. This low pressure reduces surge and reduces the amount of gas wasted, while having enough compensation to eliminate any issues in the gun and machine. Reading said. “It’s really a flagship product that people turn to again and again.” The Harris 355-2 flowmeter regular is made in the U.S. and features a 7-year warranty, the longest available on the market. “The 355-2 is rugged and reliable; in fact its so reliable that it’s very rare for a customer to return one. We test every piece of equipment we make – this is not batch testing,” Reading said. “For the 355-2, we pressurize and check for leaks, and conduct other tests.” The flowmeter regulator has a one-piece encapsulated seat design, making it tamperproof. It features an internal filter and PTFE Teflon® seat. The 355-2 is used almost exclusively for welding applications that require gas. For MIG welding of large or thick materials, this type of flow meter regulator is highly recommended. The product features a durable, easy-to-read flow tube and cover. The flow tube and float are easily changed for different gases. The sensitive needle valve allows for fingertip control.

ADVERTISERS INDEX Abicor Binzel................................................... 67

Genstar Technologies Company..................... 73

Acme Cryogenics............................................ 77

Harris Products Group.................................... 25

AmWins Program Underwriters....................... 17

Kaplan Industries............................................ 11

ANOVA...........................................................IFC Anthony Welded Products................................ 3 Arcos Industries............................................ IBC

Lincoln Electric................................................. 7 McDantim....................................................... 67 Meritus Gas Partners.................................30-31

ASM/American Standard Manufacturing........ 66 Black Stallion/Revco Industries...................... 19 Bug-O Systems.............................................. 58 California Cylinder.......................................... 68

Metal Man Work Gear..................................... 16 NorLab Calibration Gases a Division of Norco..... 59 Norton Abrasives............................................ 21

Catalina Cylinders........................................... 72

RegO.............................................................. 13

Chart................................................................. 5

Rotarex........................................................... 33

Computers Unlimited...................................... 33

SafTCart......................................................... 41

Controlled Efficiencies.................................... 80

Select-Arc...................................................... BC

Cryogenic Industrial Solutions........................ 56 Cryoworks...................................................... 81 Datacor........................................................... 71

Sherwood Valve.............................................. 27 Thermco Instrument Corporation.................. 102 US Tank & Cryogenic Equipment.................. 104

Dynabrade...................................................... 22 Eleet Cryogenics............................................. 39 Equigas........................................................... 68 Exocor............................................................ 69

Veite Cryogenic ................................................ 1 Voestalpine Bohler.......................................... 15 Watson Coatings............................................ 61

FIBA Technologies........................................ 113

Weldcoa............................................................ 9

Flexovit USA................................................. 123

Weldship Corporation..................................... 29

Generant Company....................................... 113

Wire Wizard (ElCo Enterprises)..................... 124 Winter 2022 • 135

@haunweldingsupply Stan Zacharewski, our senior purchasing agent, has officially retired! We are thankful for his 25 years at Haun Welding Supply and wish him all the best as he enjoys some well deserved time off!


AWDA members shared the below posts and pictures using Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. We encourage GAWDA members to keep the conversation going all year long by using #GAWDA next time you post.

@black.stallion.bsx It is time to make way for the new, to reaffirm and dream afresh, to embrace new joys and embark on new voyages… This New Year wishing you success. Happy New Year from your friends at Black Stallion!


@butlergas Spotted: Butler Gas jackets on Penguins ice! Butler Gas is proud to be The Official Industrial Gas Supplier of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

50 years ago today, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Program. Throughout the program’s duration, Air Products provided critical industrial gases for rocket fuel and for pressurization.

@esabweldingcutting Who else added some welding gear to their lineup over the holidays? Comment and let us know what you’re firing up this week. PHOTO BY @NIALLMENZIES

@anova Congratulations to Anova Nick Virchow, the new President of the International Association of Young Gassers Inc.! Thank you Jim Renaldo for many years leading the Young Gassers organization, in the mission to invest in, engage and encourage young professionals working for companies directly involved in the propane gas industry. 136 • Winter 2022

@hiabusa Did you check us out on “The World’s Greatest!” TV show a few weeks ago? Hiab cranes were in the spotlight! If you missed it, kick back, relax, and watch the episode! #WorldsGreatestTV

Arcos Delivers Solutions to Stainless Steel Alloy Welding Challenges.

Arcos Industries, LLC offers over 100 stainless steel electrode products to handle the countless array of demanding welding applications that challenge you daily. Our reputation for exceptional quality and outstanding service ensures that you can depend on Arcos to provide you with the finest in bare wire, covered and tubular stainless steel alloy welding electrodes.

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

BUY THE BEST SelectAlloy 308L – Horizontal

BUY AMERICAN SelectAlloy 308L-AP – Vertical Up

Ask your local distributor for SelectAlloy flux cored stainless products. 800-341-5215 | www.select-arc.com

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