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The Official Publication of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association

GAWDA Members Commemorate Significant Anniversaries in 2020 GAWDA 75

GAWDA Marks a Momentous Milestone

Third Quarter 2020

ITR FOR GAWDA

Black Swan Impacts

COVID-19

Industry Responds to the Pandemic

MEMBER PROFILE

F&M MAFCO: 75 Years of GRIT


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contents Third Quarter • Summer 2020 • Volume 19, No. 3

DEPARTMENTS

06

PRESIDENT’S VIEW Mess Mastery BY ABYDEE BUTLER MOORE

08

DIRECTOR’S DESK  Staying Strong Through the Pandemic BY JOHN OSPINA

10

COVER STORIES

C E L E B R AT I N G

EDITOR’S NOTE What Does “Normal” Look Like After This?

75 YEARS

BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

GAWDA CONSULTANTS

12

1945-2020

COVID-19 BY STEVE GUGLIELMO, TOM BADSTUBNER, MARILYN DEMPSEY, MICHAEL DODD AND RICK SCHWEITZER

18

CELEBRATE IN STYLE

 ersonal Protective P Equipment (PPE)

GAWDA 75th Anniversary Apparel

BY MARILYN DEMPSEY

22

PAGE

31

LPG Filling and Storage

24

BY MICHAEL DODD

PAGE

32

 GA Actively Supports C Industry’s COVID-19 Response

103

BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

BY RICHARD GOTTWALD

 conomic Expectations E from GAWDA’s Chief Economic Consultants BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

106

STRONG. PROUD. INDEPENDENT

A look back at one of the defining moments of GAWDA’s 75 Year History

ITR Third-Quarter Outlook: The Impact of Recent Black Swans on our Macroeconomic Outlook BY BRIAN BEAULIEU



A REASON TO CELEBRATE

GAWDA members mark important milestones during a difficult time BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

PAGE

38 MEMBER PROFILE



F&M MAFCO 75 Years of GRIT BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

STAY CONNECTED

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2 • Summer 2020

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contents Third Quarter • Summer 2020 • Volume 19, No. 3

NEWS ROUNDUP

97 118 122 124

INDUSTRY EVENTS INDUSTRY NEWS HAPPY TRAILS

FEATURES PAG E

80

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

126 128 132 133

IN MEMORIAM

134

THE LAST WORD

NEW OFFERINGS ADVERTISERS INDEX

72

NEW MEMBERS

THE TEAM EXECUTIVE EDITOR

BY STEVE GUGLIELMO AND GARY KONARSKA

76

John Ospina jospina@gawda.org PUBLISHER

Bill Brod billb@gawdamedia.com

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Natasha Alexis nalexis@gawda.org Andrea Levy alevy@gawda.org CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Robin Barnes robinb@gawdamedia.com VICE PRESIDENT, SALES

Tim Hudson timh@gawdamedia.com RELATIONSHIP MANAGER

Hannah Gray hannahg@gawdamedia.com

4 • Summer 2020

 ICHES IN R THE NICHES Gases and Welding Industry as an Essential Service

90

80

GAWDA Members Lend a Hand During COVID-19 Pandemic

92

So, You Want to Join the Family Business?

94

Digital Ad Tactics That Every GAWDA Member Should Know About

 dversity Creates A Opportunity

88

 elling Against S Economic Headwinds

BY ART WASKEY

BY RANDY SQUIBB

BY BRIAN BLUFF

98

Search Engine Trends for the Gases and Welding Industry BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

84

Working From Home May Have Advantages for Employers BY PAUL BANUSKI

BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

EDITOR IN CHIEF

Steve Guglielmo steveg@gawdamedia.com

AWS Appoints Gary Konarska as Executive Director and CEO New AWS Executive Director discusses the role with WGT

100

The Number One Mistake in Strategic Planning is not Focusing on Customer Insight BY DAN HORAN

BY JAY SPIELVOGEL

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 ©2020 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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PRESIDENT’S VIEW

Mess Mastery

BY ABYDEE BUTLER MOORE

I Abydee Butler Moore is GAWDA’s 2019-2020 president, as well as President and COO of Butler Gas Products Company. She can be reached at 412771-7660 ext. 316 or abutlermoore@ butlergas.com.

am a firm believer that style depends on stage, and leadership style is no exception. What has surprised me these past 90 days is that role is completely independent of style. No matter what hat you must don, you just have to try to own it and infuse it with as much of you as possible. Haven’t we all been living in a haberdashery of hats lately: crisis manager, pseudo-attorney, hatchet man, soothsayer? I am an imposter in most of these roles. No, practice has not made perfect. But, arguably, perfect practice makes perfect, which has me reading and studying how to master a mess.

WHERE TO STAND Lead well from behind during good times and from the front during bad times. My dad has always taught me that when things are going well and times are good, lead from the back, so your team gets to shine and bask in the positive reinforcement. When things are bad and uncertain, get out in front of your team and lead with competent execution of a smart plan. Take the punches and pass the praise.

Lead well from behind during good times and from the front during bad times. WHAT TO SAY When debriefing failures or sharing bad news, use the word “I.” When celebrating good news, use the word “we.” What may seem like a small tweak in language speaks volumes regarding leadership accountability. Furthermore, “they” 6 • Summer 2020

is a word that needs liberating from workplace vernacular. “They” or “them” implies an “us,” and within our organizations, we can do without these self-inflicted turf wars.

HOW TO FEEL What is the opposite of hope? Hopelessness? No, fear. Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman’s, presented this discussion. He argues that in the ecosystems of our businesses, we, as leaders, are the sun, and we must charge the system with hope for everything to flourish and grow. Following the metaphor, be the sun not the cloud. Statements of gloom from the top shatter progress. Nothing throws a wet blanket on a battle like the leader burying her head in the sand. What is the magic behind a team’s winning streak or losing streak? Hope, or lack of it, regarding a possible outcome. High-hope people are high-achieving people and are magnets for one another. It is the Law of Thirds, best explained by Patrick Lencioni (definitely worth the Google search for his video). When you focus your energy on the most engaged third of your people and shower these folks with attention and drive, a wonderful thing happens. The middle third of the group, previously undecidedly engaged, jumps over to the top third and wants to join the leading talent. Furthermore, the disengaged, negative bottom third improves to get the positive attention, or exits the organization because misery misses its company. We have all been thrust into uncharted territory during this pandemic, but by making these simple leadership adjustments, our teams and our organizations will be better positioned to weather the storm and able to flourish on the other side. I wish all of our readers continued health and success.”


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DIRECTOR’S DESK

Staying Strong Through the Pandemic BY JOHN OSPINA

A John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached at GAWDA Headquarters in Hollywood, FL, via telephone at 844-2513219 or via email at jospina@gawda.org.

8 • Summer 2020

s you know by now, all GAWDA 2020 in-person meetings were cancelled because of the pandemic. Our national meetings and regional meetings have always been budgeted as “break even,” so the impact on the bottom line has been minimal. We were fortunate to be able to renegotiate several of our event contracts and avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancellation fees. This has ensured that GAWDA continued to have the funds available to serve our members through this difficult time. We’ve been fortunate to have a great staff, consultants and members that were willing to share their experiences to support our efforts in producing more than two dozen free webinars to keep our members engaged and informed on COVID related updates to regulations, best practices and government relief efforts. In June, we provided a free ITR Economic Outlook webinar just as businesses began to reopen. We had some great training partners that helped us offer some very affordable sales and leadership training to keep our members sharp while they navigated through the economic impact of this situation. All our webinars were recorded and are available through the members only site. We also participated in a cross-industry Distributor Compensation Study for 2020. Copies of the study can be purchased through the members-only site. Our members have responded positively to all these efforts and every day we examine the

state of things and discuss where there may be opportunities to help our members move forward. Abydee has been an amazing leader through this whole year. As we look at reinstating our in-person meetings in 2021, we continue to make sure we understand what our members comfort levels are, what travel restrictions may continue to be in place and what association participation their budgets will allow. To do this, we have personally reached out to many members on several occasions and held a virtual town hall meeting to get member feedback. Even though we see COVID numbers continue to go up in the USA, the overall number of deaths related to the pandemic continues to drop. Our medical professionals have gotten much better at treating cases and many pharmaceutical companies are entering clinical trials for potential vaccines and treatments. Until these medical advancements become available, social distancing and safety protocols will have to continue to be in place. As we look down the road, I think we all know that we will get through this and be stronger for it at the end. In the meantime, we just need to keep pushing forward, stay mindful of our environment and continue to learn and adopt as best as we can. Be assured that GAWDA will continue to be with you, to provide whatever information and support you may need.


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FROM THE EDITOR

What Does “Normal” Look Like After This?
 BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

T

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 • Summer 2020

his issue of Welding & Gases Today understandably has a lot of information regarding COVID-19. The Consultant Roundtable on pages 12-16 deals with the fallout from COVID-19. The ITR articles both discuss the economic impact of the virus. Our Riches in the Niches details how members have managed to stay operating even with the onerous safety measures that have needed to be implemented, while we also have an article detailing how GAWDA members have lent a hand to their communities during the pandemic. There’s no question that the first half of 2020 (and potentially beyond) will be remembered in the history books as the age of COVID. With that said, we wanted to be cognizant that while COVID has cast its shadow over the industry, this should not become “The COVID-19 Issue.” There is so much going on in our industry outside of COVID that should be commemorated and celebrated. GAWDA is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, while many other members are also celebrating milestone anniversaries. The American Welding Society introduced its new Executive Director. And, as an essential business, GAWDA members need to be cognizant of how to continue to keep sales strong even during this crazy time. So much of what we have done in the first half of this year is in service of “getting back to normal.” But what does normal actually look like? As Lloyd Robinson, President of AWISCO, said on page 77, “There is no ‘normal’ to go back to. Everything has changed. How we adapt to the change will determine our long-term success.” I mentioned in my first ever Editor’s Note in the 3Q 2019 issue that I had actually started my career working for Welding & Gases Today’s

previous publisher. One of the things I worked on while I was there was the 2011 Industry Forecast. I had graduated from college in 2010, with the worst of the Recession behind us but businesses still reeling from what was the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. One of the most popular buzz phrases that I heard on that call was “The New Normal.” While business might rebound from the Recession (and indeed, did), it was never “going back to normal.” There was too much scar tissue from the experience to ever go back to the halcyon days of the early 2000s. Now, really for the first time since 2008, we have returned to a flashpoint in our business. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our economy. So where do we go from here? Like Lloyd says, I believe “normal” is gone forever. We will have to adapt to a “New Normal” in the post COVID-19 world. What will that mean? Your guess is as good as mine but if I were to guess I would say that masks and social distancing won’t just go away, even after the pandemic is “over.” Will we ever go back to handshaking being the universal gesture for hello? I would be surprised. What about telecommuting? Businesses across the world have had to deal with most of their workforce being forced to work from home. And the world kept spinning. I would guess that there is no putting that genie back in the bottle. Companies must now grapple with how, or even if, to return staff to the office. We have not heard the last of the impact the pandemic has had on our lives. I hope that all our members have come through this experience safe and I look forward to discussing the systemic changes that may arise as a result of it with each of you in the years ahead.


CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE

Consultant Roundtable:

COVID-19

How COVID-19 has impacted GAWDA members and what will need to be done as businesses reopen. BY STEVE GUGLIELMO, TOM BADSTUBNER, MARILYN DEMPSEY, MICHAEL DODD AND RICK SCHWEITZER

B

y the time that this issue hits your desk, it might feel like the COVID-19 pandemic has lasted forever. It may even be that the economy in your state has largely reopened. But the fallout from this crisis will last far beyond the initial lockdown and reopening. And, though businesses may have returned to some semblance of normalcy, the virus has not been eradicated. We may deal with a “second wave” or, at the very least, will need to continue to have protocols in place to protect our employees from contracting the virus even in a largely reopened economy. The GAWDA Consultants have been doing webinars and roundtables with members since the pandemic started. For this issue, Welding & Gases Today had the opportunity to speak with these consultants about how the pandemic has impacted members and how members should be preparing for a reopened business climate. We spoke with GAWDA’s newest consultant, Marilyn Dempsey, who advises members on topics related to DHS, EPA and OSHA, Michael Dodd, GAWDA’s DOT Consultant, Tom Badstubner, GAWDA’s FDA and Medical Gases Consultant, and Rick Schweitzer, GAWDA’s Government Affairs and Human Resources Consultant. The following is a transcript of a conversation regarding training best practices. RICK SCHWEITZER: I think the biggest change has been the rapidity of new information that has come out. The news cycle has gone from weeks to hours or minutes. You get something from the government, and you want to get it to the members immediately. The GAWDA staff has been very good, Andrea Levy has been wonderful about putting together all of these safety alerts that we have all cobbled from government recommendations and exemptions and other information that comes out and we’ve been doing it on a daily basis. Or, at least we were for the first month or so. It has slowed down some now. That’s why we’ve been doing these teleconferences, because the amount of new information on this subject has been unprecedented. WELDING & GASES TODAY: I assume that goes the same for everybody on this call. But, specifically, as it pertains to your relevant agencies, are you 12 • Summer 2020

seeing an increase in questions relating specifically to those agencies? MARILYN DEMPSEY: I still get some of the basic questions: How do you clean a cylinder or how do we protect our employees? But, because of what we’re putting on these webinars and starting to stress things like facility emergency response plans and hazard communication, I’m getting more questions on those subjects. People are starting to think about the broader picture. I know we’re bringing in other topics on the calls. Mike has brought in topics on the DOT and I’ve talked about how we might be in the middle of this plague, but we still have to worry about the weather that is coming up. Hurricane season is just around the corner. You can tell where people are in this cycle. There are some people who are at the beginning of the cycle and some people who are thinking, “We’ve reached the peak and we’re coming back down and now I’m ready to move on to how to expand and really make a good foundation.” TOM BADSTUBNER: The issues of handwashing and equipment cleaning are the number one and two issues that we’ve been discussing. That’s really more about personnel safety than it is about medical gas safety. Early in the pandemic, there were some Safety Alerts about converting cylinders that came from the Compressed Gas Association (CGA SA-35, Cleaning Of Cylinders Returned From Healthcare Facilities During A Pandemic and CGA SA-36, Medical Oxygen Supply System Issues During The COVID-19 Crisis.) But, by far, the biggest issues have been hand sanitizing and equipment cleaning. WGT: For each regulatory agency, there have been many alerts issued pertaining to COVID-19. But Marilyn, as you mentioned, the world doesn’t stop spinning during this time. How is regulatory enforcement being handled during this crisis? MICHAEL DODD: It’s way down. MARILYN: It is. But it’s surprising that there are still a couple of twinges. A lot from letters that came out earlier in the year, but it seems like Homeland Security has a good


CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE

6 ft

handle on this and so they’re looking at things and saying, “Oh, this person might need to file a Topscreen.” Within the last couple of weeks, I’ve had three little DHS issues that have come up. MICHAEL: The out in public enforcement, roadside stops, etc. has almost shut off. I’m getting no calls on that. I have had a new twist though, in the last month, I’ve had two DOT audits being conducted by phone. Phone and email and online. That’s a new twist. TOM: The FDA sent a notice out that they’re not sending inspectors into plants right now for routine inspections. So, there really has been no significant enforcement. But my impression is that there has been good compliance, even without the enforcement. I’m not aware of anybody that has taken this as an opportunity to not follow GMPs. WGT: How is the preparation process different for a phone or online audit than if they just show up at your door? If this goes on for longer than we think that it might and that becomes more of the norm, what should members do differently? MICHAEL: Really nothing different. Because all they’re doing is asking people to scan things and send to them via email. So, it’s making the audit process, to me, go from a day or two to a week or two. But the questions are the same. RICK: Mike, are you seeing any situations where they’re having the company walk around to take videos of their facility and processes or anything?

MICHAEL: I keep waiting for that to happen. It has not been requested yet. But I think that’s a natural next step. RICK: That’s what I’m guessing, too. WGT: I’m up in New York, so we have sheltered in place. But there are states that did not go to that extreme, where it was a mandated order. In those states, where things have remained open, to a certain extent, are in-person audits still happening at all? Or has that tap been completely shut off? MICHAEL: I don’t know of a single in-person audit since this has started. TOM: Same with the FDA. I haven’t heard a single one. However, there have been surveys from the FDA that may replace audits or possibly, prepare the inspectors for audits. The purpose of the surveys is unclear. WGT: Once things go back to “normal,” what do you think that is going to mean for that? Will there be a huge backlog? Will things get pushed way out into 2021? MICHAEL: I’m just guessing, but I think once they figure out this online questionnaire type audit, I think they’re going to find that that is probably more effective, because they can visit more people more easily. They won’t have the travel expenses or the time out of the office. I think it’s going to be a real slow rollback in to in-person. And maybe more a ramp up of the electronic. continued on next page

Summer 2020 • 13


CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE

WGT: With a lot of our industry having been deemed as “essential business,” it has been more or less “business as usual” with obvious caveats. How does that change things in terms of following the protocols that have been put in place? Does that change anything as compared to an industry that might not be an essential service? MICHAEL: I’ve been doing an impromptu survey among friends, asking how their business has been doing. So far, the average has been 1/3 to 50% off. And they were doing great up through February and March. But in the past month, they’ve actually seen 1/3 to 1/2 of their business go away. With everybody sheltering in place, I haven’t been going to visit places. I honestly think that businesses are struggling so much at the moment with maintaining their business and their employees and doing what they can to help their employees through this, that training, I think, has fallen off the radar. In the last week, though, I have had a few inquiries about doing some virtual training. But it’s a very small percentage of normal. So, a concern that I would have, is that I’m hoping that the owners and the business operators remember that

training still has to go on. There are still frequencies to meet. Right now, it’s just not a primary concern. I fully understand that. But, at some point, they’re going to have to get back in this program and back on a training schedule. TOM: I haven’t had any of these kinds of conversations recently, but before that, the companies that were in the hardest hit area, like New York City, were reporting some higher than normal medical gas sales volume. But the companies in the rural areas, they were hit pretty hard. I think it might be uneven across our industry. MICHAEL: I would agree with that. Those areas that are being hit the hardest have seen medical business go through the roof. But, if you walk away from those metro areas, they’ve seen their medical business go to zero. TOM: And the welding business has really suffered. So, if you had a lot of welding business and not much medical, this may have been a very tough time for you. MICHAEL: I know some medical people that, honestly, their medical business has gone to near nothing. Because the hospitals have shut down. The nursing homes and the rest care areas, they have made all of the patients stay in

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CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE

their rooms. So, they’re off of cylinder oxygen and on to concentrators. So, that has been quite a learning experience. And unexpected. TOM: I talked to a member this morning who took this opportunity, while he had to shelter at home, to take some training that we offered (GAWDA Professional Compliance training). So, this member actually focused on training opportunities while he could. MICHAEL: I would hope that people right now, with business being slow and companies trying to maintain the number of employees at work, that they would take the opportunity to do some online training. Because now they actually have some time for it. Before, they were almost too busy to stop. MARILYN: The question I get most is, “How do I clean cylinders?” or “How do I keep my employees safe?” I really think that there are people who want to take apart their entire plant and disinfect it. Let’s think about the exposure that this equipment actually has. And I try to walk them through that. And I think companies are really trying to focus on keeping things clean so that people don’t get sick.

WGT: Right now, it seems like businesses are in survival mode. They’re doing what they can do to maintain whatever business is left out there. But as we start transitioning back into a period of relative normalcy, it’s not as if those commitments have gone away. They’ve just been pushed down the priority list. At a certain point, companies need to start thinking about how to start operating and doing all the things that were left behind as they were just trying to survive. What are you seeing from businesses that are doing this well that you think might give them an advantage when the world snaps back? MICHAEL: I’m hoping that, from a training standpoint, when business starts snapping back in the third and fourth quarter that everybody doesn’t start lining up all at once. There’s only one of me. There’s a piece of me who thinks that is what is going to happen. Everybody is going to get back in business, get things back to normal, then they’re going to look at their business and say, “We’re six months out of training.” And everybody will come looking at once. We can do that via

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CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE

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16 • Summer 2020

GoToMeeting vs. in person. And it’s unlimited, then, with the amount of people you can do at one time. But without looking into the future too much, there’s a real concern that companies are dealing with right now. There’s a concern that people can’t get new drivers hired because the states have got all of the DMVs and testing facilities closed. Half of the country is shut down at the moment. So, they can’t bring on new drivers. The old ones can keep going, but the new ones can’t come on. RICK: 22 states have their driver licensing agencies closed right now. You can take your written test over the Internet, but they don’t have a back office open, in some cases, to even process that information. You then can’t take the road test to get a new learner’s permit or a new commercial drivers license. And, even if you get one, you also have to have a background check done for your hazardous materials endorsement and if the state agency is not open to conduct that background check, then you have to go to another state that might have its driver licensing agency open to get your background check done. So, it has made it much more difficult to bring new drivers into the industry. WGT: So that part of the business is just on hold indefinitely? RICK: Yeah. And the other concern is that some drivers, at least initially, some were legitimately sick or had been exposed to other people who were symptomatic and therefore they had to quarantine themselves. Others were simply scared. They didn’t want to go to their customer’s sites. I’ve had members talk to me about, “What do I do with a driver who doesn’t want to go visit a particular customer” or, in one case, to go across the state line? These are new issues that we’ve never had to deal with before. WGT: What was your piece of advice to that member? RICK: Well, you have to talk to them about the specific risks involved and then try to take the fear of the unknown out of it. And make sure that they have adequate personal protective equipment and that the vehicle and the cylinders are wiped down as much as possible. So, then the driver can feel comfortable in making the delivery or the pickup. MARILYN: I’ve had the same question posed to me. “I have a driver who doesn’t want to come to work because he’s afraid of being infected.” Like Rick said, you have to tell them that you’re taking every precaution you can. It’s not like it’s only one sector of the world that is impacted here. It’s everywhere. So just do everything possible to keep your people protected and work together to get through it. But you can’t force them.


CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE

WGT: Do you think that there has been anything that we’ve learned during this crisis that will carry on once things “go back to normal”? TOM: I think we have an expectation or maybe a heightened sensitivity that our cylinders need to be clean when they return to be refilled. We are more aware of the potential risks we are facing. And that may mean more rigorously vetting our customers’ cleaning practices. We’ve discovered that some of the hospitals have been using non-CGA approved cleaning solutions for years. So, we may have more assertive conversations with our customers going forward than we’ve had in the past. MARILYN: I think it’s also an opportunity for companies to show the added value of their salespeople. To have the salespeople really go in and find out, is there a cleaning protocol? Where are the cylinders being kept? And, to help keep our drivers from being exposed as much by streamlining the system both from our end and from the customer’s end. WGT: What would your biggest piece of advice to readers during this crisis be? MICHAEL: One of my concerns is that we have had an awful lot of due dates pushed off. We’ve got cylinder testing pushed off, we’ve got CDL drivers licenses pushed off in the future, we’ve got medical carts pushed off in the future, drug and alcohol testing being pushed off. And, at some point here, they’re going to declare this emergency over, and everything is going to be immediately due. Unless they give us a phase-in period, which we have not heard about. My concern is going to be that there is going to be a whole lot of things due very fast right as businesses are trying to pick back up again. I think if I was an owner/operator or a compliance person, I would be keeping a real close tab on my due dates and how I’m going to phase this back in. TOM: It might be a good time to do a self-assessment, like a mock audit, just to be sure that critical compliance activities have not dropped through the cracks. MARILYN: I think the biggest thing that I have seen from people who are really excelling and truly being leaders is the communication that they have with every single one of their employees. They’re talking to people and talking to supervisors and coaching them on how to talk to people, really keeping the lines of communication open. RICK: I think those are all really good points. I’m reminded of a conversation that I had with one member, which was that during emergency periods like this, you find out which of your employees you can really count on and which ones are problematic. And, at some point, after things return to whatever normal is going forward, it might be time to weed your garden.

I think the biggest thing that I have seen from people who are really excelling and truly being leaders is the communication that they have with every single one of their employees. TOM: I’d like to echo that. I’ve heard the same comment more than once. Rick is right, down the road when business picks back up and things start to get back to normal, I think people will remember who was a team player and who wasn’t. WGT: Is there anything we didn’t touch on that you want to discuss today? MICHAEL: Just a personal wish that I want this business to get back to work. We have to get the country back to work. I hope we have learned some real lessons with this so that we don’t have to go through this again. MARILYN: Especially in the Fall. TOM: We’re going to have crises in the future. Whether it’s hurricanes or another COVID, but I think that we have, at least I’ve discovered, that our historical ways of doing business and making decisions and our old systems, just aren’t adequate for the future. We’re not able to respond smoothly. Maybe some of our work practices or management practices need to be looked at as well. RICK: One thing that has been different about this is that hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, those are things that you can see, you can visualize, and people jump in and get to work. This was invisible and we can’t go to work. We don’t know how to fight it. So, this one is really different. TOM: I think that Abydee recognized that the members had questions and the consultants had some answers, but we needed to get them out in a different, more effective way. I know that the questions that I took in those couple of weeks in March were about four times what the average was. And that is not really sustainable. Trying to do business the old way and communicate with people the old way. So, I think that the Consultant Webinars were one example of something that was a response to a need that was a little bit different. That will change as the urgency gets less. But we need to be open to new ways of doing things. And I think that all of GAWDA, including the members, are pretty flexible and forward-thinking about that. It was kind of a wakeup for me. We were pretty comfortable with how we did business before and we really shouldn’t have been. Summer 2020 • 17


CONSULTANTS SAFETY

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
 BY MARILYN R. DEMPSEY

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 MembersOnly Section

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

18 • Summer 2020

H

azards exist everywhere: Viruses, noise, chemicals, falling objects, slippery surfaces/uneven surfaces and sharp objects. Employers are required by regulation to protect employees from known and potential hazards in the workplace. The General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, 29 USC 654(a)(1), requires employers to furnish to each worker “employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” Employers can be cited for violation of the General Duty Clause if a recognized serious hazard exists in their workplace and the employer does not take reasonable steps to prevent or abate the hazard. The General Duty Clause is used only where there is no standard that applies to the particular hazard. The following elements are necessary to prove a violation of the General Duty Clause: 1. The employer failed to keep the workplace free of a hazard to which employees of that employer were exposed; 2. The hazard was recognized;

3. The hazard was causing or was likely to cause death or serious physical harm; and 4. There was a feasible and useful method to correct the hazard. There is a Hierarchy of Controls to “Correct the hazard.” 1st - Eliminate the Hazard: a cylinder cart has a flat tire. Eliminate the hazard, change the tire. 2nd - Substitute the Hazard: change a cleaning agent from a caustic solution that requires dilution to a pre-diluted non-caustic cleaning solution 3rd - Administrative Control: SOPs, training employees or hanging instructive posters 4th - PPE: protection for the employee’s body: leather palmed work gloves to decrease the severity of a hand hit between two cylinders colliding. This guide will help both employers and employees do the following: • Understand the types of PPE. • Know the basics of conducting a “hazard assessment” of the workplace. • Select appropriate PPE for a variety of circumstances. • Understand what kind of training is needed in the proper use and care of PPE. Establishing a written PPE Program detailing what PPE employees use, in which work areas, makes it easier to ensure that employees use PPE properly in the workplace.


CONSULTANTS

SAFETY

THE REQUIREMENT FOR PPE

TYPES OF PPE

To ensure the greatest possible protection for employees in the workplace, the cooperative efforts of both employers and employees will help in establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. In general, employers are responsible for: • Performing a “hazard assessment” of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards. • Identifying and providing appropriate PPE for employees. • Training employees in the use and care of the PPE. • Maintaining PPE, including replacing worn or damaged PPE. • Periodically reviewing, updating and evaluating the effectiveness of the PPE program. In general, employees should: • Properly wear PPE, • Attend training sessions on PPE, • Care for, clean and maintain PPE, • Inform a supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE.

All PPE must meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards in effect at the time of its manufacture or provide protection equivalent to PPE manufactured to the ANSI criteria. Employers should inform employees who provide their own PPE of the employer’s selection decisions and ensure that any employee-owned PPE used in the workplace conforms to the employer’s criteria, based on the hazard assessment, OSHA requirements and ANSI standards. NOTE: If an employee uses a respirator, the employer must then maintain a Respirator Program. OSHA requires PPE to meet the following ANSI standards: • Eye and Face Protection: ANSI Z87.1-1989 • Head Protection: ANSI Z89.1-1986. • Foot Protection: ANSI Z41.1-1991. • For hand protection, there is no ANSI standard for gloves, but OSHA recommends that selection be based upon the tasks to be performed and the performance and construction characteristics of the glove material. In our industry, leather palmed cotton backed gloves are the industry standard. continued on next page

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Summer 2020 • 19


CONSULTANTS SAFETY

SELECTING PPE All PPE clothing and equipment should be of safe design and construction, and should be maintained in a clean and reliable fashion. Employers should take the fit and comfort of PPE into consideration when selecting appropriate items for their workplace. PPE that fits well and is comfortable to wear will encourage employee use of PPE. Most protective devices are available in multiple sizes and care should be taken to select the proper size for each employee. If several different types of PPE are worn together, make sure they are compatible. If PPE does not fit properly, it can make the difference between being safely covered or dangerously exposed. It may not provide the level of protection desired and may discourage employee use.

HAZARD ASSESSMENT In order to assess the need for PPE, a hazard assessment should be performed for each activity in the facility. Engagement of an employee(s) who performs the job will greatly increase the accuracy of the assessment. The basic steps of a Hazard Assessment are: 1. Identify the jobs where exposures exist or are possible, then rank their exposure (likelihood and severity). Review of the injury and first aid logs will help identify those jobs. 2. Walk through the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), beginning with the job that has the greatest likelihood of hazard exposure and severity. Consider the hazard categories that may be present: • Motion or impact • Extreme temperatures • Chemical or biological • Harmful dust • Light (optical) radiation • Employee falls and falling/dropped objects • Sharp objects • Compressing, rolling, or pinching objects • Electrical, including static electricity discharge 3. Observe and record if any of the following hazards are present and if/what PPE are used: • Sources of motion or impact (e.g., machinery or processes where any movement of tools, machine elements, or particles could exist, or movement of personnel that could result in collision with stationary objects). • Sources of extreme temperatures that could result in burns, eye injury, ignition of protective equipment, frostbite, etc. • Types of chemical and biological exposures. • Sources of harmful dust. • Sources of light (optical) radiation, e.g., welding, brazing, cutting, furnaces, heat treating, high-intensity lights, etc. 20 • Summer 2020

Sources of employee fall hazards or the potential for falling or dropping objects. • Sources of sharp objects that might pierce the feet or cut the hands. • Sources of compressing, rolling, or pinching objects that could crush the feet. • Sources of electrical hazards, such as electric shock or burns (from electric arcs, blasts, or heat), as well as static electricity discharge. • Layout of workplace and location of co-workers. 4. Following the walk through, organize and categorize the information to analyze the hazards and choose the proper PPE. The Safety Manager should sign and date the form. Periodic review of the Hazard Assessment, injury and first aid logs will ensure the approved PPE is still appropriate. Job Hazard Analysis form on last page. •

TRAINING Employers are required to train each employee who must use PPE. Employees must be trained to know at least the following: • When PPE is necessary. • What PPE is necessary. • How to properly put on, take off, adjust and wear the PPE. • The limitations of the PPE. • Proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of PPE. Employers should make sure that each employee demonstrates an understanding of the PPE training as well as the ability to properly wear and use PPE before they are allowed to perform work requiring the use of the PPE. If an employer believes that a previously trained employee is not demonstrating the proper understanding and skill level in the use of PPE, that employee should receive retraining. Other situations that require additional or retraining of employees include the following circumstances; changes in the workplace or in the type of required PPE that make prior training obsolete. The employer must document the training of each employee required to wear or use PPE by preparing a certification containing the name of each employee trained, the date of training and a clear identification of the subject of the certification. OSHA has a very good booklet on Personal Protective Equipment and CGA P-44, Selection of Personal Protective Equipment is also a very good resource, it too is free if you are enrolled in the CGA & GAWDA Publication Subscription Program & Distributor Safety Award. If there are questions or items that I can help you with, please contact me.


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CONSULTANTS DOT & SAFETY

LPG Filling and Storage BY MICHAEL DODD

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.

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

of the filling valve and hose assembly. This results in under filling the cylinder. Not a safety issue, but certainly a weights and measures issue and a customer satisfaction issue.

his month’s bulletin is to remind people of the hot months of summer and the problems of overfilling LPG cylinders. This bulletin is not meant to provide all the details of proper filling and storage of LPG cylinders.

FILLING AND STORAGE

T

HOT SUMMER DAYS The extreme heat of the summer months will cause overfilled cylinders to begin venting product and this venting product can be liquid, which expands 270 times the volume when going from a liquid to a gas. Provide an ignition source and you have the equation for big trouble.

KEY MISTAKES A very common mistake that I find is an employee putting a cylinder on the scale and then sliding the weight on the beam or adding weight to the electronic scale to add the weight of the product to the weight indicated on the scale. This doesn’t take into consideration any residual in the cylinder. If product or any foreign substance is inside the cylinder, the result is an overfilled cylinder. You should be taking every opportunity to check the weight of the cylinder prior to filling. There are times that residual product will still be in the cylinder, but many times the cylinder is empty, and this lets you check the tare weight. Another common mistake I find is the employee not taking into consideration the weight 22 • Summer 2020

There are many sources of information available on the proper procedures for filling and storage of LPG cylinders. Some of these sources are: • NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code; www.nfpa.org • National Propane Gas Association; www.npga.org • Your supplier Some other storage issues to consider are: • Empties upside down on trucks and docks: The regulations require that the safety relief valve must be in contact with the gas vapor and not the liquid. Placing forklift style cylinders upside down on the truck or dock to denote they are “empties” is violating the regulations. If the safety would start to vent, you could be releasing liquid, which expands about 270 times from liquid to gas. • Cylinders in racks at customers (not pin indexed): You should consider training your drivers and customers to place full or “empty” forklift cylinders into a storage rack with the safety relief valve pointed up. The index pins take care of this orientation while on the forklift, but many storage racks do not have the pins. • Too many together in one place: You should consider not storing too many flammable gas cylinders in one place or large groups. If you would ever have a problem, you will have


a very big problem fast. Smaller groups and spread out groups will let you deal with smaller problems, should you ever have a leaking / venting cylinders or a fire.

TRAINING OSHA requires employees to be trained in the jobs they perform. DOT requires employees filling cylinders to be trained, tested and certified every three years. This falls under the “Function Specific” training requirements in 172.704. There is an excellent LPG filling training program, “Dispensing Propane Safely,” available from the Propane Education & Research Council, that includes a test that along with an employer certification will satisfy the DOT requirements. It is available as a free download. https://propane.com/ resource-catalog/resources/dispensingpropane-safely-training-program-english-version/

FINAL THOUGHTS One of the most important items is the correct filling limit. Tare Weight + Product Weight + Filling Assembly = Full Cylinder Scale Weight. Check the full cylinder weight prior to removing the filled cylinder from the scale. Another important item is proper storage. Keep the required distances in mind and think about your cylinder storage. Think about the worst scenario and ask yourself if the way you are storing your cylinders would be a problem if you had a fire situation. Finally, are your employees properly trained on cylinder inspection, cylinder selection, filling procedures, proper marking and labeling, handling and storage, and what they should do in emergency situations? If there are any questions regarding this bulletin, please contact: Michael Dodd GAWDA DOT Consultant P.O. Box 93 Poplar Bluff, MO 63902 (573) 718-2887 Email: MLDSafety@hotmail.com

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Summer 2020 • 23


MEMBER BENEFIT

CGA Actively Supports Industry’s COVID-19 Response BY RICH GOTTWALD, CGA PRESIDENT & CEO

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

ith the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, the compressed gas industry has faced tremendous challenges and risk. Never before has it been so crucial for all members of the industry to work together to serve the needs of customers, while striving to keep employees, vendors, end users, and all others across our supply chains, safe. To that end, we at the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) are taking ongoing action, coordinating with our members as well as government agencies in the U.S. and Canada, and sharing new resources to aid in our industry’s response to COVID-19. We highlight some of those actions and resources here, in the hopes that you will find them useful in your own company’s response to the pandemic.

CGA’S ONLINE COVID-19 TOOLKIT OFFERS IN-DEPTH, RAPIDLY EXPANDING RESOURCE On March 26, 2020, we launched an online industry toolkit to aid in the industry’s COVID-19 response (see https://bit.ly/CGACOVID-19Toolkit). Here, we provide news, resources, links, and other critical information related to COVID-19, to assist all members of the industrial, medical, and food gases industry in your response efforts during this pandemic. This toolkit includes content focused on U.S. and Canadian government news and resources at the federal, state/province, and local levels, as well as CGA news and resources. We will continue updating and expanding the toolkit in the coming months, as critical information becomes available. Recent updates include the following: 24 • Summer 2020

TOOLS TO MONITOR U.S. STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT COVID-19 RESPONSE & REOPENING As all 50 states in the U.S. move to reopen to varying degrees, it can be challenging to keep track of all that is changing. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) provides an online interactive map, showing state-by-state COVID-19 resources gathered from its state partners and local governments. In addition, MultiState Associates, a state and local government relations firm, is maintaining an online Dashboard that tracks in detail U.S. state and local government response to COVID-19, including reopening orders. The company also provides maps and other resources for tracking how states and localities are responding to the crisis. To access these and other state and local response trackers, visit: https://bit.ly/COVID19StateGovResponse.

REOPENING GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES Although certain parts of your company’s operations may have remained open during government shelter orders during the spring of 2020, others were likely either conducted remotely or curtailed. CGA continues to share resources to aid in companies’ reopening. On April 29, 2020, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a new fact sheet, “Planning Considerations for Organizations in Reconstituting Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This FEMA publication provides factors to consider when planning for resumption of more normal operations. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


also recently provided guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. This guidance provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfection practices. To see these and other resources, visit: https://bit.ly/COVID-19USGov.

CGA OFFERS MATERIALS TO HELP DETERMINE SITE ACCESS FOR EMPLOYEES & VISITORS CDC has issued guidance for companies to use when dealing with workers who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Based on this guidance, we developed a set of resources GAWDA members can use when establishing procedures for determining the suitability of employees to work after potential exposure to the Coronavirus, as well as site access for visitors. These materials include: • Model Flow Chart for Employee Ability to Work: you can modify this model flow chart or use as-is to show protocols for dealing with employees who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. • Return to Work Requirements: provides a model set of requirements for assessing the ability of employees to return to work after exposure to COVID-19. • Visitor Site Access Questions: offers a model questionnaire you can modify or use as-is for potential visitors to company facilities. • Visitor Access Sign: provides a model sign you can modify or use as-is to educate potential visitors to company facilities. These resources may be accessed on our COVID-19 toolkit (see: https://bit.ly/COVID-19SiteAccess).

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MEMBER BENEFIT

n Compressed Gas Associatio

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P-83, SCAN HERE FOR CGA ING GUIDELINES FOR CLEAN MINATED EXTERNALLY CONTA INERS MEDICAL GAS CONTA

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WWW.CGANET.COM

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WWW.CGANET.COM

You can access and download CGA’s Medical Oxygen Supply Chain posters here: https://bit.ly/COVID-19CGAResources.

no charge during the COVID-19 pandemic (all CGA Safety Alerts are also available for free). To make CGA P-83 more readily available for all, we have published it directly to our public website, where it can be easily downloaded (see https://bit.ly/CGAP-83Info). We also provide this related safety alert: CGA SA-35, Safety Alert, Cleaning of Cylinders Returned from Healthcare Facilities During a Pandemic

CHANGE OF SERVICE GUIDELINES The following CGA publications provide guidance for gas suppliers working to transition cylinders into medical oxygen service during the COVID-19 pandemic: CGA C-10, Guideline to Prepare Cylinders and Tubes for Gas Service and Changes in Gas Service CGA M-18, Standard for the Change of Product and Change of Grade for High Pressure and Refrigerated Liquid Containers CGA SA-36, Safety Alert, Cylinder and Cryogenic Container 26 • Summer 2020

Issue Related to Cylinder Conversion and Filling During the COVID-19 Crisis

SUPPLY SYSTEMS This Safety Alert provides interim measures that may be considered for use during the COVID-19 crisis, if there is a need to temporarily increase the capacity of existing medical oxygen supply systems. It also addresses measures that may be considered when installing temporary medical oxygen supply systems. CGA SA-37, Safety Alert, Medical Oxygen Supply System Issues During the COVID-19 Crisis

WE’VE PUBLISHED NEW, FREE MEDICAL OXYGEN SUPPLY CHAIN POSTERS In early April, we published two new, free medical oxygen supply chain posters: a cylinder poster and a wall connection poster. These posters, which are available for download from


MEMBER BENEFIT our COVID-19 industry toolkit, communicate critical steps that healthcare providers can take to support the medical oxygen supply chain during this time of crisis: 1. Understand their medical gas supply system needs and capabilities 2. Manage medical gas container inventory 3. Clean their medical gas containers The posters are designed so that suppliers can add your contact information to each poster, before sharing them with your healthcare customers. Each poster also includes a link to safety publication CGA P-83. To access these posters, visit: https://bit.ly/COVID-19CGAResources.

CGA LEADS INDUSTRY CONSORTIUM RESPONDING TO LOOMING CO2 SHORTAGE

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is critical for the operations of food and beverage manufacturers that provide essential goods and services to Americans. It is used in the processing, packaging, preservation, and shipping of many foods. In addition, CO2 in different forms is used in various aspects of the healthcare industry and is also an important component in many municipal water treatment systems. In early April, an industry coalition led by the Compressed Gas Association and including representatives from multiple food and beverage groups, submitted a letter to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence expressing strong concern that the current COVID-19 pandemic creates a significant risk of a shortage in carbon dioxide. The letter argued that such a shortage would significantly impact access to essential food and beverage supplies as well as other essential sectors of the U.S. economy. Signed by leaders from CGA, the North American Meat Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Turkey Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, and the Renewable Fuels Association, the coalition letter urged immediate federal action to put manufacturing plants that support CO2 production back into service, especially those sites that are capture ready, i.e., those that have the ability to capture, liquefy, and store usable CO2. (See the letter at: https://bit.ly/CO2ShortageLetter). CGA continues to work closely with our industry partners and with representatives from the highest levels of the U.S. government to identify strategies to mitigate this risk.

CGA CONTINUES COORDINATION WITH U.S. AND CANADIAN AUTHORITIES ON COVID-19 RESPONSE On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) first issued guidance on “Essential Critical Infrastructure

Workers” during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. DHS provided a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers…” to help state and local officials as they work to protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.” In this guidance, DHS defined “Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of … medical gases” as “essential.” Other CGA member activities have also been identified as essential in the CISA guidance, such as food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees (including those employed in food ingredient production and processing facilities), workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, and workers necessary for the manufacturing of metals (including steel and aluminum), industrial minerals, semiconductors, materials and products needed for medical supply chains, and for supply chains associated with transportation, energy, communications, information technology, food and agriculture, and chemical manufacturing. On April 2, Public Safety Canada issued its “Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which helped align the list of essential workers across the provinces and territories. CGA member activities were included under several categories. To ensure the continued functioning of the two nations’ integrated economies, this document was aligned and consistent with the guidance from U.S. DHS CISA. Throughout the spring, CGA maintained that any U.S. state or local quarantine or shelter-in-place declarations should rely on the CISA guidance and include medical gas workers and other workers identified as “essential” to the response to COVID-19. On March 25, CGA was a signatory to a broad industry letter sent to U.S. government officials, supporting a consistent definition of “critical infrastructure” across all jurisdictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 111 industry groups signed on to this letter, representing nearly the entire U.S. economy. The letter was delivered to the White House, DHS CISA, and governors and mayors across the country. In addition, CGA worked with the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to secure a Special Permit and Enforcement Discretion allowing the filling of cylinders that have exceeded their periodic requalification test date, to help ensure a sufficient supply of medical oxygen and other needed medical gases cylinders. Following a request from CGA, Transport Canada issued a temporary certificate similarly allowing the filling of cylinders that have exceeded their test and inspection date. Summer 2020 • 27


MEMBER PROFILE

How F&M MAFCO grew from a garage to a single-source independent distributorship
 BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

F

&M MAFCO is founded on the values of G.R.I.T. GRIT stands for: Goal Oriented, Responsibility, Integrity, and Teamwork. Those timeless values remain unchanged since the company’s founding in 1945. Those simple values, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit that still lives on in the company today, helped propel F&M MAFCO from two men in a garage re-selling Army Surplus supplies to a distributorship that today encompasses nearly 300 employees in 10 branches around the world. In September 1945, Robert McKenna, Sr. was discharged from the Army Air Corps. following World War II. McKenna and his wife, Mary, moved in with her parents, including AI Friedmann in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, the Department of War Assets announced a program that allowed veterans to buy surplus supplies from the government at a discounted “veteran’s privilege” price. McKenna, at the time, was solely interested in buying a car. However, on

28 • Summer 2020

one trip downtown to look for one, he encountered another veteran who told him a story that would change his life. “A man told me he had bought some briefcases and sold them to Shillito’s (a local department store) for five times what he had paid for them,” said McKenna in a letter on the F&M MAFCO website. “This sounded interesting, and I talked to Dad about it. We agreed that this might be a way to make some extra money.” T h e n ex t d a y, M c Ke n n a a n d Friedmann went to the War Assets department and bought assorted items

including waterproof matches, flight suits and 1,000 huck towels (the kind the barber puts on your face.) The idea for F&M was born.

THE EARLY YEARS The company, then called F&M Supply, continued buying miscellaneous items including balloons and soap and selling them for a tidy profit. Operating out of the Friedmann’s garage, the two began to discuss how to grow the business. Several months later, the Friedmann’s were having dinner with


MEMBER PROFILE

some friends that ended up setting F&M on the course that would lead them into the industrial market. “A few months later, Mom and Dad were going to dinner with the Hoaglands. Fred Hoagland was an erector for the Babcock and Wilcox Company. We conducted small talk in the living room, and he told us about what B&W was doing and how they could be doing more, if only they had the tools,” McKenna said. “I inquired about what type of tools they were looking for, and he said, ‘Why don’t you come down to the Kentucky Utilities project in Tyrone, Kentucky. I’ll be glad to show you.’ The next week we drove down, and Fred showed us that they were using air tools, electric tools, and so on. I remembered, in Louisville where we bought the balloons, there were 12-inch adjustable wrenches, which were much needed in those days. I called a friend of mine in Indianapolis, who had bought them and he sold me 100 wrenches at $1.00 each. B&W’s district supervisor, Bill Hixon, (who Fred had introduced me to) bought them all for $1.50 each.” The relationship with Babcock and Wilcox not only gave F&M inroads into the boiler erection business, which they quickly grew, but also became a partnership that withstood the test of time. Babcock and Wilcox continue to be a customer of F&M MAFCO to this day. “The company continued to grow from there,” says Joe Rothwell, Marketing Manager of F&M MAFCO. “Soon, other manufacturers such as Crosby, Stanley Black & Decker, and Miller Electric started hearing about how F&M was selling to these contractor clients. They started approaching us to buy their products to distribute to all of these contractors and the business continued to flourish from there.”

GROWING THE BUSINESS Because of the nature of the clients that F&M was serving, they began to get more and more questions relating to the gases and welding industry. “We started more on the heavy construction and industrial markets,” says Rothwell. “We sold welding machines, consumables, gas apparatuses and other hard goods. Naturally, we began to get questions about gases. So, our first foray into the gas world was with the acquisition of a company called Cleves Welding, which was then rebranded as ‘Arc Force’.”

COMPANY CULTURE Though F&M MAFCO has been blessed by the opportunity to partner with industry leading suppliers like Miller Electric, ESAB, Enerpac, Stanley Black & Decker, 3M, John Tillman, Harrington Hoists, Victor Technologies, and a host of others, the true secret to the company’s

success is in the culture it has cultivated and the team that it has assembled, combined with those top-of-the-line products. “Our culture is what we feel sets F&M apart from the big boxes,” Rothwell says. “Our average employee tenure is more than 15 years. We’re about using our experience, our knowledge of the industry and the products, and our relationships with our vendors to sell solutions. All of these different resources work together to give our customer a high quality product, at a fair price, with unmatched customer service.” The company’s current tagline is, “F&M MAFCO, Your Powerful Solutions Partners!” Says Rothwell, “At F&M MAFCO, we tool up our clients to do big things. Things that other people say can’t be done. Together, we outwork, we outhustle, and, most importantly, we out-innovate to bring your big idea to life.” continued on next page

Summer 2020 • 29


MEMBER PROFILE As the employees at F&M MAFCO say, the company has GRIT. According to the company’s website, GRIT can be summed up as: Goal Oriented – We passionately pursue corporate, customer and individual objectives. We have a clear direction and our efforts are focused on the realization of leadership vision. Our individual actions have collective purpose Responsibility – We are accountable to our customers, our community and environment, our company and our peers for our actions. We are good stewards of the resources provided to us and are committed to using them efficiently to ensure the success of our customers and our company. Integrity – We do what we say and say what we do. Our actions are consistent with our collective goals. We strive to be fair, reasonable and balanced in all of our dealings. Teamwork – We work side by side with our customers and our fellow associates to accomplish our purpose. We are devoted to unified effort and the communication that is essential to achieve corporate success.

GOING FORWARD “Being associated with GAWDA, having our name in front of the major vendors in the industry and building those relationships has been a huge part of our growth and success,” Rothwell says. “Having that backing when you’re out talking to customers, they see what it means to be F&M MAFCO. We’re not just a supplier of gas or a distributor of tools and consumables. We’re a major player in the industry.” With its acquisition of Cleves Welding and the formation of the company’s rental division, F&M MAFCO began to position itself as a project and supply chain solution provider. Today, the company serves the power generation, 30 • Summer 2020

petrochemical, bridge, marine and offshore, pulp and paper, metal fabrication and industrial manufacturing industries. The company’s “Next S.T.E.P.” program focuses on that supply chain management. S.T.E.P. stands for Strategic Tool & Equipment Partnership. It provides customers with the complete supply chain to tools, consumables, rentals and great service, including inventory management, asset lifecycle management, fleet management and resource management. “I see our growth over the next five years to not be so much getting into other markets, even though we will work to expand into other markets. I think it’s going to be more in line with the Next S.T.E.P. program, focusing on supply chain and rental solutions and growing the business that way,” Rothwell says. “We feel there is still a place for the independent welding and gases distributors. There always will be. People still want to deal with people.” Today, the company is run by the second generation of family ownership and the company has already put in place a transition plan for the third generation. The company also works closely with welding and vocational schools to keep a steady pipeline of young talent infused into the company. It even has an apprenticeship program that the company hopes will help retain some of that promising talent.

F&M also recently launched a new website that it expects will help drive the company forward. “This is the first phase, with new branding that highlights the new solutions that we’ve been working on,” Rothwell says. “We will continue to develop our ecommerce site that will be attached to that as well, which allows us to do B-to-B and B-to-C online sales. We’re not going to put Amazon out of business, but we want to have a solid portal for our existing customers and another option for prospective customers.”

CELEBRATING 75 YEARS The company had big plans to highlight its 75th Anniversary that unfortunately had to be put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were going to have a large customer and vendor appreciation event in our corporate office, as well as a large company picnic,” Rothwell says. “Unfortunately, that all has gotten pushed off. But we are talking about doing some of those celebrations in the first quarter of next year. We’re definitely going to do something.” In addition to celebrating the milestone with its employees and vendors, F&M has been given a directive from its ownership to give back to the local tri-state area. “It has been a major initiative of our owners to give back to the community,” says Rothwell. Though it can’t celebrate the way it had originally intended, F&M MAFCO is immensely proud of its 75th Anniversary and has highlighted the achievement in its marketing collateral and to its customers. Says Rothwell, “We have been around for 75 years, but even today, you can call the company and speak to a Friedmann or a McKenna and speak directly to the owners. Their name is behind the company and that means a lot.”


Y E A RS O F

Celebrate in style! SHOW YOUR GAWDA PRIDE

C E L E B R AT I N G

75 YEARS

1945-2020 GAWDA is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020. If you want to show your support for GAWDA's 75th Anniversary you can order 75th anniversarybranded products including clothing, yeti mugs, coasters and more.

Visit GAWDA.org for more information Summer 2020 • 31


Y E A RS O F

Strong. Proud. Independent A look back at one of the defining moments of GAWDA’s 75-year history

T

his year is a milestone year for GAWDA, as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary. Throughout 2020, we will be celebrating our roots, all while looking forward to ensuring that the next 75 years are as productive and impactful as the first. In the 1st Quarter 2020 issue of Welding & Gases Today, we ran a “Trip Down Memory Lane” 75 Years of GAWDA timeline on pages 50 and 51. In the 2nd Quarter 2020 issue, we revisited the formation and official founding of the National Welding Supply Association (NWSA), which would later become GAWDA, on pages 38 and 39 as well as looked back at fun SMC memories on page 44. For this issue, we decided to focus on the association’s push to become a fully independent entity. The following is a lightly edited excerpt from the definitive book on GAWDA’s history, The Road from Dayton. If you are interested in reading more of The Road from Dayton, copies are available for purchase in the GAWDA. org members-only section. If you are interested in displaying your pride in GAWDA with commemorative 75th Anniversary apparel, check out page 36 or visit gawda.itemorder.com/sale today. 32 • Summer 2020

STRONG. PROUD. INDEPENDENT. After 64 years with association management company Fernley & Fernley, GAWDA’s Board of Directors made the decision to cancel its contract with the firm, effective May 4, 2010. Considered a business decision that would strengthen GAWDA in the long term, it was not received well by some of the older membership. Others were ready for a change. This decision was the topic of discussion at every association event. The Board of Directors worked hard to be transparent and explain the management change. Without a headquarters staff, members pitched in to help in any way they could. GAWDA’s publishing partner, Data Key Communications, who had worked with four executive directors and knew many of the routines, was asked to help the board with some of the transition. It was not long before the synergies between GAWDA and the American Welding Society were realized. AWS stepped in to provide management services t o G AW D A . John Ospina, a JOHN OSPINA GAWDA 20-year employexecutive director ee of AWS, most

recently the director of conventions & event services, was named Executive Director of GAWDA. Two additional employees were assigned to work as GAWDA staff. The GAWDA headquarters office was moved from Pennsylvania to AWS World Headquarters in Florida. These years were exploratory years for both GAWDA and AWS, and after a three-year period, they jointly announced a plan by GAWDA to become self-managed by the end of 2014. The Executive Director and support staff would be retained, but GAWDA headquarters would move to a new location in Hollywood, Florida. President Craig Wood told members, “AWS has been, and continues to be, a powerful ally to GAWDA, and we are proud of the association we have built with them over the years. We also feel this decision best serves our GAWDA members.” On January 1, 2015, GAWDA became a self-managed association. It took 68 years to embrace ownership of the management and support functions of the association. While addresses and faces have changed, what has not changed is the commitment of members – both distributors and suppliers – to continue the vision of thirteen courageous, brave and very strong original members in Dayton, some 75 years ago.


C E L E B R AT I N G

75 YEARS

1945-2020

ON THE ROAD At the end of the second decade of the new millennium, some of the challenges facing GAWDA members seem the same as they were 75 years ago: supply channel relationships, shrinking markets, consolidation, the economy, staying safe, regulatory compliance. But, at deeper reflection, there is quite a difference. Perhaps it’s a recognition that these challenges may never go away, that they continue to return with new players and new solutions. What has changed is the confidence with which GAWDA members approach these challenges. A confidence that comes from the industry knowledge we share with each other, the educational programs that make us more informed businesspeople, the contacts and the networking all made possible by membership in the association. The association has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a distributor’s Dayton, Ohio, office. The Road from Dayton, built 75 years ago, now extends across the globe. Wherever a GAWDA member is located on this road, in whatever city, whatever state, whatever country, there is another GAWDA member also travelling the road, ready to extend a hand. GAWDA continues to thrive because its members are passionate, hardworking, industry leaders who believe in the association and the good it stands for. Members are a crucial part of the association’s history, but also of its future, and if the past is any indication of GAWDA’s future, then the association is in for a continued extraordinary journey.

GAWDA PRESIDENTS 2020-2021

2012-2013

ABYDEE BUTLER MOORE Butler Gas Products

CRAIG WOOD O.E. Meyer Co. Sandusky, OH

2018-2019

2011-2012

BRAD PETERSON Mississippi Welders Supply Co., Inc. Winona, MN

BRYAN KEEN Keen Compressed Gas Wilmington, DE

2017-2018

2010-2011 LLOYD ROBINSON

NED LANE Cee Kay Supply, Inc. St. Louis, MO

2016-2017 MARK RAIMY Welders Supply Company – A Raimy Corporation Erie, PA

2015-2016 BILL VISINTAINER Atlas Welding Supply Company, Inc. Tuscaloosa, AL

2014-2015

AWISCO Maspeth, NY

2009-2010 JENNY MCCALL WESCO Gas & Welding Supply, Inc. Prichard, AL

2008-2009 NICHOLAS BRITT LOVIN Andy Oxy Company, Inc. Asheville, NC

2007-2008

THOMAS BIEDERMANN Airweld, Inc. Farmingdale, NY

GARY R. STONEBACK Metro Welding Supply Co. Detroit, MI

2013-2014

2006-2007

NED PONTIOUS Norco Boise, ID

BOB E. AMES Praxair York, PA

Summer 2020 • 33


Y E A RS O F 2005-2006

1998-1999

AVERY SEAMAN JR. Corp Brothers, Inc. Providence, RI

FRED FITCH Fitch Industrial & Welding Supply, Inc. Lawton, OK

JOHN BERINGER Akron Oxygen & Supply Co. Akron, OH

2004-2005

1997-1998

1990-1991

ROBERT THORNTON, JR. South Jersey Welding Supply, Inc. Vineland, NJ

2003-2004

CHIP VALENTINE Nexair, LLC Memphis, TN

1996-1997

WALTER L. BRANT Indiana Oxygen Company Indianapolis, IN

KEN BIEDERMANN Airweld, Inc. Fredericksburg, TX

2002-2003

1995-1996

JAMES A KISSLER Norco Boise, ID

BILL HIGLEY Interstate Welding Sales Corp. Marinette, WI

2001-2002

1994-1995

JAMES E. MADISON Prest-O-Sales & Service, Inc. Long Island City, NY

RANDY SQUIBB Welders Supply Inc. Dallas, TX

2000-2001

1993-1994

D. SHERON CARTER* Independent Welder Repair, Inc. Jacksonville, Fl

JACK DAMMANN Industrial Gas Products & Supply, Inc. Colorado Springs, CO

1999-2000 J. DAVID MAHONEY Noble Gas Solutions Albany, NY

34 • Summer 2020

1992-1993 JACK BUTLER Butler Gas Products Co. Pittsburgh, PA

1991-1992

DAN C. PARRIS National Welding Supply Co. Fort Worth, TX

1989-1990 R. PETER PLANK WESCO Gases Inc. Billerica, MA

1988-1989 FRANK L. MIDDLETON Middleton Welding Supply Co. San Leandro, CA

1987-1988 GORDON J. WETMORE Wetmore Welding Supplies Mississauga, ON Canada

1986-1987 LARRY H. KISSLER* Norco Boise, ID

1985- 1986 ROBERT H. JACKSON* Jackson Welding Supply Co. Inc. Rochester, NY


C E L E B R AT I N G

75 YEARS

1945-2020

1984-1985 HUGH C. HIGLEY* Interstate/Valwel Marinette, WI

1983-1984

1977-1976 GEORGE E. MOTZENBECKER* Welding Gas & Equipment Co. Detroit, MI

1976-1977

D.R. MOORE Moore Brothers Sacramento, CA

ERROLL C. SULT National Welders Supply Co. Charlotte, NC

1982-1983

1975-1976

SAM A. WILSON Wilson Oxygen & Supply Co. Austin, TX

GEORGE A. SEEDS Findley Welding Supply, Inc. Youngtown, OH

1981-1982

1974-1975

PAUL W. SMITH* Chemical Gas Products Atlanta, GA

VIRGIL L. LEWIS G.S. Parsons Co. San Diego, CA

1970-1971 CHARLES E. SQUIBB* Welders Supply Inc. Dallas, TX

1969-1970 CARL K. SEITZ* Welders Supply Co. Beloit, WI

1968-1969 AVERY SEAMAN* Corp Brothers, Inc. Providence, RI

1967-1968 JAMES G. DUFF, JR.* Gordon Duff, Inc. Los Angeles, CA

1980-1981

1973-1974

JOHN K. KNOLL* Knoll Welding Supply, Inc. Topeka, KS

EDWARD N. MADISON* Prest-O-Sales & Service, Inc. Long Island City, NY

JACK BRADFIELD* Sooner Supplies Shawnee, OK

1979-1980

1972-1973

1965-1966

W.L.C. STURGEON* Consumers Welders Supplies, Inc. Edmonton, AL Canada

1978-1979 JAMES K. WALSER* Buckeye Welding Supply Zanesville, OH

C.W. RANEY* Red Ball Supply, Inc. Oklahoma City, OK

1971-1972 DON WYATT Mobile Welding Supply Co. Inc. Mobile, AL

1966-1967

DONALD C. BERNER Welders Supply, Inc. Philadelphia, PA

1964-1965 REID JONES, JR.* Jones Welding Supplies Roanoke, VA

Summer 2020 • 35


Y E A RS O F 1963-1964 HARRY MOORE Moore Brothers Sacramento, CA

1950-1951

1957-1958 R.P. TARBELL* Scott-Tarbell, Inc. Cleveland, OH

GLENN G. GARMAN* Purity Cylinder Gases, Inc. Grand Rapids, MI

1956-1957

1949-1950

C.O. STILWELL* Gweco, Inc. New Orleans, LA

R.S. MARS SR.* W.P & R.S. Mars Co., Inc. Duluth, MN

1961-1962

1955-1956

W.P. MCLENDON* Keenan Welding Supply Co. Albany, GA

E.C. CALUWAERT* O.K.I. Supply Co. Cincinnati, OH

1947-1948

1962-1963 ROBERT G. JACKSON* Jackson Welding Supply Co. Rochester, NY

1960-1961

RALPH E. CHASE* Chase Welding Supply Co. Benton, IL

1954-1955

V.B. ANDERSON* V.B. Anderson Co. Albany, GA

JAMES N. ALCOCK* Saginaw Welding Supply Co. Saginaw, MI

1959-1960

1953-1954

A.C. AXTELL* Essex Welding Equipment Co., Inc. Newark, NJ

WILLIAM A. RICE* Virginia Welding Supply Co. Charleston, WV

1958-1959

1952-1953

LESLIE P. BEAVER, JR.* Beaver Welding Supply Co. Memphis, TN

G. MILTON SIMS* Absco, Inc. Los Angeles, CA

1946-1947 L.O. SCHEIDERWIND* Omaha Welding Co. Omaha, NE

* Deceased

Let’s get

social!

36 • Summer 2020

@GAWDAMEDIA

/ WeldingAndGasesToday

@GAWDAMEDIA


ANNIVERSARY

1322 INDUSTRIAL PARK DRIVE, CLARKSDALE, MS 38614 | 1-800-542-2278


GAWDA Members Commemorate Milestone Anniversaries GAWDA members mark important milestones, even during a somber time BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

I

t doesn’t seem like there has been much to celebrate in 2020. The year will forever be remembered in history as the year that COVID-19 swept through the world and ground the global economy to a halt. Though most in-person celebrations have been put on hold until it is safe to gather in large numbers, many GAWDA members are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2020. Though the celebrations may be more muted than previous years, we would still like to recognize our members for reaching such important milestones in their history. Though times are tough, many of these member companies have faced tough times before and come out on the other side even stronger. We thank these members for their continued service to our industry and congratulate them on a job well done. 38 • Summer 2020


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

150 Years


Lasting Connections

An example of an early BOHLER stick electrode. Electric arc welding with stick electrodes is one of the oldest and most versatile welding processes. And it is also considered as one of the simplest and safest methods. It is used to weld almost all types of metals. Stick electrodes are even used for underwater welding.

B

DIAMONDSPARK SEAMLESS CORED WIRES FOR BRILLIANT WELDING RESULTS

VOESTALPINE BÖHLER WELDING

öhler & Co was founded in 1870 in Vienna, Austria by brothers Emil Otto & Albert Friedrich Böhler. The Böhler brothers saw tremendous value in high quality steel and a great and underutilized market potential. The company has been in the welding consumables business since 1926. Böhler (which would later become Böhler Thyssen Welding) was integrated into the voestalpine Group as part of the Metal Engineering Division. Today, the company has been rebranded to voestalpine Böhler Welding, as part of voestalpine AG, one of the world’s leading specialty steel makers, bringing its comprehensive steel and welding expertise under one roof. The Böhler Welding brand philosophy, “Lasting Connections,” is the basis for all of the company’s actions and decisions. On one hand, this is reflected in its high-quality products, services and solutions, which are being applied successfully globally, but even more so in the lasting relationships it has built with customers and partners globally. “Focused on filler metals, voestalpine Böhler Welding offers extensive technical consultation and individual solutions for industrial welding and soldering applications,” says Chrisophe Gregoir, Managing Director, voestalpine Böhler Welding USA. “Our deep metallurgical know-how and our long-term experience enable us to give the best technical advice to our customers and solve their most demanding challenges.”

diamondspark by Böhler Welding covers a full range of premium seamless cored wires for a new area in high duty cycle welding in mechanized and robotic applications and to match the needs of demanding applications. diamondspark seamless cored wires are today’s best available choice and perfect for high and ultra-high strength steel welding, as well as for hydrogen critical applications.

Scan for more information

voestalpine Böhler Welding www.voestalpine.com/welding

Summer 2020 • 39 BOED-W20005_Boehler-Diamondspark-3_375x10inch-EN-WeldingGasesToday.indd 1

19.05.20 08:00


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

voestalpine Böhler Welding has more than 50 subsidiaries in over 25 countries, with the support of approximately 2,300 employees, and through more than 1,000 distribution partners worldwide. Customers in over 180 countries benefit from voestalpine Böhler Welding expertise. “Our customers’ experience with our welding products is the central focus of all our activities here at voestalpine Böhler Welding,” says Gregoir. “Expanding our business to become a full welding solution provider will enable us to serve our customers even better.” With 150 years of experience, including more than 100 years in welding consumables, Böhler Welding has actively shaped the history of welding technology and will continue to do so in the future.

125 Years

LINCOLN ELECTRIC

1

25 years ago, a young electrical engineer by the name of John Cromwell Lincoln founded the Lincoln Electric Company on December 5, 1895, in Cleveland, Ohio. Lincoln invested $200 to develop his unique, direct current electric motor for industrial applications. What started as a spark of ingenuity flickered and gained momentum and the company has grown to become one of the most widely recognized and successful brands in the entire world today. John C. Lincoln and his brother and co-founder, James F. Lincoln, who joined John in 1907, continued to innovate, and in 1911 had invented and launched their first variable voltage arc welder, an innovation that catapulted Lincoln into a new technology and industry that it still serves today. Each founding brother shaped the organization and left 40 • Summer 2020

a distinct legacy that continues to define the Lincoln Culture, even more than a century later. With the industry’s leading team of experts and most comprehensive portfolio of solutions, Lincoln continues to advance innovation and deliver measurable value to its customers and their operations. While the company has grown by leaps and bounds from its initial $200 investment, it is still governed by the same guiding principles that the Lincoln Brothers set forth in 1895. It operates on “The Golden Rule,” and all Lincoln employees share a purpose of “operating by a higher standard to build a better world.” The Lincoln Electric Welding School, which continues to provide industry-leading education and training, was launched in the lead-up to World War I, at the behest of the United States Army, which had requested welding training for the troops. The company was built on the innovation and foresight of two brothers and those core tenets remain in the company’s management today. Lincoln Electric has spent more than a century innovating and evolving and has set the stage for the next 125 years of continued growth and prosperity for both the company and the industry. “With 125 years of industry leadership, Lincoln Electric is better positioned than ever before,” says Chris Mapes, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer. “Known as ‘The Welding Experts’ around the globe, the company remains at the forefront of technology, guided by the Golden Rule and committed to operating by a higher standard to build a better world.”


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

105 Years CPV MANUFACTURING

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he CPV story is built on the enterprise of a farmer turned machinist – whose tradition of quality and craftsmanship remains the cornerstone in meeting the challenges of modern technology. In 1915, Isaiah G. Engle, a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer who had become a skilled machinist, started his own one-man business – manufacturing replacement valves for steam-driven reciprocating pumps. When centrifugal pumps came on stream, CPV pump valves were encased and transformed into silent check valves. To meet the need, CPV developed a unique line of soft-seated valves flat-faced O-ring sealed fittings known worldwide as the O-SEAL® SYSTEM. A full line of Mark VIII® tube size fittings evolved, as well as a line of tube size valves with a choice of end connections. Isaiah was pretty much a one-man show thru the 1920s. In the early-30s, his son, Warren, a Wharton School graduate, joined the firm and established the business procedures that helped CPV survive the Great Depression. The company became a nationally recognized supplier of valves and fittings for high pressure liquid and gas service meeting the needs of a much larger customer than Isaiah would have imagined in his wildest dreams – the U.S. Navy. That part of the business was spearheaded largely by his two grandsons, Robert and Calvin Engle. Bob Engle, after graduating from Penn State with a degree in mechanical engineering, joined the company as a machinist in 1951. Upon graduating from Temple University in 1953, Calvin came aboard

42 • Summer 2020

and contributed to CPV’s growth until his untimely death in 1981. “In order to meet Navy specifications, we had to test every component. You simply couldn’t ask a man in the shop who had been working all day to pull up on one of these flares; it was too physical. So, we developed a test stand using O-rings which allowed components to be assembled and disassembled very easily. This was really the beginning of the O-SEAL® SYSTEM; you could change the test connections and put them back together again, hand-tight,” said Bob Engle. The company also increased its investment in people by adding talented personnel in sales, engineering, administrative and manufacturing positions. George Bonadio joined CPV in 1960 after graduating from Drexel University. In 1979, the fourth generation of the Engle family became represented by Tom Engle, who had previously served as Production Manager and today serves

as Quality Manager. Today, the company employs 50 full-time employees. In recent years, CPV Manufacturing has reinvested millions of dollars into updating its manufacturing facility, replacing old and outdated equipment. Now, the company has a modern stateof-the-art facility, which has significantly increased its capacity. “We are a global company and service a multitude of verticals. Over the past few years we’ve seen on average 20% organic growth and with continued innovation and concentrating on emerging markets as we have, I would anticipate similar growth year over year along with looking at acquisitions that compliment what we do and the markets we serve,” said CPV President and CEO David S. London. Today, CPV Manufacturing is recognized around the world as the producer of high-pressure valves and fittings. Isaiah Engle’s legacy of perseverance and dedication to quality is bearing abundant fruit.


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

INDIANA OXYGEN

I

ndiana Oxygen was founded in 1915 by Walter and John Brant. It was the first Oxygen/Hydrogen company in Indiana. Prior to starting Indiana Oxygen, the two brothers had previously owned Brant Brothers’ Automobile Agency. However, the business was interrupted by World War I. Walter had an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University, and in 1915, he set up the first electrolytic separation plant in Indianapolis, where they split water molecules into gaseous oxygen and hydrogen. Thus, the idea for Indiana Oxygen was born. By 1930, the company’s demands had outgrown the production capacity from the original electrolytic plant, so Indiana Oxygen built an Air Separation Plant and continued to produce its own liquid gases until 1960, when it became more cost-efficient to install bulk liquid vessels and purchase liquids from the majors. “Indiana Oxygen has grown by developing great relationships and strategic partnerships with key suppliers in the industry,” says President Gary Halter. “We have also expanded our footprint over the last 20 years through acquisitions and multiple scratch starts in markets that needed a distributor who focused on the customer and provided what we hope is excellent service.  We also started our e-commerce business in 2000, which helped us grow significantly, and, lastly, we work very hard to hire good, quality people who have good work ethic and want to be part of a teamwork approach to business and the customers.”  More than 100 years since Walter and John started the company, Indiana Oxygen today encompasses 15 locations, 13 retail stores, and 150 full-time employees, all of whom have continued to earn a full-time salary with no cuts in rates or benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

“Fifty years ago, there were many more independent distributors in the industry,” says CEO Wally Brant. “Now, a lot of them have been acquired. We are proud that Indiana Oxygen started as a gas producer/distributor from day one. We did not start as a hardware or other kind of business that later adopted welding supplies and gas to its inventory.” The company has not only managed to grow and evolve its core competencies over the course of 105 years, it still maintains one of its original 1915 customers all the way through to this day: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500. Though many of the core tenets remain, Indiana Oxygen has stayed at the forefront of the digital revolution, adapting with the times to continue to serve the customer.

“The biggest impact on our industry has been the computer and Internet, including online shopping (B2B and B2C). Although the entry costs into an efficient and successful e-commerce platform was extremely expensive, and, at the time outside our core competencies, it has been worth the investment to keep us on the leading edge of trends and technology,” says Brant. Adds Halter, “Today’s buyer, because of those technologies, is much more educated on the products they are buying. That means that our sales team, both inside and outside, must also be educated and trained properly to work with the new age of technology preferred by today’s buyer.” Looking ahead, Brant anticipates Indiana Oxygen will remain a strong regional player, in retail distribution, wholesale gases and e-commerce sales and service. He does not anticipate the need to be part of an independent conglomerate to survive in the market. Says Brant, “We are proud of our 105 years of growth. Any company should experience equal pride in reaching the 40-year mark! After 40 years, the company has indicated it is here for the long run; it usually has a 2nd or 3rd generation involved, it has a succession plan, and is not for sale; they have found a way to survive and will be around as long as they wish!”

100 Years AGL WELDING SUPPLY

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COMPANY

GL Welding Supply Company (Clifton, New Jersey) is celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2020. The company can trace its roots all the way back to a 1920 business called William Rudolph Company in Paterson, New Jersey. William Rudolph was eventually merged into AGL which is an abbreviation for “Auto Gas Light,” harkening back to the days when the company supplied acetylene gas to light the head lamps for automobiles. In 1958, AGL was acquired by Bud Fenelon, along with his brothers, Tom and Bill, and brother-in-law Joe Brancato. The industry was not new to the Fenelons. After World War II, the group had started Guaranteed Welding Engineering Company. After further acquisitions, many of which were Union Carbide’s Prest-O-Lite distributors, the Fenelons changed their focus from manufacturing to distribution, adding welding supplies in 1959. Several small local welding supply companies were acquired throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s and incorporated into AGL. That family legacy lives on today, as AGL is currently helmed by President Christopher Fenelon, third generation and

44 • Summer 2020

grandson of Founder Dennis “Bud” Fenelon, along with COO Kevin Brancato (retired), Vice President of Operations Thomas Fenelon, and Purchasing Manager William Brancato. Patrick Fenelon (retired) serves as the company’s current Chairman. “AGL’s goal is to enhance the individual and organizational performance of its customers through the effective selection and efficient use of quality products,” says Chairman Patrick Fenelon. “The company plans to accomplish this goal by fully exploiting our unique capabilities. Our customers can expect AGL to respond to their needs faster and more efficiently than any other supplier in the region.” AGL Welding Supply Company prides itself on being available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. That drive combined with the core tenets the family instilled in the business have allowed AGL to thrive for a century. The company’s website highlights its three main pillars: Knowledge, Integrity and Service, saying, “Our commitment to customer care starts by carefully guiding you through the purchase experience. Our commitment to servicing your business can be seen by the standards we hold our products to. We accept and expect personal accountability for doing business


ulations to GAWDA t a r g n o C and its Members! As a Part of Our History… AGL WELDING SUPPLY COMPANY WELDING & SUPPLY COMPANY SUPPLY COMPANY

AMERICAN GAS PRODUCTS

ARC GAS & SUPPLY

AWISCO B & J WELDING SUPPLY

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PENNSYLVANIA WELDING SUPPLY COMPANY JERSEY WELDING SUPPLY GARTEN COMPANY TRI-STATE OXYGEN

O.E. MEYER COMPANY PURITY CYLINDER GASES

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T.W. SMITH

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MICHIGAN ARC PRODUCTS MITCHELL WELDING SUPPLY

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R.N. GOSS GAS PRODUCTS

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TERRY SUPPLY COMPANY

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YOUNG WELDING SUPPLY

… and a Part of Our Future


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

with integrity. Our commitment to your business is evident in all we do, every step of the way.” Says Chris Fenelon, “What got us here is not necessarily going to get us to the future. We will acknowledge our success with our team and proceed with what is necessary to bring our customers an experience that exceeds their expectations.”

90 Years

G

GENERANT COMPANY

enerant was founded in 1930 by Albert Simon, an engineer and business owner. He started the company with a line of needle valves, filters, lubricators and pressure regulators. Generant held the original patent on the Air Pressure Regulator and began to assemble and market these products to industry. In 1966, Albert retired and sold the business to his accountant, Paul Buren. In 1968, Buren acquired Generant’s largest supplier, Reliable Screw Machine Products. Reliable was a job shop screw machine company. Then, in 1972, the company further expanded the Screw Machine business with the acquisition of Automatic Screw Machine Products located in Butler, New Jersey. Soon after, Generant Company, Reliable Screw Machine Products and the newly acquired Automatic Screw Machine Company consolidated their manufacturing operations to the Butler facility. The facility was expanded in 1984 to accommodate the growing operations. Paul’s son, Ben Buren, graduated from engineering school in 1984 and was appointed president of Generant 46 • Summer 2020

Company. Paul continued to focus his efforts on the job shop screw machine business while Ben concentrated his efforts on the valve company. Shortly after, the decision was made to phase out the job shop operations and continue to build the Generant valve product line. Generant was very successful in gaining market share from many other valve companies due to its ability to manufacture component parts quickly and efficiently. Generant core product lines expanded to include Check and Precision Relief Valves. Generant quickly established a strong foothold in the Industrial Gas and Cryogenic markets with a reputation as an applications driven, innovative problem-solving leader. In 1996, Generant was approached by a Major

Gas Producer to develop a better solution for a problem that had plagued the industry for years. This need was satisfied with the introduction of the Series CRV, Cryogenic Relief Valve. This valve rapidly became the industry standard for Block Line Safeties and Liquid Cylinder Relief Valves. The Series CRV was soon being specified by all of the major liquid cylinder manufactures as the OEM valve of choice. Generant continued to build on this success, developing many more innovative product solutions and now enjoys a strong position in the Industrial Gases and Cryogenics, Medical Gases and Equipment, Energy, and Chemicals markets. With its product offering and market presence growing in the instrument valve markets, it was a logical progression


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

to offer products with Dual Ferrule Instrument Tube Fitting Connection options and in 2002 Generant acquired the manufacturing operations of the BI-Lok Ihara Science Company located in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The acquisition included full manufacturing and marketing rights to the established BI-Lok trade name Dual Ferrule Tube Fitting product line in the Americas. In 2006, Ben Buren sold a large stake in the company to its employees in the form of an ESOP. Ben Buren is still the president and chief engineer and remains the largest single stockholder. In 2014, Generant became a 100% employee-owned company after Ben Buren sold his remaining interest in the company to the ESOP (employee stock ownership plan). Ben Buren is still the president and chief engineer and remains instrumental in the daily operations of the business. Today Generant corporate headquarters are located in Butler, New Jersey, where most valve and regulator products are manufactured. The BI-Lok fitting product is manufactured and assembled in Meadville.

T

HOBART INSTITUTE OF WELDING TECHNOLOGY

he Hobart Institute of Welding Technology (HIWT) was founded in 1930 as a department of the Hobart Brothers Company. At the time, four welding booths were placed in a corner of the Hobart Brothers factory and used for training. In May 1940, the school was granted a charter by the State of Ohio as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors and became known as the Hobart Trade School. The school trained thousands of welders for World War II production in 1942-45. In 1958, the present Hobart Technical Center, which houses the school, was completed. Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools approval was received in 1970 and in 1972 The National Association of Trade & Technical Schools granted accreditation to the school. In September of 1991, the name was changed to Hobart Institute of Welding Technology. Today, HIWT is located in Troy, Ohio. It has more than 350 weld stations, 19 classrooms, 450 chairs and employs nearly 50 people. The school is focused on supporting the welding

Summer 2020 • 47


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

0

2

3

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19

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s elder tw es

90 Ye ars o

industry and continually works with its Program Advisory Committee to ensure the curriculum is relevant to the needs of the industry. As the ® school has grown, HIWT became an ATF, which afforded students the opportunity to earn through testing AWS® QC-7 Certifications as part of the programs it offers. Additionally, being an AWS® Accredited Testing Facility, HIWT offers certification testing for corporate/ business clients as well. The school has courses for welders at all levels of their careers – from just learning to weld to retirement. Offering continuing education for welders is one of the ways HIWT works hard to support the industry as a whole. “Our school has served its mission and the welding industry for 90 years,” says Scott A. Mazzulla, President & CEO. “It the world ning ’s b rai ft

has done so with an incredible amount of talent and dedication from a team of welding educators. This team of professionals have trained well over 100,000 people that call welding a career. Over the next 10 years we see more of the same with the next generation of talent and students. The Institute will continue to expand its offerings making its mission more widely available to the public and industry.” Prior to COVID-19, HIWT had been planning to hold an open house, which has been put on hold. However, it has not stopped the school from celebrating its 90th Anniversary. It has developed a special 90th Anniversary logo and will be sending around a special 90th Anniversary Celebration Edition of its newsletter. “We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished in our 90 years of education,” says Mazzulla. “The Institute is considered one of the top welding schools in the world and we take that very seriously. Our instructors and support staff are committed not just to the operations of the school, but to the welding industry as a whole. Hobart Institute of Welding Technology is committed to training the world’s best welders, and this is a commitment we do not take lightly. “

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85 Years


MATHEY DEARMAN, INC.

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hen Mathey was established in 1935 by Frank Mathey, the company not only did pipe beveling machines, but also wireline units and measuring tools that would be used in the drilling and exploration of well sites. The company prides itself on being the world’s foremost authority on preparing pipe for joining together by welding. Mathey was a family-owned business until 1985, when it was purchased. However, the company still operates as a family-style business. In 1997, the company purchased Dearman Products, becoming Mathey Dearman and expanding its portfolio to include the clamping and fit up of pipe. In 2019, the company was encompassed into the SFE Group, growing the business even more and including offerings such as complete pipe jack range of products, as well as cold cutting and purging equipment.

“We work hard to build and maintain relationships,” says Al Smith, Sales and Technical Assistance. “Even though we sell through distribution; we are regularly in the trenches with the end users seeing firsthand what it will take to get the job done. We also support Unions and work with companies like Hypertherm.” The SFE Group has three locations, Houston corporate, a satellite sales and accounting office in Tulsa and an international office in the UK outside of London. It has approximately 60 employees. “I believe with the merger into the SFE Group that Mathey will continue to grow our product portfolio and broaden our scope of equipment and service that we offer to the industry,” says Smith. “Mathey plans on remaining the market leader in pipe flame cutting and beveling, pipe clamping and alignment solutions for another 85 years to come.”

80 Years

I

AMERICAN TORCH TIP COMPANY

n October 1940, Jack Walters, Sr. and his brother-in-law saw the need for quality replacement Torch Tips and created a new company called American Torch Tip Company. Walters was working as a plant manager for a competitor in Pittsburgh at the time when he decided to strike out on his own. To make his dream a reality, Walters sold torch tips during the day and went to work at the American Bridge Company at night. Today, American Torch Tip is in its third generation of family ownership.

American Torch Tip original shop in 1940 Summer 2020 • 49


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

“Every generation has added to the company,” says Jack Walters III, President of American Torch Tip Company. “My grandfather, as an entrepreneur, took it to a level that he felt comfortable with. And as my father came in and my uncles came in, my grandfather started to back out and my father and uncles came in and took it to the next level. And then, when myself and my brothers and my cousin came in, they gave us some space and gave us the same opportunity. The challenge in a family business is, if you remain small, there can quickly become too many family members.” To avoid dealing with that potential challenge, ATTC has continually grown and evolved. The company produces thousands of items, all sourced and made in the United States. The company has more than 100 employees and offices in Florida and the Netherlands. When ATTC first started, there was no welder distribution association like GAWDA. “All of our sales were directly to end users,” says Walters.

“In fact, we probably didn’t get a strong distributor program until the 1970s. When we did get into the distributor world, that changed our company quite a bit.” Today, the company works with a network of distributors in more than 50 countries throughout the world. The company has many employees who have grown right alongside ATTC. “When you walk through the factory and see people who have been with the company for 30 or 40 years, it really makes you proud of what we have built together,” Walters says. “I think that and our true to devotion to being Made in America are the two things that make the family most proud of this milestone.” As the company enters its next 80 years, it will remain devoted to making its products in America. It will also focus on utilizing the changing technologies to continue to grow and improve its product offerings.

NOBLE GAS SOLUTIONS

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oble Gas Solutions, originally Albany Welding Supply Company, began in 1940 with Robert P. Mahony Sr. at the helm. The need for a distributorship in Albany, New York, was apparent to Union Carbide Corporation and Robert P. Mahony Sr. answered the call. Moving from Boston, Mahony ran the business for several years while raising two sons, Robert Jr. and Dennis. Early milestones include a founding membership in NWSA and incorporation of this Irish family’s business on St. Patrick’s Day, 1952. As sons Robert Jr. and Dennis came of age, they went to work for the company. Mahony was preparing Robert Jr. to take over the business in the late 1960’s. Albany Welding Supply was experiencing a tremendous amount of business during this decade, as Governor Nelson Rockefeller was having the Empire State Plaza constructed in downtown Albany. In 1970, the company opened branch stores in Cortland and Vestal, each about 150 miles from the home office. The 1970’s proved to be hard years for the corporation. The unexpected passing of Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. thrust youngest brother, Dennis Mahony, to lead the company. Dennis felt that by pulling in the reins he could get a better handle on the business and build a better foundation for growth. Many organizational changes, including the sale of both branches, marked the end of the 70’s. The changes paid off. In 1976, J. David Mahoney (no relation to the founding family) began as a 21-year old sales trainee for the company. He became sales manager in ’78, Together with

50 • Summer 2020

John Gaffney, hired in ’74 and still alongside him, he worked to refurbish the company’s excellent reputation. Mahoney became vice president in 1980 and president in 1985. During this time, business in the region shifted, creating opportunities with colleges and universities, research institutions, and government facilities. The company changed its name to AWESCO, an acronym of the former name that was less identity-limiting as the company shifted from welding supply to the specialty gas market. Above all else, AWESCO’s dual values of unmatched technical expertise and exemplary customer service served as the keystone to the new business strategy. In 1996, AWESCO acquired Walter Smith Welding Supplies, Inc. in Kingston, New York, seeking to increase the company’s reach into the lower Hudson Valley market. Following this successful expansion, the company purchased a Praxair location in Albany to keep up with the demand of rapid growth.


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

Mahoney’s leadership within the industry was recognized as he became President of GAWDA in 1999. Together with his wife, Donna Mahoney, they formed the GAWDA Gives Back foundation. The foundation emphasized the importance of giving back to the community, a value held high at the company. The foundation continues to successfully donate to local charities today, thanks to the contributions made by members of the organization. In 2010, the company decided to rebrand once more to its current name: Noble Gas Solutions. The company felt that this name better reflected the sophistication and capabilities that the company offered. Mahoney continued to pursue the specialty gas market, partnering with larger medical and pharmaceutical institutions in the region. Noble Gas Solutions celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2015, marking the occasion with $100,000 in donations. The same year the company received exciting news that it had received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Blue Ribbon Small Business Award” for being one of the top 100 small businesses in America. Having successfully pursued the specialty gas market, Mahoney knew it was time to expand. In 2016, the company

acquired a 50,000 sq. ft. warehouse and began a complete renovation of the property. The company’s headquarters relocated to 10 Erie Boulevard in the spring of 2017. Initially, the space seemed too large to fill. After several large investments on cutting-edge technology, however, it would soon be home to Weldcoa’s first independently owned automated fill island and a state-of-the-art specialty gas laboratory. In recent years, the company has positioned itself for future growth with several strategic initiatives and personnel decisions. In 2009, Colleen Kohler (Mahoney’s daughter) joined the company as a Specialty Gas Sales Manager. She left the business in 2013 to take a position in New York City as a Senior Project Manager for American Express.  Kohler returned to the company in 2017 and was recently promoted to Executive Vice President in 2020.  Colleen’s ambition and drive has reinvigorated the company’s focus on new markets and its vision of the future. Noble Gas Solutions continues to strive for a superior total client experience. This has opened new opportunities for career growth, increased quality control, and brought the adoption of digital tools to the company.

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A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

75 Years FRONIUS

“I

have opened a specialist repair shop for radios and electrical equipment at the Rankleiten hotel. All repairs are carried out by me personally at any time, both in my workshop or at your premises. I ask my valued customers to turn to me with complete confidence.” With those simple words, Gunter Fronius marked the beginning of a journey that has encompassed the next 75 years. Fronius was started on June 20, 1945, in the Austrian market town of Pettenbach, where its headquarters still reside today. From its roots as a simple one-man radio repair shop in 1945, Fronius has grown to become a player on the global stage.  “Whether 75 years ago or today, one thing has never changed: we always try to understand our customers and their needs, and we are constantly dealing with the latest technological and technical possibilities,” says Harald Langeder, Head of Research & Development at the Fronius Business Unit Perfect Welding. “We want to surprise our customers: with something new, unique and valuable. We are not satisfied with less. This determination has helped us to grow.” The company introduced its Perfect Welding business unit in 1950, and in the mid-1970s research led to a true revolution with the Fronius Transarc 500. Today, Fronius has 8 sites in Austria, 34 international Fronius subsidiaries, and more than 5,400 employees around the world. “What we are and what we stand for is a continuation of my grandfather’s sustainable vision,” says Fronius Managing Director Elisabeth EngelbrechtsmüllerStrauß, who has been at the helm since 2012. “We are always on the lookout 52 • Summer 2020

for great staff around the world, be it in production, software development, metalworking or electrical engineering, experienced specialists, apprentices or university graduates.” The company is promoting its 75th anniversary on its website, via social media and in specialized email signatures. In addition, it has produced special merchandise and had products printed in retro style. A culture of innovation runs like a golden thread through Fronius’ 75year history and has seen the company recognized with countless prizes and awards over the years. The world’s smallest portable manual metal arc welding system (also available with the option of a lithium-ion battery in recent years); Austria’s first green hydrogen refueling station; and the thermal fusion of steel and aluminum known as ‘Cold Metal Transfer’ are just some examples of what makes Fronius so unique. With 1,264 patents to its name, the company is rightly considered one of the innovation leaders on the global market. “Over the next ten years, we will continue to pursue our defined strategies,

such as the Customer Intimacy Strategy in the Perfect Welding business unit. Even our vision of 24 hours of sun can only be realized in the long term: we believe in a future in which we cover 100% of our global energy requirements from renewable energy sources,” says Harald Scherleitner, Head of Sales & Marketing at Fronius Perfect Welding. “We are already on a good path and are moving more towards the next level of professionalization. And, most importantly, in all our actions and challenges, we want to remain a successful and innovative family business. The development of great products and services - and this in a working environment that is characterized by performance, trust and cohesion - this is what makes us special and should therefore remain so.”


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

WITT GAS


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itt Gas is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2020. Like many GAWDA members, the company is a family-owned business, currently in its third generation. Witt was started in 1945 in Whitten, Germany, by Paul Witt, with the introduction of the dry flashback arrestor and other gas safety devices. Today, Dr. Richard Benning is the company’s managing director. Dr. Benning is the son of Dieter Benning, who entered the business through marriage to Paul’s daughter. The company has grown alongside the fabrication industry. The company introduced the first Argon/CO2 gas mixer in 1975 for automatic welding processes. Gas analyzers either as a stand-alone product or integrated into the gas mixers were added in 1983. Since then, Witt has introduced many innovations in gas mixing technology, with over 35 different models. Not unlike many gas and welding equipment distributors, WITT began in the cutting and welding industry. Over the years, with new products to address the gas application industries, WITT now offers gas control and leak detection equipment for the MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) with two additional unique web sites with data and videos. The company’s corporate office and manufacturing facilities in Whitten employ more than 200 people, with its subsidiaries in western Europe, plus WITT Gas Controls USA and WITT India adding an additional 35-45 employees. Even after three quarters of a century, Witt is still young and modern. Its R & D team is constantly improving and expanding the product range, thus responding to changing requirements, and developing game-changing innovations.

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A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

70 Years S.J. SMITH COMPANY

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.J. Smith Company (Davenport, Iowa) is celebrating its 70th Anniversary in 2020. The company was established in 1950 by Sylvester and Helen Smith. Prior to opening S.J. Smith, Sylvester had experience in the industry selling welding supplies and gas for AIRCO. After AIRCO exited the distributor business, Sylvester and Helen continued to serve smaller accounts, while AIRCO handled the larger industrial accounts. In 1966, S.J. Smith bought the remaining welding supply business from AIRCO. In 1969, Richard Smith, Sylvester and Helen’s son, joined the company and eventually took over when Sylvester retired. Rich continued to expand the company and drove the company into more technological solutions. He expanded the company to its current 12 locations in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, and moved the company into fill plant technology as well as incorporating trifectas and other technology to create solutions for customers. He also brought his three children, Richelle, Eric and Christopher, into the business. Today, Richelle Smith-Brecht serves as president and CEO of the company, marking the third generation of leadership within the company. Eric Smith serves as the director of operations and Christopher Smith is the assistant purchasing manager/expeditor. “Every step of the company has been taken with the goal to make customers successful in their business,” says Richelle Smith-Brecht. “Our vision is to provide the best solutions by the best people in the industry. We’ve worked toward that for the past 70 years, and we’ll continue to do so in the future.”

The third generation of the Smith family, L to R: Christopher Smith, assistant purchasing manager/expeditor; Richelle Smith-Brecht, president and CEO; and Eric Smith, director of operations.

While the industry has continually evolved over the past 70 years, S.J. Smith remains true to its original core tenets. “We’re still providing the best products we can find, working with customers to find efficiencies and solutions, and providing training and education to those who need it,” says Eric Smith. “Regardless of the challenges the industry has faced, these continue to be our priorities. Going forward, S.J. Smith plans to continue to evolve into new technology and to expand offerings both in welding and gas, as well as in the online sphere. “While currently, we are focusing on providing solutions for customers, and providing that in a safe environment for our customers and our employees, we will celebrate our 70th anniversary later this year, both on social media and internally,” says Richelle Smith-Brecht. “We’re very proud of our history and are looking forward to the future.”

2

WELDING INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY COMPANY

020 marks 70 years for Welding Industrial Supply Company (Wisco). The Chicago, Illinois-based company was founded by Bernard “Curly” De Vries in 1950. Prior to striking out on his own, Curly had worked as an engineer for National Cylinder Gas. The company was founded in a single storefront on Western Avenue in Chicago. From the beginning, Curly’s singular focus of taking care of his employees and serving the customer at an unprecedented level resulted in rapid growth and prosperity for the company. Curly’s son and current President and Owner Craig De Vries

54 • Summer 2020


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

took over the company in 1980 and has been at the helm ever since. He continues the legacy that Curly started. The company’s mission statement remains: “To provide our customers with competitively priced welding supplies & compressed gasses at a service level unmatched in our industry.” The market’s evolution and shift toward the digital age has meant that distributors now need to be “all things to all people.” Says Craig, “Distributors used to have much better control over their market. In this age of the ‘Internet of Things,’ lines of communications and the channels to market are blurred. So, we are being all things to our customers.” This comports with the company’s vision “to be our customer’s single source for

supplies, technical expertise, welding resources and training while innovating on what it means to have a distributor to customer relationship.” He points to the company’s stated goal on the Wisco website: Our goal every day is to treat our customers like we treat our employees, as family. That is how Wisco has operated since 1950, and those are the core values we continue to follow into our third generation. That third generation has now joined the business, as Craig’s son, Brandt De Vries now works alongside Craig to bring new ideas innovations to Wisco to help grow the business and stay competitive in the constantly evolving market.

WRIGHT BROTHERS, INC.

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right Brothers, Inc. was founded in 1950 by the Wright Brothers. Not Orville and Wilbur, but Charles W. and Morrow. Though not related to the Kitty Hawk Wright Brothers, Charles and Morrow decided at an early age to model their lives and subsequently their company after the famous brothers. The foundation of Wright Brothers is built on those standards – discipline, drive, courage and commitment. The origin of Wright Brothers predates the company, with Charles having worked for Air Reduction in Dayton, Ohio. He knew that the company was looking for a dealer in Cincinnati, so Charles decided to open up his own business. Meanwhile, Morrow Wright had been working for Ed Turner, father of the famous Ted Turner, at an advertising billboard business in Northern Kentucky. When the Turner family decided to return to Georgia, Morrow joined his brother Charles to start Wright Brothers. Initially, Charles dissuaded his son, Charlie, from joining the business. “My dad told me to get an engineering degree and go to work for a big corporation,” says Charlie Wright, CEO of Wright Brothers, Inc. “Don’t even think about getting involved with Wright Brothers.” So, Charlie did just that. He got his degree and became an engineer and then Plant Manager with the Kenner Toy Division of General Mills in Cincinnati. Later, he earned an MBA from Xavier University and then taught at the University of Cincinnati Evening College.  “My uncle was the one who recruited me back to join him because he wanted to step back from the business,” Charlie said. “That was his succession plan. I thought, ‘I’ll do it for a year and probably get bored.’ That was in 1976 and I haven’t been bored yet.”

When Charlie joined the company, he and Morrow worked out a ten-year equity plan to allow Charlie to purchase half the company. Morrow also made the decision to step back and let Charlie run the company day-to-day. After ten years, Charlie purchased the other half of the company to become the sole owner. One of the watershed moments in the company’s history came when one of their national accounts’ customers, LensCrafters, decided they wanted to work with one gas supplier and receive one invoice. “They had 120 gas suppliers, with 120 different prices and hundreds of rental invoices and pricing,” says Wright. “We weren’t a national company, so we put together a network of independent distributors who were able to do one electronic invoice. None of the public companies at the time could provide that electronic invoice, because they weren’t fully integrated with each location. We were the only ones who replied to LensCrafters with the full solution, so they awarded us the contract and we still have it.” Thus, Wright Brothers Global Gas was born. A second milestone in the company’s history was the Summer 2020 • 55


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

f o r m a t i o n o f Ve n d o r Managed Gas (VMG). “VMG is a telemetry product that we developed about eight years ago,” Wright says. “We did it to support an application we were doing in gas supply with helium. We were looking for a more affordable telemetry because the telemetry that was out there was pretty expensive and we could not find it. So, in talking with Verizon, they said, ‘Why don’t you develop your own telemetry?’ They told us they could connect us with people who had that kind of skill set.”

VMG is the only industrial gas company who is partnered with Verizon and it turned out that there was such an appetite for affordable telemetry in the industry that the company decided to run it as its own entity. Today, Wright Brothers, Inc. operates as three branches under two legal entities: Wright Brothers, Inc., Wright Brothers Global Gas LLC, and Vendor Managed Gas. Wright’s daughter, Ashley Werthaiser, serves as president and CEO of Wright Brothers Global Gas, LLC and VMG. Charlie continues to serve as CEO of Wright Brothers, Inc., with an eye toward moving into a more board level capacity in the next ten years. “This has been a great industry with great people,” he says. “It speaks well to the industry that people tend to stay in it. I’ve really enjoyed it. I was giving it a year and 40+ years later I’m still enjoying it.”

65 Years WORTHINGTON INDUSTRIES

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orthington Industries is celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2020. The company came from humble beginnings. Founder John McConnell saw an opportunity for custom-processed steel and purchased his first load of steel by borrowing $600 against his 1952 Oldsmobile, and then used that money to start Worthington Industries in Columbus, Ohio. Today, Worthington is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: WOR). But from its humble beginnings through its continued run of success, Worthington has always operated on the Golden Rule. Its mission statement says, “We treat our employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders as we would like to be treated. We encourage our employees to join our philosophy by helping out in the communities where they live and work.” The manufacturer has expanded well beyond McConnell’s Oldsmobile, manufacturing pressure cylinders and related products for industrial, transportation, fleet fuel storage, energy and consumer products markets. Its product line includes steel, aluminum and composite cylinders, cryogenic vessels, storage tanks and specialty components. Worthington serves more than 4,000 customers in 70 countries, backed by a team who provides unsurpassed customer service with market-leading technical, product and market expertise. Worthington is steadfast in its belief that its people are the company’s most important asset, and, as dictated by the Golden 56 • Summer 2020

Every day, Worthington is focused on the Golden Rule, its valued employees, stability and innovation. Rule, Worthington makes every effort to provide its employees with fair compensation and an opportunity to grow. In filling job openings, every effort is made to find candidates from within the company. It’s part of the reason why Worthington has a strong culture that encourages employees to make this a permanent career, not simply a job. As Worthington continues to lead the diversified metal manufacturing industry, it never loses focus of where it came from and what its operating philosophy is. Every day, Worthington is focused on the Golden Rule, its valued employees, stability and innovation.


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

50 Years MICHIGAN ARC PRODUCTS

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ichigan Arc Products (MAP) was established in 1970 by James Colosimo, Sr. to provide state-of-the-art welding technology to improve the manufacturing capabilities of Automotive OEM and Tier 1 suppliers. MAP provided the automotive industry with a professional technical sales force coupled with a highly skilled engineering department designed to provide welding process and procedure development management at a competitive price. Today, MAP is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. It has become one of North America’s premier suppliers of all grades of welding wire, welding equipment, welding robotics and comprehensive welding solutions. With regional warehouses throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, MAP has the ability to provide complete turnkey supply chain management services throughout North America. A family-owned company, the second generation has been deeply involved in MAP for more than 30 years. Colleen Marsh started working with MAP in 1986 after graduating with her business and computers degree. Jim Colosimo came to MAP in 1989 after earning his business administration degree. Cathy Connors earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, and, while working for Chrysler Corporation, earned her MBA in management and international business. She joined MAP in 2002. This second-generation team worked in different positions within the company under the tutelage of James Colosimo, Sr. While Jim Sr. passed away unexpectedly in 2012, he left the corporation in good

Celebrating 50 Years of Service

hands. Today, Cathy and Colleen serve as co-CEOs while Jim serves as President. One exciting evolution has been MAP’s 2019 certification as a WBE “Women’s Business Enterprise.” This certification has allowed MAP to venture into new partnerships, allowing MAP to support its customers on multiple fronts, while continuing to provide premier welding products and comprehensive welding solutions with turnkey supply chain management.

www.micharc.com

“Though the Welding Industry has undergone dramatic changes in the last 50 years, MAP has continued to grow and adapt while building strong relationships with our customers and vendors,” says Cathy Connors, MAP’s co-CEO. “The backbone to MAP’s success has been our dedicated employees that provide outstanding customer service and support. This teamwork approach has MAP looking forward to the next 50 years.” Summer 2020 • 57


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

TOMCO2 SYSTEMS

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020 marks 50 years for TOMCO2 Systems, headquartered in Loganville, Georgia. The company is a market leader in bulk CO2 Storage & Distribution and Dry Ice Production equipment with tens of thousands of installations globally. It is a full-service provider, focused on Market Applications and Solutions in CO2, Water Treatment, Food Freezing and Processing, Beverage and Brew, and Dry Ice Production. The company marked an important milestone in its history in 2018 when it was acquired by Air Water, Inc. TOMCO2 prides itself on what it calls the TOMCO2MPLETE Advantage, which embodies all aspects of TOMCO2 Systems expertise and leadership in all aspects of the CO2 and Dry Ice markets. Among the tenets of the Advantage System are: • Pioneers – Experts in the industry and CO and Dry 2 Ice equipment, • Experience – With 50 years in operation • Complete – The most comprehensive product offering from Storage, Production, Transportation and Application, • Solutions – Application focused, not just an equipment supplier, • Service – Unmatched service and Application Engineering support, • Cost Effective - Designed for the lowest life cycle cost. Fifty years into its existence, TOMCO2 Systems Vision and Mission remain the same. “To make the world safer, cleaner and healthier. From concept to reality, we provide the products and services that turn the earth’s’ fundamental elements into solutions for global challenges facing our air, water, and mankind.”

It is governed by principles of safety, quality, service and teamwork and values that include the tenets of empowering others, performing with excellence, challenging the status quo, and being transparent. “Tomco Systems – we make constructive uses of CO2 possible.”

UNITED ABRASIVES

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ince its founding in 1970, United Abrasives/ SAIT has been synonymous with quality, reliability, innovation and value. The company’s relationship with SAIT, an Italian corporation founded in 1953, began as United Abrasives first manufactured coated abrasive belts. By 1975, the company had expanded its production to include bonded abrasives. The last two decades have seen tremendous change with the development of state-of-the-art robotics in the manufacturing process. United Abrasives is proud of its commitment to manufacturing in America. The company’s drive to produce the highest quality and safest abrasives in the industry leads to continuous updates and investments in all aspects of the company – product 58 • Summer 2020

development, manufacturing, shipping, and customer service. United Abrasives is dedicated to continually testing, designing, and improving its products to ensure quality and maximum functionality. Staying true to its core values throughout 50 years in business has helped United Abrasives create a company its employees are proud to work for. Its focus remains on making the best abrasive products possible.


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

35 Years EQUIGAS 


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QUIGAS was founded 35 years ago in Venezuela by Antonio Arvelo. Antonio was working in the Lubricant and LP-Gas distribution business when he identified the need for a more reliable equipment distributorship. He founded EQUIGAS as a way to help provide that reliable equipment to the industry. As time went on, Antonio added a separate division devoted to service, delivery, technical training and engineering projects. Rafael Arvelo joined the company in 1990, at the age of 20, as a sales representative. At the time, it was just his father, Antonio, a secretary and Rafael. Rafael worked his way up through the company, eventually becoming General Manager in 2000. However, it was around this time that Venezuela began experiencing political unrest. “In 2010, because of the situation politically in Venezuela, I had remarked at a trade show that I was considering moving out of the country,” Rafael says. “That same day, the president of RegO Products called me and asked, ‘Would you like to live in North Carolina?’” At the time, Rafael had been with EQUIGAS for 20 years. He had seen the company grow from three employees to 60 by 2010. However, he made the difficult decision to leave EQUIGAS, move to North Carolina and join RegO, where he spent the next seven years. In 2017, Rafael decided to leave RegO and open a North Carolina branch of EQUIGAS to sell RegO Products and other brands. EQUIGAS had opened its International branch in Miami in 2014, so the North Carolina branch would become the company’s third location. Summer 2020 • 59


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

Equigas at Fedemgas Tradeshow Macuto Sheraton, 1995

Today, EQUIGAS is one of the premier strategic partners in the gas industry both in the Americas and the Caribbean. It remains the same customer-driven family company that it was when Antonio launched the company 35 years ago. It has built a culture of world class service and a family atmosphere that entices employees to stick around long-term.

“When people start working with us, they don’t leave,” Rafael says. “They become part of the family. I always say, ‘As EQUIGAS grows, you grow.’ We have a large number of employees who have been with us for 10, 15, 20, up to 30 years.” That longevity combined with the company’s devotion to world-class

service has launched EQUIGAS to the heights it currently enjoys. “When a customer calls with an issue, our team is prepared to get into that customer’s shoes,” Arvelo says. “If we can’t fix the issue immediately, on the phone, we will replace the equipment that same day, no questions asked. When we receive the equipment back, we do an analysis and take the actions needed to ensure it doesn’t happen again.” In the next ten years, Arvelo expects the company to continue to grow and add more locations in the U.S. EQUIGAS has wholeheartedly embraced the digital revolution, staying omnipresent with their social media posts. All of the ingredients are in place to make the next 35 years as impressive as the first.

FASTEST


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ike Lyon founded FasTest in 1985 with “a couple quick connection tools for manufacturers to perform leak tests.” This quickly translated to the compressed gas industry, allowing manufacturers to quickly attach cylinders with the technology. Over the next 35 years, FasTest has grown to 80 employees in two locations: Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Shenzhen, China, a facility which was launched in 2018 to deliver manufacturing quick connectors for leak testing in the region. A milestone moment in FasTest’s history occurred in the early 1990s, when Rob Danielson joined the company’s engineering team. He developed the compressed gas industry’s first yoke style connector for medical oxygen E-Cylinders, the MediMate. As the VP of Engineering, he went on to create a line of gas quick connectors with patented technology for a variety of CGA valve standards. 60 • Summer 2020

Fastest’s newly rebranded logo

“FasTest has grown by expanding quick connection technology into new markets, along with developing new products,” says Dustin Sirny, FasTest Director of Advanced Technology. “Product innovation is a core strategic priority to drive growth. We look for customer problems and then develop solutions to eliminate that pain point.” Though the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented an anniversary event, FasTest did launch a major rebranding

of the entire company on June 1. “After 35 years of connecting with our customers around the world, we strongly believe that now is the time for a fresh and vibrant look that matches and reflects how our business has evolved,” says Gary Rychley, President of FasTest. “Product Innovation with new technologies to supply our global customers with the broadest and most advance product line in the industry sets us apart and positions FasTest for the next 35 years.”


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

M

MPT INDUSTRIES

PT Racing Inc dba MPT Industries was founded in Kearny, New Jersey, in November of 1985 by company president Michael Trueba Jr. The original concept was to distribute high performance automotive parts and accessories to race teams and automotive enthusiasts. MPT Industries’ first location was in West Caldwell, New Jersey, in early 1987. Beginning in the early 1990s, the company’s primary focus quickly changed from distributor to manufacturer with the purchase of a custom car cover manufacturer. From there, the company expanded into specialty lubricants, then automotive appearance products. Today, MPT Industries provides a full line of specialty lubricants for industrial, medical, and automotive applications, including the OC line of oxygen compatible thread sealants and lubricants, as well as rust inhibitors, polishes/sealants, firefighting foams, and more. All products sold by MPT Industries are manufactured in-house in Dover, New Jersey, with a staff of seven people. As with automotive parts stores, distributors of welding supplies have seen a tremendous consolidation during the last 35 years. This trend has forced the company to rely less on business from small retailers/distributors with store front locations to large distributors and manufacturers of industrial equipment and supplies. MPT Industries continues to develop new niche related products for the marketplace. Their newest products include MPT Fire Repel Flame Retardant for work clothing and materials in close proximity to sparks or open flames, and MPT Burnout Fire Extinguishing Concentrate for refilling cylinders used to extinguish Class A, B, D or K fires.

SELECT SERIES Now in Luxfer SGS Cylinders

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dependable • versatile • recyclable Summer 2020 • 61

Norlab GAWDA Journal ad 2018 v2.indd 1

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A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

TECHNIWELD

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ddie Johnson founded Techniweld 35 years ago while attending a trade show. Eddie’s brother, Barry Johnson, started with the company in 1986, about six months into the company’s history. The two brothers had grown up with an entrepreneurial spirit inherited from their father, who, after leaving the military, started his own real estate company and then went on to establish an insurance firm. After his retirement, Mr. Johnson, Sr., joined the family business at Techniweld as financial manager until he retired for the last time. Their father’s favorite advice to encourage bravery and initiative in his children was that they should jump, because otherwise “the parachute would never open.” For 35 years, Techniweld has grown and evolved based on its sales department, both inside and outside. The inside division is hands-on and always available. It handles everyday order processing, technical inquiries, while the outside sales team visits manufacturing plants to offer demonstrations, quality training, and safety training. “This is the most important aspect of our business. Everything else we do stems from these functions,” says Barry. Today, the company has 75 employees across four locations. Eddie’s son, Hunter Johnson, serves as President. One of the reasons the business has been able to grow so significantly is due to its decision to secure acquisitions. Techniweld offers a number of brands, with its Star product line being by far the most popular. The Star line includes everything needed for welding, except machines, and the reason for its success is clear. The industry giant has spent many years of intensive research and expert engineering to improve on popular technologies to create its various house brands at very

62 • Summer 2020

“We listen to our clients. If there is enough interest in a particular item, we’ll secure a first-class supplier. We are dynamic wholesalers, enabling our customers to compete and be safe in their markets.” competitive prices. Techniweld is always expanding and listens very closely to its customers’ requests. For instance, when COVID-19 first emerged, Techniweld discovered the increased demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). It did its research and contacted its suppliers for safety gear to find high quality products and launch them quickly to help in the global pandemic. Techniweld has bolstered its Armour Guard line of respirator supplies and its Chem Star line of hand sanitizer supplies, along with face shields, thermometers, sanitary wipes, and more. “We listen to our clients. If there is enough interest in a particular item, we’ll secure a first-class supplier. We are dynamic wholesalers, enabling our customers to compete and be safe in their markets,” says Barry. The company protects its customers from rising costs by using its economies of scale. It also supports customers’ sales and promotional efforts by printing flyers with their names and retail pricing on

that can be given to end-users, together with the digital versions used in e-blasts. “We’re really accessible. Our people’s knowledge is one of the main reasons people do business with us and continue to do business with us. That and the fact that we offer really high-quality products at competitive prices in a timely manner,” says Barry. When considering the industry outlook, Barry expects big things over the next ten years. “A lot of people don’t realize how many things contain welding. While the steel industry is a bit volatile at the moment, American steel returning to the country will bring more and more growth in the welding industry,” he says. “There’s a reason welding is being advocated as a career. Welders make good money, and the industry needs them.” Techniweld’s future is set. While its current system is evolving to offer a twoday delivery period across the U.S. and smoother day-to-day processes like friction-free returns, it also looks forward to doubling its size within the next ten years.


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

WIRE WIZARD

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ire Wizard is celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2020. The company’s CEO Ed Cooper founded Wire Wizard in 1985 after having spent 22 years as a welding fabrication instructing at a local vocational school. An inventor and creator at heart, Cooper saw a need and developed the first wire de-reeling arm for National Standard Wood reels. The company has continued to grow and evolve through a combination of passion, grit and the development of premium proprietary solutions. Wire Wizard’s devotion to “Creating innovative industry-leading products that disrupt the status quo” is engrained in the culture it has built and every decision made at Wire Wizard is in service of that mission. “As a family-owned and operated organization, we look forward to con-

tinuing the legacy built by our founder,” says Vice President Brian Cooper. “Not only in carrying the business forward for years to come, but also in continuing to carry his torch of innovation.” Today, the company operates out of three locations, its main headquarters in Jackson, Michigan, which consists of 80,000 sq. ft., and satellite distribution centers in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Houston, Texas. The company has a staff of 65. Through it all, Wire Wizard has remained true to its founding and is proud of creating and manufacturing an Americanmade product that creates growth and opportunity in its local community. Says Brian Cooper, “We believe strongly that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a reshoring of supply chain for many customers, and are proud to have remained American-made through all these years.”

ELCo Founder and CEO Ed Cooper with his son and Vice President, Brian Cooper.

He concludes, “35 years would not be possible without the incredible team of people we are fortunate to call our family. Our staff is comprised of dedicated, hungry, positive people who take extreme pride in their work and our organization.”


30 Years A-L COMPRESSED GASES OF

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SPOKANE

-L Compressed Gases of Spokane is celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2020. The company was founded in 1990 by Shan and Barbara Bush. The company began when Air Liquide divested its retail hardgoods and small cylinder business and established the ALNET distributor network. Shan Bush had held several positions with Air Liquide throughout the 80s and decided to go into business for himself. “A-L Compressed Gases has grown through the hard work and dedication of all of our employees, both past and present,” says President Brady Bush. “This includes Ken Wilson, our longest tenured employee. From the beginning, he was our father’s most valuable asset and to this day he continues to manage our most valuable customers and their elaborate projects.” Now in its second-generation, A-L Compressed Gases has managed to grow and evolve by being confident and able to adapt to the new processes and trends in the welding market. “We pride ourselves in making sure that our sales force is the best trained team in the area,” says Brady.

Today, A-L Compressed Gases has seven locations and a cylinder filling plant, employing 55 people. Looking ahead, Brady expects A-L Compressed Gases to continue to grow and “add pieces to the puzzle to better serve our customers.” Summer 2020 • 63


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

The company’s steadfast devotion to top-of-the-line customer service has only been enhanced in today’s digital marketplace. Says Bush, “Our industry has changed due to the fact that the Internet is the first place customers go for information on welding. We have to be even more customer service driven to compete with online retailers.”

He concludes, “This year will be remembered by everyone, but not because of our anniversary and that is fine with us. We know what we have accomplished and what is yet to be done. Even in the best of times it has not been our style to pause for a long-winded pat on the back. Our focus remains on what has gotten us here. Our customers and our employees.”

ASM – AMERICAN

A

STANDARD MANUFACTURING

SM was founded in 1990 by Coleman and Connie Vickary. Over the next 30 years, ASM has been committed to serving the changing needs of its customers, constantly reinventing itself and researching and developing new and useful products that improve safety and productivity, while enhancing its customers’ position in today’s competitive and global marketplace. The company was founded in a small manufacturing facility as a manufacturer of cabinets and cylinder handling equipment, which remain a mainstay of ASM’s business today. However, rapid growth led to an expansion within four years, as ASM moved to its current 28,000 sq. ft. facility in Central Bridge, New York. In the ensuing 30 years, ASM has evolved into one of the most innovative companies in the industry, constantly refining its products and processes to make things as easy and user-friendly as possible. Says CEO David Day, “It’s important to continually make our products more user-friendly in more applications.” Building on its original product line, ASM has broadened its

K

KOBELCO WELDING OF AMERICA

obelco Welding of America (KWAI) was established in 1990 as a wholesale company owned by Kobe Steel USA Holdings for marketing Kobelco welding consumables in North America and Latin America. Since Kobelco Welding of America launched, it has worked closely with all of its customers through quality services both in sales activities and technical support. Because of its outstanding business attitude, KWAI has earned rapid growth led by its excellent reputation and the distributor’s sales network expansion nationwide. Today, more than 300 distributors are stocking Kobelco welding wires, mostly flux-cored wires, supplied from KWAI. KWAI’s stainless steel flux cored wires have earned the largest market share, 40%, in the North American market.

64 • Summer 2020

scope to include propane forklift cylinder storage, high pressure cylinder storage for welding and industrial applications and a range of innovative, ergonomic cylinder handling equipment. But what really has allowed ASM to shine, in addition to its product offerings, is its company culture. “We are committed to providing a work environment that encourages all of our employees to achieve their full potential,” says Day. “The philosophy governing this commitment and all actions of our corporation and its employees is ‘The Golden Rule’ – treat everyone, including our staff and customers, the same way you would like to be treated: with respect, compassion, and understanding.”

KWAI has been pursuing customer satisfaction, through activities based on the business slogan “QTQ” which stands for: Quality products, Technical support and Quick delivery. Since its founding in Houston, KWAI has expanded its sales network by opening a Cincinnati Distribution Center (1996), a Chicago Distribution Center (1999), a Philadelphia Distribution Center (2002), a Salt Lake City Distribution Center (2002) and a Birmingham Distribution Center (2006). The company’s devotion to quality products starts with its welding R&D department, which is continually studying new materials and processes. KWAI’s new discoveries have resulted in flux cored wire with less spattering and easy slag removal. Its wires have excellent arc stability and smooth wettability that produce a beautiful bead…spool after spool. And one thing KWAI’s customers don’t need to worry


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

about is availability. The company prides itself on fast delivery, backed by its relationship with Kobe Steel. “Because we’re the Welding Company of Kobe Steel, our warehouses are always well stocked to meet your needs. In many cases, an order placed today means it will be delivered tomorrow, not weeks or months from now,” says President Nick Miyauchi. Says Akira Yamamoto, Managing Executive Officer and Head of the Welding Business for Kobe Steel, Ltd. “The overall welding environment has been changing rapidly – as have our clients’ needs. By responding promptly to those changes, we will provide products that match our clients’ requests, and, in this way, we can differentiate ourselves and add more value in the future.”

THERMACUT

T

HERMACUT was founded 30 years ago as Tatras Imports, Inc. in Claremont, New Hampshire. The company sold products under the brand ZAP Plasmatherm, a reseller of plasma consumables from local vendors directly to end-users. The company began operating with three employees, conducting business through telephone sales. In 1992, the company opened a small manufacturing facility in the Czech Republic, followed by a sales office there in 1996. The Czech facility was created to produce and sell plasma consumables and torches directly into the Eastern European market and through distributors in Western Europe under the brand name THERMACUT, utilizing both inside and outside sales representatives. And in 1993 the THERMACUT brand was introduced into North America and sold through distributors. In January of 1999, STK Gesellschaft für Schweißtechnik GmbH (a holding company 100% owned by the IBG Group of Cologne, Germany) purchased 80% of the shares of THERMACUT and in 2002 completed the acquisition to become the 100% shareholder of the THERMACUT Group. Since those early and humble beginnings, THERMACUT has evolved into a major force in providing plasma torches and consumables through multiple sales channels supported by 20 sales subsidiaries to support the company’s ever-expanding customer base. THERMACUT also has a close partnership

with Abicor-Binzel (an IBG owned company) with locations in India, the Middle East, Turkey, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, and Brazil. Based on customer demand, THERMACUT has also introduced TIG/WIG, MIG/MAG and Oxy-fuel products and produces those products at its modern ISO 9001 production facility located in Uherske Hradiste in the Czech Republic. It’s a well-known fact that THERMCUT produces a wide range of consumables for plasma, laser and oxy-fuel cutting. Some consumables are used for everyday cutting and their lifetime corresponds with the usual standards of OEM manufacturers. However, THERMACUT also produces consumables that aver vastly superior to original parts from some OEM manufacturers.  Throughout the life of the THERMACUT Group, the company has operated under the believe that, “The customer is always right.” It is what motivates THERMACUT to improve in all areas, starting with the development of all products and ending with their sales. “THE CUTTING COMPANY” is not just a slogan for THERMACUT. It is an established practice. Thirty years after the founding of Tatras Imports, Inc., the company continues to operate under the same core tenets: to be a reliable supplier to its customers, a valuable partner to its customers and ethically responsible to its employees.  Summer 2020 • 65


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

25 Years BTIC AMERICA

B

TIC America Corporation was established in Houston, Texas, in 1995. The company was actually founded as America Fortune Company, but began selling high pressure gas cylinders from Beijing Tianhai Industry Co., Ltd. (BTIC). That relationship grew and blossomed and eventually led America Fortune Company to become a subsidiary of BTIC. Thus, BTIC America Corporation (BAC) was formed. BTIC is one of the largest cylinder manufacturers and distributors in the world, and, together, BTIC and BAC represent more than seven different manufacturing facilities, offering a wide

range of products for every cylinder need. BAC prides itself on offering “the most advanced gas cylinders for all industries that utilize cylinders.” Its mission statement is: “We endeavor to exceed customer’s expectations by a) providing high quality cylinders at competitive prices; b) delivering firstclass services; c) treating everyone with integrity and professionalism.”

It continues, “Our ongoing commitment to quality, service and continued improvement assures us a leader in the cylinder industry.” Says Founder Bill Zheng, “Our singular goal is to exceed our customers’ needs with fast and efficient service. Our shipping times are among the lowest in the industry and we offer complete factory-to-door service when requested.”

is by making strategic hires. “The main reason for our growth is our dedicated employees,” Todd says. “We’ve brought on good people that just want to work hard and have fun. And we don’t micromanage them. I’d put our industry knowledge and customer service up against anybody.” Delta Gases sells into both the gas and hardgoods industries. Its entry into

the gas business can be attributed to Ken’s instance that Delta own, rather than rent, its own cylinders. “Even in the beginning years, he owned the cylinders and we had someone else fill them for us,” says Todd. “A couple of years in, we bought our bulk tanks and started to fill our own gases. That took us to another level.” Todd joined the company in 1999,

DELTA GASES

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en Linnenbringer started Delta Gases in 1995 with two silent investors and a dream of building a business he could call his own. “He knew he could start a welding and gases distribution business and make it work,” says Todd Linnenbringer, Vice President. “With hard work and good people, we have made that dream a reality.” When Ken started the company, Delta consisted of four employees: himself and one other outside salesperson, an inside salesperson, and a delivery driver. On the day Delta opened its doors, the company had $0 in sales. “They just went out and worked hard, put a lot of hours in and got the ball rolling,” Todd says. “We haven’t looked back. We’ve had a steady growth for 25 years.” One of the reasons that Delta has been able to sustain that steady growth

66 • Summer 2020


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

after graduating from college. In 2003, Todd and his sister, Heather, bought out the company’s two silent investors to become part of the ownership group. Today, Delta Gases has two locations and 25 employees. Looking ahead into

the future, Todd anticipates doubling in size in the next ten years. “I could see us doubling our sales in the next ten years, and adding one or two more locations,” he says. He continues, “I’m very proud to be

celebrating 25 years. I’m proud of the courage it took for my dad to start the company and I’m proud of how we’ve grown. I’m looking forward to the next 25 years.”

15 Years COMMERCIAL

MISCELLANEOUS SALES

C

ommercial Miscellaneous Sales President Louis “Louie” Centofanti grew up around welding. His father and grandfather owned a shipyard and Louie developed a love for welding. When Centofanti graduated from college, he was interested in pursuing a career in welding and industrial supplies. “In the area we live, we’re dominated by major welding and industrial supply companies,” says Centofanti. “There was an opening for an independent. So, my father sold his shipyard and came on board with me.” The company was started in 2005. Today, Commercial Miscellaneous Sales services both the industrial supply market as well as the welding supply industry. “That’s where our name came from,” Centofanti says. “Miscellaneous covers anything we sell.” In the early years, Commercial Miscellaneous Sales reconditioned and sold a lot of used welding equipment. However, it progressed into the gas business by purchasing the cylinders of a welding supply company called Oliver Bottled Gas. “They did not do any deliveries, just walk in customers,” Centofanti says. “We grew the gas business by calling on and delivering to commercial customers. We also got in with Lincoln Electric as a warranty service center.”

Eventually, that relationship grew to where Commercial Miscellaneous became a distributor for Lincoln. “As our gas business grew, we began to install bulk tanks and cylinder filling equipment. It really took us to the next level when we began to pump gases in-house,” says Centofanti. “Finally, what might have been the biggest influence on our growth was joining the Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative (IWDC). It really upped our game. We were able to have the same buying power of the majors. The staff at the IWDC has been great to us and really makes sure we have the deals on the products we sell.” As the company celebrates its 15th Anniversary, it has grown to five employees. As it continues to grow, Centofanti

sees the distributor expanding its current delivery radius and potentially adding a new warehouse/showroom to its current property. He concludes, “I’m happy to be at this milestone in my company’s history. It really is a great industry with great people. I’ve never seen an industry where you are friends with your competitors. Part of the reason we are here today is because of the industry. Everyone is willing to help each other out, from needing some advice on how to do something to being short a certain type of cylinder or cradle and renting it from them. We all compete but at the end of the day we’re friends also. It makes you proud to tell someone that you are a welding supply distributor.” Summer 2020 • 67


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

J

RAINIER WELDING SUPPLIES

eff Michaelson opened Rainier Welding Supplies in 2005, after having worked in the industry for 28 years. He had worked for a company that sold and decided to strike out on his own. “I had mentored under some of the best in the industry and felt confident that I could develop a profitable business,” Michaelson says. “So, we rented a warehouse and, thanks to some suppliers that opened accounts for us, we were able to start deliveries to customers.” The early years of the company were small business through and through. The company did not have a storefront, instead relying on Jeff to make sales calls. “I did sales and deliveries and my wife did the books at night after a full day of work,” Michaelson recalls. “She has always been a very supportive partner.” Soon, Rainier added a driver, and, after the first year, moved into a larger space and hired another seasoned employee. However, just as the company was beginning to hit its stride, the Recession hit. “It really hit us two-fold. We were trying to expand and grow into a bigger company. We had expanded and hired a couple of people and moved into a bigger space, just as things started to slow down,” Michaelson says. “We were close to not making it. But luckily we were able to survive and things started

to turn a little bit and we were able to get back to growth.” One of the ways Rainier was able to grow after the Recession was the addition of cylinder gas business. “That was one of our expansion points to bring in more income,” he says. “It’s been good for us. It allows us to be a full-service supplier, so now customers can come to us as one-stop shop.” Michaelson attributes much of the success and growth of the company to his staff, which today encompasses seven employees. “I have been very fortunate that four of our seven employees have been with us for more than eight years,” he says. “We are committed to customer service and are very hands on with our customers, trying

to keep service, knowledge and trust as our business motto. Our customers like dealing with locally owned business and we are committed to continue to expand and offer the best products and service to our customers.” Now 63, Michaelson is grooming the next generation of leadership within the company. They will be inheriting a company with a loyal clientele and very strong supplier relationships. “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do and accomplish,” Michaelson concludes. “We’ve always maintained a customer-centric attitude. If we can service our customers and can create relationships, they will keep coming back. That hasn’t changed since I started in this industry. It’s a people business.”

Will your company be celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2021? Contact editor@gawdamedia.com to promote your anniversary in Welding & Gases Today, the GAWDA Connection, on GAWDAMedia.com and on Social Media. Don’t wait for the 3Q 2021 issue, start promoting today.

68 • Summer 2020


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

5 Years WISE TELEMETRY

W

ise Telemetry is celebrating its 5th Anniversary in 2020. Eric Wise founded the company based on research he had done at Carnegie Mellon University. He was initially focused on remote monitoring for medical oxygen cylinders due to family members who needed oxygen therapy. Through partnerships with local economic development organizations, investors, and gas distributors, Wise began to expand its view to include other assets in the gas industry such as bulk and microbulk tanks. According to Founder and CEO Eric Wise, “There have been three keys to our growth. The first has been our dedicated team who strives to provide a high value telemetry experience every day. The second has been closely listening to what our customers are asking for and partnering with them to develop solutions that meet their needs. The third is the outstanding support of our home metropolitan region, Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh business and technology community have supported us through a variety of programs that helped us get started. Each one of these aspects has been essential in expanding our customer base to cover the entire country and, recently, expand internationally.” Today, Wise Telemetry has two locations, its original Pittsburgh location and a Pensacola location, with five employees between the two branches. Looking ahead, Wise expects to continue partnering with gas distributors domestically as well as accelerating its international presence. Just since its founding, Wise has seen many new communication technologies transform the market and enable telemetry to be highly cost-effec-

“The Wise Telemetry team is very grateful to the industrial gas industryfor helping us over the last 5 years to grow from an idea into a company with a national footprint.”

tive in places where it had traditionally was not. Wise regularly integrates these technologies into its products to provide new services to its customers. “The Wise Telemetry team is very grateful to the industrial gas industry for helping us over the last 5 years to grow from an idea into a company with a national footprint,” says Wise. “We look forward to all of the t​ ransformative things we will accomplish together in the next 5 years!”

To view more milestone anniversary pictures, check out the full Anniversary Story on GAWDAMedia.com Summer 2020 • 69


A Reason To Celebrate GAWDA MEMBER ANNIVERSARIES

Other Member

ANNIVERSARIES 125 YEARS •

Champion Industrial Sales Company

95 YEARS •

Logan Hagan Welding Supply

Dailey Resources

ADF Welding & Medical, Inc.

Interstate Welding & Steel Supply

CANTESCO/Kemper System America

Inweld Corporation

DJB Gas Services, Inc.

National Welding Supply Company

Gibbs Welding Supply, Inc.

Thermacut, Inc.

Oxford Alloys, Inc.

Southern Oxygen & Welding Supply

Esprigas

Westair Gases & Equipment

US Tank & Cryogenic Equipment, Inc.

90 YEARS •

Norris Cylinder Company

85 YEARS •

Carbonic Systems, Inc.

80 YEARS • •

Air Products & Chemicals Goss, Inc.

75 YEARS

30 YEARS

50 YEARS

25 YEARS

45 YEARS •

C&C Oxygen Company

Central Welding Supply, Inc.

Foxx Equipment Company

20 YEARS •

Advanced Gas & Welding Solutions

ABICOR BINZEL

Metroplex Welding Supply

ASTARAS

Industrial Source, Inc.

Mid South Welding Supply

CryoVation

Manchester Tank & Equipment Co.

Delta Welding Supply, Inc.

Summit-Aire LLC

TrackAbout, Inc.

40 YEARS All Gas Welding Supply

Ozarc/Gas Equipment & Supply

Toll Company

Carbo Tech, Inc.

DataWeld, Inc.

Flame Technologies

CO2 Direct Gas, Inc.

70 YEARS

15 YEARS

Arco Welding Supply Co.

Richmond Oxygen

Fizz Dispense

California Welding Supply Company

SUMIG USA Corporation

Revell Supply Group

Tims South Texas LLC

Jasic Technologies America, Inc. Metalman Work Gear Co.

Unisource Manufacturing, Inc.

Sumner Manufacturing – A Southwire Company

60 YEARS •

Crumpton Welding Supply & Equipment, Inc.

55 YEARS • •

A&E Mill & Welding Supply Seaboard Welding Supply, Inc.

70 • Summer 2020

10 YEARS

35 YEARS •

Midalloy

Arc Gas & Supply

Total Welding Supply

County Specialty Gases LLC

Western International Gas & Cylinders, Inc.

Green CO2 Systems

VS Carbonics

Youngstown Oxygen & Welding Supply


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FEATURE

AWS APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CEO

AWS Appoints Gary Konarska as Executive Director and CEO

New AWS Executive Director Gary Konarska discusses the role with WGT BY STEVE GUGLIELMO AND GARY KONARSKA

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n March 27, 2020, the A m e r i c a n We l d i n g Society’s (AWS) Board of Directors announced Gary Konarska II as the organization’s new Executive Director and CEO. Konarska succeeded Ray Shook, who held the position for 15 years and who agreed to remain as Executive Director Emeritus for an interim period to ensure a seamless and successful transition. Konarska brings 20 years of experience in the welding and cutting equipment industry, where he worked with Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio. Most recently, Konarska served as Vice President, Global Automation, where he was responsible for 13 automation sites around the world and created business systems to drive metrics and continuous improvement. Throughout his tenure at Lincoln, he focused on international business and sales, strategic planning, and fostered collaboration and relationships among teams. Konarska spent time living and working in Singapore with The Lincoln Electric Company (Asia Pacific) PTE Ltd., as Managing Director for Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Taiwan. He was responsible for all commercial activities in the region, as well as a welding consumable manufacturing plant in 72 • Summer 2020

Indonesia. Prior to this role, he was based in Shanghai, China, as Director of Business Development, where he led core business functions including export and import sales, a robotic automation P&L, product management, marketing communications, service, and a welding technology center. He started his career as a Technical Sales Representative in Seattle, WA, and then Tampa, FL. Gary sat down with Welding & Gases Today to discuss this new role. WELDING & GASES TODAY: What are you most excited about taking over this role? GARY KONARSKA: I would say the opportunity to really be the advocate for the entire welding industry. To have the opportunity to talk about welding to all constituents of welding. When you’re working for one of the manufacturers, you always tend to have a slant in all of your conversations. Now, I have the opportunity to look at things holistically without a particular slant and really try to be neutral as we approach the development of new programs, training of our workforce, and how we engage in support of that. That was the draw, for me, to this job. To have a bigger voice in and around the welding community. WGT: Having spent your career at Lincoln prior to this, is there any concern

about your ability to be impartial now that you’re an advocate for the entire industry? GK: That was actually one of the interview questions. Because I spent ten years outside of the U.S., my view of the welding world is a lot different and broader because of this experience. In Asia, which is where I was stationed, Lincoln was not the market leader. There were other competitors that were really the “name brands.” There were times when people didn’t even fully understand what the full Lincoln portfolio was. So, while they are a market leader here in the U.S., I spent a decade in a place where there were times people didn’t even know that Lincoln made MIG machines. So, I’ve got a different kind of view of the industry, I think, which will give me a more objective approach, just because of that experience that I had. WGT: You mentioned how your experience in Asia brought some things to light with regards to Lincoln, but is there anything about the Asian market and the way that they do things that gives you a different perspective to bring back to the U.S.? GK: I could probably highlight a few different things. More than half of the world’s welding is happening in the Asian marketplace. I think it’s up over 60%, even. I think that is a realization


FEATURE

AWS APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CEO

that it is an important part of the global welding community. One of the other things that people may not understand is that they do quite a bit of automation in those markets. In China, they are today consuming more than 50% of the robot arms on the planet. You wouldn’t typically think that, because they have ample supply of human resources, but they face the same challenges that any market does. The issue of people entering the welding world as a welder. They have that same challenge. The skilled labor is not readily available, necessarily. They’re the largest ship building country today. They have automated like crazy over the last two decades. So, their facilities are pretty modern because the industry is relatively new versus some of the other markets in the world. I would also say that people’s approach to job roles and responsibilities is different. In the U.S. or Australia, there is more of a “do-it-yourself mentality.” Even executives of a company might go change their oil on a Saturday. That is not as common in Asia. People tend to focus on what they were trained or studied to do. If they aren’t a mechanic, they probably don’t work on their car. So, in the welding world, for a welding engineer, there isn’t a practical component to what they do. Whereas, maybe here in the U.S., there is. A welding inspector, who once upon a time might have been a welder, can grow into being a welding inspector. That kind of professional growth is a little bit different in a lot of the Asian communities. WGT: You mentioned the dearth of skilled labor, it sounds like that isn’t an isolated U.S. issue. AWS has always done a great job of advocating for the industry as a viable, rewarding skill path. What are some of the steps that you will take to continue to build the population of welders and continue to show that this is a viable career?

G K : T h a t ’s w h e r e t h e AW S Foundation focuses a lot of their energy. Entrance into the welding world. We’re going to continue to expand on the careers in welding platform. That has been out there for some time to promote welding as a career. And bringing the technology component to what is happening in welding today. If you talk to most welding power source manufacturers, as an example, they’re all digitally communicating between their different components. People don’t think that there is this technology component to how the industry is evolving. We’ve got to bring that into the purview of a young, impressionable high school student trying to figure out what they’re going to do with their life. They’ve grown up with technology all around them, had a phone since they were 12 years old. Look at welding machines today: Graphical User Interfaces, touch screens, LED panels, etc. The welding machines hook up to laptops so you can analyze what you’re doing. We’ve got to continue to demonstrate that this isn’t this old, traditional industry that people may talk about. It is progressive. W h e r e d o e s a u t o m a t i o n fi t ? Historically, there has been this concern about automation taking jobs. We’ve been evangelizing, at AWS, for a long time, about this skills gap and the shortage of welders that exists. And it will continue to get worse as we go into 2023-2025. When you look at automation, we know there is going to be an availability of welders and a need for welding, and there is a gap there. That’s where I think automation can bridge that gap. It will redeploy some welders to do more complex roles and the robot can take over the more repetitive jobs. But I don’t see it displacing welders. There is too much of a shortage, overall, within the industry, for it to displace all welders. That will be something that we start discussing more.

Gary Konarska II Executive Director and CEO of AWS

I spent my last three years in the automation space, running integration. In my last year, I was responsible for 13 different integration sites. That was part of our conversation. I don’t know of any robot that we sold that replaced anybody. There were many times where it was because they couldn’t keep somebody. When you’re in a remote area, where there’s not a skilled talent pool and you can’t keep a welder, those companies do it because they have to. The first choice of a welder is not available. There are lots of examples of companies that just can’t get qualified welders to do what they need. And that comes back to schools, improving their vocational aspects, so that there is that skilled welding pool coming into the community. continued on next page

Summer 2020 • 73


FEATURE

AWS APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CEO

WGT: Coming to AWS from the industry, you’ve seen first-hand the importance of AWS in our industry. Could you expand on that? GK: As I learn more about what the roles of different associations play within the industries that they’re supporting, one thing that AWS really brings is their long established and strong standardization program, industry standards and certification to a third-party type of standard. That’s something that is actually not as common among associations. AWS has established and distinguished itself in that regard. There is a guiding way that the manufacturers can all classify their products to a certain standard and those standards have been developed in a very objective and collaborative way. The committees are actually people from industry. They’re not employees of AWS. They’re the ones utilizing the products and manufacturing the products. They work together to reach a consensus to put that in place. So, I think that’s probably one of the most important aspects of what AWS has traditionally done. And the continued advocacy for welding. To help to bring welders into the community. That’s important. And I think that’s a role that we have to continue to play, to increase our influence and our advocacy for welding careers and welding professionals, because who else is going to do it? With the footprint that we’ve got and the voice that we have, that’s one of our obligations and fulfills our mission. WGT: You’re taking over as the AWS enters its second century of existence. What does that mean to you, personally, to be taking over at such a watershed moment for AWS? GK: You don’t get to be 100 years strong without having lots of traditions. I have to really make sure that I honor those that have gotten us to where we are. But, at the same time, you also have 74 • Summer 2020

to evolve as an organization. We have to continue to look at the digital tools available and how we can continue to broaden our offerings to the welding community in an online platform. With 100 years, you can’t discount all of the great things that have happened, we have to use those as the foundation to evolve into how the world thinks and works today. How do we continue to attract those people and ideas into the industry? Because how we attracted them 30 years ago is not how we will attract them today. So, I would say honor the tradition but use it as a foundation for growth and evolution. WGT: You talk about the industry evolving and attracting new communities, I know Lincoln and AWS were very involved with Jessi Combs and the Women in Welding initiative. GK: If you look at traditions, I’ve heard the term, “old boys club.” A lot of skilled trades were male dominated for many years. Our industry has really evolved. Today, we are supporting Women in Welding. That’s a moniker that is often used. Beyond that, whether it’s race, religion or any other diverse group of individuals, we really need to be serving everybody. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee within AWS leads our initiatives to serve the whole of the industry. So, AWS recognizes that this is an area where we need to continue to reach out to women and other underrepresented groups, so that we’re really targeting the entire community of potential welders out there. We see that in a lot of aspects of our life. Some of those stigmas are, albeit slowly, breaking free from what traditional gender roles are. Women are great welders. I remember 20 years ago, when I was going through welding school, there were four women in our sales development training class. One of the instructors highlighted that, because they have more dexterity in their

hands, when it comes to welding they actually have a very steady hand to do it. And you do see more and more women in the industry. But it’s still a pretty low percentage of the whole. WGT: We talked about how exciting it was for you to be taking over just after the association celebrated its 100-year anniversary. On the flip side, you’re also taking over at a pretty stressful time in our country and our economy, in the middle of a global pandemic. Have you given any thought to the types of challenges that that will present? GK: We have been talking about that. There are a couple of areas that we’ve been discussing. One is at the welding schools and the educational facilities, what are some of the guidelines that everybody should implement to ensure that they have the proper social distancing and the right tools in place to practice good personal hygiene? When you’re welding, you don’t always wash your hands all the time. But, at the same time, you now have to think about these things. So, we are looking into what we can do to provide some guidance around the restarting of welding schools. I think, in the end, there is a lot of guidance out in the market today. Internally, ourselves, in Miami, we have a pretty decent sized staff, about 130 employees. Right now, we’ve only got a dozen people working in the building. Everybody else is telecommuting. We’ve devised a phased plan to return to our offices. So, if we can communicate some of the things that we’re doing, ourselves, I think that can be part of it as well. We’re practicing social distancing and wearing facial coverings in the office. I recorded a video to our staff detailing what we did when Ray Shook and I met. We stood at opposite ends of a table and wore facial coverings in that meeting for four hours. We took every proper


FEATURE

AWS APPOINTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CEO

precaution that we could. We want to make sure we’re leading by example. And be open about it. When people are reaching out for advice, we make sure to tell them that we’re not health experts, but we can tell them all of the precautions that we’re taking to ensure a safe operation. It’s funny, you go into a new role and your first thought is, “I want to meet the team and start the learning curve so that I can actually start delivering.” Those fell to second and third on the priority list because on day one it was crisis leadership as we were sheltering in place. Immediately, I started engaging the broad organization. That has been a unique aspect of the role, having to step in and be a leader in crisis on day one. WGT: If you want to look at it as the glass is half full, you probably are not going to have to deal with something worse than this during your tenure, so you got it out of the way early. GK: There you go. Always find that silver lining.

WGT: Is there anything that you want our readers to know about you as you step into this position? GK: I would say that I’ve got a unique background of understanding the welding industry. I had the fortunate opportunity to work in five different geographic locations, in very diverse roles. And, even within those roles, I dealt with a lot of different corners of the welding industry. And, in particular for your readership, I worked very heavily with welding distribution during my years when I was stationed in Florida. It’s a market that is very heavily reliant upon the welding distribution channel. So, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of some of the challenges that they face because of that experience. And then, I worked with international distribution as well, where they were our only channel to market in some places. So, I worked closely with distribution for my entire career. I have a pretty good understanding of some of those pain points. But I don’t have a full understanding. So that is one of the things I do want to learn. The welding distri-

bution portion of the welding industry is absolutely critical. Without them, the welding industry wouldn’t exist. They’re critical for delivery of that final mile within the supply chain. I would like to fully understand what we, as the welding society, can do to support where they see pain. Their lens is going to be different than a fabricator or a manufacturer, but they’re still a very important constituent within the welding industry. WGT: How do you feel that AWS and GAWDA can work together to best promote this industry? GK: I think there are complementary initiatives that are core to the mission of GAWDA and the mission of AWS. I know there has been a very close tie between AWS and GAWDA for many years. That’s one of those traditions that I plan to build upon, not break down. When I look at the different parts of what makes up our welding ecosystem, distribution plays a critical role in that ecosystem, and we need to make sure that they have a voice in how the industry is managed, ultimately.

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Summer 2020 • 75


Operating as an Essential Service
 BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

T

he gases and welding industry is an integral part of our everyday lives. Of course, GAWDA members already understood that. But now it has been officially codified by the United States government and other governments around the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic started to become more wide-spread, the entire business landscape changed. Some businesses had to shut down completely. Others, deemed as “essential services,” were forced to figure out, on the fly, how to operate in a way that allowed them to continue to service their customers without putting their staff in danger. Many GAWDA members have had to deal with disasters that have disrupted normal business in the past. However, unlike with fires, floods, hurricanes or earthquakes, this pandemic is invisible. It can’t be seen, in many cases it can’t be detected until days later, and we have no idea when or even if it will go away. And with an infection rate of multiple times the common flu combined with an aging workforce in our industry, members had to not only make difficult decisions, but quick decisions.

ESTABLISH A CONTINUITY PLAN Once states started issuing shelter-in-place orders and non-essential businesses were forced to shut down, the most important action for businesses to take was to establish a business continuity plan. This was obviously vital during the COVID-19 pandemic but is something that businesses should have in place should we ever be faced with another economic disruptor of similar scale in the future. 76 • Summer 2020

GAWDA released a safety alert entitled Coronavirus Business Continuity Plan, which lays out a comprehensive plan for members to follow to ensure as smooth a continuation of business as possible. It also includes several “Dos” and “Don’ts” for employee safety, as recommended by the CDC. This document can be found on GAWDA.org/covid-19. “Immediately after it was released, we adopted the GAWDA Business Continuity Plan for COVID-19,” says Abydee Butler Moore, 2020 GAWDA President and President and COO of Butler Gas. “We kept our operations open and enlisted various protocols for prevention measures to meet CDC recommended guidelines and maintain employee safety during the pandemic.” Part of the Business Continuity Plan should be to reduce in-person staff and interaction. To do this, it is vital to identify business critical personnel (drivers, medical gas fillers, etc.) who will need to continue to be on-site. On the flip side, companies must also identify non-business critical personnel, who are not needed in-person, in the event of a government shutdown. Once identified, come up with a plan for those non-critical employees. This may be working from home, vacation, leave, or, if worse comes to worst, potential layoffs. “We reviewed every single person in our manufacturing facilities to determine who was essential to the manufacture of products,” says Harris Products Group President David Nangle. “We asked those essential employees to continue to come to work while asking non-essential employees to work from home. Essential employees qualified for premium pay as it was critical to continue to make products. Those employees that could work from home were able to set up with their own


direct line and computer and tap into our ERP systems and were active on day one servicing our customers. The processes we implemented were effective and were completely transparent to our customers.”

KEEPING THE WORKPLACE SAFE For those employees that are deemed as essential, a plan to reduce interaction and enforce social distancing was vital. “My COO Felim O’Malley and I started splitting the day so that we would not be in the building at the same time,” says AWISCO President Lloyd Robinson. “That way, if one of us were to get sick, the other one would not have had to quarantine.” Because of the extremely contagious nature of the virus, it is vital to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to employees, as well as to encourage distancing. Local governments as well as the CDC have free to download signage that can be hung that dissuades mass gathering. Encourage oneway flow of traffic to reduce hallway congestion. Encourage video conferencing, even if employees are in the building at the same time. And, of course, encourage the use of masks outside of an employee’s individual workplace. “In all of Harris’s operations, the safety and well-being of our employees is our paramount consideration. Even during normal times, Harris is an industry leader in maintaining the health and safety of its employees and the neighboring community,” says Nangle. “Harris is maintaining that priority today and has taken a variety of actions to combat the COVID-19 crisis head-on. Those actions include measures recommended

Download the GAWDA Business Continuity Plan for COVID-19 at GAWDA.org/covid-19 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, emphasizing social distancing, providing employees with hand sanitizer and other hygiene products, implementing the wearing of masks, providing a clean workplace and implementing work from home practices.” Abydee Butler Moore adds, “We implemented social distancing of on-site employees (still in effect) and remote teleworking whenever possible. We implemented a driver safety protocol for deliveries, staggered shift times, conducted frequent training, moved all meetings possible to virtual platform, and began a stringent cleaning regimen. Our analysis indicated that our drivers would have the greatest risk exposure as they are out in the field interfacing with the public.  We provided additional supplies of disinfectant, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer after providing job-specific training on new delivery procedures.  We informed our medical facility customers that we would not be entering their buildings, and we collaborated with them on an outdoor cylinder exchange process.  We also began to capture verbal confirmation signatures on paperwork instead of transferring pens and clipboards.” continued on next page

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COMMUNICATION In times of uncertainty, strong communication is paramount. Communicate with your employees, vendors and customers. Keep everybody completely up-to-date with any changing policies your company has implemented and how it may impact their jobs, payment or delivery schedule. “Our safety director puts out an email every Tuesday and Friday, mostly concerning keeping safe and apprising everyone of what steps we are taking to keep everyone safe,” says Robinson. “I send out a weekly message on Sunday night that covers where we are and where I think we are headed as a company. We also have a twice monthly virtual town hall for all employees.  I give a state of AWISCO and then it is opened up for questions.” Industry partners like GAWDA and CGA have put together outstanding toolkits for businesses. Make sure to share that information with employees so they understand the industry guidance being provided. Answer any potential questions quickly and comprehensively so that they understand why certain decisions have been made. “I participated in every single weekly GAWDA Consultants’ Roundtable for COVID-19 Risk Mitigation and would cascade the key takeaways company-wide,” says Butler Moore. “In addition to these weekly company messages, we met as a leadership team weekly to health check our actions within the Business Continuity Plan, and conducted company-wide trainings monthly.  We kept our locations operating with curbside service to the public, and frequently provided tools and informational postings to our branches.  We contacted our medical facility customers for cylinder decontamination confirmation, issued a medical safety alert, and provided copies of CGA P-83.  Butler Gas leaned heavily on our resources through GAWDA and CGA; we are extremely grateful to be a part of these great organizations.” Adds Nangle, “Throughout the pandemic we sent regular communications to all of our customers. Additionally, our 78 • Summer 2020

sales personnel had regular contact with our customers via telephone and email. We have also placed information on our company website outlining our response to the pandemic. Over the years we have been very disciplined in our stage gate process in developing products for our customers. When the pandemic hit, we had to accelerate that process to turn weeks of development time into days. The development of custom oxygen panels was unique, and while great ideas don’t turn into new products, we found that the relationship we had with our vendors was very critical to our success. Vendors such as Swagelok, Ametek and WIKA – many of whom responded on a Sunday to ensure product by Monday night, were critical to our success. This illustrates how valuable our vendor relationships are. This was a very powerful event as it came together, and we delivered the first truck of panels for a remote hospital in New York.”

CONTINGENCY PLANNING Of course, even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter the processes your company has implemented, it is absolutely vital to have a contingency plan in place in the event that an employee does contract the virus. Make sure that employees are temperature screened on the way in every morning. If an employee thinks that there is even a chance that they may be symptomatic or might have been exposed to somebody who was, encourage them to stay home and away from the office. According to GAWDA’s Business Continuity Plan: • Employees should self-quarantine for 14 days if: Traveled outside of the US within the past two weeks OR if they have been in close contact with an individual infected with COVID-19. Before returning to work, employees must provide a note from a Medical Professional stating they have no COVID-19 infection (CDC recommends verification by two tests, if possible).


• Employees who are sick should stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4 F), without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants) for 24 hours. • In the event of an employee contracting the virus, consider closing retail stores – or significantly limiting access using phone/electronic ordering and designated pick-up areas. • Inform employees that a co-worker (do not state their name) has a presumptive/positive test. • Consider contracting industrial cleaning company to periodically disinfect the facility.

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OPERATING SUCCESSFULLY Because our industry is an essential service, it is vital that companies are able to successfully navigate these landmines. This may be the last global pandemic any of us have to deal with, but it will not be the last business interruption. The steps taken now will inform how we react the next time something like this happens. “From a personal standpoint it was moving to see the response from the entire Harris workforce who rallied around to respond to build panels for remote hospitals. We watched the news unfold at home. Our employees felt their efforts were going towards an incredible cause for our country. All of our employees showed up to work despite being worried or scared. We had workers from other Harris facilities drive hours to be a part of this effort. In the larger picture they represent the strength and the fabric of the American workforce. This reminded me of our countries response to 9/11 – we always rise to the challenge,” says Nangle. “While the pandemic has been difficult, I am reminded that times like these make us a better company.” Adds Butler Moore, “I am so proud of the strength and dedication of our team. A little over half of our customers remained open through April and May, and it was an honor to continue to serve them and our communities.  We are grateful to have stayed open, employed, and as lean as possible.  I thank my grandparents for starting a business in such a diverse and essential industry.  This industry is a family, and a lot of people helped us weather the storm.  We are extremely appreciative of those partnerships.” Robinson concludes, “I end every weekly message with the following: ‘stay safe, stay healthy and stay AWISCOSTRONG!!!’ That kind of sums it all up. Helping customers find the PPE that they need to continue working has been the most rewarding work.” He adds, “There will be no ‘normal’ to go back to. Everything has changed. How we adapt to the change will determine our long-term success.”

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COVID-19 RESPONSE

GAWDA Members Lend a Hand During COVID-19 Pandemic


T

he COVID-19 pandemic has been an incredibly trying time for our nation and our industry. Though many GAWDA members remained open in some capacity throughout the crisis as “essential businesses,” there isn’t a single person or company who hasn’t been affected in one way or another. Even the association has been impacted, as the difficult decision was made to cancel the Spring Management Conference as well as all 2020 Regional Meetings in an effort to keep members safe. Through it all, GAWDA members have been there to lend a hand to those in need during the crisis. The following are a sampling of stories and social media posts related to how GAWDA members have given back during this time of crisis. If your company has a story that they would like to share on GAWDA Media.com or on the GAWDAMedia Buyers Guide, please email steveg@ gawdamedia.com and I will make sure that it runs both on the website and in the bi-weekly GAWDA Connection. For a list of GAWDA Resources relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the GAWDA COVID-19 Consultant & Member Roundtables, visit gawda.org/covid-19.

80 • Summer 2020

Dan Mattiace, General Manager of McKinney Welding Supply, is photographed in front of dewar tanks at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

Harris Products Praised by Gas Equipment Suppliers for Rapid Response During COVID-19 Crisis The Harris Products Group has been a vital partner to contractors and their gas suppliers as they raced to fulfill demands at medical care centers and alternate care facilities for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Within weeks of the outbreak of the coronavirus, Harris had produced and supplied thousands of critically needed medical regulators and hundreds of gas systems to distributors throughout the U.S. who were scrambling to meet critical needs.

One successful project involved a collaboration with McKinney Welding Supply, a distributor of compressed gases that has served the New York area for more than 70 years. As McKinney rushed to respond to the urgent need for oxygen delivery systems, the company turned to Harris for custom solutions for two New York City field hospitals. Working with McKinney, Harris designed, produced, and delivered systems with 78 panels and 1,170 regulators to serve the needs of 1,092 patient beds.


COVID-19 RESPONSE The project began when Dan Mattiace, General Manager of McKinney, received a call from a contractor who needed oxygen tanks for a planned alternate care facility with 20-40 beds. McKinney was in the process of providing high pressure tanks when the contractor called back two days later and said they might increase the number to 120 beds. Then, a week later, the contractor announced they would be installing a field hospital in Queens in the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and another field hospital at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, with a total of 750 beds. With the coronavirus exploding in the area, healthcare facilities everywhere needed oxygen. Since the smaller oxygen tanks would not be available, McKinney contacted its bulk gas supplier and then developed a plan to pipe the oxygen throughout the buildings and regulate the pressure at each bed using flowmeters. He then realized he had a major problem, when their current medical regulator supplier said they could not provide regulators until June. However, Mattiace then contacted Harris sales representative Joe Prunty, explained the situation and described the equipment that he thought he needed. With this information, Prunty immediately consulted the Harris technical support team who then provided another solution. Instead of regulating pressure at each bed with flowmeters, the technical team proposed accomplishing the task with a series of panels that would regulate the pressure near the oxygen source and then distribute it throughout the facility. “This turnkey solution was perfect and a great use of resources,” said Mattiace. “We could pipe the oxygen supply right to the panels. Each panel would have 14 regulators that would provide oxygen to 14 beds. Harris quickly provided a CAD/ CAM drawing of the design, I proposed

it to the contractor, we went over it with their doctors, and they all immediately approved it.” Once the solution was approved, McKinney and Harris focused immediately on the critical issues of producing and delivering the systems. Time was of the utmost importance, and Harris formulated a plan to ensure the project could move forward rapidly. “We knew we were asking that they try to do the impossible,” said Mattiace. “Harris Regional Manager David Sprague did a fantastic job in coordinating the effort, and David Gailey and Tom Trame from Harris’ Specialty Gas Group, were outstanding with the technical aspects of the project.” Despite all of the obstacles, he says, “Harris made the impossible possible.”

Harris responded to the challenges by redeploying employees to work on the project at their Gainesville, Georgia, facility, where its Specialty Gas Group is based and its medical-related equipment and systems are produced. They added production lines and called upon supply chain partners to find and provide materials expeditiously. The plant ran multiple shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The contractor assigned drivers to pick up systems daily, taking them directly to New York so that the plumbers could begin connecting them into the main lines as soon as they arrived. Mattiace was impressed and amazed at the speed at which the project moved. He had fielded the call from the contractor on a Thursday, by Friday he had the gas

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COVID-19 RESPONSE delivery system approvals, and products began arriving on Monday in Queens for installation. An independent third-party company tested the entire system after it was installed and approvals for medical use were obtained on a Thursday night. The facility began accepting patients on that Friday morning, eight days from when McKinney had received the first call. He was also impressed with Harris’ ability to adapt as circumstances changed. At the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, a shortage of bulk gas trailers for the oxygen could have been a problem. However, Harris suggested using dewar tanks attached to a back-up supply from high pressure tanks. With this solution, McKinney was able to supply the equipment and connect it with the

panels and hoses and avoid delaying the start of the project. “From top to bottom, everything about working with Harris was great,” said Mattiace. “I can’t believe how much we accomplished in such a short time. I called Harris staff at all hours of the day and night, and their phones were always on. They were extremely knowledgeable and responsive to all of our needs.” Harris staff is proud of their role in providing a solution to meet the needs of those providing care to COVID-19 patients and has high praise for McKinney and Mattiace. “McKinney is a great partner, and Dan’s attention to details, fast response to his customer’s demands, and his ability to communicate all the important information were important factors in

the successful outcome,” said Sprague. Along with McKinney, Harris has been tirelessly working with its other distributors to meet their business demands during this challenging time. They have delivered thousands of medical regulators and hundreds of medical gas systems for healthcare facilities battling the pandemic.  “COVID-19 has been a heartbreaking tragedy, but it is inspiring how our employees and partners are working together to overcome so many obstacles,” said Harris Products Group President David Nangle. “I am proud that Harris is using its knowledge and resources to design and deliver gas systems that are contributing so greatly to saving lives during this global crisis.”

Rotarex Provides Breath of Fresh Air to Hospitals

“We now produce 40 to 50,000 medical valves per month.” – Paul Delecourt

82 • Summer 2020

A major player in the production of valves, Rotarex had to increase the activity of its medical branch in order to be able to meet the demand of hospitals and their needs for respirators in this period of health crisis. Providing a breath of fresh air to hospitals has been Rotarex’s goal during the crisis. Specialist in valves for oxygen cylinders in hospitals - the Luxembourg firm has indeed seen its orders increasing, while the number of patients with COVID-19 in respiratory distress continues to increase across the globe. Since the start of the health crisis, the production of the group’s medical unit has doubled. “We now produce 40 to 50,000 medical valves per month,” explains Paul Delecourt, marketing manager of the company which employs nearly 750 people in the Grand Duchy. Based in Lintgen, Luxembourg, the Group sees requests pouring in from the

countries currently most affected, both in Europe, from countries such as Italy, France, Spain or the United Kingdom, and also across the Atlantic. “We are also in talks with the United Nations regarding Africa,” said Delecourt. A surge of solidarity To meet demand, Rotarex Meditec therefore had to increase the production rate for the hundreds employees in the dedicated line, in particular by extending the working week through Saturday. Safety standards have also been strengthened and the production chain redesigned. For their safety, the employees, specifies the marketing manager, “wear masks” and have “more space”. The Luxembourg company is also “proud to be able to contribute at its level” in this fight against the virus. Rotarex has also donated equipment to hospitals in the Grand Duchy, noting that “this gesture is priceless”.


Social Media Roundup BREAK I’d like to run those two stories as normal and then maybe have a page of social media posts, kind of like The Last Word. Use the following images as a kind of collage: • gawda4-scaled-e1585253397172582x1024 • gawda5-scaled-e1585253380269590x1024 • t01. • gawda20-scaled-e1585252218668607x1024 • techniweld-591x1024 Billie• Jean King Tennis Center Pop-up Hospital Medical Oxygen Installation: IMG_4226

The Acme Field Service Northeast Team & Northeast Services New Jersey Team has been working through the last week installing a significant portable medical oxygen supply system for Air Products at the BJK Tennis Center. The installation had some difficulties because of the limited overhead access in the tennis park. This installation required ingenuity by the Acme Team to get the equipment installed a less than typical arrangement. Horizontal liquid oxygen storage tanks set on flatbed trailers & vaporizers are laying down on steel I beams created a long, narrow equipment arrangement that is now completely piped up & functionally excellently supplying Medical Oxygen to the temporary hospital.

Doing our part and donating much needed respirators to help prevent the spread of #covid_19 #n95mask #ppe #centralvalley #stopthespread

Delille partnered with Firelands Scientific thru our Nyeco division to produce/package hand sanitizer to donate to local first responders. We are very fortunate to be able to help and thankful for Firelands for helping put this together. #ohiostrong

Hypertherm and by extension, our critical suppliers and partners, is considered an essential business allowing us to keep our manufacturing locations open in support of customers like 3M. This multi-national conglomerate is using Hypertherm HyPrecision™ waterjet systems to produce desperately needed N95 respirator masks for healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is manufacturing these masks around the clock—doubling production over the past couple of months—and shipping directly to hard hit communities.

We’re grateful to Lincoln Electric, who thoughtfully donated 250 face shields to Lake Health! Donations of supplies like these help protect team members from COVID-19 and allow us to continue to care for our patients safety. In addition, Lincoln Electric Foundation donated an incredibly generous $25,000 to the Lake Health Foundation Emergency Medicine Fund to be used to address emergency needs related to COVID-19 care in our community. Thank you, @lincolnelectric! Summer 2020 • 83


SALES & MARKETING

Adversity Creates Opportunity BY ART WASKEY

T Art Waskey has served with General Air Service and Supply Company of Denver for 34 years, most recently as senior vice president of sales. Before that, he was a zone sales manager for British Oxygen Company in Houston. He has written three books about sales in the gases and welding distribution industry. He can be reached at impactspeakingdynamics. com and at awaskey@generalair.com.

84 • Summer 2020

he coronavirus outbreak has reminded us all that with adversity comes the challenge to find new ways of approaching our day-to-day lives. This is especially true in our jobs, which often require personal interaction. I am a sales consultant to a machine tool distributorship that has seven salespeople who are now unable to make face-to-face contact with their customers and prospects. The company asked me to help find effective ways for its sales reps to utilize their time in this shelter-in-place world.

STICKINESS

Malcom Gladwell in his book, The Tipping Point, describes times of change, like the one we are in, as having a “stickiness factor.” In the context of education, he even refers to that factor as a “virus.” He discusses how Joan Gantz Cooney set out to start an epidemic. Her target was three-, four-, and five-year-old children. Her agent of infection was television, and the virus she wanted to spread was literacy. What Gantz wanted to do was create a learning epidemic to counter the prevailing epidemics of poverty and illiteracy. She called her idea Sesame Street. Gladwell says, “The messenger matters; messengers are what make something spread. But the content of the message matters too. And the specific quality that a message needs to be successful is the quality of ‘stickiness.’ Is the message – or the food, or the movie, or the product – memorable? Is it so memorable, in fact, that it can create change, that it can spur someone to action?” Teaching the young to read via television was a radical new idea at the time, something created to deal with a new technology. Our current busi-

ness dilemma is not dissimilar. We are faced with creating whole new channels for sales. We are at a tipping point and we need a “stickiness factor.” Here are some of my thoughts on “stickiness factors” that could produce opportunities for messenger salespeople. 1. The Social Distancing Factor – Almost overnight, remote work has become mainstream. Companies around the world are encouraging their employees to work from home to prioritize the health and safety of their workforce and communities. 
 Messenger, Salesperson Opportunity – Spend this valuable time wisely by focusing on a daily schedule and doing some deep thinking about strategic planning. Many forms of new technology are available for deployment. Are you and your company using them? Remember, there are recent examples of many companies who lost their competitive edge to other businesses when tipping points occurred: Blockbuster to Netflix, Eastman Kodak to the many digital camera devices including smart phones, Motorola to LG, Samsung, Sony, VIZIO, etc. 2. The Immunity Factor – We are staying at home to protect ourselves from an outside virus that can attack our immune system and cause serious illness. This has created a situation in which we can no longer participate in the traditional face-to-face way of doing business. We need to look for new and more efficient ways of selling products. Messenger, Salesperson Opportunity – Over a cup of coffee, one at his home and one at mine, I demonstrated how to use ZOOM to the


SALES & MARKETING owner of the tool company. We spoke via audio and video for over an hour on various business issues. As a result, I will be teaching his reps how to use ZOOM for appointments with their top clients. Virtual sales calls actually save time and expense. The average person-to-person sales call can be from 2-4 hours when you include transportation, waiting in the lobby, etc. From a home office, via online technology, a salesperson is able to make at least one call per hour without leaving his desk. By using new types of video communication, it is possible to build a level of trust and rapport with a client in thirty minutes, whereas using more traditional sales call techniques may require weeks or months of your time.

Messenger, Salesperson Opportunity – Now is the time to embrace distance learning. I just finished a ZOOM webinar, in which the instructor taught more than 1,000 people next steps in conducting virtual meetings. This week, I will be participating in three virtual, interactive meetings with content on consulting, leadership, and basic sales training. I will also be attending three webinars covering educational course work, leading virtual meetings, and product training. I am taking advantage of obtaining the latest information on the best platforms to help me continue to do my job effectively. I am also using online audio books that enable me to review and analyze many educational publications before buying a hardcopy.

3. The Distance Learning Factor – We have seen the maturation of institutional online education in the last decade but few of us have had the time to build them into our work schedules. Unless mandated or out of necessity, most of us have not prioritized the time needed to incorporate these valuable learning tools into our sales process.

4. The Rapid Response Factor – We have already experienced the impact of the internet and wireless communications on customer expectations. In the last ten years we have seen delivery times move from weeks to within a few days. Messenger, Salesperson Opportunity – From my home office, I have witnessed at least two dozen vans making

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SALES & MARKETING deliveries around the neighborhood in a given day. A large portion of these are next-day drop offs, the new norm. Out of concern for contracting the virus, our expectations for delivery of all kinds of items, like drugs, groceries, hardware, etc., have skyrocketed. Is your company ready to implement the delivery of its products, faster and more efficiently to meet customer expectations? 5. The Surreal Factor – We are all experiencing a strange, unreal dissociation from our normal lives. Our schedules have been disrupted as never before. We have been moved from having to juggle agendas to fit more and more into our day, to a surreal sense of time when the ability to simply leave the house is uncertain. Messenger, Salesperson Opportunity – Several people have mentioned to me that this freakish distortion of normal has given them a sense that they need to have better control of their lives. This is a time to get organized and create goals that suit the circumstances. This new reality will create innovative opportunities as never before. Use

86 • Summer 2020

this valuable time to fine tune your organizational and goal setting skills?

THE MESSENGER AND THE MESSAGE My daughter is a psychologist in Pasadena, California. When the pandemic forced her to stay at home, she had to change her counseling process and began online face-to-face meetings with her clients. This was a radical transformation for both parties, but my daughter finds that from the comfort of her home she has actually been able to improve therapeutic results. Both psychologist and patient are more relaxed, and this has resulted in a faster, deeper, and longer engagement. As Gladwell describes in his book, both the messenger and the message have changed. In this crisis, we are all experiencing rapid change. We need to pay attention and find ways to adapt. The consequences of not taking advantage of these changes will leave you in the world left behind when the crisis is over. We all need to work toward being part of a future that is better than the past. Be innovative, get sticky, and stay well.


SALES & MARKETING

Art Waskey’s new book, The Art of Sales is available now. This pocked-sized book is a great resource for any salesperson and features several easily digestible and highly-relatable sales stories. Visit impactspeakingdynamics.com for more information or to purchase The Art of Sales.

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Summer 2020 • 87


SALES & MARKETING

Selling Against Economic Headwinds

Is your sales team making these four mistakes that could make it more difficult to sell during an economic downturn? Here’s how your company can adapt BY JAY SPIELVOGEL, VENATOR SALES GROUP, LLC.


A 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

88 • Summer 2020

colleague recently asked me, “What are the top mistakes salespeople make when the economy begins to slow down?” I explained that during great economic times, most companies tell me their salespeople are good at closing business with existing accounts, bidding on inbound budgeted projects in new accounts or prospecting on smaller “quickhit” opportunities. On the flipside, the challenge during recessed economic times is that while the phones may be ringing with lower level stakeholders calling to gather info and pricing, larger-scale budgeted projects are more scarce and inbound small projects only maintain cash-flow, but do not provide real growth. One of the early warning signs of economic headwinds is when the sales pipeline begins to dry up. In response and out of desperation, most sales teams react to any interest by forfeiting the company sales process, qualification questions and due diligence in favor of getting quotes out the door. Rather than addressing these mistakes, most companies will simply throw more sales support and technology at the issue, reducing profitability and increasing the cost of every sale. For most sales organizations, the vision during an economic slowdown is to quickly capture larger, more strategic accounts. Many take the first step toward this goal by assigning targets to the sales team. This is a good start, but unfortunately, only scratches the surface. The key to real success is for sales management to help their reps first develop an understanding of

how power and influence work within these target accounts. Why? Because when the economy begins to weaken, people become more risk averse, need more consensus on every decision, and have much less individual power over discretionary budgets. Selling during an economic slowdown requires that salespeople navigate their way through all the stakeholders in a target organization, They also need to align with the right influencers who can champion a project and the right decision makers who can approve it. This is an exhaustive, but crucial effort that most salespeople will avoid in favor of conveniently throwing pricing and resources at lower level stakeholders. So how do sales organizations recalibrate for the oncoming economic cycle? First, we must reverse-engineer the way our people sell by correcting these top four mistakes that are typically made during a strong economic period.

MISTAKE #1 Sales reps not working the entire decision team in each account. Most reps will efficiently focus their sales efforts on the front-line managers. During a slow economy, these prospects are more than happy to receive a proposal that could streamline process, improve support and make their job easier. Typically, these mid-level managers mistake the nod of approval to evaluate a solution or vendor with the approval to make the change-decision and spend the money. However, the solutions they present to upper management are highly scrutinized against other priorities as


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that there are different doors into a company. If one stakeholder says no, there are others within the organization with need and budget who can still say yes.

MISTAKE #2

MISTAKE #4

The rep utilizes the “checkerboard approach” where they assume every stakeholder has the same concerns and issues. They have a one-size-fitsall presentation that they pitch to every stakeholder, instead of pivoting and changing the messaging based on the type of stakeholder they are meeting with. Salespeople who thrive during a slow economy understand the lack of communication taking place internally at their prospect’s organization. They are aware that the low-level stakeholder is driven by personal issues and concerns rather than company initiatives. Instead of this one-size-fits-all approach, reps need to see a prospect organization as a chessboard, where each stakeholder is an individual with their own objectives and desired outcomes.

MISTAKE #3 Giving up too easily. The rep assumes that if one person tells them there is no budget or need, then this is the case for the entire company. A salesperson who thrives in any economy understands

This is the number one sales management mistake. Managers coaching reps efficiently rather than effectively. When opportunities are harder to come by, most managers will efficiently focus their pipeline reviews on “closeable” deals forecasted at 50% or greater. The challenge at this point in the cycle is that mistakes have already been made by the salespeople and it is too late to fix them. During an economic slowdown, reps need the most guidance on deals that are forecasted between 10-50% to avoid costly mistakes. If coached and managed correctly, these early stage opportunities will stand a much greater chance of closure. Peter Drucker, celebrated by BusinessWeek magazine as the man who invented management said, “Efficiency is doing things right, while effectiveness is doing the right things.” The temptation during a slow or slowing economy is to efficiently do things right, but the cost of not effectively doing the right things will most certainly become more apparent as the tide recedes.

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HUMAN RESOURCES

Working From Home May Have Advantages for Employers BY PAUL BANUSKI

A

s we all find ourselves in an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19, we know many employers are asking their employees to work remotely whenever possible, whether as a best practice to maintain social distancing or to comply with a state order regarding essential businesses. Working from home was already a growing trend prior to the pandemic, and many organizations are finding that there are some roles that may not require a physical presence at an office or jobsite at all. So, whether it’s a short term accommodation due to circumstances or part of a broader effort to modernize the workforce and reduce physical overhead, what do employers and employees need to know about working remotely?

SETTING EXPECTATIONS For employees who are able to work remotely, employers should develop a specific work-from-home policy to set appropriate expectations both for what is expected of the team and what the team can expect, too. There are many routines that can be shed once one is no longer in an office environment that many managers worry may result in a loss of either professionalism, productivity or both. First, an organization should identify which functions within the organization could function remotely — in other words, really think about who needs to be on site. If a majority of your communication is via phone or email, does it matter if some90 • Summer 2020

one is down the hall, across town or even across the country? You may decide that there are certain activities that must be done on site or critical in-person meetings. That’s fine — remote working can mean flexibility from both parties. Maybe someone can work three days per week from home but needs to be on-site for meetings or certain activities for two other days during the week. When it comes to remote working, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER Once you identify the positions that might be suited to remote work, you’ll need to take into consideration the following factors: • How will you track time for non-exempt employees (including mandatory meal periods)? • How will you communicate both one-on-one and as a team? • How should an employee procure office supplies? Will the company provide them, or is the employee responsible to obtain them and then track and submit expenses? • How can you and the employee work to protect the security of company and customer data? • How can you and the employee protect and maintain company property, including computers, printers and mobile devices? Any work from home policy should also clarify that the employee is expected to maintain a work area that is largely


HUMAN RESOURCES free of distraction and offers some privacy to discuss proprietary or confidential information if required. It’s also important to work out what the employer will and will not be responsible for regarding home office furnishings, internet and phone services. Many of these factors may vary from company to company. What’s most important is that you find out what will and will not work for you.

BENEFITS OF THE “NEW NORMAL” It’s important to keep in mind that, along with the potential costs of remote working, there are definite advantages, as well. If an organization can shift to a remote or partially remote workforce, it can reduce its physical office space, energy costs and other expenses related to maintaining a larger location. It also allows the organization to expand its network of potential employees. If most work can be done remotely, you are no longer limited to filling positions with job candidates in your immediate area. And, because so much of the success of remote work is supported by technology, your organization’s embrace of this technology will be seen as a major advantage

for forward thinking candidates. Not every organization or employee is going to be a good fit for remote working long term, but those who are comfortable and productive under this model will gain a competitive advantage over other organizations in their field, will be more efficient with reduced overhead costs and attract the best potential hires on the market. Many employers have been forced into experimenting with remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in the process are learning a great deal about how the “new normal” might have its advantages. 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.

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Summer 2020 • 91


BEST PRACTICES

So, You Want to Join the Family Business?


Tips for young people considering joining the family “Bidness” BY RANDY SQUIBB, 1994 GAWDA PRESIDENT

T Randy Squibb is available for Customer Relations presentations and can be reached by email at crsquibb@aol.com.

hose of you who know me or who have read my previous columns know that I spent my entire career working in my family’s bidness (that’s how we say “business” down where I’m from in Texas). That doesn’t make me special among GAWDA members. Lots of our members are family businesses. And those who work in family businesses know that it can be the most rewarding experience in the world, or it can be a disaster that has the potential to not only destroy the business but possibly ruin family relationships. I have been asked by many companies to come in and speak to the “next generation” of the business. And every time I agree to do so, I tell the company, “I’ll speak to the younger generation, but then I want to speak with you. And then I want all of us to speak together.” In this column, I would like to speak specifically to the younger generation who are either considering joining the business, or who may already be in the business but are looking to transition into more leadership or management roles. In my next column, I’ll speak directly to the older generation who are looking to transition out of the business. Many older GAWDA members may recognize some of this advice from Dr. Leon Danco, who spoke at quite a few NWSA meetings. Dr. Danco was an expert at family business transitions and his advice was timeless, as relevant today as it was in 1975.

LIFE UNDER A MICROSCOPE
 If you’re considering entering into the family business, chances are you have been around the business your whole life. And, fair or not, people 92 • Summer 2020

have very long memories. The things you did when you were a 16-year-old kid working in the warehouse on summer vacation are going to be remembered when you’re 26, 36, even 46. One of the best things about working in our industry is that there is very little turnover. We have a lot of “lifers” who spend their entire career with one company. But for somebody who is considering entering into the family business, that can be a double-edged sword. And it’s doubly difficult in today’s world, where, just in case somebody forgot what you did when you were in 16, everything is digitally archived on social media forever and ever to remind them. Entering the family business can truly be a pair of golden handcuffs. You could be a Harvard valedictorian with a Nobel Peace Prize and a cure for cancer but a lot of employees are still going to think of you as just the bosses kid who is only there because they had the right last name. Fortunately, nobody ever mistook me for a Harvard valedictorian, I was actually the one who made the Bell Curve curve, but that’s beside the point. So you really need to ask yourself, “Why are you doing this?” Has this been your dream since you were a kid? Or, is this just the path of least resistance? Is this an industry that you are actually interested in, or is it just an easy paycheck from mommy and daddy? If the only reason you’re going to work in the family business is because you can make more money working for mom and dad, then you need to find something else to do because I promise you that is not a good reason to join the business and you won’t last long. And if you don’t last long, in all likelihood, the business won’t last long.


BEST PRACTICES There is a stigma around kids of owners that they are lazy or entitled. I’m sure in some cases that is true. But most of the time, it couldn’t be further from the truth. But it’s important to know that stigma exists. In many ways, children of owners need to work twice as hard to get the respect of their fellow employees. Be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. If you earn their respect when you’re young, they’ll have that much more for you when you enter management and become their boss. From the day you come into the business, you have just entered into the longest, most grueling interview you will ever have in your life for being president of that company. You are under the microscope from day one. Every single thing you do is in anticipation of you becoming the owner or president of the company at some point in time. There are many schools of thought that say instead of coming into the family business right out of school, you need to go do something else first. You need to go work in another business, work in another industry, so that when you come back you’ve got some credibility that you didn’t go into the family business because it was the easiest thing to do. I don’t

think that’s necessarily true. I didn’t do that, for instance. But the point is the same, it’s all about establishing credibility for down the line.

ENTERING MANAGEMENT Finally, I want to leave you with two pieces of advice for when it’s time to enter management or transition the business to your ownership. The first is, if you have siblings in the business, you must present a united front in public. If you’re a sales manager and your sister is an operations manager, you can yell, scream, argue and cuss all you want behind closed doors. But when those doors open, you must be on the same team. Because employees often are trying to figure out which of you to hitch their wagon to and they will try to drive a wedge that relationship. Second, be empathetic to what your parents are going through. They have nurtured this business as if it was one of their kids and transitioning out of the business is a very difficult process for them. So be patient and be empathetic. Being in the family business can be the most rewarding thing that you’ve ever experienced in your life. And I really hope that it will be that way for you.

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Summer 2020 • 93


SALES & MARKETING

Digital Ad Tactics Every GAWDA Member Should Know About BY BRIAN BLUFF, SITE-SEEKER, INC.

T Brian Bluff is the president and cofounder of Site-Seeker, Inc., an Internet marketing firm specializing in SEO, SEM, social media and web development, with a strong focus on the B2B manufacturing and distribution arena. Together with his brother, Eddie Bluff, vice president of key accounts, Brian has grown the company into a successful source of search engine and social media marketing solutions.

94 • Summer 2020

here is a scene from the movie Minority Report where, as Tom Cruise’s character is walking through a mall, he looks into a retinal scanning device and suddenly starts seeing and hearing digital ads personalized to him. Over the buzz of people talking and promotional messages, one digital sign announces “John Anderson, you could use a Guinness right about now.” Pretty cool stuff! Although Minority Report was made in 2002 and set in 2054, much of this technology is becoming reality. That is what this article is about - digital advertising targeting technology. As with most topics in digital advertising today, this is a big one and, to keep from putting my GAWDA member friends to sleep, I’ll limit this conversation to display and video retargeting ads.

RETARGETING OVERVIEW Have you ever visited a website, placed a product in your shopping cart and then left without checking out? Later that day, and for the next several weeks, you may notice that ads from that site featuring the exact same product are following you around the internet. That’s an example of a retargeting ad. Retargeting, also called remarketing, is used to convince someone that has engaged with your website, social content, YouTube videos or email content, to take an action like completing a checkout, visiting your store, engaging with your sales team, or buying a related product. Retargeting is intended to keep your brand top of mind and lower a customer’s or prospect’s resistance to reengaging. This is really important, especially when you consider that 96% of website visitors are not ready to buy or engage just yet.

TRACKING PIXELS How does retargeting work from a technical standpoint? Website owners place tracking pixels on every page of their websites. These snippets of code allow them to track what pages you visited, how much time you spent on the different pages, if you revisited a page and the items in your shopping cart. All of that data is sent to various ad networks. Pixels allow website owners to create a list of anonymous users (an audience) that have taken certain actions. Advertisers can then create and share ads tailored to each audience on the various ad networks.

AD NETWORKS There is an entire industry built around selling ad space on websites, apps and other online platforms including social media. Google’s Display Network and Facebook are two of the industry’s giants. Google’s Display Network has the ability to reach 90% of internet users, with 65% reachable in a single day. They serve over one trillion ad impressions to over one billion users every month. Facebook has approximately 1.6 billion users, with over a billion logging in daily. Couple that reach with powerful targeting technology, and you can easily imagine walking through that mall alongside John Anderson (Tom Cruise) and being peppered with ads from your favorite brands.

STANDARD RETARGETING With standard retargeting, we can show display ads to people that have previously visited your website or people that have previously searched Google for a specific keyword phrase.


SALES & MARKETING

GAWDA Online Buyers Guide Can Help Your Digital Advertising STANDARD RETARGETING EXAMPLE

Display ads are typically one of six standard sizes and can be shown on websites, social platforms, and apps. The message of most standard retargeting ads is related to something we did or saw online. Above is an example of an ad I started receiving after checking out deals available on Toyota’s website. Let me restate an important point mentioned above, in case you missed it. We can show ads to people that have previously searched Google for a specific keyword phrase. This point alone is worth the time you have invested in reading this article, so far. Sure, you could show ads to people that have searched Google for a product you sell, but you could also show ads to people that have searched for a competitor by name. That’s right, you can send ads to your competitors’ customers. This is really powerful. As an example, we recently ran a program for an HVAC distributor with three locations. In the program, we targeted people that had searched Google for their competitors’ names, as well as keyword phrases that would only be of interest to HVAC technicians - part numbers of equipment error codes. After six months, we had attracted over 1,100 visitors to the website and converted 27. Conversions were defined as credit applications submitted, phone calls to the business or training class sign ups.

The GAWDA Online Buyers Guide is a great resource to help GAWDA Distributors come up with fresh content to post to their social media platforms. The site is updated frequently with new articles pertaining to GAWDA Supplier announcements including Awards, New Products and Events. Help your supplier promote their achievements and help keep your customers abreast of the latest news regarding the suppliers you represent. Supplier listings are full of great content to link to, including product literature, videos, product photos and embedded social media pages that can be retweeted or reposted. Keep your customers up-to-date with the latest news from your supplier partners. Information is available at your fingertips.

buyersguide.gawdamedia.com

continued on next page

Summer 2020 • 95


SALES & MARKETING

DYNAMIC RETARGETING EXAMPLE

VIDEO RETARGETING EXAMPLE

DYNAMIC RETARGETING Like standard retargeting, dynamic retargeting serves display ads to past website visitors on websites and apps. The difference is that dynamic retargeting ads are customized to you based on, for example, an item you left in your shopping cart. Above is an ad I started seeing after searching for tools to help install my boat dock. I had placed that winch, left-most image, in my cart, and then left the website without completing the purchase.

VIDEO RETARGETING YouTube video retargeting ads are an extremely affordable and effective way to show ads to people that have either previously visited your website or viewed one of your videos on YouTube. YouTube ads can be shown before or during a selected video, or as a thumbnail on the right side of YouTube. Video ads are typically related to products or services you have viewed in the past. Above is an example of a Hulu ad I saw after visiting Hulu’s website. We have found YouTube to be great for increasing brand awareness. In one case, we saw a 50% increase in brand related traffic to our clients website when we ran ads in the areas they serve. 96 • Summer 2020

Creating video ads is getting much easier and less expensive. Here’s an ad we built for DeIORIO’s - a pizza dough manufacturer (https://bit.ly/deiorios). We created this video in about two hours using YouTube’s Video Builder product. It’s in beta right now and you must request permission to use it, but it’s clear that the cost is being driven out of creating video ads.

CONCLUSIONS Ad targeting technology has advanced rapidly over the past few years, and there is no sign that it will slow down soon. Although once thought of as a business-to-consumer marketing tactic, retargeting display and video ads are extremely effective for business-to-business companies and should be considered by GAWDA members. With website conversion rates hovering at around 2%, the ability to show ads to past visitors with the goal of getting them to reengage is extremely valuable. Retargeting allows companies additional opportunities to strengthen their brand. With a little creativity, you can target your competitors’ customers and attract people based on their interests and actions online.


u p c o m i ng industry events

Here are some of the events scheduled for 2020 and beyond. Check the EVENTS tab on the GAWDA website at www.gawda.org for more information.

AUGUST 2020 AIWD Annual Convention Miami, FL AUGUST 16-19, 2020

OCTOBER 2020 IOMA Annual Meeting Washington, D.C. OCTOBER 10-14, 2020 IWDC Owners Meeting Rancho Mirage, CA OCTOBER 20-24, 2020

NOVEMBER 2020 FABTECH Las Vegas, NV NOVEMBER 18-20, 2020

MARCH 2021

AIWD Convention Colorado Springs, CO APRIL 30 - MAY 3, 2021

MAY 2021 GAWDA Northeast Regional Meeting Galloway, NJ MAY 18-21, 2021

JUNE 2021 GAWDA East/Midwest Regional Meeting Seven Springs, PA JUNE 9-11, 2021 IWDC Sales and Purchasing Convention Las Vegas, NV JUNE 22-24, 2021

SEPTEMBER 2021

OCTOBER 2022

FABTECH Chicago, IL SEPTEMBER 13-16, 2021

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

OCTOBER 2021 GAWDA Annual Convention Colorado Springs, CO OCTOBER 6-9, 2021

NOVEMBER 2022

IWDC Owners Meeting Greensboro, GA OCTOBER 26-29, 2021

FABTECH Atlanta, GA NOVEMBER 8-10, 2022

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

GAWDA Spring Management Conference Nashville, TN MARCH 29-31, 2021

JULY 2021 GAWDA Northwest Regional Meeting Sunriver, OR JULY 21-23, 2021

AIWD Convention Washington D.C. APRIL 22,-25, 2022

APRIL 2021

AUGUST 2021

MAY 2022

GAWDA Southwest Regional Meeting League City, TX APRIL 19-20, 2021

GAWDA Central Regional Meeting Oregon, OH AUGUST 9-10, 2021

IWDC Owners Meeting Park City, UT NOVEMBER 1-4, 2022

IWDC Sales & Purchasing Convention Minneapolis, MN MAY 24-26, 2022

All dates are subject to change, especially in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic. For the most up-to-date information, visit gawda.org/events. Summer 2020 • 97


SALES & MARKETING

SEARCH ENGINE TRENDS

I

n the 4th Quarter 2019 issue of Welding & Gases Today, we debuted a new feature called “Search Engine Trends for the Gases & Welding Industry.” This feature is designed to help readers understand the terms and searches that are ranking highly in Google Trends. Part 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

for the Gases & Welding Industry BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

region and time-period. So, a value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. Another alternative is “Google Keyword Planner.” To use 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.

MEDICAL OXYGEN

TOP RELATED SEARCH QUERIES • Average Search Volume has increased 88.7% YoY • Average Search Volume has increased 203% over the past 5 years

98 • Summer 2020

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Oxygen tank Medical oxygen tank Oxygen concentrator Medical oxygen near me Medical supplies


SALES & MARKETING GAS SUPPLIER NEAR ME

• Average Search Volume has increased 8.2% YoY • Average Search Volume has increased 12.5% over the past 5 years

TOP RELATED SEARCH QUERIES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Gas - Phase of matter Vendor - Topic Propane - Topic Natural gas - Topic Gasoline - Fuel

PPE

• Average Search Volume has increased 300% YoY • Average Search Volume has increased 360% over the past 5 years

TOP RELATED SEARCH QUERIES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

What is PPE PPE covid PPE mask PPE meaning Coronavirus PPE

HELIUM SHORTAGE

TOP RELATED SEARCH QUERIES • Average Search Volume has decreased 97% YoY • Average Search Volume has not changed over past 5 Years

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BEST PRACTICES

The Number One Mistake in Strategic Planning is Not Focusing on Customer Insight 
BY DAN HORAN, SENIOR ASSOCIATE CONSULTANT AT INDIAN RIVER CONSULTING GROUP

T Dan Horan is a Senior Associate consultant at the Indian River Consulting Group. Joining in 2016, Dan brings his expertise in sales, marketing, branding and communications strategy to the IRCG team.

100 • Summer 2020

he need for a strong strategy does not stop because of unprecedented times. If anything, troubling times should highlight the importance of a sound strategy based on customer needs and market realities. Strategy starts from the outside in. That is, strategy starts with your customers, both what they need and what they could do without. It’s not enough to just ask your sales team what they think because they won’t think objectively. They’re focused on selling (which is what you want them to do). Their every interaction with a customer comes back to “How can this help me sell them more in the future?” It’s not their fault; it’s the way they are wired. However, you need to be accountable to your customers. Starting from the inside is the number one error distributors make when creating a strategy. Rather, you must start with your customers and their needs, wants, desires and demands. Many distributors launch their strategies by doing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). They get in a room, discuss what they think they are good at, bad at, could improve on and should keep an eye out for. The issue is that this runs a high risk of becoming an echo chamber. If customer challenges are changing, then their expectations are changing as well. You may think you know your business and customers best and can evaluate what you are doing well or not. But how well do you really know your customers and their emerging challenges? Do you have a source of insight that does not rely on your sales force? How often do you take the time to truly understand what your customers value (or more importantly, don’t value) about your services?

You may have gotten away with building your strategy without proper customer insights in the past, but the ability to do so is quickly disappearing. Worthy competition, internet transparency, industry consolidation and uncertain times mean gaining and keeping profitable customers is more important (and more challenging) than ever. Without a clear understanding of your customer’s changing expectations, you run the risk of grossly under delivering (not satisfying their needs) and/or over delivering (wasting resources on needs they don’t have). To build any true strategy, start with customer insights as your foundation.

WHAT IS CUSTOMER INSIGHT, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? There are many types of customer insights and, depending on your goal and use for the insights, some are better than others. When it comes to strategy, the best source of customer insight is qualitative interviews. Qualitative interviews involve asking questions to drive an in-depth discussion between peers to find out what motivates or drives customer behavior. Customer insight, then, is the resulting data. Without it, you are making decisions based on opinions. It takes discipline to utilize data, but it presents the best opportunity for actionable results.

HOW TO GET CUSTOMER INSIGHT The way your customer insight data is collected is key. The better the methodology, the better the results and the usefulness of the data. Poor methods mean constantly questioning the data and its validity. The best way to collect customer data is by going straight to the source. Below are some tips for creating better customer insights.


C o n d u c t q u a l i t a t i v e i n t e rviews. Qualitative interviews are one-onone discussions between trusting peers. It is not a group or panel discussion. It does not have to be in-person. In fact, phone is often better because it removes the temptation of discussing other business. Regardless, it must be a conversation and not an emailed set of questions. While some customers will continue to be in crisis mode, many will appreciate your interest in their business outside the normal chain of communication (especially if the interest comes from an owner or senior executive). Initiating a rapport today, even if it is an abbreviated version of a qualitative interview, may allow for deeper insights in the future, with customers more willing to carve out time down the road to discuss broader strategic issues and insights. Focus their attention. Any visit or call to discover customer insights should be singularly focused. Don’t try to tack it onto the end of a sales call or the beginning of a quarterly review. The interview should be the only focus, or it will be diluted and influenced by whatever the other conversations are about. Ask guiding questions. Qualitative interviews start with an interview guide. An interview guide is a set of questions that help guide a conversation, not a form to be filled out and answered. The questions are a starting point and the interviewer must dig deeper and ask intelligent follow-up questions. An interviewer needs to understand the source of opinions and get past the surface “fluff.” Encourage dialogue. Questions should be open ended and encourage a dialogue. “Yes” and “no” questions do not work and will stop a conversation in its tracks. Consider provocative questions such as, “If we were to go away, what would you miss most and what would you do about it?” or “If you were king for the day, what is the one thing that

you would change about your business?” or “What is the most persistent problem that you keep working on but it won’t go away?” Use this as an opportunity to better understand their business, not just what you can do for them. Don’t be afraid of basic questions. Ask basic questions, and don’t worry about admitting you don’t know something. Avoid assumptions. If you don’t ask a question because everyone knows the answer you won’t know if your assumption is true. Be curious. Always ask the next question. Always ask “Why is that?” Or “Why do you do that?” or “What does that mean?” Have them define terms like “service,” “responsive,” or “relationship.” What do those terms mean to them? Listen to understand, not to respond. Listen for what’s unsaid. The things that are not said are as important as the things that are. If you do something unique and that you believe is truly valuable, but it never comes up with customers unless you prompt them, then it probably is not as valuable as you think. Pay attention to what you don’t hear. Here’s a great example: We were taking a client through the customer interview process. We conducted dozens of interviews with a wide range of their customers. At one of the read-out meetings, a Senior Vice President interrupted as asked, “What about the gift cards? We need to make sure we don’t forget about the gift cards.” We exchanged looks and asked, “What gift cards?” It turns out, every Christmas they give every customer a $200 gift card as a thank you for their business. The Senior Vice President was convinced that customers loved the gift cards and would buy less if the client were to do away with them. Yet, in dozens of conversations, not a single customer brought up the gift cards.

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Summer 2020 • 101


BEST PRACTICES Schedule multiple interviews. Encourage several employees to conduct the interviews. Don’t worry if they are not customer-facing employees. In fact, the ones that don’t normally ask questions tend to be the best at gathering customer insights. They are not concerned about looking foolish or asking obvious questions because they genuinely don’t know the answers. In fact, at multiple companies, the best interviews come from either the finance department or HR — often the least customer-facing of departments. Sales reps go to great lengths to never come across as anything but knowledgeable, which contributes to why gaining customer wallet share through product expansion initiatives often fail, but that’s a different article. Personnel in

back-office functions don’t have the same concerns about maintaining the “expert” role. Watch for themes. Discuss your customer insights as a team throughout the information-gathering process. This is often the most revealing part. Have interviewers share their notes and discuss the potential insights as small team, paying attention to themes as they begin to appear. Keep it about the customer. Remember, with customer insights, it’s all about the customer. While it’s natural to talk about what you can do for a customer, try to avoid spending too much time on the subject. The goal is finding out what they need — even the things they are not getting from you. If you get stuck, try to get them to compare you with a competitor, or ask about an unrelated

side of their business (something you don’t serve) to keep the ideas flowing. Gathering effective customer insights is both an art and a science. It takes time and practice to perfect. Yet, it is immensely important and forms the foundation of any good strategy. Remember, this is not the first time our backs have been against the wall. Our country has an unequaled legacy of innovation and your customers, like you, are coming up with creative ways to survive and thrive. These problem-solving efforts will undoubtably bring about permanent changes in the competitive advantage balance. Hearing from your customers today will give you early awareness of emerging solutions and allow you to react quickly to the new landscape.

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102 • Summer 2020


2020 BUSINESS FORECAST ITR ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Economic Expectations from GAWDA’s Chief Economic Consultants BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

I

n times of economic turmoil, GAWDA members have long turned to the association’s Chief Economist Brian Beaulieu and his team at ITR Economics. ITR, which produces a quarterly report for GAWDA members each quarter (this quarter’s can be seen on pages 106-117), hosted a members-only podcast entitled Looking Past the Fear and The Noise: 2020-2022. Alex Chausovsky, ITR’s Director of Speaking Services, hosted the webinar, a recording of which can be found on GAWDA.org’s Member’s Only section in the ITR folder. Alex spent the hour-long recording explaining the impact that the “Dual Black Swan Events” of COVID-19 and the collapse of oil prices had on our economy and what the ITR expectations are for the coming year. ITR has developed a well-deserved reputation as “straight shooters.” They predicted the Great Recession long before most other economists and did so with laser precision and brutal honesty. So, it should not be taken lightly that ITR has referred to the 2020s as “the decade of North America.” During the webinar, Chausovsky spent the first several minutes detailing the data surrounding COVID-19 test and mortality rates, as the pandemic has undeniably had a severe impact on the U.S. and global economy. He explained that there are encouraging signs in this trend and that there are signs of a negative trend in daily new confirmed deaths due to COVID-19, not just in the U.S., but worldwide. Chausovsky also explained how, before the black swan events, the economy was actually showing signs of a rise.

“One of the things you will have noted if you follow the ITR leading indicators or GAWDA reports, if you look at the economic data before the black swan events in late 2019 or early 2020 is that all of our main leading indicators were pointing to a rise in the U.S. economy in the second half of 2020,” he noted. “Once the events of the first quarter, the rise in the pandemic and the oil price collapse, occurred, almost all of the leading indicators changed to declining trends. But we are now starting to see a turnaround.”

“It’s not going to be nearly as devastating as a lot of people initially feared.” — Brian Beaulieu

Though ITR expects a more volatile recovery than a straight line “V-shaped recovery,” he noted that, notwithstanding a second wave that forces the country back into a shutdown, the U.S. economy, especially the industrial economy, can expect to see that rise heading into and throughout 2021. Brian Beaulieu, CEO of ITR Economics, echoed that sentiment. “It’s not going to be nearly as devastating as a lot of people initially feared,” Beaulieu said. “We’ve had a demand Summer 2020 • 103


2020 BUSINESS FORECAST ITR ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

Post Black Swan Business Cycle Forecast US Industrial Production Index

10

10

5

5

0

0

-5

-5

-10

12/12

-10

12/12 Forecast - Previous

-15

12/12 Forecast

'00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23

-15

12/12 Rate-of-Change Source: FRB

issue to contend with, also. That helped level off a lot of the supply and demand imbalance that a lot of people were fearing. This creates opportunities for people who can think differently. Find out what your customers really want and how you can help them. There are opportunities in this, like any other circumstance.” One of those opportunities stems from the supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic. “We believe that, as part of the pandemic and as part of the disruption of the supply chains, there are quite a few opportunities out there that are going to be available to you as part of the supply chain near sourcing trend that we started building up on back in 2018 at the beginning of the trade war,” Chausovsky says. “We think that companies are going to be looking for gaps in their supply chains. New business formation will happen as companies try to fill those gaps, so you’ve got to be very proactive in terms of finding opportunities. Ask your existing clients whether they have any concrete plans addressing any potential vulnerabilities in their supply chain. At the same time, be looking for any new entrants into the industry that might be filling those gaps and try to convert them into customers as well.” This sudden downturn is not unlike the Recession in 2008. Though not on the scale and not projecting to be the length, companies need to balance the immediate circumstances and the headwinds that they are currently facing with being 104 • Summer 2020

positioned for the coming growth and upswing that are right around the corner. “Make sure that you have reliable, understandable cash flow modeling for your business,” Beaulieu suggests. “What’s the cash going to be like coming in and the cash going out? Not just for the next six weeks, but into September. You need to know what you are confronted with, even after the PPP money runs out. Know your cash flow situation. Remember, when there is a recovery, and it is coming, that recoveries take cash.” The recovery that ITR had projected for the back half of 2020 has now been pushed into 2021. ITR expects 2021 to be a year of recovery and business cycle rise, before giving way to the backside of the business cycle in 2022, which will still be a year of growth but slowing growth compared to 2021. “A key take away that I want people to walk away from the webinar with is that you can’t lose track of the long-game despite the quagmire that we’ve found ourselves in today,” Chausovsky says. “There is nothing overtly scary in the next two to three years once we get past this current slow point.” Finally, Chausovsky mentioned that it is important to look beyond your company’s current situation and get to know the financial situation of your key suppliers and customers. “When you are trying to assess your own financial situation and how you are doing from a footing perspective, you’ve got


MANAGING YOUR FUTURE ITR Management Objectives™ 1. Be sure your cash flow modeling is reliable 2. Take advantage of various lending programs / lines of credit 3. Know how your suppliers and customers are doing financially 4. Focus on markets/customers based on recovery rates 5. Develop your own rates of change; timing is everything Managing Your Future to be taking the same approach not only to yourself but also to your clients and suppliers,” Chausovsky says. “Understand where their vulnerabilities are, especially from a client perspective, and if you’ve come to the conclusion that the client is on solid financial ground, be more open and willing to accept longer financial terms to get in more additional orders. Be more flexible with those clients. However, if you’re seeing that they are not financially viable, be more careful in how you tread with them.” Chausovsky concluded the webinar on an encouraging note for attendees and the GAWDA membership at large, saying, “We believe that the 2020s will harken in a new bright spot of manufacturing in North America, whether that’s in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. This is a bright spot or silver lining to the downturn that we’re facing right now.” For more information regarding ITR’s trend data, make sure to read the quarterly ITR Report that can be found on pages 106-117. ITR is also offering 90 days of free access to its trend report. To redeem this offer, text “TR OFFER” to 33777. This report will allow you to follow the leading indicators through this critical time, stay current on industrial and financial market trends and get ITR’s insights as important world events unfold. Summer 2020 • 105


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

ITR Third-Quarter Outlook

The Impact of Recent Black Swans on Our Outlook This Macroeconomic content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. BY BRIAN BEAULIEU

T

For more information on GAWDA and association membership, contact Andrea Levy: Oil Prices crash, we had anticipated that will likely hinder a broad array of consumer he global spread of COVID-19 and (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org certain economic imbalances would result markets; large-ticket and discretionary resulting shutdowns have amplified

the business cycle decline that was already underway in the U.S. and world economies. The initial economic impact has been painful for many businesses and workers due to the widespread government-mandated shutdowns. Unemployment claims since the middle of March totaled 30.5 million people, approximately 20.5% of the workforce. High unemployment means a weakened consumer, and the consumer is the bedrock of the U.S. economy. U.S. Total Retail Sales in March were virtually flat relative to February; Retail Sales typically grow about 14.5% from February to March. Specific industries have been more severely impacted — U.S. Light Vehicle Retail Sales declined 26.5% from February to March and U.S. Food Services and Drinking Places Retail Sales declined 20.0%. Tighter budgets and a high degree of uncertainty

106 • Summer 2020

purchases will likely be delayed. The business-to-business sector is also facing financial strain. Depressed demand is putting cash flow to the test; meanwhile, fixed costs remain. Fiscal and monetary stimulus may help cushion the blow but will not likely prevent a recession from taking hold. ITR Economics has been conducting an exhaustive review of all our forecasts. We had already been calling for contraction in U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020. We now expect deeper decline that will extend into the second quarter, meeting the technical definition of “recession.” We are forecasting GDP rise starting in the third quarter of this year and a full-fledged recovery during the second half of 2021, assisted by the recent stimulus. Prior to COVID-19 and the

in significant 2022-2023 decline. However, due to the black swan events, we are dealing with those imbalances now. We therefore expect slowing growth but no contraction for GDP in 2022. U.S. Industrial Production contracted 5.2% from February to March; only 1933, at 6.7%, offers a more extreme case of February-to-March decline. We revised our forecast downward. We expect decline in annual Production to persist into early 2021 due to diminished demand associated with U.S. and global shutdowns as well as the negative effects of low Oil Prices on the U.S. oil and gas sector – a key end market for many industrial goods. Our Industrial Production forecast hinges on two assumptions: that the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated shutdowns will be behind us by around


ITR FOR GAWDA 3Q20, and that Oil Prices will begin recovering around that same time. We will continuously reanalyze the forecast as the situation develops in the coming weeks. Plan for annual Industrial Production to rise from the first half of 2021 into at least late 2022. The $2 trillion-plus in fiscal stimulus will likely result in an “afterglow” that will favorably impact the economy in 2022; we are forecasting record highs for Industrial Production in the second half of that year. If you trend with U.S. Industrial Production, consider any actions you wish you had taken during the 2015-16 and 2001-02 downturns and try to apply those lessons to the current situation. Look for ways to aggressively cut costs, and talk with your banker. Utilize a rolling 10-day

metric of orders or RFQs to provide a quick snapshot of where your cash flow is headed. Use this metric to inform your decisions and set tripwires on when to implement the different stages of your contingency plans. We are facing some tough quarters ahead, but the economy is resilient and will recover. There are some silver linings to the current situation. We may see an increase in nearshoring and an increased utilization of technology that will create long-term opportunities for American businesses and lead to greater efficiencies. Above all, remember that this too shall pass, just like the hard times and recessions of the past. In the meantime, recessions present opportunities for those who manage their businesses carefully and keep calm amidst the storm.

If you trend with U.S. Industrial Production, consider any actions you wish you had taken during the 2015-16 and 2001-02 downturns and try to apply those lessons to the current situation.

CORE DASHBOARD 12/12 12MMT/A CURRENT 2020 2021 2022 HIGHLIGHTS This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Developments surrounding the double black swan events and updated leading indicator data led us revise our outlook downward.

ORDERS

below the current level through at least 2022.

-7.1 3.8 and 4.3association For more information-0.4on GAWDA membership, contact Andrea Levy: We revised our expectations for New U.S. NONDEFENSE Orders downward; spending will be (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org CAPITAL GOODS NEW 0.3 -15.8 3.9 4.2

U.S. PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT

U.S. TOTAL RETAIL SALES

U.S. WHOLESALE TRADE OF DURABLE GOODS U.S. WHOLESALE TRADE OF NONDURABLE GOODS U.S. REAL GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (3/12)

1.4

3.5

-0.6

1.8

0.3

-11.3

-1.3

-8.8

-8.2

-2.1

7.3

4.5

6.0

4.0

3.6

5.4

We lowered our expectations for Employment given the economic impact of the double black swan events.

3.0

The February-to-March rise was the mildest in the nearly 75-year data history. Expect the 12MMT to decline into early 2021.

3.9

We adjusted our outlook downward due to the repercussions of the black swans. Decline will persist into early 2021.

4.5

Updated research surrounding the double black swans led us to downward revise our forecast. Trade will decline imminently.

1.6

Expect sharp decline in the second quarter. Rise in GDP will return in the second half of the year and extend through at least 2022.

Note: Forecast color represents what Phase the market will be in at the end of the year. Summer 2020 • 107


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

LEADING INDICATORS STEEP DECLINE TO A NEW LOW

ITR Leading Indicator™

With April data, the ITR Leading Indicator™ declined to a new low for this cycle. This decline, precipitated by COVID-19 shutdowns and unusually low Oil Prices, signals decline in the U.S. Industrial Production 12/12 into the first half of 2021. We are monitoring the Leading Indicator for a return to rise as shutdowns are lifted, as that will be an early signal of the recovery we are expecting for the U.S. economy next year.

Production

Rates-of-Change

Leading Indicator

15.0

21

10.0

14

5.0

7

0.0

0

-0.4

-2.3

-5.0

-7

US Industrial Production - 12/12

-10.0 -15.0

-14

ITR Leading Indicator

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

-21

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. For more information on GAWDA and association U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate membership, contact Andrea Levy: U.S. TOTAL INDUSTRY 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org Rates-of-Change CAPACITY UTILIZATION (844) Production

Rate

RATE

15.0

RATE 1/12 PLUMMETED IN MARCH DUE TO COVID-19 SHUTDOWNS

10.0

14

5.0

7

0.0

0

The U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate 1/12 dropped sharply in March. The drastic decline is consistent with COVID-19 containment shutdowns. Decline in the Rate 1/12 signals the U.S. Industrial Production Index 12/12 will decline for at least the next two to three quarters.

-0.4 -5.0

-7

US Industrial Production - 12/12

-10.0 -15.0

108 • Summer 2020

-4.2

21

US Total Capacity Utilization Rate - 1/12

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

-14 -21


ITR FOR GAWDA

U.S. Conference Board Leading Indicator

THE CONFERENCE BOARD’S U.S. LEADING INDICATOR

Production

Rates-of-Change

Leading Indicator

15.0

LEADING INDICATOR 1/12 DROPPED IN MARCH The Conference Board’s U.S. Leading Indicator 1/12 declined sharply in March. The steep decline in the Indicator 1/12 is primarily due to two back-to-back black swan events, which interrupted the rising trend that had been forming. The decline suggests that weakness in U.S. Industrial Production will persist into at least the second half of this year.

30

10.0

20

5.0

10

0.0

0

-0.4 -6.5

-5.0

-10

US Industrial Production - 12/12

-10.0

-20

US Leading Indicator - 1/12

-15.0

-30

'09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20 '21 This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members.

For more information on GAWDA and association membership, contact Andrea Levy: U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) U.S. ISM PMI (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org (PURCHASING Rates-of-Change

MANAGERS INDEX)

15.0

PMI DECLINED FURTHER IN APRIL

10.0

50

5.0

25

The U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) 1/12 declined further in April, falling below the previously established August 2019 low. This is primarily due to COVID19-related shutdowns within the manufacturing sector. As a result, expect the U.S. Industrial Production 12/12 to decline into 2021.

Production

Index

75

-0.4

0.0 -5.0 -10.0

-22.3 US Industrial Production - 12/12

0 -25 -50

US Purchasing Managers Index - 1/12

-15.0

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

-75

Summer 2020 • 109


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

GAWDA EXECUTIVE SUMMARY/DASHBOARD GAWDA INDUSTRY INDICATORS CURRENT GROWTH PHASE RATE (12/12)

INDICATORS

HIGHLIGHTS

U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION INDEX

Recession will be longer and deeper than previously expected due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Annual Production is expected to reach a low in early 2021.

-0.4%

D

U.S. PROCESSED GOODS FOR INTERMEDIATE DEMAND PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

The COVID-19 shutdowns have resulted in depressed demand for commodities. Lower prices may trickle downstream and result in lower prices for intermediate goods.

2.6%

C

US CRUDE OIL FUTURES PRICES

Depressed demand will keep Prices below the breakeven point for many U.S. producers in the coming quarters.

-21.5%

D

U.S. NONDEFENSE CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS WITHOUT AIRCRAFT

Due to high uncertainty and profitability concerns caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns, businesses may be hesitant to purchase new capital goods.

0.3%

C

The global recession will likely hinder demand. However, domestic This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. C suppliers could benefit from companies diversifying their supply

U.S. ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT NEW ORDERS

1.5%

chains away from riskier countries.

For more information on GAWDA and association membership, contact Andrea Automotive plant shutdowns due to COVID-19 will likely Levy: U.S. FABRICATED METAL 0.3% PRODUCTS NEW ORDERS contribute to decline in New Orders in the near term. (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org

C

U.S. DURABLE GOODS NEW ORDERS WITHOUT AIRCRAFT

Downside pressure is likely from retail and B2B markets in the near term as consumers struggle with high unemployment and businesses struggle with profitability.

0.1%

C

ITR LEADING INDICATOR (MONTHLY)

The ITR Leading Indicator is declining due to the double black swans - COVID-19 and low oil prices. The Indicator signals decline in US Industrial Production in the coming quarters.

-2.3 (Monthly)

D

The expected trajectory of this businesses cycle has rapidly changed due to the COVID-19 and oil supply/demand imbalance black swan events; we now expect a longer decline and deeper trough. For many industrial markets, we expect that this cycle will be worse than the 2015-16 oil-based recession but not as severe as the 2008-09 recession. Three of the GAWDA industry indicators — U.S. Industrial

110 • Summer 2020

Production, U.S. Crude Oil Futures Prices, and the ITR Leading Indicator™ — are already in Phase D, Recession. New Orders for nondefense capital goods, fabricated metal products, and durable goods will likely transition into Phase D, Recession, imminently. GAWDA members should focus on finding a balance between cutting costs and preparing for the next growth trend in 2021. When cutting costs, be sure to do so

strategically. Layoffs may be necessary, but try to retain your top performers and instead let go of workers with the skillsets that are easiest to find and train. When deciding on future investments and expansions, use strict criteria for the expected return on investment. If your company has a strong cash position or ability to borrow, keep an eye out for assets or acquisitions available at depressed prices.


ITR FOR GAWDA

U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

U.S. Industrial Production Index Data Trend

D

Index 120

Index 120

12MMA Forecast 12MMA 3MMA

RECESSION

2020 2021 2022

-7.1% 3.8% 4.3%

101.7* 105.5* 110.0*

* Index based to 2012 = 100.

110

110

108.8

100

100

HIGHLIGHTS: We revised our outlook for Industrial Production downward

Production is expected to decline into early 2021

90

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

90

'23

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members.

The upcoming recovery will be aided by the size and timeliness of the fiscal and monetary stimulus:

U.S. Industrial Production Index Rate-of-Change For more information on GAWDA and association 15 A series of leading indicator datapoints membership, contact Andrea Levy: and ongoing developments have made it 10 clear that the early-2020 black swan events (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org

will have a pronounced negative impact on Production. We lowered our 12MMA expectations by 6.7% and 5.1% for 2020 and 2021. The 2022 value was raised by 0.9%. We expect that the additional pain in 2020 will clear out some of the structural economic imbalances now rather than later, making way for a robust recovery in 2021 and 2022, fueled by the timely and massive fiscal and monetary stimulus. The U.S. Industrial Production 12MMA in March was 0.4% below the year-ago level. Monthly Production declined 5.2% from February to March, a severity surpassed only by the 6.7% decline from February to March of 1933. This forecast is predicated on shutdown orders being fully lifted during the second half of the year, resulting in a rebound in U.S. industrial activity (3MMA)

5

15 10 5

-0.4

0 -5

0 -5

12/12 Forecast Range 12/12

-10

-10

3/12 -15

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

'23

-15

beginning late this year. A second wave of infections would pose a downside risk to the forecast. Management Note: Be on the lookout for acquisitions at low prices, provided you have the liquidity to comfortably fund such purchases while mitigating the effects of macroeconomic decline on your existing business

Summer 2020 • 111


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

U.S. NONDEFENSE CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS (EXCLUDING AIRCRAFT)

C -15.8% 3.9% 4.2%

Bils of $ 300

$696.1 billion $723.3 billion $753.7 billion

200

HIGHLIGHTS: We lowered the forecast due to ramifications of the black swan events

150

Spending will decline into early 2021 before rising through 2022

100

Bils of $ 1200

12MMT Forecast 12MMT 3MMT

250

SLOWER GROWTH

2020 2021 2022

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

The 12MMT will be below the current level for at least the duration of the forecast

1000

828.7

800

600

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

'23

400

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members.

The ramifications of COVID-19 and persistently low Oil Prices suggest that significant decline in U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods New Orders (excluding aircraft) is imminent. Accordingly, we revised the forecast downward by 16.4%, 18.3%, and 12.3% for 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively. The New Orders 12MMT ticked down in March and is virtually even with the year-ago level. New Orders will decline into early 2021. Due to the aforementioned developments, prior tentative lows in leading indicators – such as the ITR Leading Indicator™, the U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index), and the U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate – failed to hold. The re-established decline in these leading indicators corroborates our expectation for additional New Orders business cycle decline in the coming quarters. Spending will then rise through 2022. New Orders will be below the current level through at least 2022.

U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods For more information on GAWDA and association New Orders (excluding aircraft) Rate-of-Change membership, contact Andrea Levy: 20 (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org

112 • Summer 2020

10

20 10

0.3

0

0

-10

-10 12/12 Forecast Range

-20

-20

12/12 3/12

-30

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

'23

-30

Management Note: If the ongoing impacts of the black swan events are hitting your markets hard, consider cost-cutting measures such as pay freezes, hiring freezes, or the elimination of overtime.


ITR FOR GAWDA

U.S. CRUDE OIL FUTURES COMMODITY PRICES

D

RECESSION

Jun 2020 Sep 2020 Dec 2020 Mar 2021

$30.26 per barrel $33.27 per barrel $36.77 per barrel $40.15 per barrel

HIGHLIGHTS: ◼ Oil Prices fell a record 70.5% from April 2019 to April 2020 ◼

We revised our expectations; Prices will reach around $40 per barrel by early next year

U.S. Oil Futures Commodity Prices Data Trend $/bbl.

$/bbl. 120

120 3MMA Forecast 3MMA Actual

100

100

80

80

60

60

40

28.80

20 0

40 20

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

0

The Prices 3MMA will rise through at least early 2021

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members.

U.S. Crude Oil Futures Prices ended April at $18.84 per barrel, the lowest month-end price since January 2002. Prices have since rebounded but are well below year-ago levels. We revised the forecast to account for our newly downgraded macroeconomic outlook and to reflect the severity of the supply-demand imbalance in the oil market. We expect that our system of leading indicators will turn up in the coming months. As the economy moves closer to recovery, we will see strengthening demand for oil, putting upward pressure on Prices. However, recovery will be gradual; U.S. industrial activity is unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels through at least 2022. We expect Oil Prices to trend below many U.S. producers’ breakeven points for at least the next year. Management Note: Evaluate your customers and suppliers for financial solvency if they are directly or indirectly exposed to the oil patch.

U.S. Oil Futures Prices For more information on GAWDA and Commodity association Rate-of-Change membership, contact Andrea Levy: 80 (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org

80

12/12 Forecast Range 12/12

40

40

3/12

0

0 -21.5

-40

-80

-40

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

-80

Summer 2020 • 113


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

U.S. Steel Scrap Futures Commodity Prices Data Trend

U.S. STEEL SCRAP PRODUCER PRICE INDEX

D

RECESSION

Jun 2020 308.31* Sep 2020 304.62* Dec 2020 268.65* Mar 2021 348.81* * Index based to 1982 = 100. HIGHLIGHTS: ◼ We lowered our outlook due to updated leading indicator evidence and our revised outlook for U.S. Industrial Production ◼

$/GT

$/GT

900

900

3MMA Forecast 3MMA Actual

700

700

500

500

408.2

300

100

300

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

100

The Steel Prices 3MMA will form a low in late 2020, reaching depths reminiscent of the 2015-16 commodities crash and the Great Recession

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. U.S. Steel Scrap Futures Commodity Prices

Rate-of-Change For more information on GAWDA and association 100 membership, contact Andrea 12/12 Forecast Range Levy: The Steel Prices 3MMA rose from (844) 251-3219 /12/12 alevy@gawda.org November to March but was down 15.0%

The 3MMA will then rise into at least early 2021

from the first quarter of 2019. We are anticipating that the 3MMA will decline imminently, reaching a low late this year. Due to the impact of the double black swans on the global economy, we expect the Steel Prices 3MMA will reach depths reminiscent of the 2015-16 commodities crash and the Great Recession. The Steel Prices 3MMA will then rise into at least early 2021 as the global economy begins to move toward recovery and demand increases. The 1/12 rate-of-change for the JP Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, a measure of global manufacturing activity, declined sharply since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Demand for commodities such as steel will likely be depressed in the coming months as World Industrial Production goes through a recession. 114 • Summer 2020

50

100

50

3/12

0

0

-23.3

-50

-100

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

-50

'21

-100

Management Note: If you ask your suppliers for concessions on pricing during the upcoming quarters, cite data to gain leverage.


ITR FOR GAWDA U.S. FABRICATED METAL PRODUCTS NEW ORDERS

C

-12.7% 1.3% 3.2%

$352.8 billion $357.4 billion $368.8 billion

Expect double-digit decline in New Orders this year due to recession in the industrial sector

Bils of $ 600

12MMT Forecast 12MMT 3MMT

125

HIGHLIGHTS: ◼ The forecast was revised downward due to the COVID-19 and Oil Price black swan events ◼

Bils of $ 150

SLOWER GROWTH

2020 2021 2022

U.S. Fabricated Metal Products New Orders Data Trend

500

403.6

100

400

75

50

300

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

'23

200

Annual New Orders are expected to remain below the current level through at least 2022

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. U.S. Fabricated Metal Products For more information on GAWDA and association New Orders Rate-of-Change 30 membership, contact Andrea Levy: 20 (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org

Annual U.S. Fabricated Metal Products New Orders were virtually even with the year-ago level in March. We expect imminent downward pressure on New Orders due to the impact of the COVID-19 and Oil Price black swan events on the industrial sector. The New Orders 12MMT forecast was revised downward by 14.8%, 18.0%, and 14.4% for 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively. The New Orders 12MMT will decline into early 2021. The New Orders 12MMT will then rise from the first half of 2021 into early 2022. New orders will then plateau for the remainder of that year. We do not expect the New Orders 12MMT to return to the current level between now and the end of 2022. The automotive and oil and gas sectors are being hit particularly hard during this downturn. In contrast, the defense sector may be an area of relative opportunity this year.

30 20

10

10 0.3

0 -10

0 -10

12/12 Forecast Range 12/12

-20

-20

3/12 -30

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

'22

'23

-30

Management Note: Consider what actions you wish you had taken during the 2015-16 and 2001-02 downturns and try to apply those lessons to the current situation.

Summer 2020 • 115


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

U.S. FOOD PRODUCTION INDEX

C

SLOWER GROWTH

U.S. Food Production Data Trend Index 120

Index 120

12MMA

108.8

3MMA

115

115

HIGHLIGHTS: Food Production in the 12 months through March was up 1.0% year over year

110

110

105

105

Potential shutdowns due to COVID-19 may hinder Production in the near term

100

100

The impact of social distancing measures on industry retail sales in March was unprecedented

95

95

U.S. Food Production during the 12 months through March was up 1.0% from the year-ago level. Potential shutdowns due to COVID-19 outbreaks may place downward pressure on Production in the coming months. U.S. Food and Beverage Stores Retail Sales in March were up 25.7% compared to March of 2019. This is more than three times the magnitude of the prior 1/12 record high. Conversely, U.S. Food Services and Drinking Places Retail Sales came in 24.6% below the March 2019 figure, nearly six times as severe as the previous 1/12 record low. Our research shows that for every dollar that left restaurants and bars in March, about 65 cents transferred into additional spending at food and beverage stores. Restaurant closures and the shutdown of eat-in services have reduced demand for certain foods that restauranteurs had typically purchased from food producers and distributors. The degree to which the forced shift in consumer behavior will translate to long-term changes in the food industry remains to be seen. In the meantime, expect the disruptive effects of COVID-19 to ripple throughout the food industry in the coming quarters.

90

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

'19

'20

'21

90

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. Production For more informationU.S. onFood GAWDA and Rates-of-Change association 6 membership, contact Andrea Levy: (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org 4

116 • Summer 2020

2

6 4 2

1.0

0

0

-2

-2 12/12

-4 -6

'12

'13

'14

'15

'16

'17

'18

3/12

'19

'20

-4

'21

-6

Management Note: Consider conducting market research so you can target specific markets in line with the potential shift in consumer trends.


ITR FOR GAWDA ITR ECONOMICS – METHODOLOGY MOVING TOTAL/MOVING AVERAGE:

12MMT/A:

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.

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members.

For more information on GAWDA and association membership, contact Andrea Levy: BUSINESS CYCLE POSITIONS: The data trends and rates-of-change identify positions in the business cycle. Those positions are: 251-3219 / heading alevy@gawda.org 12/12 is rising below zero (844) and the data trend is either toward a low or is in the early stages of recovery.

A

RECOVERY

This is the first positive phase of the business cycle.

B

ACCELERATING GROWTH

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.

C

D

SLOWER GROWTH

RECESSION

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 Summer 2020 • 117


INDUSTRY NEWS C E L E B R AT I N G

75 YEARS

1945-2020 GAWDA’s 75th Anniversary Video Red Carpet Premiere
 The premiere screening of “GAWDA 75th Anniversary Video,” co-produced by GAWDA and 321 Blink, was held on Friday, May 15, 2020. GAWDA President Abydee Butler Moore and Executive Director John Ospina kicked off the celebration live from the red carpet. They were joined for a virtual champagne toast by the rest of the GAWDA Executive Committee — Bob Ewing, Gary Halter, Robert Anders, Brad Peterson, and Ned Lane – as well as the GAWDA Headquarters Team and over 175 GAWDA members around the country. The “GAWDA 75th Anniversary Video” features members, consultants and staff in attendance at the 2019 Washington, D.C. Annual Convention. Your favorite industry protagonists — and perhaps antagonists — beautifully narrate their experiences with GAWDA over the years. It is a blend of many stories with some similar themes: multi-generational family involvement, growing up in the industry and passing the baton; developing lifelong friendships, mentors and confidants; and support in keeping businesses safe and profitable. Thank you to all members for their continued support of the association and advancing of the industrial gas and welding industry. A special thank you to all who partnered with our team for this production. The “GAWDA 75th Anniversary Video” is now available for viewing at gawda.org/75video. For additional information on GAWDA and our 75th Anniversary, please contact John Ospina, Executive Director, jospina@gawda.org or Andrea Levy, Director, Member Services and Programs, alevy@gawda.org.

Butler Gas Wins 2020 Ethics Excellence Award Pittsburgh Rotary named Butler Gas the winner of the 2020 Ethics Excellence Award in the Medium Company category. Butler Gas owners Jack and Elissa Butler and Abydee Butler Moore, attended the Pittsburgh Rotary Ethics Excellence Award ceremony at the Omni William Penn Hotel. 118 • Summer 2020

When announced as the Medium Company Category winner, President and COO Abydee Butler Moore took the stage to accept the award. “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of our team at Butler Gas,” she shared. “We believe ethics excellence is represented by the day-to-day good decisions of our team. And I’m proud to work with some of the best people in the industry.” “If they were alive today, (founders) Jack and Millie Butler would be the recipient of this award.” Abydee went on to share Butler Gas’s foundation of ethics based on Jack and Millie’s guiding principles: (1) safety, (2) people, (3) customers, and (4) sustainable profit to continuously invest back in the business.

AWG Promotes Jason Krieger to President and CEO
 American Welding & Gas, Inc. (“AWG”) is pleased to announce the promotion of Jason Krieger to President and CEO of AWG. Jason Krieger Jason joined AWG in March 2017 as Senior Vice President of the Central Region and in late 2018 was promoted to President & COO. He brings over 25 years of industry experience and has been an invaluable asset to AWG in his role as President and COO. As Jason takes on this new role, AWG recognizes and thanks George Golliday for his superior leadership as President and CEO of AWG. Since 2014, George’s stewardship of the organization and his commitment to our team has allowed AWG to grow to one the largest and best performing independent package gas suppliers in the United States. George will maintain ties to the AWG family as President Emeritus.

Eleet Cryogenics Adds Patterson Eleet Cryogenics, Inc. is excited to announce that Greg Patterson has joined the Eleet team as General Manager for the Willis, Texas facility. He and his wife, Jodi, are Ohio natives with two sons and three grandchildren. Greg spent the last sixteen years growing the business of an Ohio-based welding distributor where he served as Service Manager for 12 years, helping to grow the bulk business nearly seven times. Most recently, he served as the Operations Manager for the last four years. Greg is a certified Journeyman Machine Repairmen with extensive mechanical and electrical maintenance experience spending several years installing and servicing bulk equipment. Greg’s leadership, skills, and experience will be pivotal as Eleet expands services in the area.


INDUSTRY NEWS equipment and automation needed, we can also provide an alternative, safe way to share knowledge and assist in cross training employees.” says Weldcoa’s Director of Marketing, Melissa Heard. “There is a lot you can do remotely. We’re getting a strong response and global presence. Participants have been very active and asking questions. It has been really interesting to see the range this effort has gained and the potential for it to grow into.” For more information about Weldcoa Wednesdays or to register for an upcoming webinar, visit https://www.weldcoa. com/webinars.

Ratermann Cryogenics Adds New Facility in Houston
 Ratermann Cryogenics is excited to announce a new strategic shipping location in Houston, Texas. This new facility will house items such as Vaporizers, Cryogenic Liquid Cylinders, Cryogenic Valves, Actuators, Relief Valves, Regulators, Bulk Hoses/Fittings and much, much more! Ratermann will be offering a wide variety of products from its OEM partners, such as: Herose, Generant, Taylor Wharton, Flowserve, Cash valves, Worcester controls, Schischek actuators, and many others. Ratermann’s Houston facility will allow it to serve its cryogenic customers at a premium level with faster shipping times and will-call pick up for stocked products. The Cryogenic team will be available to help with application and technical questions, product recommendations and other value-added services.

Weldcoa Hosts “Weldcoa Wednesdays” Join Weldcoa every Wednesday for a series of free Gas Masters™ Webinars on hot topics and training demos in the gases and welding industry. Each topic bases the content off feedback and suggestions they’ve received from customers and other industry insiders. Kevin Klotz, one of Weldcoa’s top trainers with deep knowledge in the gas industry, addresses these topics with step-bystep methods along with safety tips and considerations. Open Q&A are featured, so additional questions can be discussed. This is a great tool to help cross-train employees during these uncertain times and/or learn some helpful tips from experts who see and deal with these common topics day in day out. The webinars can be scheduled privately, if needed, for you and your company. Weldcoa will work around your schedule to get you the training that you need. Please email melissa@ weldcoa.com for more details on this. “We wanted to show people, especially during these uncertain times, that we’re here to help. On top of providing the reliable

Eleet Promotes Swarny to Director of Engineering Eleet Cryogenics, Inc. is excited to announce the promotion of Noah Swarny to Director of Engineering. Noah celebrated 10 years at Eleet Cryogenics in March 2020 and has been an instrumental part of Eleet’s growth. Noah started his career through a high school engineering internship and worked part-time while earning his B.S. in Engineering from Ohio University. He became a full-time Applications Engineer in 2014 with a foNoah Swarny cus on custom manifold design, product development, and project management. He has been an active member of the Compressed Gas Association since 2015 and earned a Masters of Business Administration in 2019. He has designed hundreds of custom manifolds and looks forward to helping you with your next project.

Dave Zellen Joins VMG as Business Development Director VMG hired Dave Zellen as its Business Development Director. In this position, Zellen will be responsible for leading sales and marketing activities, including setting strategy, building the product offering, understanding the marketplace and generating revenue. He will also be responsible for providing financial insight, guidance, recommendations, revenue objectives, product supply demand forecasting, revenue analysis and reporting. Additionally, he will manage customer support and help to identify and improve company processes and systems, as well as work as part of the VMG team responsible for hardware and software innovation. Prior to joining VMG, Zellen worked in leadership positions at Procter & Gamble, Sunny Delight Beverages and the University of Cincinnati, where he continues to work as an Executive in Residence. Summer 2020 • 119


INDUSTRY NEWS “I am excited about being part of the VMG team and helping accelerate growth on the breakthrough telemetry products because of their potential to improve how industrial gases and gas systems are managed and supplied,” says Zellen. “I have worked for start-ups and established companies and love that this opportunity with VMG combines both. It provides a chance to learn a new industry, work for a great family owned and operated business that has been around for 70 years and lead revenue growth for a seven year old startup in the innovative IoT space.”

Ratermann Manufacturing Launches High Pressure Podcast Ratermann Manufacturing has launched a new weekly podcast series entitled “High Pressure” hosted by George Ratermann. High Pressure will highlight trends, news and personalities from the gases and welding industry. Available wherever podcasts can be downloaded, including Spotify, Anchor.fm and Apple Podcasts through your iPhone, the first two episodes feature interviews with Josh Weinman, president of DeLille Oxygen, and Joe Francis, President of Central McGowan respectively. If you are interested in hearing wide-ranging topics from experts in our industry, make sure to download and subscribe today.

Messer Brings New Keyes, California Carbon Dioxide Plant on Stream Messer announced that it has started operation of its new Keyes, California carbon dioxide (CO2) plant, bringing it on line to serve existing and new customers in northern California and surrounding geographies via rail network. “The Keyes plant further enhances our CO2 network reliability for customers,” said Jens Luehring, President & CEO, Messer Americas. “Adding the CO2 plant solidifies our position as we continue to grow in the U.S. market, and it is especially important as the CO2 market now faces supply challenges. We’re proud of our experienced team of experts who worked through unusual start-up conditions associated with the pandemic to bring this plant on stream.” The new plant provides up to 450 tons-per-day of CO2 an essential product for carbonated beverages, food freezing and chilling, and electronics manufacturing companies in the area. Messer collaborated with Aemetis, Inc., which recently started supplying raw CO2 feedgas to Messer for processing from its ethanol plant. “Aemetis is pleased to be supplying Messer with CO2 feedgas, especially in this time of critical need,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis, Inc. “It is essential 120 • Summer 2020

that California’s supply of CO2 remain uninterrupted for the many industries that depend on this important product.” Messer operates two additional CO2 plants and two air separation units (ASUs) in California.

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.” Typically, this award ceremony is held in person, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook over three nights. Members of Press Clubs around the country were involved in the judging for the awards. The judges’ comments about Welding & Gases Today were, “Meaty reads and a good mix of stories, I never thought I would be this interested in this topic.” Thank you to all GAWDA members who have helped build Welding & Gases Today into the publication it is today!

FasTest Announces Major Rebranding FasTest, Inc. has completed an extensive rebranding effort in response to accelerated company growth and a renewal to its corporate vision. At the heart of this rebranding is a change of the company’s look and feel, including logo and color scheme. Gary Rychley, President at FasTest, said, “After 35 years of connecting with our customers around the world, we strongly believe that now is the time for a fresh and vibrant look that matches and reflects how our business has evolved. Product Innovation with new technologies to supply our global customers with the broadest and most advance product line in the industry sets us apart and positions FasTest for the next 35 years.” “The FasTest brand is well known in industry to symbolize the highest quality with the latest innovation. The new rebrand presents a clean, efficient, and edgy look to FasTest. It reflects on our progression to where we are today and leads into where we are headed tomorrow. We will continue to be bold and evolve to exceed the expectations of our customers,” said Rob Danielson, VP of Engineering at FasTest. The rebranding includes a redesign of the company’s website, logo, graphics, and communications. FasTest’s new brand assets include a simple yet bold navy logo with a red emblem demonstrating connection and flow. Matthew Erdal, Associate Creative Manager at FasTest, says, “As we continue to develop innovative Sealing Connection Tools and systems building off our 35 years of expertise, we wanted a look to reflect that. Welcome to the new FasTest.”


INDUSTRY NEWS Keen Compressed Gas Receives ISO Accreditation Keen Compressed Gas Co. is pleased to announce its receipt of ISO 17025:2017 accreditation from Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation, Inc. Accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard is recognized as the highest quality standard in the world for testing and calibration laboratories. Accreditation determined Keen has implemented a quality management system, with personnel competent to perform testing and calibrations within the scope of accreditation. In 2018, Keen Compressed Gas began construction on a new automated $6 million fill plant, which includes capabilities for industrial, medical, cryogenic and specialty gases. The plant is fully automated and driven by the latest technology. Cylinders are filled via a gravimetric process that guarantees accurate and repeatable specialty gases that customers can rely on. Completed in the fall of 2019, this state-of-the-art fill plant is now backed by the ISO accreditation. “This investment in our business, our systems, and our personnel reaffirms Keen’s commitment to our customers.

We will continue to provide the industry with the highest level of testing and certification of industrial and specialty pure and multi-component gas mixtures. This is another step toward our goal of being the best and most reliable supplier of specialty gases in our market,” says Bryan Keen, President of Keen Compressed Gas Co.

nexAir Named One of the U.S. Best Managed Companies by Deloitte nexAir was named a U.S. Best Managed Company. The program is sponsored by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal. Companies receiving this award represent a wide range of industries including industrial products, construction, energy, financial services, life sciences, healthcare and technology. The Best Managed Companies program is a mark of excellence for private companies. U.S. designees have annual revenues of at least $250 million. Hundreds of private companies around the world have competed for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates four key criteria in their management skills and practices—strategy, execution, culture and financials.

Summer 2020 • 121


INDUSTRY NEWS

GAWDA Media would like to recognize those industry veterans who have retired over the past quarter and wish them well in the next chapter of their lives!

Tim Nesser Retires from Chart
 Tim Nesser retired from Chart Industries after nearly 40 years with the company. He started as an intern in 1980 and became a fulltime product engineer right out of college in 1982. He said the company employed about 150 when he started and now has 5,000 employees and Tim Nesser does $1.5 billion in sales worldwide. He holds 25 patents and one of his early designs for a storage system for Coke syrup is still used by McDonalds today.

Lincoln Electric Announces Retirement of Chief Financial Officer Vincent K. Petrella
 Vincent K. Petrella, Lincoln Electric’s Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer, retired and was succeeded by Gabriel Bruno, who had served as Executive Vice President, Finance. Petrella will continue to serve as Executive Vice President to assist the Executive Team with the transition of the Vince Petrella finance and corporate strategy organization until his retirement later this year. “The Board of Directors and our Executive Team thank Vince for his significant contributions to Lincoln Electric and congratulate him on an exceptional career,” said Christopher L. Mapes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As CFO, his leadership, financial 122 • Summer 2020

stewardship and strategic acumen contributed to Lincoln Electric’s success through a period of tremendous growth, technological advancement, profit improvement, and value creation for our shareholders,” Mapes continued. “We all wish him a happy retirement and appreciate his support in ensuring a smooth transition.”

Lincoln Electric Announces the Retirement of Jim Appledorn Jim Appledorn retired from Lincoln Electric after more than 40 years with the company. He spent the last 18 years as the U.S. Distributor Sales Manager. Jim is also a Distinguished Life Member of the AWS, having served as the District 18 Director and Section Chairman of the Houston, Salt Lake City and Spokane Jim Appledorn Sections. His AWS achievements included both Certified Welding Inspect and Certified Welding Sales Representative certifications as well as 17 years of service on the National Membership Committee. “While Jim was a valuable member of the Industry Partnering Committee for many years, he has been very faithful to attend and has contributed greatly from his vast experience in the industry,” said Doug Morton, who served with Jim on the Industry Partnering Committee. “He is a true professional and added his witty sense of humor at all the right times. Jim you will be missed.” GAWDA members may remember Jim for his role in the legendary GAWDA Band, In a GAWDA da Vida. We wish Jim well in his retirement.


INDUSTRY NEWS

If your company has had an employee retire that you would like to see recognized by GAWDA Media, please email steveg@gawdamedia.com. To see the complete anniversary announcement, please visit gawdamedia.com/category/retirements.

Donna Conrad Retires from Superior Products


Lincoln Electric Announces Retirement of George D. Blankenship

Donna Conrad retired from Superior Products. To commemorate her retirement and celebrate her legacy, several people submitted comments about Donna to GAWDA Media. To view a full sampling of these comments, visit gawdamedia. com/category/retirements. “It’s rare to have one individual influence, motivate, lead, and excel in her chosen profession; however, Donna Conrad is one such person. After celebrating 46 inspirational, tireless and successful years Donna Conrad in the compressed gas industry, Donna deserves the enjoyment that retirement beckons. Superior Products is proud to have had Donna on board for many years, bringing her boundless energy and industry knowledge to enhance our industry presence. Personally, I am privileged to have had Donna as my mentor and friend. Join us in celebrating a great woman and a stellar career. We raise a glass to Donna – wishing her many fun times and bottles of wine!” – Allyson Kostalnick, Sales & Marketing Manager, Superior Products On behalf of everybody at GAWDA Media, we wish Donna the best of luck and happiness in retirement! Thank you for your contributions to the association and the industry.

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. announced that George D. Blankenship, Executive Vice President, President Americas Welding segment retired effective May 31, 2020. Christopher L. Mapes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, will oversee the Americas Welding organization until an internal successor to Blankenship is named. “We thank George for his tremendous leadership and contributions, which position Lincoln Electric for future success,” said Mapes. “We congratulate him on an exceptional career that oversaw the development of over 60 patents, the digitization and automation of our solutions, the advent of IoT, additive manufacturing, enhanced commercial and operational excellence, and the development of a strong segment leadership team,” Mapes continued. “We wish him our best in retirement.”

Lenette Egan Retires from McDantim Lenette Egan has retired from McDantim. Her last day was April 3rd. She will stay on as a consultant for McDantim to oversee a smooth transition. She is also staying involved with IBEDA helping out with social media. “We’re happy for Lenette and Lenette Egan wish her the best in retirement,” said McDantim Marketing Coordinator Kayla Mann. “She has done so much for our company and our industry!” Summer 2020 • 123


INDUSTRY NEWS

M&A SCORECARD MAKEEN Energy acquires Gas Equipment Company, Inc. (GEC) MAKEEN Energy’s daughter company, Kosan Crisplant, signed an agreement to acquire Gas Equipment Company (GEC). This newest acquisition is aimed at strengthening the global business and network of the group’s trading division, KC ProSupply. Reinforcing global presence and volume Gas Equipment Company, Inc. (based in Dallas, USA) will in the future be part of the international, Denmark-based company MAKEEN Energy. GEC thus becomes the latest branch of MAKEEN Energy’s trading division, KC ProSupply, which supplies gas components and other commodities as well as service and consultancy for the gas industry worldwide. “The trading activities in KC ProSupply are a strategic focus area for which we have ambitious goals, and with the acquisition of GEC, which is the largest acquisition to date, our trading division will assume a size justifying merging the activities in one powerful unit. The unit will consist of 180 employees and have a yearly turnover of approximately 85 MUSD”, says Anders C. Anderson, CEO, MAKEEN Energy. The previous owner, Skeeter LaDue, will continue to lead GEC under the new ownership. The acquisition of GEC adds extra volume and new business areas to KC ProSupply. By building on its physical locations and its relations to the market, the GEC business can now be further strengthened by developing the service area and offering added value to the American customers – from purchase, consultancy and delivery to installation and on-site services. High volume, combined with many years in the business, 124 • Summer 2020

means that GEC holds a strong position with many of the major suppliers. GEC and KC ProSupply can, therefore, achieve substantial synergies in relation to the key suppliers, both in terms of higher volume as well as easier daily access to the US-based suppliers for the European branches of KC ProSupply. “This acquisition opens up new possibilities for us in the US market and allows us to develop our existing presence and services substantially. I am convinced that this move will lead to an exciting and successful future for both parties,” said Bo Larsen, Sales Director, MAKEEN Energy. “I am thrilled to be able to pass on ownership of GEC to a company that wants to carry our values forward. Joining forces with people as passionate about energy industry success as us is what takes us into the next chapter in our storybook,” said Skeeter LaDue, President, GEC.

West Chester Gloves and Welding Safety Products Now Part of PIP Global West Chester’s highly recognized line of Ironcat® welding safety products is now part of the Protective Industrial Products, (PIP®) product line. For more than 30 years, PIP® has been providing innovative hand protection and safety products to wholesalers and distributors in industrial channels. West Chester distributors now have access to the full line of PIP® safety products, comprised of more than 5,000 products, along with West Chester’s legacy industrial products, from one single source. Our new, state-of-the-art 816,000 square foot Warehouse Distribution Center in Olive Branch, Mississippi, provides you with the convenience of having a “one-stop-shop” for all your safety needs.


INDUSTRY NEWS F&M MAFCO Partners with ENERPAC F&M MAFCO is excited to announce an agreement with ENERPAC to be the Premier rental provider for Mirage in the United States. Mirage is a leading, global manufacturer of standard and customized on-site machining solutions for a diverse set of applications with a focus on portability, performance and safety. “Our investment in the Mirage tooling product coupled with our strategic partnership with Enerpac is a pillar of our specialty rental growth objectives,” says Tim Fries, Vice President Sales & Marketing. Common markets for these solutions are: • Oil and Gas • Power Generation (renewable, fossil and nuclear) • Mining • Petrochemical • Shipbuilding The Mirage product offering includes flange facing machines, hot tapping machines, line boring machines, milling machines, drilling and tapping machines, pipe cutting and beveling, casing cutters and custom solutions. Our rental fleet offering includes: • DL Ricci Clamshell Cutters • Flange Facing Machines • Portable Drilling Machines • Tapping Machines.

Walter Surface Technologies Acquires ArcOne In its quest to become a global leader in the safety and productivity industry, Walter Surface Technologies is pleased to announce the acquisition of ArcOne, a provider of industrial safety products based in Taunton, Massachusetts. Through this acquisition, Walter adds a unique personal protective equipment product line to its offering, complementing both its high-end metalworking products and its workplace safety seminar program. “We are very excited to welcome ArcOne to the Walter family. ArcOne brings a solid network and expertise that will allow us to continue our mission to help our customers work better. Walter has always had a strong focus on the health and safety of our customers. Now, with ArcOne, we can concretely better serve them with high quality personal protection equipment, helping them work effectively as well as safely,” said MarcAndré Aubé, CEO of Walter. “This transaction is an unequalled opportunity to build up our activities in the North American market as we continue to evaluate other growth strategies, namely through accretive acquisitions,” he added.

Edward Martin, President of ArcOne, welcomes the new relationship: “We saw in this opportunity the perfect alignment of both products and values. We are proud to see ArcOne adding its unique safety products line to Walter’s renowned and robust offering. The fit is right, the timing is right. We are poised for more growth and excitement.” Following this transaction, ArcOne will continue to operate under its own brand. The transaction is effective immediately, and activities for both customers and suppliers remain unchanged.

Taylor-Wharton Announces Expanded Distribution in Europe, Middle East, and Northern Africa Taylor-Wharton (“TW”) announced recent expansion of distribution of its cryogenic Liquid Cylinder, MicroBulk, Bulk Tanks and LNG products in Europe, Middle East, and Northern Africa. By opening distribution centers in both Poland and Dubai, TW is positioned to rapidly meet market demands for TPED & PED products throughout Europe and Israel as well as DOT-4L & ASME product to the Middle East and Northern Africa. Tim Miller, President of Taylor-Wharton notes, “We wanted to be in the position to control our supply channels to both the European and MENA regions directly. By expanding our operations and adding distributions in each, it enables TW to grow our global footprint and to react to our customers’ needs rapidly.” Both facilities have substantial inventory, ready to serve all market demands in the respective regions. Miller added, “We’ve manufactured our XL™ line of liquid cylinders at our world-class facility in Malaysia for over 20 years and in 2019 invested over €$5 million to increase capacity by over 50% there. If it doesn’t say Taylor-Wharton or is not sold through one of our exclusive distributors globally, it’s not a Taylor-Wharton product.” Taylor-Wharton (“TW”) produces a comprehensive range of cryogenic storage and transportation equipment for Industrial Gas, Life Science, & LNG/H2 applications under its Taylor-Wharton®, TW®, and XL™ trademarks. Atmospheric Bulk Tanks, MicroBulk Vessels, Liquid Cylinders, Beverage Carbonation, VJ CO2 Bulk Vessels, Hydrogen Bulk Storage, Mobile Delivery Units, Vacuum-Insulated Piping, & Vaporizers are manufactured for Industrial Gas & Life Science markets, along with ISO Containers, Fuel Tanks & Systems, and Transport Vessels for LNG applications. Tracing its roots to 1742, TW celebrated its 275th Anniversary in 2017. Summer 2020 • 125


IN MEMORIAM Carola Vogel GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of Carola Vogel, owner of Crown Alloys, who passed away after a battle with cancer. In August of 2019, Carola was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She underwent four and a half months of chemotherapy and in December of 2019 the cancer was in remission. Unfortunately, her three- month check-up in early March revealed that the lymphoma had returned in an aggressive form. The treatment options were rigorous and not hopeful. On March 27th, while hospitalized and with a clear mind, Carola made the decision to enter hospice care. On April 1st, she passed peacefully. Carola Katharina Vogel was born during war, escaped communist repression and ultimately built a highly successful welding alloy business in Metro Detroit. She was a proud feminist and one of the very few women business owners in the male-dominated welding field. Her company, Crown Alloys, began humbly in Royal Oak, Michigan as a local vendor of welding alloys, but within a few short years relocated to a main thoroughfare in Madison Heights, Michigan and became a regional powerhouse that sends its greatly expanded alloy line across the globe. Carola found an astonishing amount of joy and satisfaction in her work, her employees and her customers. Even until the end, Crown Alloys provided a positive distraction from the cancer. Carola was born on April 14, 1941 in Berlin, Germany, to Gustav and Klara Vogel during World War II. Her family home was in what became East Berlin after the war, part of the Soviet bloc. In the late 1950s, Carola and her family gradually and clandestinely moved many of their possessions to West Berlin. By the time the Berlin Wall was erected, Carola was safely living in West Berlin! A few years later, she emigrated to Canada and then to the United States, settling in Royal Oak, Michigan. While raising her two sons, Christian and Stephan, Carola decided to quit her job at another welding alloy company and try to create something better. She opened Crown Alloys in 1975 along with a partner, Harry Hammond, whom she eventually bought out in 1989. Crown Alloys outgrew its first two locations and finally moved to a 20,000 square foot facility in Madison Heights in 1985. Crown Alloys will continue under the leadership of Carola’s son, Christian. Survivors include sons, Christian Hoffmann, of Rochester 126 • Summer 2020

Hills, and Stephan (Stacie) Hoffmann, of Danville, California, and grandchildren, Anneliese, Benjamin and Melina. Per Carola’s wishes, her body was donated to Wayne State University’s Body Bequest program for research so that she can continue to help others even after death. The family encourages donations to the charity of their choosing.

Hanny “Honey” Ruddy GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of Hanny Ruddy, who passed away on May 13. According to Ralph M. Cohan, VP Sales/ Operations at General Welding Supply Corporation, “My business partner, J. Hanny (Honey) Ruddy passed away very suddenly. She will be missed by all, but especially by her son, Nick Lanzano, and daughter, Kristen Lanzano.” Hanny’s obituary can be read below: Hanny Ruddy, a lifelong Oakdale resident, passed away on May 13, 2020. “Hurricane Honey” or “Peter Pan” to those she knew, Hanny always said “she would never grow up.” She enjoyed traveling to such places as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, taking Riverboat Cruises in Germany, swimming with dolphins, or doing any adventure that required a waiver of liability. She is the owner and operator of General Welding Supply, supplying compressed oxygen to hospitals. A kind, caring and compassionate soul, Hanny would be the first to open her household to anyone that needed a loving hand. She is survived by her son Nicholas Lanzano, and his wife Maria, of Oakdale, her daughter Kristin Lanzano, of Oakdale, and her granddaughter and little Angel, Natalie. She is predeceased by her husband, Andre Lanzano. In lieu of flowers, donations in Hanny’s memory to Doctor’s Without Boarders, PO Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 217415030, www.doctorswithoutborders.org would be appreciated.

Dennis J. Mahony GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of Dennis J. Mahony, who passed away May 31, 2020. Noble Gas Solutions President/CEO J. David Mahoney wrote on the Noble Gas Solutions website: It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Dennis J. Mahony, President and owner of Albany Welding Supply from 1973-1986. I started my career with the Company in the summer of 1976 and worked under his leadership for


IN MEMORIAM the following 10 years before purchasing the business from him in 1986. Dennis was a great friend, a mentor and a very smart businessman. I learned a lot from him over the years. The Company had been founded by his father Robert in 1940. Dennis lost his Dad and older brother Robert Jr. in the early 1970’s while they were both still very active in the business. Dennis was thrusted into a leadership role and handled the change with professionalism and class. I had no experience in sales when he hired me. He obviously saw something and was willing to take a chance on me. I will forever be grateful to him for giving me such a great opportunity. Dennis was an avid golfer and a longtime member of Wolfert’s Roost Country Club. He introduced me to the game in 1977. I have many fond memories of our rounds of golf together. Dennis was 80 years old at the time of his passing. Rest in Peace my dear friend. I will never forget you!

Ed Madison
 GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of Edward Madison (NWSA President 1973-74) who passed away on June 6, 2020, at the age of 92. Ed was the owner of Prest-O-Sales & Service, Inc. (Long Island City, NY) until his retirement in 1993. Ed was born in Devonshire Parish, Bermuda and raised in Flushing, New York. He attended high school at the Valley Forge Military Academy. In 1945, he joined the marine engineering program at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy for two years before transferring to Cornell University. At Cornell, he studied Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Labor Relations, graduating in 1952. He then served as a finance officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Harrison, Indianapolis, where he met and married his wife, Nancy. Ed began his career as a sales engineer in the mid-west for Armstrong Corp. before relocating to New York in 1956 to take the helm at Prest-O- Sales & Service, Inc. In the early sixties, while growing a business and raising a family, Ed earned an MBA from Long Island University. He was active in the welding supply and gases industry, serving as NWSA (now GAWDA) President and on numerous distributor advisory boards. His strong sense of volunteerism also led him to

many leading roles in community affairs, including the first hospice pilot program in New York and as a two-term Mayor of the Village of Sands Point, New York. Ed was an avid sailor, sailing the waters around Long Island, the Caribbean and in multiple Newport-Bermuda ocean races. He played a lot of tennis and eventually turned his attention to golf as well. Ed and Nancy traveled extensively throughout the world. Those who knew Ed recall him as an eloquent orator, but his greatest satisfaction came in listening to other people. He loved his dogs and he had a keen interest in protecting our natural assets for generations to come. Ed spent his last months under the compassionate care of Trail Winds Hospice in Boulder. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Nancy, his children Douglas, James (NWSA President 01/02), Sherry, and Susan, as well as four grandchildren.

John “Jack” Miaskowski GAWDA extends its condolences to the friends and family of John “Jack” Miaskowski who passed away on May 29, 2020. John was in advertising/sales for over 50 years, 16 of them with CryoGas International (now gasworld) where, as Advertising Sales Manager he helped grow the magazine into one of the industrial gas and welding industry’s most respected business journals. In the process of closing many deals, he made a legendary number of friends within that industry. John was the consummate sales professional who lived life to the fullest and was always willing to lend a helping hand and to offer a kind word. His positive attitude was an inspiration to all who knew him. John is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kathy, who was always at his side at the GAWDA annual conventions. He also leaves his three daughters, Kathy (Pat) Spoerndle, Lisa (Matt) Arnold and Maureen (Scott) Lessing, and nine grandchildren of whom he was so proud. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rotary Club of Strongsville, Ohio and online condolences maybe left at www.jardinefh.com. To submit In Memoriam remembrances or other industry news, contact: editor@gawdamedia.com.

Summer 2020 • 127


NEW OFFERINGS

PRODUCTS | SERVICES | TECHNOLOGIES

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1. Lincoln Electric Introduces Excalibur® 7018 XMR™ Stick Electrode


Lincoln Electric introduces the all-new Excalibur® 7018 XMR™ low-hydrogen stick electrode as part of the Excalibur SMAW (stick) electrode series. Excalibur 7018 XMR offers exceptional low moisture content even after 24 hours of exposure – remaining below the moisture content limit for 15 hours more than required under the American Welding Society’s AWS A5.1.

Electrodes, when exposed to air, pick up moisture over time. The moisture typically increases the hydrogen content of the weld – and potentially leads to failure. Low hydrogen (or basic) electrodes are designed for applications susceptible to hydrogen cracking, a form of failure occurring when moisture causes porosity in the weld.

Excalibur 7018 XMR is used for general fabrication in many industries, including: • Structural • Pipeline • Chemical Processing • Ship Building Previously, Lincoln Electric’s Excalibur 7018 MR stick electrode was designed to meet AWS (American Welding Society) standards (AWS A5 limit for 9 hours exposure, H4R classification) for moisture resistance, meaning it will resist moisture for a full shift, or 9 hours. After that, it is common practice to put electrodes from the opened container in a rod oven to bake the moisture out of the rod coating.

“We know that it is not always easy to keep track of time while on the job. Many real-world users have longer shifts than the standard 9 hours. Sometimes, it is necessary for welders to continue welding after the 9-hour mark or an oven is not available. Our customers deserve a solution that corresponds to real world situations,” said Olivier Arnoult, Product Manager, SMAW, Lincoln Electric. “Excalibur® 7018 XMR™ stick electrode minimizes moisture control risks.”

Key features of Excalibur 7018 XMR electrode include: 128 • Summer 2020

3 Meets AWS H4R moisture requirements during up to 24 hours of exposure • Improved coating integrity • Extreme bendability – The rod coating maintains integrity when bent for welding in tight spaces to a greater extent than similar competitive rods • 0% less moisture pickup vs. competition Lincoln Electric always recommends that users follow the guidelines set by regulations and codes and evaluate the appropriateness of the welding consumable for their particular welding application. •

2. Epicor Launches Epicor Commerce Connect Express

Epicor Software Corporation announced the launch of Epicor Commerce Connect Express (ECC Express), a new portal to its existing Epicor Commerce Connect solution. The e- commerce product is designed for businesses which need an immediate way to improve productivity, offer quality online experiences, and stay connected to their valued customers and suppliers. ECC Express is an e-commerce solution designed to be an affordable and scalable solution that can be implemented in only a few days. The product enables users to build a basic online presence, with the option to choose other upgrades and capabilities to further scale their business. It is the latest e-commerce offering under Epicor Commerce Connect – a comprehensive e-commerce solution that works with Magento and is tightly integrated with the Epicor ERP, Prophet 21, and Eclipse to promote online business growth for manufacturers, distributors, and merchants. “To help businesses during this critical period, we launched ECC Express so that they can pivot quickly, stay connected to their customers, and maintain productivity,” said Steve Murphy, Epicor CEO. “It’s never been more important for business to automate where possible, and ECC Express enables this while


NEW OFFERINGS

4 also providing an excellent and seamless online experience for customers and suppliers.” The new program also allows for self-service features that allow users the ability to easily view orders, quotes, invoices, purchase history, account info and shipments, as well as conduct quick product searches.

3. Tillman 1338 TIG Gloves… Designed to Protect, Made to be Comfortable


Tillman’s premium 1338 TIG welding gloves offer outstanding comfort while providing the protection you need while keeping your hands safe. Constructed of soft, supple premium top grain Goatskin, the Tillman 1338 is a true performance TIG glove designed to provide the welder with outstanding dexterity and an incredible sense of touch for laying down that perfect weld. The straight thumb on the 1338 has been designed to enhance the welder’s dexterity to help with executing a precise weld. For added comfort and heat protection, the 1338 includes Tillman’s proprietary Glide Patch that offers heat relief on the side of the palm and protects the side of the glove when resting on a welding table. To help protect the welder from harmful UV rays when TIG Welding, the 1338 offers a 4-inch cuff. And, of course, the 1338 is pulled together with DuPont™ Kevlar® stitching that resists heat, sparks and abrasion for a longer glove life. The 1338 is available in S, M, L and XL sizes.

4. Burnout Fire Extinguishing Agent from MPT Industries

MPT Industries announces a new product perfect for welders to cool down hot metals – much faster than water alone. It is called MPT Burnout Fire Extinguishing Agent. It is a concentrate that gets mixed with water. For welding it can simply be added to a handheld spray bottle to cool hot metal. It can also be used to refill approved fire extinguishers. The product can

5 safely be used to extinguish Class A, B, D and K fires. MPT also offers other fire extinguishing agents more for municipalities and more intense fires to instantly extinguish the flames.

5. Fluoramics introduces new style of pocket oiler for Tufoil® Lubit-8®


Fluoramics has introduced a new style of pocket oiler for one of its most popular products: Tufoil Lubit-8. The new oiler features robust packaging paired with a needle-like application tip designed for precise application of Lubit-8. The oiler comes with a removable pocket clip so that you can keep it secure in your pocket while on the job, in the shop, or performing everyday maintenance. Holding 12 ml of Lubit-8 in its 5.25-inch length, the pocket oiler is just the right size to keep in your toolbox, your pocket, or your vehicle’s glovebox. Tufoil Lubit-8 is a versatile, general-purpose lubricant that prevents rust and acts as a cleaning agent. It stops locks from freezing, penetrates deeply to free “frozen” nuts and bolts, stops squeaks, and keeps parts moving. Every home, office, and toolbox should have one. In addition, Lubit-8 extends the service life of precision bearings. It leaves no oily residue, is compatible with all oils and greases, and remains stable from -60° to +500°F. Lubit-8 contains no solvents, so its remarkable lubricity and protective qualities will last indefinitely. Lubit-8 applications include: • precision bearings • door locks and hinges • nuts and bolts • small motors • power tools • window hardware • sewing machines • squeaky chairs continued on next page Summer 2020 • 129


NEW OFFERINGS

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6. Precise Equipment Company® Launches UL- cUL Certified X-Treme Product Series


Precise Equipment Company® (PEC) announced the launch of its X-Treme Product Series – a line that has obtained UL and cUL certifications – creating a new industry standard in gas manifolds. Carefully designed to maximize gas management control, the X-Treme Product Series provides 24/7 telemetry monitoring capabilities, making it the safest, quickest and most precise solution on the market. “We are excited about the launch of the X-Treme Series,” said Dennis Daugherty, President of PEC. “The X-Treme Series brings together an enhanced ease of use and infrastructures to generate significant value for users worldwide. This new line will not only showcase our patented manifold technology that allows both liquid and high-pressure gas supplies to be utilized interchangeably throughout the lifetime of the product, it will also deliver a collection of data points and alarms to allow users to better monitor and control their gas delivery system.” Key features of the X-Treme Series include the following: The X-Treme Series has a UL / cUL listing (file E485978) along with the standard UL / cUL listing. PEC also has the international CB report to easily meet other international standards Our system will never be obsolete based on changing needs of the gas supply – it can be used with: • High pressure | High pressure cylinders • High pressure cylinders | Low pressure (Dewers) (Right or left bank) • Low pressure | Low pressure (Dewers) • Combination of bulk tank supply | High pressure cylinders Our leak detection system alerts users to potential problems before it becomes a crisis, allowing maintenance to be done on a scheduled timeframe as opposed to dealing with an issue 130 • Summer 2020

on an emergency / critical basis. This feature is also important for critical applications as it informs users of the integrity of the primary and standby reserve supply. A comprehensive system is offered at no extra cost to every user, featuring: • Ethernet ready with WIFI capabilities that continuously monitors & automatically reports to the online database • Control unit easy to use dashboard(s) • Push notifications sent via text or email as abnormalities occur • Data logs for items such as inlet and delivery pressure, economizer status, cylinder bank configuration and more The PEC electronic economizer system detects an increase in the stand-by low-pressure bank and will temporarily enable the stand-by bank to be active. This operation allows the excessive pressure to be directed for use and not lost, as well as prevents the loss of gas supply by the automatic release of excessive pressure of the standby supply bank. Using a one-way communication system, the X-Treme Manifold Control® prevents any possible phishing attacks, ensuring that user settings and passwords are protected. PEC manufactures gas control manifold systems and accessories for the medical, specialty gas, and industrial markets. Our products include simplex, duplex, pressure differential, and fully automatic manifold systems, gas blenders/mixers, station drops, headers of all shapes and sizes, flashback arresters, relief valves, remote alarms, telemetry options, flow meters, pressure switches and more. PEC also offers Mighty Pipe® and fittings to complete many gas pipeline applications. Mighty Pipe® is a five-layer composite pipe (HDPE-ALHDPE) designed specifically for the delivery of compressed gasses in both industrial and specialty gas applications. Mighty Pipe’s aluminum core provides both strength and flexibility,


NEW OFFERINGS

7 8 while its layers of durable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic offers maximum protection in even the most extreme manufacturing environments.

7. Harris 201 Beverage Regulators Deliver Reliability and Durability for Growing Markets

Designed for primary control of CO2 and nitrogen systems for soda dispensing, beer taps, wine taps, and in coffee houses, the Harris Product Group Model 201 gas regulator series is a workhorse for the hospitality and beverage industries. The regulators are also attracting legions of new users with the rapid growth of craft brewers and homebrewers. The Harris Model 201 gas regulator series is designed for primary pressure control of gases from single cylinders. The regulators feature two gauges: One low-pressure gauge with an operating pressure of 0-150 PSI and a high-pressure gauge with an operating pressure of 0-3000 PSI. The regulators come with encapsulated seats for safety and longer service life, nylon-reinforced neoprene diaphragms, and integral self-reseating relief valves (175 psi). Their brass bodies and zinc bonnets make them corrosion resistant and highly durable in many environments. All Harris 201 regulators are made in the USA and come with a seven-year factory warranty. To maintain constant pressure and minimizing improper use, four models of the 201 regulators come with a “set and forget” pressure control feature. Two of these models are built for CO2 use with carbonated beverages and most beer. They come with a hose barb or flare shutoff valve. The other two set pressure control models are built for nitrogen use for wine, coffee and some varieties of beer, and also come with a hose barb or flare shutoff valve. Harris also offers the 201 model beverage regulator with adjustable pressure controls and built-in check valves to

accommodate downstream connections for nitrogen systems. This industrial-strength nitrogen regulator is a perfect beverage solution for retailers, as well as the growing homebrewer industry. Harris has more than 100 years of gas regulator engineering and manufacturing experience. In addition to the 201 regulators, Harris delivers several other beverage solutions for customers ranging from retailers to event venues operators to craft beer producers who want reliability, durability and superior service from their products.

8. Patent Pending Automatic Reserve Fill Smart Manifold from VMG

Introducing a Patent Pending Automatic Reserve Fill Smart Manifold that automatically switches over to the reserve cylinder so you never have to worry about down-time from running out of product or switching tanks. The new Smart Manifold automatically refills the reserve tank by equalizing pressure from the primary tank when a new tank is delivered. The entire system is monitored by VMG Telemetry, so you never need to check the tank level locally. Works on: • Nitrogen • Helium • Argon • Welding Mix • Beer Gas The Automatic Reserve Fill Smart Manifold works well in applications where microbulk is not an option - bars and restaurants, laser cutting, welding and research facilities. If your company has a new product or service you’d like to see featured in the GAWDA Connection or in Welding & Gases Today, email TimH@gawdamedia.com. Summer 2020 • 131


ADVERTISERS INDEX Acme Cryogenics....................................................81

H & H Sales Company............................................87

AmWINS Program Underwriters.............................48

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

ANOVA/DataOnline.................................................19

Hobart Institute of Welding Technology..................47

Anthony Welded Products......................................23

Kaplan Industries....................................................25

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

Lincoln Electric.........................................................7

ASM/American Standard Manufacturing..............102

NorLab Calibration Gases Division of Norco..........61

Black Stallion/Revco Industries............................105 Bug-O Systems International..................................53 California Cylinder Corp..........................................48 Carborundum Abrasives.........................................91 Catalina Cylinders...................................................75 Chart Inc.................................................................71 CK Worldwide.......................................................101 Computers Unlimited..............................................45 Controlled Efficiencies............................................79 Cryogenic Industrial Solutions................................93 Eleet Cryogenics...................................................121 Equigas, Inc............................................................59

Norton Abrasives....................................................14 Ratermann Manufacturing......................................11 Rotarex...................................................................85 Saf-T-Cart...............................................................37 Select-Arc .............................................................BC Sherwood Valve......................................................41 Techniweld USA........................................................3 Thermacut...............................................................77 Thermco Instrument Corporation............................51 TOMCO2 Systems Company....................................5 Veite Cryogenic Equipment & Service Corp..............1

Exocor....................................................................87

Voestalpine Bohler..................................................39

FIBA Technologies................................................133

Watson Coatings....................................................43

Flexovit USA...........................................................89

Weldcoa..................................................................21

Gas Innovations......................................................93

Weldship Corporation.............................................15

Generant Company ................................................47

Winton Products Co...............................................86

Genstar Technologies Company...............................9

Wire Wizard/ELCo Enterprises, Inc.........................86

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.

132 • Summer 2020


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.

SUPPLIER MEMBERS B&R COMPLIANCE 5 Dan Road Canton, MA 02021 (610) 868-7183 www.brcompliance.com Bob Yeoman, President bob.yeoman@brcompliance.com

CO2METER, INC. 131 Business Center Drive Ormond Beach, FL 32174 (386) 872-7669 www.co2meter.com Joshua Pringle, Vice President of Business Development joshua.pringle@co2meter.com

DATACOR, INC. 25 Hanover Road Florham Park, NJ 07932-1424 (973) 822-1551 www.datacor.com Tom Jackson, President tjackson@datacor.com

NATIONAL CYLINDER SERVICES, LLC 4601 Dardanelle Drive Orlando, FL 32808 Phone: (407) 463-2471 Fax: (407) 299-8454 www.natcyl.com Billy Berg, President HWBERG@NatCyl.com David Middendorf, General Manager dmiddendorf@natcyl.com

Summer 2020 • 133


@ckworldwide If this little guy got it in on a Sunday, you better be getting it in on a Monday! @j.cob_lenz Sunday funday in the shop. Cole wanted to help feed the filler metal today, so a little silicon bronze practice it was! #ckworldwide #thestandardintigwelding #mastertig #gtaw #tig #tigtorch

G

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

@haunweldingsupply In the midst of all of the challenges, the hard work, and the confusion. It’s our hope that you have moments at the end of the day where you can get a glimpse of the silver lining in all of this. #haunfamily #HaunCares #Welding #weldinglife #welders #essentialworkers

@Saf-T-Cart Big Thanks to Terriz in shipping! Terriz helps keep our products moving out the door and to our customers!

@mercerindustries This is an awesome story from @americanweldingsociety! Welding has such a huge place in history! “Hermina “Billie” Strmiska was thirtyfive when she won the Oregon Shipbuilding Welderette contest in March 1943, beating out one hundred other women welders in the standard American Bureau of Shipping Test. Her victory qualified her to compete in a national contest at Ingalls Shipbuilding Company in Mississippi. The contest was part of a national recruiting and morale-boosting effort by the shipbuilding companies to bring women into the workforce.” - Oregon History Project. oregonhistoryproject.org 134 • Summer 2020

@equigas Friday’s are always better with friends! Both the old and new fellowships formed in this amazing Gas Industry are standing united during this pandemic... Stay tuned for the next EQUIGAS Happy Hour!!! #EQUIGAS #GAWDA #GasIndustry #IndustrialGas #CompressedGas #Cryogenic #Welding #CryogenicEquipment


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

Profile for Welding & Gases Today

Welding & Gases Today | Q3 2020  

The Official Publication of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) gawda.org | gawdamedia.com

Welding & Gases Today | Q3 2020  

The Official Publication of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) gawda.org | gawdamedia.com

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