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The Official Publication of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association

AC RECAP

It’s All About Service

THE YEAR OF SERVICE

Former GAWDA Presidents Give Advice to Incoming President

Fourth Quarter 2019

FEATURE

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contents

Fourth Quarter • Fall 2019 • Volume 18, No. 4

DEPARTMENTS 06

COVER STORIES

PRESIDENT’S VIEW It’s Been a Great Year BY BRAD PETERSON

08

DIRECTOR’S DESK Engaging Your Staff to Deepen Your Bench BY JOHN OSPINA

10

EDITOR’S NOTE Building Relationships BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

104

THE LAST WORD

GAWDA CONSULTANTS 12

What to Do When a Federal Auditor Shows Up at Your Door BY THOMAS L. BADSTUBNER, MICHAEL DODD & STEVE GUGLIELMO

20

Safety Alert: Mixtures Containing Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide in Steel Cylinders

34

BY THOMAS L. BADSTUBNER & MICHAEL DODD

22

Supreme Court Refuses to Dismiss ADA Website Complaint CGA’s eLearning Library is Growing BY RICHARD GOTTWALD

82

ITR THIRD-QUARTER OUTLOOK Inflection Points BY ALAN BEAULIEU

68

HOLSTON GASES, INC. EMPOWERING ITS PEOPLE BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

2 • Fall 2019

Search Engine Trends BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

74

Using LinkedIn As a Sales Tool BY JOHN TAPLEY

DIGITAL MARKETING What to do? How to Begin?

78

BY BRIAN BLUFF

Going Beyond Customer Service BY RANDY SQUIBB

GUEST VIEWPOINTS 64

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Sparking Excitement In Welding BY COURTNEY KLESS

76

MEMBER PROFILES 28

72

BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

BY RICHARD P. SCHWEITZER, ESQ.

24

RICHES IN THE NICHES Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Brewing Up New Business

SALES AND MARKETING What Am I Going to Be When I Grow Up? BY ART WASKEY

80

BEST PRACTICES Extending the Life Cycle of Your Cylinder BY STEVE GUGLIELMO AND JONATHAN BALBI


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contents

Fourth Quarter • Fall 2019 • Volume 18, No. 4

THE TEAM

ANNUAL CONVENTION RECAP

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

John Ospina jospina@gawda.org PUBLISHER

PAGE

38

Bill Brod billb@gawdamedia.com EDITOR IN CHIEF

Steve Guglielmo steveg@gawdamedia.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Natasha Alexis nalexis@gawda.org CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Robin Barnes robinb@gawdamedia.com

2019THE YEAR OF

VICE PRESIDENT, SALES

Tim Hudson timh@gawdamedia.com

PAGE

54

RELATIONSHIP MANAGER

Hannah Gray hannahg@gawdamedia.com COVER DESIGN

Past GAWDA Presidents Impart Pearls of Wisdom BY ABYDEE BUTLER MOORE, BRAD PETERSON, NED LANE, MARK RAIMY, BILL VISINTAINER, AND TOM BIEDERMANN

Greg Minix

NEWS ROUNDUP STAY CONNECTED

61

SMC PREVIEW

93

IN MEMORIAM

99

INDUSTRY EVENTS

94 98

INDUSTRY NEWS MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

100

NEW OFFERINGS

103

ADVERTISERS INDEX

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 editor@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 ©2019 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 or all of any correspondence mailed to the editors without liability on its part and no such correspondence will be returned. • Visit Welding & Gases Today Online at www.GAWDAmedia.org. Statement of Ownership Publication Title Welding & Gases Today. Publication number 22-975. Filing date 10/2019. Issue frequency quarterly + 2 special issues. # of issues published annually: 6. Subscription price part of member dues. Mailing address of known office of publication and headquarters: One Oakwood Boulevard, Suite 195, Hollywood, FL 33020. Headquarters address same. Publisher: William Brod, Data Key Communications, 1415 W. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13204. Editor: John C. Ospina, GAWDA Executive Director, One Oakwood Boulevard, Suite 195, Hollywood, FL 33020. Editor in Chief: Steve Guglielmo Data Key Holdings, LLC, 1415 W. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13204. Owner: GAWDA, One Oakwood Boulevard, Suite 195, Hollywood, FL 33020. Average net press run 1860/2127. Outside county paid/requested mail subscriptions 1710/1727. In-county paid/requested mail subscriptions 0/0. Sales through dealers and carriers 0/0. Requested copies by other mail classes 0/0. Total paid and or requested circulation 1710/1727. Outside county nonrequested copies 0/0. In-county nonrequested copies 0/0. Nonrequested copies distributed through USPS by other classes 0/0. Nonrequested copies distributed outside the mail 150/400. Total nonrequested distribution 150/400. Total distribution 1857/2007. Copies not distributed 100/100. Total 1960/2227. Percent paid and/or requested circulation 91.9/81.1.

4 • Fall 2019


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PRESIDENT’S VIEW

It’s Been a Great Year! BY BRAD PETERSON

I Brad Peterson is GAWDA’s 2018–2019 president, as well as chairman and chief acquisition officer of family-owned Mississippi Welders Supply Company, Inc. He also serves on the board of the Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative (IWDC) and the board of Absolute Air. He can be reached at 800-6574422 or bradp@mwsco. com.

6 • Fall 2019

t’s been a great year! And it’s flown by. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity I had to serve as your president. When I committed to the office several years ago, I didn’t anticipate all the other things that I would have going on in my life. But that’s the way things go, and we just deal with them. Looking back, the big milestones were the meetings, the connections and the conversations. GAWDA is an organization that brings us together, and we’re all made better as a result. The year started with a bang at the SMC in Minneapolis. The weather couldn’t have been better. And then we headed into the regional meetings. We got good reviews on all of those, and I thank the regional organizers for making them happen. We capped off the year with the AC in Washington, D.C. Again, great reviews. Thanks to all who helped and attended. Being a Navy guy, my personal favorite was the speech by Admiral McRaven. The other speakers had great content as well, and the venue gave many the opportunity to visit bucket-list destinations. In all of these meetings, I observed great conversations and networking. It reinforced the value of these gatherings and validated the effort to put them together. It takes a team of volunteers and staff to pick the site, plan the details and run the show. My theme of service was demonstrated in action by these individuals and I commend them for the work. I’ve learned a great deal from this service

opportunity and been challenged to carefully allocate my time and energy. It’s great training for everyday life and business. It also reinforces the fact that life will always try to overflow your cup. Just keep the saucer handy to catch the overflow and press on. Now, it’s time for me to step back and make room for new blood. I’ve got plenty of other personal and professional goals and challenges, so I’m not worried about being bored. I’m highly confident that Abydee will take the baton and continue running the race. But this analogy fails… because although there is a finish line for each individual, the work of the GAWDA organization will go on forever. Thanks for the opportunity to serve!


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DIRECTOR’S DESK

Engaging Your Staff to Deepen Your Bench 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 • Fall 2019

s we begin a new year, we look forward to setting new goals and resolutions. Life is always about balance. We all know it’s important to live in the present moment, but also plan for the future. Here are some ways GAWDA can help you strengthen your employee morale and develop the next generation of leaders for your company. Encouraging your employees to apply for a GAWDA scholarship at www.gawda.org/resources/gawda-scholarships-program/. These scholarships are also available to family members of GAWDA company employees. They’re an easy and free way to give back to your employees. Encourage your staff to get some training from the 41 free subjects offered through GAWDA University at www.gawda.org/gawda-university/. These online courses help make your employees safer which, in turn, makes your business safer. It can lower the number of workplace injuries and increase saving on your insurance. If you’re a GAWDA distributor and have not signed up for the free CGA publication program, I have one question, WHY NOT? Even if you don’t see the need for it today, a time will come when being a registered participant will pay off. It’s easy to do, just follow the prompts at www. gawda.org/resources/cga-subscription-program/. CGA and GAWDA have partnered up for several years now to keep our members and the industry safe. Each year we look at more ways to do just that. By signing up, you get notified of upcoming seminars, added benefits and much more. Once you sign up, encourage your employees to take advantage of the six current free CGA eLearning safety modules. They’re easy to follow and take very little time to complete. For more information

on these modules please read Rich Gottwald’s article on pages 24-27. There will be new educational tracks introduced at the upcoming 2020 SMC in Austin, Texas. I highly encourage you to take a look at the tracks and think about which employees would benefit the most from attending these sessions. Including them in these educational sessions is a great way to build morale and reward good employees. To read more about the full SMC schedule turn to page 61. GAWDA also has a partnership with the Association Executive Alliance and Purdue University to offer a Professional Certificate in Innovative Distribution. This is offered once a year in March and is a great and affordable way to keep your management team sharp and ahead of the competition. Choose from six different tracks which include: Distribution Strategy, Leadership/ Professional Development, Management (Including HR), Marketing, Operations and a Sales Track. To download the complete brochure and register on line go to www.gawda.org/university-of-innovative-distribution/. All teams must have a culture of continuous education to build talent and skills. What you do after the training is just as important. Assign challenging tasks that utilize the training that team members received. Encourage feedback and open communication along the way. Work through unexpected situations as a team to create a culture with a shared vision. Building a strong team culture with a deep bench helps us navigate through slowdowns in the economy, personnel changes and increased competition. Remember, we’re always here to help. Thank you for your continued support of GAWDA and the industry.


FROM THE EDITOR

Building Relationships BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

H 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 • Fall 2019

ave you ever had an idea in the back of ours doesn’t, but it’s just not true. So, you need your mind that you can’t really describe? to give them a reason to buy from you. That’s Like you know exactly what you mean, but the difference between relationship selling and you can’t adequately communicate it to somebody customer service.” else. And then, poof, you hear somebody else put So how do you differentiate between your words to your thought and it totally crystalizes for company and your competitor when you’re sellyou. I had that experience putting together the 4th ing the same thing? That’s where building those Quarter Issue of Welding & Gases Today. relationships comes in. And, to me, that’s one of As I mentioned in the biggest benefits my first editor’s note, of events like the I have worked in assoAnnual Convention ciation publishing for or the SMC. It’s the my entire professional opportunity to netcareer to date. But this work and build real year, when I attendrelationships. ed my first GAWDA People want to buy from people Annual Convention, they like, trust and something about respect. They want the Contact Booth to know that you Program seemed difThe first timers reception leads to many new relationships. ferent. And I couldn’t truly have their best quite put my finger on interests at heart. what it was. But I knew that I had been to dozens And in speaking with members at Convention of similar Conventions and trade shows before, and seeing them interact, it’s clear that GAWDA I had seen association members networking and members are the living embodiment of that idea. learning about new products and services, but This issue has a lot of articles about how to succeed something felt different. in sales. But if you can’t build real relationships It wasn’t until I was speaking with Randy with your customers, it doesn’t matter what your Squibb, 1994 GAWDA President, about his article product is or if you have the greatest salesperson this side of Dale Carnegie. on page 78, that it clicked in my mind what was I hope you enjoy the articles in this issue different. Everybody, at least on the gas side of and I look forward to continuing to build my the business, was selling the same product. Not the same product in the way that “all cars can get relationship with you. If you ever have a story me from point A to point B.” Literally the exact idea you’d like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at steveg@gawdamedia.com same product. As Randy put it, “I’d love to tell (customers) or send a DM to @GAWDAMedia on Twitter or that our competitor’s oxygen has lumps in it and Instagram.


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CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE

What to Do When a Federal Auditor Shows Up at Your Door A moderated discussion between Tom Badstubner and Michael Dodd BY TOM BADSTUBNER, MICHAEL DODD AND STEVE GUGLIELMO

I

t can be scary when a federal agency shows up to your business unannounced for an audit. You can feel blindsided. But the reason that GAWDA employs consultants that specialize in dealing with these federal agencies is for exactly this moment. Your GAWDA membership includes access to these consultants at no additional expense. Make sure that you’re taking advantage of that! Companies that are proactive in working with the GAWDA Consultants are better prepared for when auditors knock on the door and will have a strong plan of attack in place for what to do once they are there. Tom Badstubner, GAWDA’s FDA and Medical Gases Consultant, and president of AsteRisk, LLC, and Michael Dodd, GAWDA’s DOT, Security, OSHA and EPA Consultant, and president of MLD Safety Associates, spoke with Welding & Gases Today about what to do when these agencies show up at your door. The following is a transcript of that conversation. Tom Badstubner: So, Mike, what would you recommend to GAWDA members to prepare for an inspection? What can they do before the inspection to best prepare for an inspection? Mike Dodd: They need to call or email their consultants and be proactive before they get that call. Because, usually, the call we get is that they’re either coming or they’re already 12 • Fall 2019

here. And that’s a little bit late to really help them get through it. Oh sure, we answer their questions and we work them down through the audits, etc. But if they would just contact us before they get that call or that visit, just to get started, it’s amazing how much better they’ll do if they had just been a little bit proactive to start with. Steve Guglielmo: How far in advance do you typically have notice that the inspector is going to come? Would you have notice to say, “Oh, now I know they’re coming, I had better call the consultants?” Tom: Most of the time, there’s no notice. How about you, Mike? Mike: So, like Tom said, practically no notice whatsoever. Many times, there is no notice, they’ll just knock on the door. Mine is two-fold. It depends on which of the agencies is coming. If it’s the Federal Motor Carrier people, the truck and driver inspectors, they are required to give 48 hours of notice before a formal review. But, many times, they will give several weeks of notice. The other two agencies, the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), give no notice. They knock on the door. Tom: Those are the hydrotest guys?


CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE Mike: Yes, the hydrotest people. And FAA, that visit is generated if the members are sending hazardous materials via air shipments. So many of our members have never seen an FAA audit. But when they do, it’s usually not pretty. Tom: So, to answer my own initial question, which was what the member can do to have a better audit experience, the first thing is that the FDA has a record of your prior inspections. You should have a record too. Take a look at your previous audit reports (FDA Form 483) and make sure that there will be no repeat items. If you had previously committed to calibrating your thermometers, you should assure that your thermometers are calibrated. The second thing is, take a quick look at the things that you are required to do every month, or periodically, like calibrations and training and make sure that those things are up to date. And the third thing is, before the inspector arrives, maybe once per month, pull some fill logs and just review them and make sure they’re being properly completed. If you do those few things before the inspector arrives, you’ll have a better experience. Also, assure that there is no evidence of infestation in your plant (mouse droppings or spider webs). Mike: I have a slightly different question. Now, what do you do when you do know they’re coming? When they’ve notified you that they’re going to visit. Tom mentioned being very proactive on an ongoing basis. I’d like to echo that. Be sure to look at any past audits, because they look very badly on repeat offenses. Because now it goes from a “not known” to a “willful” penalty. And willful penalties are ratcheted up 10 times over the others. So, it goes very badly, very fast. So, no repeat offenses. It’s easy to look at past audits to make sure that you at least have those items fixed. And then another thing that ties in with that is, if you’ve had an audit and you’ve had an item that was noted and you’ve said you fixed it, be sure you’ve fixed it. Because the previous action report that has been listed will say, “This is what we’re going to do to fix it, and this is the date we will have it fixed by.” And if they come back and find that it was either not fixed, or fixed but now it’s out of whack again, you’re back to that “willful” and things will go south very fast. I’ve seen a member that has happened to. It’s an ugly situation. Tom: I saw it with a medical gas company (not a GAWDA member). They promised the FDA, in writing, to replace their thermometers. The FDA returned six months later and found the same thermometers. And instead of having a simple inspection, the company received a warning letter, which is a formal legal notice that you are out of compliance and they broadcast it on the internet as well. So, the FDA takes serious notice when they feel like they’ve been ignored.

GAWDA CONSULTANTS FDA and Medical Gases Issues THOMAS BADSTUBNER AsterRisk, LLC P.O Box 292547 Lewisville, TX 75029-2547 508-883-0927 (office) 443-255-8984 (cell) tom@asteriskllc.com

DOT, Homeland Security, OSHA and EPA Issues MICHAEL DODD MLD Safety Associates, LLC P.O. Box 93 Poplar Bluff, MO 63902 573-718-2887 MLDSafety@hotmail.com

Government Affairs and Human Resources Issues RICHARD P. SCHWEITZER, PLLC 1717 K St. NW, Suite 900 Washington, D.C. 20006-2333 202-223-3040 rpschweitzer@rpslegal.com

Mike: It’s really important to do what you say you’re going to do and make sure that it stays fixed. Steve: What are some common missteps or mistakes when they’re either going to be audited or when the auditor is there that you’ve seen? Tom: I think most people don’t ask for credentials. How about your organizations, Mike? Mike: Most of our agencies present their credentials when they walk through the door. They literally flash the badge and leave them a card. I think one of the mistakes is that they don’t keep somebody with the inspector at all times. And also, that they don’t make enough effort to fix things as fast as they tell Fall 2019 • 13


CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE them. The moment they hear about a potential violation, they should send somebody off to fix it and bring back the correction to show the inspector before they leave, many times it goes a very long way to making it a much better audit. Tom: The FDA will still give you a violation but some agencies, like OSHA, may consider immediately correcting a problem to be a good-faith-effort, and it can reduce the amount of the fine. Mike: Along those same lines, what do you think is one of the most serious mistakes a member might make regarding an audit, Tom? Tom: Lying to an inspector. Mike: Yup, lying to an inspector. I think one of the biggest things I see, and Tom, you probably do too, is that members don’t contact us until the audit is actually over, and they get the penalty letter. And if they had called us during the audit, we would have helped during the audit. Certainly, we would have helped them with their action plan. We would have made things much easier. But when they call us with the penalty letter, and that’s the first we’ve heard about it, there’s actually very little we can do. Tom: Typically, I usually get the call during the FDA or state agency audit. Mike: Well, from a DOT standpoint, I get more of those than I ever care to get. They haven’t taken it seriously until that penalty letter shows up. Tom: I want to go back to lying to an inspector. I think that it doesn’t intentionally happen. I think what’s more common is being nervous and giving an answer that you’re not certain of. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know, and I will get the answer.” But if you give an answer you’re not certain of, and they find out that it’s different later, it looks like you’ve not been honest. Even though you’re trying to be honest and complete. Steve: So, in an effort to be helpful and as forthright as possible, you might say something that turns out to be inaccurate? Tom: Exactly. And also, you never volunteer information. If the inspector says, “Let me see your logs for January,” you’re under no obligation to tell him, “Hey, we lost some of our logs from December.” Steve: One of the action steps you listed in the Safety Notice says, “Agree to the scope of the inspection before the walk through.” Is that something that is negotiable? And what are some good practices for members while they’re discussing the scope? Tom: You know, we really don’t see that much in FDA inspections. An inspection can easily change scope if the inspector finds objectionable conditions. But it’s a good 14 • Fall 2019

idea to ask, “What’s generating this inspection? Is this just a normal one? Or are you concerned about something?” But you’re not going to limit the FDA inspector to a certain area by asking that question. Mike: I always ask, “What’s the purpose of your visit? Why have you come?” There are no limitations to what they can look at while they are there, but it never hurts to ask, “Why are you here?” because sometimes they’re there for the wrong reason. Or they’ve come to the wrong location. So, it’s worthwhile to ask that question. I also wanted to tack onto Tom’s point about, “Don’t make a guess if you’re not sure.” I always tell the members when I’m doing my stuff, “Don’t give an answer off the top of your head.” Because they will hold you to that answer. So, I always tell members, “When they ask you a specific question, go open up the rules, go open up your SOP’s, open up the CGA Publications that you work under and show them the answer.” That does two things. It gives them the correct answer, and it shows them what they’re looking at, in writing, and what they’re following. And they love SOP’s and they love seeing the publications that everybody agrees are the best ones to use. So, they love seeing that it’s not off the top of your head, that you’re actually using written, published materials. Steve: A lot of the during the inspection/walk around best practices appear to center around duplicating what the inspector is doing and documenting. Is that so when they call you later and say, “I had an inspection and here is what was found,” it’s documented? Would that be the purpose of those best practices? Tom: You not only want to keep a record of everything that the inspector takes, you want to make another copy for yourself. So, if they ask for logs or files, you make two copies of those. One for him and one for you. That way you know exactly what they’re looking at. Steve: So, when the report does come out, and you said often that’s the first time the member will call you, is there ever disagreement between the company and the inspector? Where the inspector claimed something happened, but the company disagrees? Tom: We see that a lot in FDA. I’m not sure about you, Mike, in DOT, but the FDA and the State inspectors are inconsistent in their interpretation of regulations. They’ll sometimes look at a gas company and treat it like a traditional pharmaceutical company. So, they sometimes ask for unusual requests. It’s simply a matter of inspector training. You can certainly clarify things with them. You can say, “This is really not appropriate for medical gases.” We’ve had a couple cases in this last year


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where the inspector was adamant that we were in violation. But, when we explained our position at the district or headquarters level, our position was upheld. Steve: Mike, we have spoken previously, and you had mentioned that half of the GAWDA membership have not utilized your services. By utilizing your services, is it fair to say that members would be able to catch most of, if not all, of these violations and have the procedures in place so that if there is a surprise inspection, they will be more prepared for it? Mike: If members utilize the services that the consultants offer via the bulletins, our emails, our phone calls, and the things that we publish, they would be much better prepared than by doing nothing. I’ve got people who have used these resources and have walked out with perfect scores. But, many times, people don’t take advantage of our services, and even if they do, they let things get out of date with things that are supposed to be done on a periodic basis, and that’s typically when they get caught. Steve: How important is it to be proactive and not have the first time that they’re calling you be when the inspector is literally knocking on the door? Mike: We would love it if every member was proactive. We would love to know what it would take to get the other half of that group to talk to us. I also want to emphasize that talking to us doesn’t cost members another nickel. They have already paid for the access to us and all of the help that we’re willing to give them as part of their dues. So, really, they should just take advantage of what they have already paid for. It should be a no-brainer. Steve: Any last words you want to leave members with? Tom: From an FDA perspective, you’re not required to respond in writing to a Form 483 with alleged violations. However, we always recommend responding in writing. You have 15 working days to respond in order for the agency to consider your answer. We have a template that people can use to respond, and it has been very successful in helping the FDA to understand our positions. Mike: Contact us. Talk to your consultants. For more information on this topic, check out pages 17-18 to read the Safety Memo: Regulatory Agency Visit Guidelines. GAWDA’s Specialty, Food & Medical Gases Consultant Thomas L. Badstubner is president of AsteRisk LLC in Lewisville, Texas. Members can reach him at 508-883-0927 and tom@asteriskllc.com. GAWDA DOT, Security, OSHA & EPA Consultant Michael Dodd is president of MLD Safety Associates in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Members can reach him at 573-718-2887 and at MLDSafety@hotmail.com.

16 • Fall 2019


CONSULTANTS ROUNDTABLE The GAWDA Safety Committee has put together sample safety policies. Here is a recent one that has been completed. This is an example of one of the many available stored on the member resources portion of the GAWDA.org.

PURPOSE

To provide a set of proposed guidelines for an on-site visit by regulatory agencies

RESPONSIBILITY

All pertinent personnel

AUTHORITY

General manager

REGULATORY AGENCY VISIT GUIDELINES Site visits by regulatory agencies such as, but not limited to, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Federal Drug & Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Fire Marshal, are common. Site visits typically are a result of a report of routine inspection program or a complaint. It is of great importance to ensure locations are prepared for expected and unexpected site inspections by regulatory agencies. Listed below are some, but not all, guidelines to assist in an on-site visit.

GENERAL INFORMATION: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Designate and train applicable personnel to accompany an inspector. Ensure proper housekeeping. Ensure pedestrian pathways are identified and clearly marked. Ensure compliance records are current and maintained per required retention timeframes. Ensure employee training records are current.

BEFORE THE INSPECTION – PRE-PLANNING: The least painful and most effective measures you can take are to assure that you are in compliance before the inspection. Similar to all other critical parts of your business, you need a plan for compliance and then you execute the plan. Your compliance plan should include the following elements: 6. Consider Prior Inspections – The agencies have a record of your prior inspections. They expect that prior inspectional observations are permanently corrected. Agencies have taken severe compliance action when violations have recurred. 7. Well-Written Procedures – Assure that you have clear, well-written procedures. Consider GAWDA sample procedures. 8. Training – Assure that your personnel are qualified before working. Be sure the qualification is documented. 9. Calibrations – Assure your gauges, thermometers, scales, etc. are within calibration date and that you have a record of the calibration.

10. Records – Incomplete records are a source of violations. Be sure each required record has been properly completed and approved.

GREETING INSPECTOR: 11. Be honest, courteous and cordial. 12. Verify inspector credentials. Ask for a business card and/or governmental identification. It is advisable to contact the inspector’s office to confirm site inspection. 13. Workspace – Take the investigator to a convenient work area (e.g. conference room, office, etc.). Be sure the compliance records are not in the room. When the the investigator asks for records, bring in the specific records he/she requests. 14. Determine the reason for inspection. If the inspection is due to a complaint, request a copy of the complaint. 15. If assigned and trained personnel for regulatory inspections are not on-site or otherwise unavailable, ask the inspector if there is a possibility of delaying inspection until appropriate company representation arrives. 16. Never leave the inspector unattended. 17. Review site visitor rules, such as required PPE, emergency response procedures, smoking policy, photograph policy, etc. 18. Request inspector to conduct an opening conference to explain purpose and expectations. 19. Request inspector to conduct a closing conference to review findings and next steps.

DURING THE INSPECTION AND WALK-AROUND 20. Do not volunteer unsolicited information. 21. Have relevant records available, surrendering only those requested. 22. Agree to the scope of an inspection before the walkthrough. 23. Escort the regulatory representative to areas or locations that are of importance to the investigation. Determine the most direct route to these areas. Try to avoid deviating from direct path. This could change the scope of initial inspection. continued on next page

Fall 2019 • 17


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24. Take notes and photographs on all observations an inspector makes and pictures that inspector takes. 25. Duplicate all pictures inspector takes during inspection. 26. List any violations that the inspector noted during the inspection. 27. Keep records of documents provided to the inspector during visit. 28. Correct small items identified, immediately demonstrating good faith. 29. Clarify – There are times when the inspector simply misunderstands our vocabulary or even misinterprets the agency’s own enforcement interpretations. Seek to have any misunderstandings corrected before the final report is delivered.

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30. Reinforce the company’s commitment to safety and compliance. 31. Confirm with inspector that the scope of inspection was met. 32. Have inspector review findings and next steps. 33. Take all potential violations under advisement. Do not agree to any violations or corrective actions. In addition, do not become confrontational about any potential violations listed. 34. Advise the inspector of any items that may have been addressed during the inspection along with any proof/ evidence. 35. Request copy of any notes/draft report prior to inspector leaving site. 36. If the inspector asks you to sign an affidavit, politely explain that it is company policy that you are not authorized to sign affidavits without permission from the company counsel. Ask to have a copy of the affidavit to forward to top management and company counsel. 37. The inspection may require a written response. Be certain to understand the time limits for responding to the inspection. Again, the purpose of this sample policy is to give suggested guidance on how to handle regulatory agency visits. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Michael Dodd GAWDA DOT, Security, OSHA, and EPA Consultant MLD Safety Associates, LLC P.O. Box 93 Poplar Bluff, MO 63902 (573) 718-2887 Email: MLDSafety@hotmail.com

18 • Fall 2019


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CONSULTANTS FDA & MEDICAL GASES

Safety Alert: Mixtures Containing Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide in Steel Cylinders BY TOM BADSTUBNER AND MICHAEL DODD

T

his GAWDA Safety Alert is issued to inform GAWDA members of potential cylinder damage resulting from internal stress corrosion where carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are filled in steel cylinders. In the past, cylinders have violently ruptured causing significant damage. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are present in many mixtures. Recently, food gas mixtures (meat processing gas) and laser mixtures have been widely produced. If you are filling mixtures containing carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, with or without other balance gases, in steel cylinders, it is highly recommended that you obtain CGA P-57, Avoidance Of Failure Of Carbon Monoxide And Of Carbon Monoxide/ Carbon Dioxide Mixtures Cylinders at http://bit.ly/2019cgap57. CGA P-57 is available for free to GAWDA members who participate in

20 • Fall 2019

the GAWDA/CGA Safety Program. To get more information about this GAWDA benefit, see: http://bit.ly/cgasubpro. CGA P-57 contains specific information about the reactions inside the cylinder, and precautions and recommendations to follow when removing cylinders from this service.

It is also highly recommended that you have and carefully follow written procedures to help reduce the potential for violent cylinder failures caused by filling steel cylinders with mixtures containing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Consider the following sample procedure as you develop your SOPs.

Example of stress crack corrosion on the inside of a cylinder containing CO and CO2.


CONSULTANTS FDA & MEDICAL GASES

SAMPLE PROCEDURE

Mixtures Containing Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide in Steel Cylinders

CRITICAL PERSONNEL SAFETY ISSUE All mixtures in steel cylinders containing Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) must be extremely dry to reduce the likelihood of stress-corrosion. See CGA P-57, Avoidance Of Failure Of Carbon Monoxide And Of Carbon Monoxide/Carbon Dioxide Mixtures Cylinders. There have been multiple cases where the cylinder sidewall of CO/CO2 mixture cylinders have violently ruptured.

MANDATORY SAFE PRACTICES: 1.

CGA P-57, Avoidance Of Failure Of Carbon Monoxide And Of Carbon Monoxide/Carbon Dioxide Mixtures Cylinders: a. Obtain a copy of CGA P-57 and have it available for cylinder filling personnel. b. Assure personnel filling cylinders containing CO and CO2 have been trained on the material in CGA P-57 and are aware of the potential consequences of failure to follow the CGA recommendations.

2. Dry Cylinders – Assure each steel cylinder that will be filled with mixtures containing CO and CO2 is dry before filling. 3. Mandatory Moisture Testing – Assure each steel cylinder which has been filled with mixtures containing CO and CO2 is individually tested for moisture content after filling and homogenization. c. For cylinders with a maximum working pressure under 2,180 psig (for example, some “200” style steel cylinders), the maximum moisture content is 7 ppm. d. For cylinders with a maximum working pressure over 2,180 psig, the maximum moisture content is 5 ppm. 4. Alternatives: e. Consider using an aluminum cylinder for mixtures which will contain CO and CO2. f. CGA P-57 contains other recommendations and alternatives. 5. Change of Service: g. Follow the specific recommendations in CGA P-57 when changing the service of cylinders that have contained CO and CO2. 6. Personnel Safety: h. Assure that the sampling process (cylinder connection to the regulator, purging, venting, etc.) does not expose personnel to Carbon Monoxide. Consider remote vent outlets and purges to minimize the likelihood of personnel exposure to CO during sampling. i. Pipe away the moisture analyzer sample stream and sample bypass to minimize the likelihood of personnel exposure to CO. j. Consider a Carbon Monoxide monitor in the production area, sampling area and testing area where CO is handled.

This GAWDA Industrial Gas and Medical Gas Safety Alert is issued jointly by Mike Dodd and Tom Badstubner, your GAWDA DOT and FDA consultants. Please contact Mike Dodd (mldsafety@hotmail.com) or Tom Badstubner (tom@asteriskllc.com) for further information. Fall 2019 • 21


CONSULTANTS GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS & HUMAN RESOURCES

Supreme Court Refuses to Dismiss ADA Website Complaint BY RICHARD P. SCHWEITZER, ESQ.

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

22 • Fall 2019

n October 7, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Domino’s Pizza in a case where the appeals court ruled that a blind customer could sue the pizza chain under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the company’s website did not provide him access. The case now goes back to district court for trial. The company had argued that the ADA applied to its restaurants and stores but not its website or apps, because the law was enacted in 1990 before the development of the Internet. The court of appeals disagreed, and the Supreme Court declined a request for a further appeal. This leaves Domino’s and other companies struggling to determine how to comply with the ADA’s requirements to make websites and apps accessible for the vision or hearing impaired. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed in federal and state courts in in the past several years under ADA Title III (public accommodations), but there are no federal standards to guide compliance. The U.S. Department of Justice had published a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in May 2016 for state and local government websites under Title II of the ADA. That rulemaking was expected to establish the parameters for a similar rulemaking sometime in 2018 for websites in public accommodations, including business websites. But, in July 2017, the Trump Administration, as part of its regulatory reform agenda, placed the rulemakings for public accommodations and state and local governments on its “inactive list.” This means that there will be no regulations about public accommodation websites at least through 2020.

The Justice Department has settled a number of cases with private businesses because their websites were not accessible to users who are blind, hearing impaired, or have other disabilities. The settlements typically include requirements for technical revisions to the company website, employee training and recordkeeping. Private plaintiffs’ lawyers, moreover, are not waiting for any Justice Department rulemaking; they are suing under the ADA statutory requirements themselves (which do not mention websites specifically). Meanwhile, even though the lower court decisions are split on whether a business website is a public accommodation under the ADA, the Justice Department has taken the position that all websites must be accessible to consumers with disabilities, even if it is not tied to a physical place of business that is open to the public. The court of appeals decision in the Domino’s case adopts that approach. Thus, businesses are left to try and figure out how to avoid the possibility of future DOJ enforcement litigation and private sector lawsuits in this quickly evolving area. In the absence of DOJ regulations, many settlements approved by the DOJ and in civil litigation have implemented the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) on how to make a website more accessible. These guidelines involve varying levels of accessibility, but the DOJ and counsel in civil litigation have signed off on settlements where a company agrees to make their website compliant with the WCAG 2.0 Level AA Guidelines. For example, the WCAG guidelines ensure their media is usable by all. They give recommendations on how to present content in alternative forms


Businesses are left to try and figure out how to avoid the possibility of future DOJ enforcement litigation and private sector lawsuits in this quickly evolving area. (like adding captions to videos) without losing the meaning or coherence of the content (if a user increases the font size on the page, the page structure stays intact). They also recommend using contrast in images and text to ensure content is readable. Additionally, images should contain a caption and alt text – unless those images are purely for decoration or spacing (in which case they should be implemented so that they can be ignored by assistive technology). Text alternatives for any non-text content might include large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language. Content might also be presented in different ways (such as a simpler layout) without losing information or structure, or made easier for users to see and hear content (such as separating foreground from background). Further, the guidelines recommend: • Having a website that can be navigated with a keyboard; • Making sure moving sections can be paused if a user needs more time; • Ensuring pages and sections are clearly labeled so users can decipher where they are on the website; • Making all functionality available from a keyboard; • Providing users enough time to read and use content; • Providing ways to help users navigate, find content and determine where they are. Review and redesign of your company’s website can preclude claims for civil penalties or damages from enforcement actions and might make your company’s products and services more available to the general public. Fall 2019 • 23


MEMBER BENEFIT

CGA’s eLearning Library is Growing Sign Up Today to Get this Invaluable Training Resource for your Employees (Free for Participating GAWDA Members) BY RICH GOTTWALD

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

24 • Fall 2019

ere at the Compressed Gas Association, we’re focused on developing safety standards that reflect industry best practices for handling industrial, medical and food gases, in as safe and effective a manner as possible. Our members who write these standards leverage in-depth knowledge and have many years of experience in understanding the hazards of these gases. They know how best to mitigate them – all with the goal of keeping everyone who comes into contact with these products as safe as possible. We recognize, however, that some of our standards can be technically dense, and somewhat intimidating, for those who are new to the subject matter. That’s why we created our family of eLearning modules – to provide essential safety information for entry level and intermediate workers in the industry. Think of these training modules as animated Power Point presentations that explore simple concepts presented in a concise, easy-tofollow format. In essence, these eLearning modules are designed to provide a helpful roadmap for employees who may need more extensive coaching in how to safely handle and work with compressed gases. CGA’s eLearning portal provides users with a variety of interactive experiences as they work through each module, assesses user comprehension

of material and allows supervisors to track user completion. These modules can also be completed at the user’s convenience (individuals can close the training and return at a later date, picking up where they left off).

CGA’S eLEARNING MODULES OFFER AN INVALUABLE TRAINING ASSET FOR GAWDA MEMBERS Earlier this year, we announced that our eLearning modules had become the latest benefit added to the CGA-GAWDA partnership. GAWDA distributor member companies participating in the CGA subscription program receive complimentary access to CGA’s entire safety publication library (enabling one employee per company location to gain free access to CGA’s library of over 330 electronic publications, for a total value of more than $19,000 per user). In addition, GAWDA members now also gain free access to CGA’s eLearning modules for up to 15 employees per company location. Here’s what one of our members had to say about the value and impact of our first set of eLearning modules, released in 2018: “Your three new training modules are [of] exceptional quality, useful for safety awareness for entry-level and intermediate employees, and ‘first of its kind’ in the compressed gas industry to our knowledge… We have not seen ANYTHING


MEMBER BENEFIT available even close to your quality and breadth of coverage from any source we have explored for years… When I have made proposals to well-known safety training groups, to create compressed gas training, and I have provided just a skeleton outline of what we need, the price has been $25,000-$50,000, with $3,000-$5,000 per year to keep current.” This individual also shared with us that in relation to one training module in particular, TM-3, Safe Handling of Cryogenic Liquids in Portable Containers, an employee of theirs “with 30 years of shipping [experience] seeing spills and accidents,” reported that they were still able to learn something new about cryogenic liquefied gases from CGA’s TM-3 training module.

WE’RE ADDING THREE MORE TITLES TO OUR GROWING ELEARNING LIBRARY There are now five training modules in CGA’s eLearning library, with a sixth module to be released during fall 2019. We just released our two most recent eLearning titles: TM-4, Filling of Uninsulated Carbon Dioxide Cylinders (intended for cylinder fillers and handlers, this training covers the following areas):

Carbon dioxide properties and hazards • Cylinder filler personal protective equipment (PPE) • Types of cylinders and valves commonly used • Cylinder markings • Pre-fill cylinder inspection • Preparation of cylinders for filling • Filling cylinders • Handling and storing full cylinders TM-5, Filling of High Pressure Medical Oxygen Cylinders (intended for cylinder fillers and handlers, this presentation covers the following topics): • Oxygen properties and hazards • Cylinder filler qualification and training • Cylinder filler personal protective equipment (PPE) • Cylinder and valve types • Cylinder markings • Prefill cylinder inspection • Filling cylinders • Labeling • Documentation • Handling and storing of full cylinders •

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MEMBER BENEFIT In addition, the following eLearning module is scheduled to be released before the end of 2019: TM-6, Filling of High Pressure Industrial Gas Cylinders (provides material to help in training operators to fill industrial gas cylinders safely and properly; this presentation covers the following topics): • Atmospheric gases (argon, nitrogen, oxygen) properties and hazards • Cylinder filler qualification and training • Cylinder filler personal protective equipment or PPE • Cylinder and valve types • Cylinder markings • Prefill cylinder inspection • Filling cylinders • Labeling • Documentation • Handling and storing of full cylinders Our first three eLearning modules, published in 2018, cover the following topics: TM-1, Safe Handling and Storage of Compressed Gases

(covers the following major areas of compressed gas safety): • Cylinder and container examples • Cylinder and container markings • Equipment examples • Understanding labels, symbols or pictograms, and product classification • Moving and storing cylinders and containers • Connecting and using cylinders and containers • Emergency response and site security • Regulations and additional references TM-2, Safe Handling of Acetylene Cylinders (provides an overview of the following): • Acetylene properties and characteristics • Acetylene cylinders and equipment • Acetylene cylinder storage, handling and use TM-3, Safe Handling of Cryogenic Liquids in Portable Containers (provides an overview of the following areas related to cryogenic liquids): • Properties and characteristics • Containers and equipment

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MEMBER BENEFIT Safe storage, handling, and use In the coming months, we will continue to work with our colleagues at GAWDA to identify additional topics for future modules, as we further develop this exciting industry training resource. •

HOW TO GET ACCESS TO CGA’S eLEARNING MODULES FOR YOUR TEAM Want to give your employees access to this powerful eLearning library? Sign up to participate in the cooperative program between GAWDA and CGA. To be eligible for this unique member benefit, your company: • Must be a GAWDA distributor member in good standing, and • Must participate in the CGA & GAWDA Distributor Reporting and Safety Awards Program (requires annual submission of OSHA 300A safety data to CGA – for all companies with 11 or more employees) If you work for a GAWDA distributor member and would like to learn more about how to apply to have your company participate in this valuable program, and access CGA’s eLearning training modules, check out these links:

• •

CGA Website: portal.cganet.com/GAWDA.aspx. GAWDA Website: gawda.org/resources/cga-subscription-program/.

ACCESSING CGA’S eLEARNING MODULES Once your company has successfully signed up for the CGA subscription program, you will need to apply for access to the eLearning modules. Participating GAWDA members may navigate to the CGA Member Site at portal.cganet.com, click on publications, then search by the training module ID (e.g., TM-1) or filter on Video & Training Materials. Select the desired module, then select Initiate eLearning on the publication detail page. CGA staff will then enroll users in the training and send instructions for accessing the module within one business day. Once registered, users will have access to each training module for 90 days. The CGA and GAWDA partnership continues to grow and flourish. Be sure to take advantage of these valuable tools for your company.

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EMPOWERING ITS PEOPLE

How Holston Gases, Inc.’s entrepreneurial culture has spurred more than 60 years of success BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

H

olston Gases, Inc. (Knoxville, Tennessee) was originally founded as the Holston Oxygen Company in 1958. Pat Baxter and Bob Walsh had worked together at National Cylinder Gas (NCG) and decided to strike out on their own to start the Holston Oxygen Company in Knoxville. Baxter and Walsh grew the business one account at a time, as customers were attracted to the personal attention and superior effort that the company made to satisfy their needs. In 1976, Baxter bought out Walsh’s interest in the company to become the sole-owner of Holston. What had started as a two-man operation began to grow in earnest when Pat’s son, Bill Baxter, joined the company in 1981. “Bill really didn’t have any intention to come into the business,” says Robert Anders, president/CEO of Holston Gases. “He had gotten his law degree and was practicing law in Knoxville when his dad said to him, ‘You need to come take a look at this. This might be something you want to do.’” 28 • Fall 2019

Bill decided to leave his law practice behind and join the company. However, he wasn’t gifted an executive position on a silver platter. “He worked his way from the ground up,” says Anders. “Eventually he took over as president of Holston Gases. We’ve taken off since then under his leadership. We’ve grown from one store to 34 stores in six states, with a variety of products and a broad product line.” Another watershed moment in Holston history was when Anders joined the company in 1990. “I was working for BOC Gases,” Anders says. “They had just transferred me to Knoxville and I met Bill as a competitor. He was getting ready to go into expansion mode and he asked if I wanted to come help him do that. It was the best decision I ever made. I’m finishing up my 29th year with Holston and it has been an incredible run.”

COMPANY CULTURE Anders’ longevity is not an exception at Holston. It is the norm. The company

ABOVE: Holston Gases, Inc. employees at the company’s 60th Anniversary Celebration.

has built an incredible company culture that entices employees to join the company and nurtures them and helps them grow in a way that makes them want to stay once they’ve joined. “We have 400 employees now. If you talk to our employees, I think they would say that there is a genuine feeling of togetherness and that everybody is pulling in the same direction,” says Anders. “We celebrate our success throughout the entire company. Last year was our 60th anniversary and we celebrated by bringing everybody in the company to Knoxville and renting out a big amphitheater for a fantastic celebration. We brought back our retired employees as well. Our employees feel like they’re a part of the bigger picture.” One of the core tenets at Holston Gases is the sense of ownership that permeates the entire organization, from Anders all the way through the drivers and floor workers.


MEMBER PROFILE

“When you get highly-motivated, talented people, and you put handcuffs on them, it can be demoralizing,” says Anders. “I’ve seen people who have come to work at Holston Gases because they felt that they couldn’t get out and do their job properly at their previous employer. They felt like they couldn’t make decisions. And they want to work for a dynamic company that is moving quickly and is going to give them an answer to their questions right away.” One of the ways that Holston has been successful in growing and cultivating a successful leadership structure is by focusing very heavily on its bench strength and making sure that employees understand what opportunities there are for growth within the company. “We’re striving as much as possible to grow our own,” says Anders. “We’re identifying young people, early in their careers and approaching them and saying, ‘If you buy in and go through the process, there is a great career for you here.’ That’s one thing Bill and I take some of the greatest pride in right now

THEN & NOW LEFT: Holston’s original founders, Bob Walsh (left) and Pat Baxter (right). RIGHT: Holston Gases, Inc. President and CEO Robert Anders (left) with Chairman Bill Baxter (right).

is looking across the landscape of our company and seeing how many good, young, talented people we have in our company who have 10-15 years of experience already.” He continues, “We get them early and get them to understand and buy into our culture. And they’ve got plenty of examples to look at of people who did their positions before and went on to have tremendous careers and are now getting to retirement age. We don’t have to paint a mental picture for them. We can point and say, ‘This could be you.’”

ENTREPRENEURIAL MANAGEMENT In addition to its culture of internal growth and development, another area where Holston appeals to potential employees is through its decentralized management structure. Holston’s management team encourages each of its

branch managers to run their location like an entrepreneur. “We think that’s the heart of our success,” Anders says. “We are a very decentralized company in a time where it’s very vogue to be centralized. We believe that one of the things that has been very successful for us is our local presence.” For Holston, the idea of a “local presence” goes deeper than simply having a store in town. It’s having a person who understands the local dynamics of the town and understands that a business run in their location might not run the same way as one two towns over. “We do everything on a local level,” Anders says. “All AR is handled locally, which is extremely unusual. All distribution is handled locally. All sales and management are handled locally. We want our managers to have a holistic approach to that market and to their customers. We empower our branch managers to run their branch like it’s their own business, as a general manager. So we don’t make decisions Fall 2019 • 29


MEMBER PROFILE about who is going to be a general manager lightly.” Even the branch manager’s compensation is based directly off the financial statement of the branch. “Branch managers have full P&L responsibility, fully burdened responsibility, and they’re compensated off of the results of the financial statement,” says Anders. “That changes the way you think about things. You don’t think about things strictly from a sales standpoint, although that’s the most important function that we do. You have to think about distribution costs, about labor costs. There’s not some corporate office who is absorbing those expenses.” For Anders, it’s extremely important for the branch managers to think about things like an entrepreneur. “They have got a tremendous amount of authority and influence in the market. They have to look at things like a business owner. Obviously we coach them and work with them and we’re there to support them and help them. But we’ve created a culture of ownership. We’re not here to micromanage them from up in an ivory tower,” Anders says. One of the ways that Holston demonstrates that trust and sense of ownership within the company can be seen in its management structure. Unlike some larger distributors, Holston only has four regional vice presidents. “It’s a very flat management structure,” Anders says. “It’s not a big hierarchy out there. Our regional VPs have a tremendous amount of authority to run their regions. And they, in turn, as warranted and deserved, drive that authority down into the branch level.”

GROWTH TOP: Holston’s corporate office. MIDDLE: An automated fill plant at Holston’s Knoxville, Tennessee location. BOTTOM: Holston’s Clinton, Tennessee propane terminal 30 • Fall 2019

To get from The Holston Oxygen Company, with two-employees, to today having 400 employees across six states, with 34 branches, each with a localized, entrepreneurial-spirited General Manager,


required strategic thinking and a bold growth strategy. “If you go back to 1958 when the company was founded, the predominant gases being sold were oxygen and acetylene,” Anders explains. “For us, one of our biggest decisions was getting into the propane business. We are one of the largest independent propane companies in the United States. And as we progressed into the 1960s, we realized that the name Holston Oxygen didn’t accurately represent who we were anymore.” With that realization, the Holston Oxygen Company became Holston Gases, Inc. As the company continued to grow and evolve, it slowly added more services and began to sell to a more diverse market and client-base. When Bill Baxter joined the company in 1981, the company kicked its growth into overdrive. “When Bill came into the company he looked at it and said, ‘We can start doing more. We can start expanding,’” Anders notes. To date, the company has made 35 acquisitions in its history. Its first acquisition came in the 1980s in Morristown, Tennessee. “We’ve made acquisitions big and small,” says Anders. “Once we made the first one, we just started looking strategically to see where it made sense. We knew we wanted to expand but we also wanted to stay regional. We wanted to be able to control it.” Holston continued to expand beyond Knoxville and, eventually, beyond Tennessee altogether. Today, Holston has branches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. It also serves customers in Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. “We didn’t want to leapfrog two states over and start running an operation there. That wasn’t for us,” Anders says. “We wanted to make sure we could service our customers the way we always had.

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We wanted to grow in a strategic and manageable way, both financially and personnel-wise.” Of course, evolving from The Holston Oxygen Company into Holston Gases, Inc. required more than an increase in the number of locations. It required an expansion of its supplier base. Today, Holston Gases is a full-line welding supply company that also carries safety and welding supplies. The company carries all welding and industrial gases, medical, specialty and laboratory gases,

beverage CO2, and propane gas, and is equipped to handle compressed cylinders, bulk facilities and liquid requirements. To serve all those markets, Holston has distribution agreements with more than 1,000 companies, ensuring that “if you need it, Holston can get it.” The company’s featured vendors include: American Saw-Lennox, Bosch, Dewalt, ESAB, Hobart, Hypertherm, Lincoln Electric, Miller Electric, MCR Safety, United Abrasives, John Tillman Co, National Standard, 3M and Norton.

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“If you’re going to be a full-line supplier, you need to have arrangements with an awful lot of companies. We’ve strategically looked and asked ourselves where do we want to be? What products do we want to commit ourselves to? If you sit with any good size independent, every one of them has a little bit of a niche out there that they’ve decided to go after in this business,” Anders says. “We’re really working hard on our beverage CO 2 business, for example. We think that’s going to be very successful.” To represent all of those suppliers requires strong relationships and good communication. “It’s so important to consistently deal with your manufacturers in a very fair way,” Anders says. “The same way you do with your customers. If you create adversarial relationships with your suppliers, they’re not going to value your business. And that’s one of the things we try to do. We’ve tried to be fair to our suppliers and empathize with their stresses and pressures.” He continues, “We understand that costs go up. That’s a reality for all of us. It’s more important to us that the supplier is going to come in here, train our folks and work with our people. That’s who we’re going to value a whole lot more than the person who says, ‘Well, I can give you 3% off of that product.’ That’s a reputation we’ve worked hard to uphold and I think it’s something that will bode well for us in the future.”

GOING FORWARD Over 60 years, Holston has seen tremendous growth and evolution. During that time, the company has lived by core tenets and philosophies that have guided that growth and informed that evolution. Going forward, Holston will continue to operate by those philosophies as it continues its growth. “I’ve got a map in my office,” Anders


MEMBER PROFILE The Clinton, Tennessee propane terminal has 440,000 gallons of ground storage

GAWDA’s Board of Directors, in line to the presidency of the association. “When I was approached to see if I was interested in joining the executive committee, I was initially unsure,” Anders admits. “It was my wife that ultimately helped make the decision. She said, ‘This isn’t about you. This is about your

opportunity to give back to an industry that has been tremendous to you and your family.’ And that’s what I want to do. If I can help in some way during my tenure on the Executive Committee to help strengthen the organization and strengthen our industry, then I will feel blessed to be able to do that.”

Wright Wilbur Orville Wright and John T Daniels photographer. First flight 120 feet in 12 seconds; Kitty Hawk North Carolina. Kitty Hawk North Carolina 1903. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/00652085/.

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says. “The first one I hung up was a 200mile radius outside of Knoxville. Once we got beyond that, I got another map. This one is a 300-mile radius. We’re going to continue to expand into contiguous markets that make sense for us.” However, as it has always done, Holston refuses to grow just to grow. It will evaluate each opportunity the same way it always has, and, if it is something that makes sense, it will act decisively. “We’re not driven by size,” says Anders. “We’re not driven by number of branches. We want to continue to grow and we think there are some great opportunities out there for us. But you’ll never see Holston leap-frogging 300 miles and opening a new store.” Today, the company has four central fill plants around the southeast that it considers its hubs to expand. The most recent one is located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. “We try to open one new branch per region per year,” says Anders. “But if it doesn’t make sense, we don’t do it. Two years ago, we didn’t open a single one. This year we opened five. We’ve got a pretty good footprint right now and we just want to expand on it and fill in the gaps.” From a personal perspective, Anders knows what at least his next four years hold. At the 2019 GAWDA Annual Convention, Anders was named “Mr. X” as the Second Vice President of

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n the United States, everybody loves coffee. That’s not much of an exaggeration. According to a study from the National Coffee Association (NCA), 64% of Americans consume coffee every single day. An average American drinks 3.1 cups per day and, cumulatively, Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee every day. So how does this impact the gases and welding industry? Over the past several years, a new trend in coffee has emerged. One that appears to be more than a passing fad. That is the rise of nitro brewed coffee. “The market for cold brew and nitro cold brew coffee equipment has grown dramatically in the last two years. That’s been driven by strong customer demand,” says Matt Boettner, CEO of All Safe Global. “We supply open mouth ball lock kegs in the coffee field. Open mouth kegs are versatile because they allow the user to both steep (brew) the coffee and dispense it. Also, the steeping method is popular because it yields authentic flavors without concentrates or other processing.” Nitro brew coffee is cold brew coffee that is stored under nitrogen and dispensed with nitrogen. The nitrogen gas is released through a pressurized valve with tiny holes. That high pressure forces the cold brew through the valve. The result is a creamy head, similar to a Guinness. “The entrained nitrogen makes the coffee taste creamier,” says Bill Baker, VP of Business Development – Service Markets and Safety at Airgas, an Air Liquide company. “Adding gaseous nitrogen increases the surface area in the coffee, which brings out a sweetness.” Though the exact origins of the drink are unknown, in 2015, both Cuvee Coffee of Austin, Texas, and Stumptown Coffee of Portland, Oregon, began offering nitro coffee in a 34 • Fall 2019

can, according to Airgasthinks.com. “The equipment to dispense the nitro coffee is specialized, so it likely would require some ‘scale’ to justify the investment in a retail establishment,” Baker says. However, for companies who can’t afford to install the tap systems and kegs, there are other options to consider. One is the purchase of wholesale kegs of nitro brewed coffee that last for roughly a month once tapped. Another is to offer the beverage in cans. One Syracuse, New York-area café that offers nitro coffee in cans is Café Kubal. “People enjoy a pour-over coffee versus a drip coffee,” says Anthony Tringale, account manager at Café Kubal. “You get a smoother, cleaner cup of coffee that way. With the nitro cold brew, it’s smoother, silkier, almost velvety. I think people enjoy that and prefer that taste.” In December 2018, Starbucks announced that it would begin selling nitro coffee in all of its U.S. retail locations. At the time, the company had taps in about 2,500 of its roughly 8,500 locations. The announcement said that by the end of 2019, every location would have nitro brew on tap. “We’ve been involved in this industry for three to four years,” Baker says. “Initially, we thought it sounded like a passing fad. But it seems to be continuing.”

WHY IT’S POPULAR In addition to its extra filtration, due to being a pour over rather than a drip coffee, nitro cold brew has found a market among Cross Fit athletes and other health-conscious consumers. Because the nitrogen unlocks the sweetness and creaminess in the coffee, it is served unsweetened without requiring cream or sugar additives.


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“Adding gaseous nitrogen increases the surface area in the coffee, which brings out a sweetness.” “A Cross Fit gym in town would buy these by the case,” says Tringale. “People were working out and then enjoying it. The fact that it’s cold helps, but it’s not an energy drink, it’s not a flavored water. Coffee only has about three calories in a 12 ounce can and it gives you that boost of energy.” According to BRUW, a company that sells cold brew coffee filters, coffee also has fat-burning properties that can cause fat cells to be used as energy, rather than glycogen. And the University of Illinois concluded that those who consumed coffee prior to their workouts experienced less muscle pain during the workout than non-coffee drinkers. Nitro brew also cuts the acidity typically found in most cold brews, making the beverage easier on the stomach. “Coffee isn’t an unhealthy beverage,” Baker says. “It’s adding cream and sugar that make it unhealthy.”

MISCONCEPTIONS A common misconception about nitro coffee is that it contains more caffeine than regular coffee. Part of the reason for that misconception is in the branding of “nitro” but another is that Starbucks doesn’t offer the product in their largest size. Many have speculated that is due to an increased caffeine content, but the true answer is much simpler. The surface area of the cup is too large, and the drink loses its “nitro cascade” at the venti size. “There is no more caffeine

Café Kubal’s canned Nitro Cold Brew coffee Fall 2019 • 35


RICHES IN THE NICHES BREWING UP BUSINESS

than any other cup of coffee,” says Tringale. Another misconception is that the addition of nitrogen can make the product potentially unsafe, as is the case with “Dragon’s Breath,” a dessert made from cereal dipped in liquid nitrogen. “The concern is not the same [as with Dragon’s Breath],” says Baker. “Dragon’s Breath is created by pouring liquid nitrogen onto the product and has a risk of entrained liquid nitrogen. Nitro coffee is a gaseous nitrogen.”

SERVING THE INDUSTRY

Recess Coffee, a Syracuse, New York area coffee shop, offers Nitro Cold Brew Coffee on tap.

According to Boettner, there is opportunity available for nitrogen distributors to capitalize in this market. “There are lots of restaurants, cafés, breweries and coffee shops that want to offer cold brew nitro coffee, but connecting with them can be a challenge,” he says. “Smaller distributors really excel at this. So, we at All Safe Global partner with them and system integrators to serve these customers. We always work with the gas suppliers to get the end user what they need.” While breweries may have experience handling nitrogen for some of their craft beers, for most cafés and coffee shops this is an entirely new frontier.

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“One of the big things we had to explain when we first started was the difference between food-grade and industrial nitrogen,” Baker says. “If it’s going into a product that is being consumed, it has to be food-grade. If you use industrial nitrogen for beverage applications, you risk adding unwanted impurities to the product. Most establishments who dispense beer are well aware of this distinction, but coffee shop owners new to using gases in their processes really need to keep it in mind.” The other challenge is in managing expectations. “These customers are often challenging to deliver to,” Baker says. “It was a bit of a learning curve explaining how to watch the inventory of nitrogen. You can’t just have the product go out and then expect that a delivery can be made immediately.” But as this trend continues to grow, more and more opportunities will open up. “I would say that the market for nitro is pretty flooded,” says Tringale. “Everybody wants it. So, the big players like Starbucks and Dunkin probably already have contracts. But where I think there might be a really good market for somebody who can provide the nitrogen or help with the process are local cafes and coffee shops that may only have a couple of locations.”

A Nitro Brew Coffee tap.

Fall 2019 • 37


Annual Convention Recap

“IT’S ALL ABOUT SERVICE”

G

AWDA’s 2019 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. was a smash success! A record-breaking number of GAWDA members enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather, breathtaking venue at the Marriott Marquis, and, of course, the unparalleled networking and educational opportunities provided over the course of four days, from September 28 – October 1. Read on to see all the highlights of this year’s GAWDA Convention and to see what the association and its leadership have up their sleeves for 2020! Thank you to all who attended for continuing to raise the bar on this annual event.

BRAD PETERSON PRESENTED THE GAWDA YEAR IN REVIEW During the Sunday Morning Opening General Business Session, 2018-2019 GAWDA President Brad Peterson welcomed members to Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital has special meaning for Peterson, as he had passed through the area many times during his Navy career. “I interviewed with the Naval Reactors program here, completed my nuclear engineer’s examination just across the river, and have many friends in the area,” he noted. Peterson began the meeting by thanking the Executive Committee, Planning Committee and Past Presidents who were in attendance. He then gave a brief summary and recap of his term as president. Brad’s theme for the year was, “The Year of Service” and the Convention theme, “It’s All About Service,” reflected that idea. Some of the year’s highlights that Brad mentioned included: • He congratulated Natasha Alexis on the birth of her daughter in May. • The establishment of an annual meeting between GAWDA staff and GAWDA Media. 38 • Fall 2019

• The trimming of the number of regional meetings from 9 to 4. • The launch of the CGA eLearning program. • Improved reporting of GAWDA services to leadership with more metrics to better understand member engagement. • The remodel and lease extension of the GAWDA headquarters in Hollywood, Florida. Peterson also highlighted the importance of GAWDA’s membership recruitment efforts. “Back in 2016, the Executive Committee launched the ‘Member-get-a-Member’ referral recruitment program. Our role as leaders of GAWDA is to think of ways to grow and strengthen the organization,” Peterson said. “In three years, with your help, we have recruited about 12 new distributor members. Keep up the great work and let’s keep sharing all the benefits of joining with other Distributors in this organization.”


We are so grateful for the generosity of #GAWDA members for the GAWDA Gives Back campaign! Your contribution will fund activity grants for at least 250 more amazing #militarykids during a parent’s overseas deployment or combat-injury recovery! – @ourmilitarykids on Instagram,

GAWDA GIVES BACK

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The GAWDA Gives Back final total was revealed and the award presentation took place during Sunday’s business session. Two Washington, D.C. area non-profit organizations were chosen by President Brad Peterson and his wife, Gaby, as the charities to benefit from this year’s GAWDA Gives Back initiative: Community Lodgings and Our Military Kids. Through the generosity of GAWDA members, each charity received a check for $74,960, for a total contribution of $149,920. Community Lodgings is a Washington, D.C. organization, founded in 1987, that focuses on helping to educate and lift people out of the cycle of poverty. On the day that Brad and Gaby visited, they watched the younger kids arrive, and then later, the middle-schoolers arrived for their time with the program.  They all clearly enjoyed their after-school snacks and activities and had an affectionate bond for their leaders and the program director, Miss Lynn.  Miss Lynn told Brad and Gaby about how they did field trips and had to contract with the local school district for busing needs.  She mentioned that she

could REALLY use a 15-passenger van, which would save money, time and stress by transporting the kids themselves. Our Military Kids is an organization that provides scholarships to children of military members who are deployed or hospitalized for extra-curricular activities. These activities help the children focus on something other than their parents’ absence or disability, and keep them connected to “regular” kids and activities. On the day that Brad and Gaby visited, they saw two volunteers and four staff members

stuffing the mailings that go out to the kids announcing that they’ve received a scholarship.   On this particular week, they sent letters to about 100 kids, with an average $400 scholarship.    The mailing is made to look like a classified official order packet, which is always a big hit with the kids.    The checks are made out to the organization providing the activity, and the group is audited once a year to make sure everything is in order. With the donation from GAWDA Gives Back, Our Military Kids will be able to underwrite more than 250 grants to children in need. Fall 2019 • 39


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

admiral, McRaven famously played a role in developing the plan to kill Osama Bin Laden, rescuing Captain Phillips, and commanding the troops that captured Saddam Hussein. He is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders on defense issues.

SPEAKERS GAWDA members enjoyed keynote addresses on a wide variety of topics from industry the experts at the AC. Read on for the highlights of these four engaging speakers. As an added benefit, GAWDA has uploaded Phil Kornbluth’s presentation on the Helium Shortage and Brian Beaulieu’s presentation on the state of the economy to the GAWDA.org Members-Only section, in the folder “AC 2019 Presentations.”

Admiral William H. McRaven, USN (Ret.) Admiral William H. McRaven was the first speaker at the Sunday Morning Opening General Business Session. Admiral McRaven is one of the most decorated and highly respected military members in our nation’s history. A Navy four-star 40 • Fall 2019

Admiral McRaven imparted to GAWDA members in attendance how everything he had experienced in Navy SEAL training had a life lesson behind it. These lessons, which he shared with GAWDA members, not only helped Admiral McRaven rise through the ranks of the United States Navy, but he has been able to carry them with him in his post-service endeavors. He has seen first-hand how they can be applied in everyday life from the battlefield all the way through to the boardroom. Some of the life lessons that

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• If you want to change world, start off by making your bed. As Admiral McRaven explained, “If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never do the big things right.” • “Find someone to help you paddle.” Admiral McRaven showed pictures of Navy SEALs in a small inflatable raft scaling enormous waves in the Pacific Ocean (pictured below.) He explained that in order to be successful, all members of the team needed to be working together. No single member of the boat would be able to row by themselves; they need a strong team behind them working together toward a common goal. • “Keep moving forward.” Admiral McRaven explained the concept of the “Sugar Cookie.” “Sometimes, no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform, you still end up as a sugar cookie. There were


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain. Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill. You were never going to succeed. You were never going to have a perfect uniform.” • “Never Ring the Bell.” Quitting SEAL training was the easiest thing in the world, Admiral McRaven explained. All a recruit had to do was simply ring the bell (pictured to the right.) And all of the yelling, all of the running, all of the cold, sleepless nights, would go away. “In SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have

“Never Ring the Bell” to wake up at 5:00 a.m. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the

PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”

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HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

Brian Beaulieu The second speaker at the Sunday Opening General Business Session is someone who is familiar to all GAWDA members. Brian Beaulieu, CEO and Principal of ITR Economics, is GAWDA’s chief Economist. Brian and the team at ITR form one of the most respected and accurate teams of economists in the entire world. Brian shared with attendees his economic forecasts for the next several years. “This is a challenging time,” Brian shared. “But we see this a slowdown, not a recession.” As regular readers of Welding & Gases Today have seen in the quarterly ITR projections, Beaulieu forecasts a slowdown throughout the rest of 2019 and in the first half of 2020. But those members who are prepared for that slowdown will be well-positioned to capitalize on the bounce-back in the second half of the year and into 2021. “Do you have enough people and working capital in 42 • Fall 2019

place to make that happen?” he asked the audience. Other things that Beaulieu discussed during his presentation included: • While the 2019-2020 “slowdown” will not technically meet the definition of a “recession,” there is another looming business slowdown in 2022-23. “This will be the greatest downturn since the Great Recession,” says Beaulieu, before cautioning, “But it will not be as big as the Great Recession.” • Beaulieu said that he does not take seriously the media reports of a looming crisis in the U.S. or global economy. He does acknowledge that he expects the economy to “stall” in 2019 and 2020 before getting back to growth in 2021. • Overall, he expects the 2020s to be a decade of growth and prosperity, before a looming recession in the early 2030s. He advised members to borrow money now to get by in the 2022-

23 slowdown and be prepared to cash in on the upswing. To make these forecasts, Brian and the team at ITR rely on several leading indicators, including the Purchasers Managing Index, ITR Retail

Sales

Leading

Indicator,

JPMorgan Global PMI and many more. He shared these slides and also advised that GAWDA members pay close attention to the quarterly reports that ITR includes in each issue of Welding & Gases Today (including this one, on page 82). Paying attention to these quarterly reports will allow members to see when the indicators are pointing up or down and prepare their businesses accordingly. As an added member-benefit, GAWDA has made these slides available for download on the GAWDA.org

Members-Only

section, in the folder “AC 2019 Presentations.”


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS Don McMillan The Tuesday General Business Session opened in unexpected fashion as Don McMillan brought down the house with a surprise comedy show. Billed as a “futurist” in pre-Convention materials, Don soon revealed that his true role at the 2019 GAWDA Annual Convention was as the “Official GAWDA Comedian.” Though he did make some “futurist” type predictions, including that the iPhone 12 would follow the iPhone 11 and that after 5G we should expect “6G,” Don quickly transitioned into the meat of his presentation. Don, who has a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and is a selfdescribed “nerd” (NOT a geek, which he showed in exhaustive detail), was able to deftly weave math, charts and formulas into his comedy routine, even debuting a new “glossary of terms” for the gases and welding industry. He even cast the “GAWDA Movie” which got the loudest applause of all, with key GAWDA players attached, such as: incoming president Abydee Butler Moore (Anne Hathaway), Brad Peterson (George Clooney), Dave Mahoney (Anthony Hopkins), Jack Butler (Kevin Costner), Jim Kissler (Fred Flintstone) and Ned Pontious (Dolph Lundgren). A formal release date for the GAWDA Movie has not been set but we all wait with bated breath. If you enjoyed Don’s presentation and would like to get a weekly email with jokes and charts like the ones he showed at Convention, text “Funny” to 66866 or email don@technicallyfunny.com. Fall 2019 • 43


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

HELIUM SUPPLY BY COUNTRY - 2025 3% 1% U.S.+Can

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1% 2%

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ALG

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31%

Phil Kornbluth Phil Kornbluth was the final general session speaker of the Convention, taking the podium late Tuesday morning. Kornbluth, who is the founder/president of Kornbluth Helium Consulting, LLC, presented on the Helium Shortage 3.0. His presentation touched on key questions such as: What caused Helium Shortage 3.0? When and why will this helium shortage come to an end? And will helium shortages continue to be a problem? He told attendees of the conference that he was confident that the worst part of the shortage was over. He expects that the shortage will last through 2019 and most, if not all, of 2020, but should ease next year thanks to new supply from Arzew, Algeria expansion (up to 300 MMCF/Q1) and Qatar 3 plant (425 MMCF/Q3) entering the market. Production from the first tranche of Gazprom’s Amur Project (700 MMCF/2021-Q2) should rebalance the market in 2021. He cautioned that the shortage could end sooner due to demand 44 • Fall 2019

destruction or global economic slowdown. On the other hand, the shortage could be extended if new projects are delayed. His long-term outlook, post2021, is much more positive. “Oversupply is much more likely than a shortage, once Gazprom enters the market. Gazprom has the potential to produce 7.9 bcf from the Power of Siberia Pipeline’s throughput.” One thing he really stressed is that the shortages have not been a result of increased demand and that distributors should not worry that supplies will run out. “Helium demand is lower now than it was in 2011,” he noted. He also spoke at length about Non-Hydrocarbon Sources. He noted that these relatively small fields can be viable as sources of high-purity crude helium, balloon gas or near-Grade 5 quality gas, and that more than 20 companies are actively pursuing projects to develop NHC sources in North America. NHC projects could provide opportunities for some gas and welding distributors to

Qatar Algeria Australia Poland Russia Saudi Arabia South Africa

secure their own independent sources of helium. Kornbluth concluded the presentation with the following bullet points: • The world is not going to run out of Helium anytime soon, but… • Helium Shortage 3.0 will continue through 2019 and most likely throughout most or all of 2020. • The shortage is expected to ease during 2020 as new supply enters the market. • Production from Gazprom’s Amur Project should finally bring the shortage to an end in 2021. • Pipeline of new projects is robust and oversupply looks more likely than shortages after the Amur Project ramps up production. • The U.S. share of world supply will continue to decline and an increasing portion of world supply will involve political risk. As an added member-benefit, GAWDA has made these slides available for download on the GAWDA.org Members-Only section, in the folder “AC 2019 Presentations.”


2019 Annual Convention BY THE NUMBERS

220

Distributors from 88 Member Companies

365

Suppliers from 169 Member Companies

134

Exhibiting Companies

200

Brad and Gaby Peterson at the 2019 Annual Convention

Distributors attending the Contact Booth Program (A N E W Record), accounting for 91% distributor attendance (Another N E W Record)

903

To t a l A t t e n d e e s (including spouses, booth-only and sister associations) A NEW GAWDA RECORD “We’re so happy that the program continues to get stronger year after year. This year’s turnout is a reflection of that,” says GAWDA Executive Director John Ospina. “With the reimagined schedule for the 2020 SMC in Austin, we think we will be able to continue this momentum that we have built.”

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Fall 2019 • 45


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

ABYDEE BUTLER MOORE TAKES THE HELM AND LAYS OUT HER “2020 VISION.” The Tuesday General Business Session concluded with the “passing of the torch” from 2018-19 GAWDA President Brad Peterson to 2019-20 President Abydee Butler Moore. Butler Moore has the unique distinction of having prepared for this moment nearly her entire life. In a heartwarming video introduction from members of the Butler Gas family, including her father and 1992-93 President Jack Butler, it was revealed that Abydee would literally critique and fine-tune presentations for Jack and other Board Members at the time when she was just 6 years old. “My personal journey in the Association began with some of the best advice I have ever received: ‘Get involved in these associations, the people will help you and they will teach you the business,” she says. “I know it was the best advice I ever received, because it came from my father. And he got that advice from his father.” 46 • Fall 2019

After the video presentation, which ended with her two-yearold daughter proclaiming, “You’re the president, Mommy!” Abydee’s husband, Ryan Moore, formally introduced Abydee. “It is my pleasure to introduce GAWDA’s 2020 President, Abydee Butler Moore,” he said, as the Rolling Stones’ Jumpin Jack Flash boomed over the loudspeakers and Abydee was escorted down the aisle by the GAWDA Past Presidents in attendance. After a joyous few minutes, as Abydee hugged those that have paved the way for her to assume this position, she was presented with the Presidential Pin by John Ospina and her mother, Elissa, pinned it to her jacket. Ospina then presented her with a plaque, engraved “GAWDA President 2019-2020” with a removable gavel as well as an “Office of the President Banner.”

“Thank to the many lifelong friends in this room,” she said. “It has been a joy to volunteer and give back to the Association that has given so much to me, my family, our Butler Gas associates and our business.” Butler Moore then took the stage to lay out her “2020 Vision” and explain the focus of her tenure, including some of the changes that will be made to the Spring Management Conference. “My 2020 Vision for GAWDA includes more distributor engagement,” says Butler Moore. I was raised with the gas industry in my blood, with a spirit of volunteerism for the industry, and that is what I can pay forward this year. Supplier friends, we hear you loud and clear, ‘GET MORE DISTRIBUTORS AT FUNCTIONS.’ Distributor friends, we hear you too. ‘Give us a reason to show up and to send our teams.’”


One of the ways that GAWDA will be doing that in 2020 is by defining the separate target markets of an SMC and Annual Convention and packing each with content the creates return on investment of attendance. The SMC is designed to target the needs of management and operations decision makers and serves as an ideal platform for tactical networking, processoriented business education, and actionable take-home solutions. The Annual Convention is formatted to attract business owners and the company’s top decision makers. It addresses the market’s opportunities and threats at the “big picture” level and provides occasion for strategic networking with the industry’s leaders. “Each of you sitting in this audience needs to go home and apply something that you have learned this week back into your business,” she says. “You need

to implement some change, some improvement, some action. What are one to three big ideas that pay for this trip?” At the 2020 SMC in Austin, Texas, which will take place from Sunday, April 5 – Tuesday, April 7, 2020, GAWDA will be returning to its NWSA roots. “I grew up in the traditional days of NWSA, where we went to a city in the spring and a family resort in the fall,” says Butler Moore. Rather than two traditional “General Sessions,” one of the mornings at the SMC will be broken into four learning tracks, each with three separate presentations. These diverse tracks: Safety & Operations, Human Resources, Technology and Sales & Marketing, will offer attendees a variety of content to send their people to. Following the morning educational track session will be the Contact Booth Program on Monday afternoon.

My 2020 Vision for GAWDA includes more distributor engagement. – Abydee Butler Moore

“Stay for the Contact Booth program,” Butler Moore advises. “Your safety person, your operations, your HR person, your technology/administration people, your salespeople. All of them can be walking the floor meeting with supplier resources and industry contacts. Knowing the right person is everything!” Butler Moore concluded her presentation with a plea for all members to get involved. “GAWDA is an independent, volunteer-driven association,” she noted. “GAWDA needs you and your business needs GAWDA.” Fall 2019 • 47


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS GAWDA AWARD OF EXCELLENCE The GAWDA Award of Excellence recognizes members who demonstrate their passion and dedication to improving our industry. The progress we make as an organization is a result of our volunteers and members who work hard every day to advance our mission. This award is not given every year. It was last given in 2013. But this year, the award was given to Hypertherm Vice President Jeff Deckrow in recognition of his storied career and unbelievable contributions to our industry. Jeff, who entered the industry 37 years ago, is set to retire at the end of this year. Thank you to Jeff for your lifetime of service to our industry. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.

AND THE WINNER IS‌ Other industry awards given at the 2019 Annual Convention include: 1. The WEMCO Excellence in Welding Award, which was given to Coastal Welding.

Jeff Deckrow receives the GAWDA Award of Excellence.

2. Erich Haun, in recognition of his outstanding service as the co-chair of the Young Professionals Committee. 3. Doug Morton, in recognition of his service as the co-chair of the Industry Partnering Committee. 4.

Linda Smith, in recognition of her service as the co-chair of the Member Services Committee.

5. Jay Brant, in recognition of his service as a member of the GAWDA Board of Directors. 6. Mark Raimy, in recognition of his service to the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

1

7. Jeff Johnson, (not pictured) in recognition of his service as a member of the GAWDA Board of Directors.

CGA Annual Safety Awards: 8. Under 100,000 Employee Exposure Hours: Willard C. Starcher, Inc. 9. Over 100,000 Employee Exposure Hours: S.J. Smith Co., Inc.

View more photos from the Annual Convention at

GAWDAMEDIA.COM 48 • Fall 2019

2


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

3

4

5

6

8

9 Fall 2019 • 49


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

And the New Mr. X is…

Ned Lane also recognized Brad Peterson for his tireless work as this year’s GAWDA President. Brad was presented with a plaque and the ceremonial past-president’s jacket as a token of appreciation for the incredible work and service he has provided as president of GAWDA. Thank you for all of your hard work, Brad!

Robert Anders of Holston Gases, Inc. Robert is now the Second Vice President and will become GAWDA President after Abydee Butler Moore, Bob Ewing, and Gary Halter. Also announced were the names of the three incoming Vice Presidents to the Board. They were Brad Armstrong, Joshua Haun and Steve Rosenthal. Congratulations to Robert, Brad, Joshua and Steve.

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50 • Fall 2019


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

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HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

52 • Fall 2019


HQ & PROGRAM NEWS

Fall 2019 • 53


2019THE YEAR OF Past GAWDA Presidents Impart Pearls of Wisdom to incoming President Abydee Butler Moore by abyDee bUtLer MOOre, braD PetersON, NeD LaNe, Mark raIMy, bILL VIsINtaINer aND tOM bIeDerMaNN

A

t the 2019 GAWDA Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. Abydee Butler Moore officially ascended to the position of president of GAWDA. After the ceremony, which saw her get escorted to the stage by the GAWDA Past Presidents in attendance, Abydee laid out her “2020 Vision” for the association next year. However, the guided escort to the stage was more than a symbolic gesture. The past presidents who guided her to the stage have all stood where Abydee was about to stand and dealt with many of the same pressures and challenges that she will be facing in the upcoming year. And every single member of the Past Presidents club stands by, willing and able to answer any questions or share any advice with Abydee based on their past experiences. For this feature, Abydee contacted her five immediate predecessors with questions about the position she has just recently inherited. We thank Brad, Ned, Mark, Bill and Tom for their input and participation. 54 • Fall 2019


2019: THE YEAR OF SERVICE Brad Peterson, John Ospina and Abydee Butler Moore during the 2019 Annual Convention.

“It’s a responsibility and a privilege to be a representative and ambassador.” BRAD PETERSON 2018-2019 GAWDA President of Craig Wood and Ned Pontious. I was able to be the one to complete that process and open the new office down in Hollywood. ABM: What are you most proud of achieving for GAWDA?

ABYDEE BUTLER MOORE: Thank you for serving the industry as GAWDA President and for paving the way for others like me. When you look back on your year, what is your most memorable moment? BRAD PETERSON: The most memorable moment was the opening reception for the SMC in Minneapolis. The weather was perfect, the river and the city were a great backdrop, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I had worried about everything that could go wrong (including snow), but it all came off very nicely. NED LANE: For me, the most memorable moment was the announcement of the GAWDA Gives Back match and the unbridled emotion of the Mary’s Place representative. Pure joy and appreciation. MARK RAIMY: I would say the opening reception of the SMC in Boca Raton. That was most memorable to me because of the change in format that kept everybody together the whole night. BILL VISINTAINER: My induction, particularly being led to the podium by the former presidents. I was filled with a sense of purpose and appreciation for all of the men and women who have selflessly given their time and talent to make GAWDA an outstanding resource for all members. TOM BIEDERMANN: Well, the most memorable moment, to me, was completing our transition from the AWS managing us to our independence. I followed in the footsteps

BP: I’m proud to have done my part in keeping the organization moving ahead with new staff members and continual improvement in our processes. NL: Setting us on the path of measuring and documenting the value we deliver to our members. Having facts and figures in making decisions for the organization vs. what we may think is happening. Let the numbers lead the process. If you measure it, it will improve. Overall analysis of staff and workload to allow for the addition of Andrea Levy to help spread the workload and establish some member engagement metrics. Getting to bring the SMC to St. Louis was another proud moment. Many members had not visited the city and got to experience what our city has to offer. MR: Establishing ITR Economics as our chief economists. Macroeconomic forecasting is one of the most powerful business tools that is available to help us make decisions. It’s not just for the top of the company, it’s for all levels of the company. Either fortunately or unfortunately, where people will find the most value for this is when there is a flattening or downturn of the economy. I was fortunate enough during my time as president to not have dealt with that part of the economic cycle. But if you have been lingering on the sidelines or not really too sure how to use the ITR Report, now is when you should start paying attention because now is when it will be the most helpful. BV: I’m proud to have played a small role in the successful conversion to an independently run association. TB: I agree with Bill, that was such a proud moment to be able to say that we’re actually independent and to complete Fall 2019 • 55


2019: THE YEAR OF SERVICE

The GAWDA Past Presidents in attendance at the 2019 Annual Convention.

the process that was started by Woody and Ned. I’m very fortunate to have been put in that position. ABM: If you could have one do-over from your year as president, what would it be? BP: That’s a big one. If I could be president in a different year from building an Air Separation Plant, that would improve my attention to both projects. Both of them were long-term commitments, they just happened to occur simultaneously. NL: Similar to Brad, we had a lot going on at Cee Kay the year I was president of GAWDA. I wish I would have had the time to travel to all the regional meetings across the country. BV: I would not take a do-over. Everything did not always go perfectly as planned during my year. We experienced both successes and failures. I believe that all things come together for a purpose, we learn from our mistakes and we improve from our successes. MR: I agree with Bill, I wouldn’t take a do-over. TB (LAUGHING): I’d do it all over again! I would absolutely be willing to be GAWDA president again. It was such an absolutely excellent experience. Very fulfilling. I met a lot of people, I got to know a lot of people. And I would just do that whole process once again if I didn’t have to get my wife and my partners involved. They stood behind me 100%. 56 • Fall 2019

In the photo: from left, Brad Peterson, Scott Myran, Ben Sadowski (Mississippi Welders Supply Company)

ABM: At what point in your career did you determine that GAWDA volunteerism was the right path? What or who influenced you? BP: I’ve always thought that if you’re a member of a group, that at some point you step forward. This attitude was instilled in me by my parents, and I can vividly remember walking the sidewalk in Chicago with my father on our way to the GAWDA meeting. Specifically, I stepped forward with GAWDA when I retired from my Navy Reserve career. I just didn’t have the time up until that point. NL: Tom Dunn, the owner of Cee Kay, had always been open to sharing our successes and failures with other distributors. The networking at the GAWDA events allows you to build relationships and be open to share. MR: I would say the first GAWDA meeting I attended, which was an SMC in Dallas. Once I saw the interaction and the resources that were available in one room and one Convention over a couple of days, it was pretty clear to me that you had


2019: THE YEAR OF SERVICE

Let the numbers lead the process. If you measure it, it will improve. NED LANE 2017-2018 GAWDA President to be deeply involved in this. BV: I attended my first NWSA Annual and Zone Meetings in 1984. I was very young and had lost my mentor, my father, a year earlier. I learned this industry from NWSA/GAWDA meetings, speakers and fellow members. For the first five years attending NWSA/GAWDA, I was a net “taker” and “zero” contributor. Eventually, I was challenged by some of our supplier and distributor members to restart a Birmingham Regional Meeting that had gone dormant for years. From there, I was asked to serve on the Management Information Committee, Board, Executive Committee and as president. I am still a net “taker” of GAWDA benefits, but I try to payback wherever I can.

TB: When I was transitioning into management of our company, I was given the opportunity to go to NWSA at the time. I was so impressed with the whole function; The attendance, the people who were just pleased to be there. I volunteered right off the bat. I worked in committees. I was on the board several times. I was asked a couple of times if I wanted to be president, but it wasn’t right for my family. When it became proper and right for my family, my wife and I talked about it and we jumped in. ABM: What does it mean to you to serve the industry and our Association? BP: It means that I contribute to the well-being and positive image of our organizations. It’s a responsibility and a privilege to be a representative and ambassador.

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Fall 2019 • 57


2019: THE YEAR OF SERVICE

“Doing what we’re doing for the industry to keep our industry alive and viable is very, very important.” TOM BIEDERMANN 2014-2015 GAWDA President

NL: It was important to me to give back to the industry that has been so good to my family and I over the past 35+ years. MR: It’s humbling and gratifying to be able to give back and be a steward. Stewardship was a big thought process I had when I approached this role. And then, to be able to have that responsibility, and to be able to, at least incrementally, make it a little bit better or different than when you did it and have some of those changes be long-lasting, it’s beyond gratifying. BV: It is my honor, my privilege and my responsibility. TB: I enjoyed doing every bit of it. From just being a committee member to a committee chair to the board. It was something that I didn’t realize I would enjoy doing. My dad was a big influence. My dad was a past president of NWSA. He encouraged me to continue on and I’m really glad that I did. ABM: What advice do you have for those like me walking in your footsteps? BP: Take a deep breath and make sure you’ve got great people running the business while you’re busy with GAWDA. NL: Enjoy the ride! It is hard to get everything done in one year. Be confident that the projects or changes you implement will have a lasting impact on GAWDA. MR: My advice is two-fold. GAWDA is at its best when we all come together and learn from each other. I think as long as you have that theme or that thought process in every decision you make, you’re going to make a good decision. One of the beauties of having presidents is that there are things that we all kind of work on and continue, but it’s an opportunity for you to do something that you think is good for the association. So, make sure you take advantage of that opportunity. Trust in yourself and dare to be dynamic and take some risks. 58 • Fall 2019

BV: Just take some time to smell the roses and enjoy the journey. TB: Like everybody else said, take it all in and enjoy every minute of it. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of time. And it’s time away from the office and the family. However, doing what we’re doing for the industry to keep our industry alive and viable is very, very important. ABM: Which fellow past president showed you the ropes? Who was on your speed dial? BP: Basically, any past president has been more than happy to answer my questions. In fact, I’ve talked to at least ten…I was tracing the history of some matter and just started calling them in order. Ned Lane and Bill Visintainer showed me the most “nuts and bolts” of things. They were current on the issues, and I saw them at every executive committee meeting. It’s a good structure to have past presidents involved. NL: Mark Raimy and I spoke a lot. We had a lot of projects that took both our years to get completed. Though he is not a past president, John Ospina and I spoke weekly. His passion for GAWDA and his team gave me motivation to work with the Board to make and implement changes. MR: The overwhelming message that I got is that any and every past president was available for anything that I needed. And that was clear as a group. It was clear individually. Whether you knew them a little bit or didn’t know them at all. So, I did take advantage of that from time to time and spoke to people that I never would have had the opportunity or felt comfortable enough to give a call to talk to. My three, in particular, would be: Jack Butler, Bill Visintainer and Randy Squibb. BV: Bryan Keen, Craig Wood, Jack Butler and Lloyd Robinson were the past presidents who most “showed me the ropes.” The


2019: THE YEAR OF SERVICE

“GAWDA is at its best when we all come together and learn from each other. I think as long as you have that theme or that thought process in every decision you make, you’re going to make a good decision.” MARK RAIMY 2016-2017 GAWDA President

three people on my speed dial were probably Jimmy Walker, Natasha Alexis and John Ospina. TB: Of course, my dad was someone I relied on. And Craig Wood was very influential in helping me make my decision. Woody and I have worked together in several different industry functions. I have a lot of respect for Woody and he and I had long conversations on the phone regarding this. He is more of a mentor to me than anybody really, outside of my family. ABM: What shows in your GAWDA crystal ball 10 years from now? What does our industry look like?

BP: Wow. Tough question. A constant swing of the pendulum from one side to the other. Majors acquiring and divesting. Independents starting up and rolling up. More technology. More interconnectedness. More efficiency. NL: I believe that there will be less Gas & Welding distributorships. Our membership roster may also consist of members that are more niche companies: Bev-Carb/Dry Ice/Cannabis Gas/Propane companies. MR: I see more of the same. If you look back through history, there have always been “systemic threats” to our industry. If you go back decades, there has always been something. But the thing that has been constant is the people and the willingness

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2019: THE YEAR OF SERVICE

“I believe that all things come together for a purpose, we learn from our mistakes and we improve from our successes.” BILL VISINTAINER 2015-2016 GAWDA President

to get together and learn from each other. Distributors, suppliers, different generations, you name it. It’s just a tremendous opportunity that at the core strengthens our industry. BV: I think we’ll see more of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. I see expanded gas applications and strong growth in food, beverage, medical and specialty. On the other hand, I expect fewer small fabricators, fewer distributors selling hardgoods only, and fewer requirements for humans with CDL and HAZMAT. TB: I think we’re looking at more compliance and more regulation. I think we’re going to be looking at more governmental involvement. Safety is a major issue and I think that will continue. It should be foremost on everybody’s mind as far as our industry is concerned. We’re a very safe industry and we have very few accidents compared to other industries. The potential of our industry is immense. I think the FDA will come down on us a little bit more, now with the food and medical gases. They don’t really know what to do with our industry at this point. It’s so different than what they are used to. I think that’s where we’re heading. And it will make doing business a little bit more difficult.

has faced something similar and they are always willing to provide their experience/guidance. MR: Get involved and stay involved. An example I use is that in my company, if a problem gets to me it’s usually complex. And people in our company might be having a hard time solving it. And more often than not, I find my resources and my answers from my GAWDA rolodex. From people that I have met at the Contact Booth program or at a social event or the receptions. That’s a huge resource. BV: You might be able to go it alone, but it will be significantly more expensive and definitely less sustainable. Our industry needs us as much as we need our industry. TB: Help us out. Help the industry out. By helping the association, you’re widening the scope of the industry as well as becoming more and more of an industry advocate. You’re widening the horizons of the industry as well as your own. You’re growing with the association and the industry.

ABM: What is your rallying cry to our membership? As you are influencing others to serve, what is your message? BP: The rallying cry is that we need an organization to do what GAWDA does…speak for the industry. Provide consultants. Watch the regulations and regulators. Provide networking opportunities. Spread knowledge. My message is that everyone needs to serve a turn helping out. You can’t belong without participating. It’s that simple. NL: Get involved. The time you put in will come back double in benefits. If you are able to network and build relationships, it will have a positive effect. Rarely at Cee Kay do we have a challenge that I cannot reach out to another member who 60 • Fall 2019

Bob Ewing, Abydee Butler Moore, Brad Peterson, and Ned Lane at the 2018 SMC..


SPRING MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE PREVIEW SAVE THE DATES

SUNDAY, APRIL 5 –TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2020

Austin, TX TIME

Held at the

JW MARRIOTT AUSTIN

110 EAST 2ND STREET AUSTIN, TEXAS 78701 USA

MEETING

SATURDAY, APRIL 4, 2020 12:00pm – 6:00pm

Early Badge Pick Up

SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2020 7:00am – 6:00pm

Conference Registration

8:00am – 9:00am

Executive Committee Meeting

9:00am – 11:00am

Board Meeting 1

11:00am – 1:00pm

Strategic Plan Rollout Working Lunch with Committee Chairs

1:00pm – 3:00pm

Committee Meetings

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Board Meeting 2

5:00pm – 6:00pm

For members who are new to GAWDA, our industry and have attended 3 or fewer GAWDA meetings.

New Attendee Reception

6:00pm – 10:00pm

President’s Welcome Reception & Dinner Hosted offsite at Austin City Limits

MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020

NEW FORMAT

7:00am – 5:00pm

Conference Registration Networking Breakfast and Welcome

ADDED VALUE

7:00am – 8:00am

STRONG

8:00am – 8:55am

EDUCATION SESSION 1

8:55am – 9:15am

Break

9:15am – 10:10pm

EDUCATION SESSION 2

10:10am – 10:30am

Break

10:30am – 11:25pm

EDUCATION SESSION 3

BUSINESS

CONTENT

By GAWDA President, Abydee Butler Moore

continued on next page

Fall 2019 • 61


SPRING MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE PREVIEW TIME

MEETING

MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020 (continued) Group Lunch 11:30am – 12:30pm

By GAWDA President, Abydee Butler Moore & Executive Director, John Ospina

12:30pm – 4:30pm

Contact Booth Program

4:30pm

Industry Hospitalities

TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2020 7:00am – 12:00pm

Conference Registration

7:00am – 8:00am

Networking Breakfast

8:00am – 10:00am

• President’s Address: GAWDA President, Abydee Butler Moore • Keynote Speaker: Patrick Lencioni

10:00am – 10:20am

Break

10:20am – 12:00pm

• GAWDA Scholarship Presentation • Industry Keynote Speaker

General Business Session

General Business Session

NEW FOR 2020

EDUCATION TRACKS APRIL 5 TO

APRIL 7 2020

SPRING MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE (SMC) Designed to promote interaction between Owners/CEO’s, management and operations decision makers, the SMC serves as an ideal platform for tactical networking, processoriented business education, and actionabletake-home solutions. 62 • Fall 2019

Workshops focusing on industry-specific topics to better serve our members. Choose your track and attend the sessions on April 6.

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SPA RK RKIN G Excitement in Welding How a Syracuse, New York, high school is preparing students for a career in the industry. by courtney Kless

64 • Fall 2019


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Jose Ocasio, standing left, with students of the Corcoran Welding Program.

T

he “skills gap” is an issue that all companies in our industry, as well as many of our customers, face every day. The nation-wide shortage of qualified welders and fabricators is certainly not a new phenomenon. We discussed what many GAWDA members are doing to address this issue in the spring issue of Welding & Gases Today, in an article entitled “Attacking the Skills Gap.” Today, a high school in Syracuse, New York, is doing its part to prepare students to fill that gap. Corcoran High School last year introduced a welding program as part of its 27 Career and Technical Education Programs. And this year, interest and participation in the program has skyrocketed. Instructor Jose Ocasio said during the last week of September alone, five students interviewed for the school’s welding program. Part of the draw is certainly the new, state-of-the-art lab that the school completed over the summer. “It’s this incredible thing that all of a sudden there’s a boom of excitement for

welding,” says Nick Lisi, the Business and Higher Education Liaison for the Syracuse City School District’s Career and Technical Education programs. “Who would have ever thought? But it’s happening. It gives you chills to think about. Before this program, students really didn’t know about this as a career path. But now that they know about it, they’re excited about it. And there’s a pathway to jobs. And there’s excitement from businesses for the students. It’s the perfect marriage.” Ocasio – a former instructor at Mohawk Valley Community College – says that as far as he knows, this is the only high school welding shop of its kind New York state. The shop officially opened its doors last May after two years of construction. During that construction, members of the program were transported to the Johnson Center in downtown Syracuse, to practice welding. Some of those students were able to get their first look at the lab during a six-week bridge program over the summer.

WELDING INDUSTRY OUTLOOK Lisi says the lab was built, in part, because there is a need for welders in the Syracuse community and beyond. “Businesses are reaching out to us; they’re not shy,” Lisi says. “They see a pipeline from our program to their businesses. They are seeing our students as their potential next employees. We meet with businesses regularly and they’re all saying the same thing: they have employees that are retiring, and they have no one there to fill that void. That really has been the motivating factor to get these programs going.” Ocasio says the need for welders is especially high in fabrication and manufacturing. Cal Manning – who has been a welding instructor at Haun Welding Supply for the past nine months – says that local companies are always looking for welders. “It’s going to be huge, getting these kids familiar with the industry and understanding it,” he says of the new lab. “I think it will really help the industry.” continued on next page

Fall 2019 • 65


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

A Corcoran High School student works on a welding project.

PARTNERSHIP WITH LINCOLN ELECTRIC The Syracuse City School District provided all of the funding for the lab and equipment. However, they partnered with the Lincoln Electric Company to help identify the best welding equipment and gear for their students that would help make this a state-of-the-art program. That partnership provides Corcoran with access to some of the company’s newest machinery and also to numerous other resources, including manuals and additional education for instructors. “Lincoln Electric is proud to have partnered with two strong local distributors to help set Corcoran High School’s welding program up for success,” says James Appledorn, Lincoln Electric’s U.S. Distributor Sales Manager. For Ocasio and the Corcoran Welding Program, that partnership with Lincoln has gone beyond input on products and access to equipment. “In my experience, it’s hard to get 66 • Fall 2019

manufacturers on the phone if you need something,” Ocasio says. “But having a partnership with Lincoln, we can call their rep and they will come in and quickly help identify what might be wrong with a given machine and suggest solutions on how to fix it.” Each student in the Corcoran Welding Program is required to provide three things: jeans, a shirt and steel-toed boots. The school supplies the other necessary equipment, giving each student a duffel bag that contains a helmet, bandanas, gloves and a jacket, all of which are purchased from Lincoln Electric. And Lisi says this is the same safety equipment a welder in the field would use. “In all of the CTE programs in Syracuse, [Director] Bob Leslie wants students to use the same equipment that’s used in the field,” Lisi says. “Students that are using Lincoln Electric could go to G.A. Braun (a manufacturer in Syracuse), and they may see the exact same Lincoln Electric welder.”

STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY As Corcoran underwent construction over the summer, the new welding lab caught the eye of some of the workers. “It’s like their dream shop,” Ocasio says. “They come in, they look at the machinery and they’re like ‘Oh wow!’” A converted technology room and office space, the welding lab features the newest machinery that Lincoln Electric offers. Each of the 16 booths contains a multi-process welder, which is unique from the ones previously used at the Johnson Center. “A lot of times, if you have a welder, you have to shut off that welder, plug in a different welder or plug in all the leads and take the leads off,” Ocasio says. “These welders already have all the processes built in, and they have software to them, so whenever you turn on the machine, you set which process you want and it will deactivate one plug and activate a different plug.” These welders can do 453 different


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT types of welds and are Bluetooth capable, enabling Ocasio to plug in his laptop and check a student’s progress that day, among other things. Each booth is also equipped with a stateof-the-art ventilation system. This allows Ocasio to talk to his students while they’re welding without shouting, something not normally possible because of the noise. “Over the summer, we might have had 12-14 students all welding at the same time,” Lisi says. “I mean it’s a shop, but you could still have a conversation…It’s pretty amazing.” Another unique feature of the Corcoran welding lab is the robotic arm welder, created to mimic those found in the auto industry. Students can also take advantage of the fully automated plasma table, which allows them to draw

and transfer files to it, then cut them out. can go anywhere. I’m pretty sure a lot For Ocasio and his students, the imof people in high school can’t say that.” pact of the new lab has been immediate. The welding program provides an One of those students is Priscilla avenue for students to become certified Jones-Johnson, who participated in and prepared to enter a vibrant and the six-week welding program over viable industry that thirsts for new the summer. She says, “I love welding. blood and new ideas. Just being inside a booth and as you “We have the machinery to actually work in there, actually being able to do do real life things,” Ocasio says. “It 106-8212 1/4 pg. 4C _3.375 x 4.375_Welding & Gases Today_Jan. 2017 things that most people can’t imagine gives [the students] a more tangible doing, that just excites me and motivates experience. When we talk about it in me to do better for myself. Right now, lecture, we go over safety and I show my life is welding, that’s how I feel. them the things you can actually do, Everything I’m trying to do is going and then I come [in the lab] and actutowards that goal.” ally do it with them, it gives them the That goal, for now, is to become cerwhole experience. They can actually tified in different types of welding, but feel what they’re learning rather than Priscilla hopes to own her own business reading about it in a textbook.” one day. “[The welding program] has Courtney Kless is the editor-in-chief of Family prepared me a lot,” she says. “At this Times. point, if I really put my mind to it, I

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SALES & MARKETING

Digital Marketing – What to do? How to Begin? BY BRIAN BLUFF, SITE-SEEKER, INC.

W 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.

68 • Fall 2019

hile digital marketing was once new and revolutionary, it’s now mature with less opportunity to stumble into success. That means you need to have a plan if you hope to succeed. But how does a company know where to start or if what it has in place is working? Further, what work should be performed in house and what should you outsource? At the highest level to be successful in digital marketing you need to develop a plan to address the following: • Your website • Search engines (Google) • Social media • Video • Email marketing • Measurement for success (Google Analytics)

YOUR WEBSITE The cost of a website project can be broken down into the selection of a content management system (software) and labor. Picking an open source content management system has many advantages. One of the key advantages is the fact that these platforms are free. The availability of many free or inexpensive plugins (discrete software bundles that add functionality to a website), the abundance of affordable developers, and the ease with which the site can be changed are also important to note. WordPress is the most popular open-source content management system with approximately a 60% market share. In my opinion, unless you have a unique need, you should build your website

on WordPress. An advanced ecommerce website would be an example of a unique need. The true cost of a new website includes: the labor to design or brand the site, code or assemble the pieces, and create and add content. Once your site is built, your job is not over. You should continually add fresh content and check your site’s analytics to identify opportunities for increased visitor engagement and conversion. Perform In-House During the initial build of the website, your internal team should be working on content creation. This is especially true if your products or services are technical or complex. After launch, your staff should make routine updates including adding or deleting product or service information, maintaining your events calendar, writing and posting blogs and case studies and adding news. Consider Outsourcing Website design and development should be outsourced. Adding functionality to the site typically requires the involvement of a developer, even in cases where a plugin is available. Websites require maintenance to keep things running smoothly. This includes installing platform and security updates. Outsource this work.

SEARCH ENGINES Search engines connect people that have a need to a source of information. Today, users of search engines can either satisfy their information needs right on the search engine, without navigating to a website, or they can leave Google in favor of a website as one might traditionally expect.


LOCAL LISTINGS Your Google My Business page or local listing can appear (under the map) when Google believes that the query can best be addressed by a local provider. Google My Business provides searchers with your address and ability to retrieve driving directions, phone number (click to call on a mobile phone), a description of your business, a star rating and reviews, and of course a link to your website.

ORGANIC SEARCH - SEO At a high level, SEO is about creating high-quality mobile-friendly content on a fast loading website and sending consistent signals to Google about the content’s meaning. Taking the time to fully describe a topic with unique content is a sign of quality. To do this, think about

the questions people might ask about that product or service and include answers to those questions within your content. Beyond visible content there is information or signals that are important from an SEO perspective. These include the page title (title tag), description tag (describes the content on that page), schema markup (code that allows the search engines to understand what your content represents - i.e. a product, event, review, etc.), and mentions or links to your website from other websites.

PAID SEARCH On Google, paid listings appear above organic listings so they attract more eyeballs. While many Google users still prefer to click on an organic listing, that mindset is changing in part because paid

results dominate mobile screens and because Google rewards ad programs that deliver the best content. Google Ads, Google’s advertising program, is made up of ads on Google, YouTube and Google’s display network (ads appearing on other websites including retargeting ads). With paid search, you pay when a searcher clicks on your ad. The amount you pay can be controlled by adjusting your bid and adjusting your daily budget. Another factor is a quality score assigned to your program by Google. Quality Score is determined by an assessment of the relevance of your ad and landing page to the search term. Google is protective of its users and if you run a sloppy Google Ads program you are going to have to pay more. If your program is a real mess, Google will stop showing your ads altogether. Fall 2019 • 69


SALES & MARKETING Perform In-House SEO: The person in your organization responsible to post new content should learn enough about SEO to optimize blog posts and other forms of new content. Local Search: Your team should solicit and respond to customer reviews from happy customers as a way to increase your exposure in the local search results and reach out to all customers to show you care. Consider Outsourcing SEO: Developing a sitewide SEO plan is a task that takes experience and, therefore, I’d suggest leaving it to a pro. Likewise, troubleshooting technical SEO issues and securing off page citations and links are best outsourced. Local Search: It’s not a bad idea, although not imperative, to outsource the creation of your Google My Business page. There are a few tricks and the need for high quality images. Paid Search: Although I’ve seen countless companies try to manage their paid search program internally, they almost always waste more money than the cost to have a trained and certified manager look after the program. For that reason, you should outsource management of your paid search program.

SOCIAL MEDIA Social media allows businesses to get the attention of potential customers, increase awareness of their brands and ultimately boost leads or sales. While Google is a better platform to attract prospects with an immediate need, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter play a role too. Facebook of course is the social media king. Unless you have deep pockets, I’d suggest that businesses in the gas and welding space limit their social media efforts to Facebook. If you were a restaurant or selling largely consumer goods, then this approach would change 70 • Fall 2019

to include additional platforms. Facebook is a great platform to push information about a training event, display your commitment to the community, promote a special or attract new talent. Like Google, traffic on social platforms requires ad dollars. On Facebook this means boosted posts or ads. Here’s a link to more information about advertising on Facebook (shorturl.at/qxE59) for those that are interested. Perform In-House Managing your Facebook program in house is certainly an option. However, like paid search you can expect better results by having a trained person manage your page. Managing your page includes establishing a social media calendar (planning what you’ll be posting over the next month) and responding to feedback and fan engagement. A middle ground between outsourcing and in housing all social media would be to outsource posting and advertising and in-house customer engagement (responding to reviews, likes, etc.). Consider Outsourcing There are certain aspects of social media that, if you choose to engage in them, should be outsourced. These

include significant advertising efforts and developing and managing campaigns and contents.

VIDEO No discussion of digital marketing is complete without mentioning video. Video is massively popular and the increasing use of mobile devices to consume this content is at the heart of video’s popularity. As the world’s second largest search engine, YouTube is both a destination for users looking for content and a platform from which you can easily embed video into your website. Like every other platform, traffic can be organic or paid. Companies should create a YouTube channel and populate that channel with fresh and interesting content. Your best professionally created content should be reserved for your “about” video or videos demonstrating a core capability. Good video, potentially even video shot on a mobile phone, can be used to document an event (training session) or demonstrate use of a product. Perform In-House Buy a decent camera and train a staff member to use it. iMovie or other base level video editing software can be used to polish these videos.


SALES & MARKETING Outsource Professionally shot and edited video is an important company asset. This effort includes pre-production (storyboarding and scripting), production (shooting) and postproduction (editing, voice-over, and adding music). Outsource your most important video projects.

EMAIL Email marketing is, in my opinion, the most misunderstood and underutilized form of digital marketing. From a complexity standpoint, email marketing can include blasting the same message to your entire list, to segmenting your list by vertical or area of interest and sending unique content to those lists. And, there’s a higher level of sophistication - marketing automation. Marketing automation involves the creation of logical workflows (a series of 5-8 emails about a particular subject) triggered by the recipient’s engagement with your content (visit to your website, clicking on a link in your email or filling out a form). Regardless of the approach you take, email marketing is both affordable and effective. Perform In-House If you are only publishing a monthly newsletter and you have a capable internal staff, then by all means, do this in house. Consider Outsourcing If you have the bandwidth to take on a more complex and potentially highly rewarding email marketing effort like a segmented campaign or building out a marketing automation program, you’ll need help. As you increase the complexity of your program, you would be advised to outsource this work.

MEASUREMENT Measurement is at the heart of digital

marketing and it’s the ability to test, measure and adjust that separates the winners from the losers. Every platform – Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc. – has a measurement tool and as you embrace any of these platforms, you should learn that tool. That said, Google Analytics will by far be your most important measurement tool. Google Analytics provides you with data about the performance of your website. More important than any specific individual metric is the ability to slice and dice the data. For example, let’s say that you have a handful of locations across NY state, it would be important to know which traffic source from that region, sent the most and highest converting traffic to your website. Here’s a link to Google’s “Get started with analytics” page (shorturl.at/ozH68).

Perform In-House The person in your organization overseeing digital marketing should be familiar with the various measurement tools associated with the platforms involved in your program. Company leadership should review high-level reports at least monthly and receive a deep dive analysis quarterly. Consider Outsourcing If you choose to participate in digital marketing, then you’ll need to protect your investment; and that means collecting and analyzing important data. After 16 years in this business, I’ve never seen an internal team capable of doing this effectively. Therefore, while I know this is a big pill to swallow, I’d suggest outsourcing your analytics efforts.

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SEARCH ENGINE TRENDS

E

ach year, Google publishes a year-in-review report discussing the year’s search engine trends. The report discusses not only what the most searched terms on the search engine were (world cup, Avicii, Mac Miller) but also how people are using Google. In 2018, Google reported a 500% growth in “near me” mobile searches that contain a variant of “can I buy” or “to buy.” To Google, this suggests that people are no longer using the “near me” function in Google to simply find places nearby. They’re using it to search for specific items, in a specific area. Part of developing a comprehensive digital marketing campaign, as detailed on pages 68-71, is understanding how customers and potential customers are using the Internet to find your products and your website. Google provides some wonderful tools online to gain an insight into how customers are using search engines to find your products. One free tool is called Google Trends. The graphs and information below all come from Google Trends, which analyzes the popularity

for the Gases & Welding Industr y BY STEVE GUGLIELMO

of search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. The graphs scale “Interest Over Time” which represent search interest relative to the highest point in the chart for the given region and time-period. So, a value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. Another alternative is “Google Keyword Planner.” To use 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. We would like to recognize Site-Seeker, Inc. for their help in putting together this information.

WELDING EQUIPMENT 100 75 50 25 NOV. 9, 2014

MAY 8, 2016

• Average monthly search volume has increased by 52.8% YoY • Average monthly search volume has increased by 16.9% over the past 5 years

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75 50 • Fall 2019 72 25

NOV. 5, 2017

MAY 5, 2019

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

Used welding equipment Welding equipment for sale Gas welding equipment Welding Supply Welding Jobs


75 50

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25 NOV. 9, 2014 ARC WELDING

MAY 8, 2016

NOV. 5, 2017

MAY 5, 2019

MAY 8, 2016

NOV. 5, 2017

MAY 5, 2019

100 75 50 25 100NOV. 9, 2014 75

• Average monthly search volume 50 has increased by 75.4% YoY

Welder Arc welder What is arc welding Metal arc welding NOV. 5,welding 2017 Mig

MAY 5, 2019

MAY 8, 2016

NOV. 5, 2017

MAY 5, 2019

MAY 8, 2016

NOV. 5, 2017

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100 •25 Average 75

monthly search volume has increased by 32.4% over the past 5 years

NOV. 9, 2014

50

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

MAY 8, 2016

FABRICATION

25

100NOV. 9, 2014 75 50 100 25 75

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TOP RELATED SEARCH QUERIES

50

• Average monthly search volume 25 has increased by 12.3% YoY • NOV. Average monthly search volume 9, 2014 MAY 8, 2016 has increased by 8.2% over the past 5 years

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Metal fabrication Welding Steel fabrication NOV. 5, 2017 Custom fabrication Fabrication near me

MAY 5, 2019

WELDING JOBS 100 75 50 25 NOV. 9, 2014

MAY 8, 2016

NOV. 5, 2017

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TOP RELATED SEARCH QUERIES • Average monthly search volume has increased by 2.4% YoY • Average monthly search volume has increased by 10.6% over the past 5 years 100 75

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Jobs near me Welding jobs near me Welder Welder Jobs Welding Salary Fall 2019 • 73


SALES & MARKETING

Using LinkedIn As A Sales Tool BY JOHN TAPLEY

L John Tapley is a business management consultant and entrepreneur with expertise in new business startup, innovative business growth and marketing strategies and digital/ social media marketing. He has significant experience in all facets of the industrial gas industry, both domestic and global. He is also a mentor at the Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute, Georgia State University and can be reached at John.Tapley@itbpartners. com and 404-314-8106.

74 • Fall 2019

inkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with more than 500 million members. Let me say that again. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. Why not leverage that to your advantage in finding new business opportunities in your territory, nurturing your customer base and building your brand as a subject matter expert to draw potential customers your way? The focus here is on the free version only. LinkedIn also offers paid business and premium versions with more robust search and communication features. I don’t intend to turn you into a social media expert. The sheer enormity of LinkedIn can be overwhelming. My aim is to guide you through small, simple steps for beginners and light users of LinkedIn to enable more success and awareness in their sales territories. Bottomline, LinkedIn offers you the means to augment traditional prospecting with new age social selling tactics.

THE PROFILE First things first, optimize your profile with a sales focus. Use your tagline as a value proposition. For instance, “High-value gas solutions for critical production processes.” Include a professional image of yourself. Nothing too elaborate, just a nice headshot from your iPhone will suffice. People like to humanize who they buy from and seeing an image vs. a blank is a bonus. Include something brief, but meaningful, in the “about” section. Here’s your chance to use a few keywords if you have a focus like medical, specialty gas, welding, life science, etc. Include any certifications or industry specific achievements but stay brief and high level.

BUILD YOUR NETWORK Connect, connect and connect. But make meaningful connections. Stay close to your industry and relevant contacts vs. building just for the volume. First, add every new customer that you close as a connection and all those you’ve been doing business within your account portfolio. Then, you can branch out by viewing connections of your current customers for any potential referral business. And, as a real bonus, now that you are connected, stay tuned for any notifications by your contacts on their new positions and/ or change in company so that you may be able to pursue additional business opportunities as a result of their new role.

BYPASSING THE GATEKEEPER There’s an age-old problem of finding and connecting with the right contact behind the walls of that business. You know they need you and if they could just meet you, it would be a done deal, new business on the books. Well, since LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional organization, odds are that the person you’re searching for has a LinkedIn account. Or if they don’t, it’s likely someone close to them will. Search the company and then on the heading, you’ll see any connections you have now that work there and just below that, a link “See all XX employees on LinkedIn.” Something like this:


SALES & MARKETING

Then, start digging. If you can’t find the person you’re looking for, start searching by position. Find people that may have an influencer role, such as quality manager, welding supervisor, lab manager, etc. Reach out and connect. Start building relationships with the ultimate objective in mind: taking the online conversation offline and meeting face-to-face.

INDUSTRY AND APPLICATION FOCUS GROUPS Join and follow groups that your prospects and customers are involved with. This is where they listen for content they care about. Be there with them. You can find your way there by viewing the profile of someone you’re pursuing and go to their “interest” section and view “groups” they follow. The image above is an example from mine. Once you’re there with them, consider sharing content that could benefit them and other members of the group. I’m not suggesting daily immersion in publishing content, but when you find something relevant to improving their business and helpful for their success, post it. Chime in on the comments and likes when you see something you can contribute. However, don’t get in the habit of “liking” everything that’s posted. Members will see through that as superficial. In addition to joining industry groups, also consider “following” companies you’re interested in, where business opportunities may exist. These can be for the purpose of tracking industry

trends or, better yet, monitoring activities where new business opportunities arise such as expansion announcements, new equipment installation, new processes, etc. Active listening can lead to first in positions on new business opportunities.

VIEWING TARGETED PROFILES IN YOUR INDUSTRY Odds are, you will begin to see more views of your profile when you start getting more active viewing other profiles. Make sure your privacy settings are not set to view other profiles anonymously. The point is, when you are viewing another profile because you’re interested in a potential business opportunity, you want your info to be viewable if that person decides to take a peek back. Don’t be shy about looking, it generates activity and potential to expand awareness of your profile and expertise.

LINKEDIN IS ALWAYS WORKING FOR YOU I recommend you participate and stay active, but not get immersed in this to the point of using all your time here. One of the beauties of LinkedIn, once your profile is set up and you’ve begun to contribute, your presence is always there, and the opportunities always exists for interested buyers to find you. Fall 2019 • 75


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What Am I Going to Be When I Grow Up? BY ART WASKEY

A Art Waskey has been in the gases and welding industry for his entire career. For speaking, consulting or mentoring, contact him at Impact Speaking Dynamics, www.impactspeaking dynamics.com, or artwaskey@ispeakd.com.

76 • Fall 2019

respected friend in his mid-seventies came into my office, dropped into a chair, and asked if I could help him with an emotional dilemma. I couldn’t imagine why this brilliant PhD was approaching me for help. I was humbled and felt a bit inadequate when he asked, “What am I going to be when I grow up?” Thirty years later that question still resonates with me. How many times have you wondered about your future self? Do you think that perhaps, “what you can be when you grow up” is too big a dream or too tall a task to undertake? Many people go through life never finding the answer to that question and surrender to mediocrity. You don’t want to be one of them. I recently read Tony Rubleski’s book, Mind Capture. In it, he lists a group of characteristics common to top performers. Consider reflecting on some of these when contemplating your future. 1. Intense curiosity – No one better illustrates where curiosity can lead you than Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He wrote his first software program, Tic-Tac-Toe, when he was 13 and relates that he and his best friend, Paul Allen, poured their curiosity into “messing around with the computer.” In his 1995 book, The Road Ahead, Gates described a pocket PC that could serve as a watch, phone, address book, checkbook, appointments calendar, camera, map and more — years before the first smart phone was introduced. That book also included a CD of a future home complete with the kind of digital security systems in use today. Gates believes that curiosity is critical to success and forward thinking, and founded the Mother’s Club for teenagers with “intense curiosity” at Lakeside, the private school he attended.

2. Persistence – When I was in my mid-40s I was drawn to public speaking. I’d listen to presenters and find myself critiquing them. If you have a passion, it may be an indication of where best to invest your time. Discovering who you can become requires persistence, but if it’s your passion you are following, the time spent will be both enjoyable and rewarding. In my case, my interest in speaking led me through eight years of Toastmasters International, including 65 speeches. That took a lot of concerted effort on my part, but I am now a Distinguished Toastmaster. Persistence pays. 3. Interest in life-long learning – During my years as a sales trainer, I observed that very few people made a commitment to continuous self-improvement. Many of the reps I trained have successful careers in sales, but I am left wondering how much farther they might have gone had they engaged in life-long learning. Streaming motivational books while driving, joining career-focused clubs, finding a mentor who challenges you —these are all tools that lead to better job performance. A simple one hour per day commitment to life-long learning can help you achieve your full potential. 4. Problem solving skills – One of the most successful entrepreneurs in the welding and gases industry was Jack B. Kelley, founder of Jack B. Kelley, Inc., once the largest independent transporter of industrial gases in the United States. From humble beginnings in Whitesboro, Texas, Jack worked his way to success through myriad jobs —from selling ice cream bars on a Radio Flyer red wagon to


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developing much more sophisticated transportation methods. For nearly 60 years, he explored job opportunities, never shying away from something new. His service in the Navy during World War II introduced him to engine mechanics. His stint as a driver for Red Ball Motor Freight Company in the Southwest gave him skills in the transport industry that he later used to begin his own business. Operating a transportation services company is about logistics and problem-solving. During his long career Jack worked on all kinds of issues from national tube trailer routing with the Interstate Commerce Commission to developing innovations for articulated trailers for oil field equipment. The takeaway here — the problem-solving skills you develop in your career can be applied to forging new directions for your business. 5. A focus on strengths – As a salesman, one of the most inspirational books I’ve read is See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar. One of the principle points he makes in this book is, “You are what goes into your mind.” Zig emphasizes that you have to “be before you do and do before you have.” He made a life in selling, training, and public speaking by focusing on his strengths. From pots and pans, to network marketing, to sales trainer, to public speaker, Zig focused on studying, writing, teaching and speaking about sales. To zero in on what you want to be when you grow up, perfect your strengths.

6. Thick skin – In his book, Movers of Men and Mountains, R. G. LeTourneau writes, “Failure is never fatal and success is never final. It’s persistence that counts.” R. G.’s description of the cycles of failure to success had a major impact on me in college and throughout my career. Known throughout the construction world as, “The Dean of Earthmoving,” LeTourneau is considered to have been the world’s greatest inventor of earthmoving and material handling equipment. He invented the electric articulated wheel, a patent he sold to Westinghouse Electric, and received many other patents for his inventions. Do you have the fortitude to push ahead when you encounter a cycle of failure? The gentleman in my opening paragraph had all of the above characteristics. When I asked him three simple questions: “What are you passionate about?”; “What are you doing with that passion?”; and, “How will it affect those around you?”, he did not hesitate. “I’ve got it,” he enthused and described the short philosophies for seniors that he had been writing and passing out weekly in his retirement community. He realized that now was the time to write a devotional book for the elderly. In 2006, that gentleman, Dr. Gordon Van Rooy, published Nuggets for the Golden Years, 210 Devotionals for Your Senior Moments. Gordon died in 2013 at age 89, which represents a long time for thinking about what he wanted to be when he grew up. How about you? What are you waiting for?

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SALES & MARKETING

Going Beyond Customer Service Every company provides good customer service. Separate yourself by building good customer relationships. BY RANDY SQUIBB, 1994 GAWDA PRESIDENT

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

78 • Fall 2019

’ve been in this business forever. Like every other kid growing up in the family business, I had worked summers at Welders Supply all through high school. I worked in the warehouse and painted cylinders and did everything that the owner’s kid is supposed to do. But I was in college when I started to seriously think about my career at Welders. I approached my dad and said, “Dad, I’m going to quit school.” And he said, “I really wish you would stay but your timing couldn’t be better. We have a job for you.” So, I quit school and came back to Dallas on my first day to work, dressed in a nice coat and tie. I was met at the door by the Vice President of our company who said, “What on earth are you dressed like that for?” And my first instinct was, wow, this company really needs me. They obviously don’t communicate! So, I responded, “Mr. Henderson, didn’t Dad tell you? I’ve decided to quit school and work at Welders full-time.” And he said, “Well, he did tell me that. But apparently, he forgot to tell you. Did you ask what the job was?” Turns out, rather than waltzing into the company as the Executive Vice President of Hosting Golf Tournaments or some other fancy title, I was hired to drive our cylinder truck from branch to branch. It was the hardest job at the company. I

did it for eight months before I approached my dad and said, “I’ve got a confession to make. Turns out I’m not near as smart as I thought I was. And therefore, I would like to go back to school and finish.” And I did and I came back with a whole different attitude. Working on that cylinder truck for eight months might have been miserable at the time, but it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my career. It gave me a whole new appreciation for those positions like the drivers and the pumpers. Those are the folks that touch the customer more than anybody. That’s where the rubber meets the road. It demonstrated to me not only how important it was to make sure that we always take care of those folks on the front lines, but how important it was to the customers that we deliver to.

CUSTOMER SERVICE VS. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS To me, there is an enormous difference between customer service and customer relations. Customer service is making sure that you do everything right the first time. The phone rings, the person at the counter answers it, writes the order down, puts it in the computer and puts it out for delivery. It’s filled correctly and it’s delivered when we say we’re going to deliver it. That should be the bare minimum expectation of the customer.


SALES & MARKETING Every company touts its “great customer service.” Not many people go around saying, “I’ve got the cheapest price in town, but our customer service is really bad. We’ll get it to you, but I don’t know when. But I do know that it will be cheap whenever it does arrive!” Customer relations, on the other hand, requires actually sitting down with your customer on a regular basis and getting to know them. Finding out the little things makes all the difference.

Don’t be in such a hurry. Don’t go in there to get in and get out and get the order and run. Take the time to know your customer and what your customer’s needs and desires are. I like to give an example. Everybody with a Facebook knows your birthday. You ought to know your customer’s date of birth. But more important than that, to me, is you should know your customer’s date of hire. There was a customer that I was calling on from my first day at the company. He continued to move up within his organization. Every year, I called him on his anniversary and told him, “Congratulations on another year at your company. They’re lucky to have you!” On his 25th Anniversary, Welders Supply sent him a big green plant with a card that said, “Congratulations on 25 Years. What a great accomplishment. From your friends at Welders Supply.” He set it on the edge of his desk. Well, the president of the company walked through his office that day and said, “Oh my gosh, somebody must think an awful lot of you. What’s that all about?” And David said, “Well, you know Randy Squibb, he’s over here all the time?” “Oh yeah, the welding guy?” “Yeah that’s him. Well, today is my 25th anniversary with the company and my friends over at Welders sent me this plant.” Can you imagine how the president of the company felt when the guy in the welding business remembered David’s date of hire, especially on a significant one like 25? Now, does that mean I’m going to win every single piece of business that that company has? No. Does it mean I’m probably going to win all ties? Absolutely. It’s taking the time to sit down and get to know your customer. Forming a real relationship.

Don’t be in such a hurry. Don’t go in there to get in and get out and get the order and run. Take the time to know your customer and what your customer’s needs and desires are. And it’s particularly important when you’re going after a new piece of business. Too many times we go in and we start throwing up, is what I call it. “We’ve got the largest number of delivery trucks, the fastest delivery service, the most competitive prices in town.” And the customer is sitting there thinking, “Why should I change? Your oxygen is the exact same as 19 other people in Dallas, Texas.” I’d love to tell them that our competitor’s oxygen has lumps in it and ours doesn’t but it’s just not true. So, you need to give them a reason to buy from you. That’s the difference between relationship selling and customer service. Finally, I think there are three things that go into building relationships with customers. 1. Positivity – In order to be successful, you have to have positive people running your company. That sets the tone. A positive attitude drives a positive attitude. And a negative attitude does the same. Negativity can flow throughout an organization. I want to make sure that I surround myself with positive people. You don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room to have a positive attitude. 2. K I S S – We try to make this business too hard today. We’re selling industrial gases, specialty gases and welding equipment. It’s not brain surgery in order to do this. Sometimes, if we can just step back and take a look at the entire picture and realize what we’re really trying to do is provide a service that is at a competitive price, and if we can make some money at the end of the day, that’s great. But it’s absolutely trying to simplify this business. I use the acronym KISS. Keep it simple stupid. 3. Remove Roadblocks – Remove roadblocks from making us the best we can be with our customers. If a customer comes in and he buys an electrode holder and he brings it back the next day, don’t make them jump through hoops to return it. Just remove the roadblocks. We’re not only salespeople, we’re roadblock removers. We want to remove every roadblock there is from that customer doing business with us. I want to be the supplier that a problem never hits my purchasing agent or the owner of the company’s desk. I don’t want to have anything that we do that ever calls attention to it other than in a very positive manner. They say that kindness doesn’t cost anything. Building real relationships with your customers doesn’t cost anything either. In fact, it could help drive profits. Fall 2019 • 79


BEST PRACTICES

Extending The Life Cycle of Your Cylinder BY STEVE GUGLIELMO AND JONATHAN BALBI

Editor’s Note: This article is a follow-up to the Welding & Gases Today article “Riches in the Niches: Compressed Gas Cylinder Maintenance,” which can be found on pages 66-69 of the 3rd Quarter 2019 Issue.

“D

oing the absolute bare minimum testing will not extend the lifespan of a cylinder,” says Jonathan Balbi, COO of Airgenics, Inc. “To keep asset bases as healthy as possible, simple and cost-effective options are available from the larger cylinder requalification companies across the country. These ‘extras’ beyond the requalification test are situationally optional but can mean the difference between replacing six percent of your asset base and two percent of your asset base.” According to U.S. Tank and Cryogenic Equipment, Inc. National Sales Manager Alan Bustamante, the cost of a new 240 Liter, 350 PSI cryogenic vessel can be upwards of $3,000, while the cost to fully repair and refurbish a tank typically ranges from $500 - $700 depending on the requirements of that tank. “The 50% rule prescribes that with all things being equal, if the cost to repair and refurbish is 50% or less than the cost of buying new, you should repair,” says Bustamante. “From a company image perspective, there is relatively no discernable difference between new and fully refurbished equipment.” Adds Balbi, “I’ve seen plenty of cylinders from the 1970s up to the 2000s fail expansion tests because of obvious neglect that could have been prevented for a lot less than the cost of a new cylinder.” So what can be done? Why should a company make investments beyond retesting and return? Because those “extras” can be the difference between having to buy a new cylinder and potentially saving money. As discussed in part one, there are two testing options for requalifying cylinders: the hydro-test and the ultrasonic test. Both test for the same thing and Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) subchapter C, “Hazardous Materials Regulations,” states that if a cylinder passes either of these

80 • Fall 2019

tests and a visual inspection, it is deemed to be an authorized package and can be stamped and filled for another service cycle. “I am a UE Level 2 operator and have personally tested 40,000 – 50,000 cylinders using ultrasonic. Newer cylinders have a pass/fail rate not dissimilar to that of hydrotesting. Same with aluminum cylinders that have not been covered in paper labels or shipping tickets,” says Balbi. “Both have advantages and disadvantages. But in terms of extending the life of a cylinder, a hydrotest is the better option.” So how will the longer and more destructive test extend the total service of the cylinder? It goes beyond the pass/fail difference of hydrotesting vs. ultrasonic. It has to do with the options available for additional maintenance once the valve has been removed from the cylinder, something that does not happen for ultrasonic testing. “Once the valve is out of the tank, a host of optional procedures are opened up and each one can extend cylinder life if coupled with a good in-house procedures,” says Balbi. “This does take some planning and forethought but can mean the difference between a reject asset and a good cylinder.” He continues, “If the asset base of a company is 40,000 cylinders of mixed manufacture dates, around 5,400 cylinder per year would need to be tested to maintain an in-service asset base, with an average of 45% of cylinders being over 60 years of age. Without maintenance beyond standard testing, expect to lose around 95 cylinders per year more than with above and beyond upkeep. In dollars that can equate to more than $20,000 dollars per year on new cylinders just to make up what is lost. As compared to an entire service package, soup to nuts, on all assets in this group that would cost ¼ of that amount per year to make an older asset ‘like new.’” In addition to having a comprehensive plan in place to sort assets as they come up for service and an inventory of cylinders that are inhouse (including a breakdown by size and gas type), there are a number of precautions that distributors can take to ensure the longest service life of their cylinder assets. These can include:


Photos from Haun Welding Supply

CYLINDER ISOLATION Isolate cylinders 3‒6 months before the service date has expired. This will allow for the following benefits: • Seamless pick-ups and deliveries with the requalification company. • Sorting of requalification by size and need. • Forecast of products required to allow for service changes. • Sorting of cylinders that can be converted into an appropriate service by age and pressure. • Forecast models for cost of requalification.

PRE-FILL INSPECTION CHECKLIST Complete a pre-fill inspection checklist to isolate problem assets that are within the service date. The checklist should include the following: • Checking manufacture date. • Checking most recent requalification date. • Interpretation of information stamped into cylinder. • Pressure rating check. • PRD check. • External visual inspection. • Valve inspection. • Hammer test.

ISOLATING OUT-OF-SERVICE CYLINDERS Most important to the prefill inspection is the communication with the filling operator and his/her direct supervisor to isolate assets that although may be in test do not meet a secondary criterion for filling. The isolation of these cylinders and need for further repair deem that they should be treated as out of service until repaired. It is essential to have a clear marking system and isolation areas. In addition, be sure to mark out-of-service cylinders with tags (never stickers) that contain the following information: • Out-of-service date (month/year). • Fire damage (if applicable).

• Service change (service requested). • External rust (strip and paint) with requested color. • Dead ring test failure (internal issue). • Damaged valve (repair/replace). • Wrong/missing safety. • Other information, as appropriate. Isolate cylinders by tag as well as by requirement for next delivery.

CYLINDER STORAGE AND HANDLING Appropriate cylinder storage and handling are essential to the longevity of these expensive assets. Distributors must have policies in place and an infrastructure that promotes: • Inside cylinder storage. • Covered outside cylinder storage. • Proper drainage of rainwater around the base of any cylinder stored outdoors. • Avoiding exposed loose storage. • Ensuring that all valves are closed, especially when the cylinder is empty. • Ensuring that cylinders are not exposed to excessive heat. • Ensuring that cylinders are properly branded for filling and gas service. Says Balbi, “The unsure economic future of metal manufacturing as well as the turmoil in trade will make new cylinders more expensive with longer lead times for delivery. Now is the time to evaluate the age of your inventory and forecast any future needs. If planned properly, a company can maintain assets and keep them in service longer than originally anticipated, giving them a slight edge over the competition. Growing pains of purchasing new asset acquisition and shrinkage caused by asset misappropriation can be mitigated to figures that will allow for less capital investment in steel and more investments in infrastructure. All to strengthen the backbone of the company while the overreach we all sometimes commit to can be supported.” Fall 2019 • 81


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

ITR Fourth-Quarter Outlook: The Global Situation BY ALAN BEAULIEU

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY There is a perception that trade issues are the fundamental reason why the U.S. and global economies are slowing down, and in some cases even contracting (i.e., manufacturing in the U.S. in August and German Industrial Production since November 2018). The situation is not that cut and dried. The G7 rate-of-change that you see on the chart at right peaked in August 2017, and the actual Index peaked in February 2018. This told us, and our clients, that the world was going to be shifting to the downside of the business cycle. The world shifted from business cycle rise to cyclical descent in the second quarter of 2018. The issues attendant with being on the downside of the cycle have been in place for over a year. This predates the timing of when the trade issues began to bite into the economy. The G7 leading indicator trend line is shifted to the right on the chart to facilitate lining up the lows and the highs between the two series. The decline in the G7 trend, which looks like it is in the future, has already occurred. It is telling us about the future of World Industrial Production. The G7 trend typically leads by nine months, suggesting that the world will be feeling downward business cycle pressure into, and perhaps through, the first half of 2020. You and I are not going to change this. However, we can make sure our budgets, expectations and resources are properly aligned with both the world’s slowing down and the U.S. economy’s concurrent slowing, and even contraction in some cases. No need to be surprised. No need to make rash decisions.

Trade Stress Becomes Acute on the Downside of the Cycle World Industrial Production Index to G7 Leading Indicator Production

Indicator

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This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. For more information on GAWDA and association -10 membership, contact Andrea Levy: (844) -15251-3219 '92 '94 '96 '98/ alevy@gawda.org '00 '02 '04 '06 '08 '10 '12 '14 '16

82 • Fall 2019

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Production - 12/12 Indicator - 1/12

ITR EconomicsTM

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EVP PlusTM

TRADE Trade is clearly being impacted by the global business cycle and by the trade barriers. It is also true that individual businesses are being impacted, some winning and some losing. That is the way protectionism works. At least initially, some win and some lose. However, we maintain that in the long run more people tend to be on the losing end of the equation, primarily because the lack of competition resulting from trade barriers (it does not matter whether the prior trade was “fair” or not) leads to inefficiencies within companies and the economy in general, and eventually results in inflation. The former hurts corporate profits and the latter leads to higher interest rates. The chart at the top of the next page reflects the trend status of nonfinancial industry corporate profits in the U.S. and in China. Flat or declining corporate profits, which we are currently experiencing, are loaded with potential to exert fundamental downward pressure on stock prices. However, ramifications extend beyond that, because the lack of profits impacts future CAPEX and could adversely impact R&D expenditures. The trend obviously doesn’t help with government tax receipts either. From our economic-only perspective, profits are absolutely necessary, and it could be argued that the slowdown in the global economy, compounded by the trade issues, is having a deleterious impact on profits.


ITR FOR GAWDA Weak Profits Are Not Helping Anybody U.S. Corporate Profits for Domestic Nonfinancial Industries With Capital Consumption Adjustments to China Industrial Profits Rates-of-Change

U.S. Profits 100

China Profits 100

cycle trends, interest rate probabilities and our outlook for the 2020s gave this person the confidence needed to make the move. A definite win! Not everyone can do that, but we must look for those opportunities to source beyond China, beyond the reach of tariffs, and take advantage of the U.S.’ many competitive advantages.

80

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60

COMPLETING THE THOUGHT

40

40

20

20

0

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Now that we’ve discussed the current status and attendant trends, it is time to start contemplating the next cycle, because there is not much anyone can do regarding the current economic slowdown except be reactive and guard your financial well-being. However, there is a lot that can be done about the next downturn. We are nearing the time when proactively strategizing about how to beat the next cycle, while garnering additional profits, makes sense. The decline looks to be the most aggressive business cycle decline since the Great Recession. Being proactive is the key to beating the business cycle. Doing something new and/or different is mandatory. We will talk more about that in the future, specifically once we have safely navigated the trough of the current business cycle. We will discuss what markets we think will be more immune than others to the 2022-23 period of contraction, as well as the tried and true Management Objectives™ for successfully navigating the business cycle.

-20

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China Profits - 3/12

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'03 '04 '05 '06 '0

'08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '1

The chart on the right depicts the trend in trade for goods. Exports for the last three months are down 2.6% and imports are up 0.3%. The net is that our trade balance is slightly more negative than it was before. The imbalance (negative number) is 6.0% larger over the last three months than it was for the same time last year. The same trend is evident when you include services along with goods. The chart also shows that before the protectionism started, there was a surge in imports, which is quite natural and was expected. It is likely that the current worsening of the trade deficit wasn’t part of the plan. Unintended consequences continue to be part of the reality that many politicians of all stripes don’t consider and are a real risk when politicians delve into the marketplace. It really doesn’t matter who is currently “winning” the trade war; we think that ultimately the lack of trade assures that all sides will lose in the long run. ITR EconomicsTM

'18 '19 '20 '21 '22 '23

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Plus smart strategy (China will be a netEVP longterm loser in that sense.) We think many companies are well advised to find, create, and invest in U.S. sources. The application of technology, which our form of capitalism excels at, can solve a lot of the hurdles. “Made in the USA” is increasingly going to be a safe haven for your supply chain. A person recently told me about investing in a piece of high-tech equipment that will allow the firm to bypass relying on China or anyplace else for material. Shortened lead time, less waste, lower cost, and greater certainty will accrue from this investment. Understanding the business TM

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. For more information on GAWDA and association membership, contact Andrea Levy: (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org

BUSINESS SOLUTIONS Businesses must assume that the trend toward nationalism, which is burgeoning around the world, is going to continue. Shifting supply chains out of China is a

U.S.Trade Trade U.S. 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 -50 -100 -150

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Fall 2019 • 83


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

CORE DASHBOARD 12/12

12MMT/A CURRENT 2019 2020 2021

HIGHLIGHTS

U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

2.4

0.5

0.7

2.0

Production for 2020 as a whole will be relatively even with the 2019 level.

U.S. NONDEFENSE CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS

1.9

0.5

0.9

6.4

Highest growth rates are expected in 2021.

U.S. PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT

1.8

1.6

1.3

2.0

Employment is expected to rise through 2021.

U.S. TOTAL RETAIL SALES

3.3

2.4

3.1

3.0

Retail Sales will rise through at least 2021.

U.S. WHOLESALE TRADE OF DURABLE GOODS

3.3

2.1

3.1

6.4

Wholesale Trade will enter Phase B, Accelerating Growth, in the latter part of 2020.

U.S. WHOLESALE TRADE OF NONDURABLE GOODS

2.5

-0.2

2.2

5.9

Wholesale Trade activity will generally plateau into mid-2020.

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

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members.

For more information on GAWDA and association LEADING INDICATORS membership, contact Andrea Levy: RECENT DECLINE (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org SUGGESTS RETAIL SALES 12/12 COULD DECLINE IN EARLY 2021

The ITR Retail Sales Leading Indicator™ declined sharply in August. Fears associated with the tariffs and recession are likely driving factors to the August decline. The decline was unexpected, and we will monitor the Indicator for further decline. Keep in mind that one month does not make a trend. More data would be required for us to change our outlook for U.S. Retail Sales; this is only one piece of leading indicator evidence. We will continue to monitor this indicator closely and keep you informed if our expectations for U.S. Retail Sales change. 84 • Fall 2019

ITR Retail Sales Leading Indicator™

Retail Sales

15.0

Rates-of-Change Rates-ofof Change of-

Leading Indicator

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otal Retail Sales - 12/12 U.S. Total Leading Indicator - Monthly

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

0 -5 -10 -15


ITR FOR GAWDA FURTHER DECLINE SIGNALS U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION CYCLICAL DECLINE INTO AT LEAST EARLY 2020 The U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate 1/12 declined further in August. Recent decline is in line with the majority of leading indicator evidence at ITR and suggests that the U.S. Industrial Production 12/12 is likely to decline into at least early 2020.

U.S. Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate

rod ctio

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Rates-of-Change Rates-ofof of-Change

Rate

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.

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U.S. Ind strial rod ction - 12/12 U.S. Total otal Ca acity Utili ation Rate -1/12 -1

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-14 -21

This content is exclusive to GAWDA Members. For more information on GAWDA and association Conference Board Leading Indicator INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTIONmembership,U.S. contact Andrea Levy: 12/12 WILL LIKELY TREND LOWER INTO (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org MID-2020

The U.S. Conference Board Leading Indicator 1/12 ticked down in August to 1.1%. Further decline in this Indicator suggests the U.S. Industrial Production 12/12 could decline into mid-2020. This is consistent with the majority of leading indicator evidence.

rod ctio

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Rates-of-Change Rates-ofof Change of-

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-30

Fall 2019 • 85


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

SEPTEMBER PMI SUGGESTS ONGOING DECLINE FOR PRODUCTION 12/12 The U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) 1/12 declined further in September. Ongoing decline in the PMI 1/12 is signaling potential for the U.S. Industrial Production 12/12 to decline into the second half of 2020. However, the lead time range from PMI to Production still allows for the possibility of a mid-2020 low in the Production 12/12.

U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) rod ctio

15.0

Rates-of-Change Rates-ofof Change of-

Inde

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GAWDA EXECUTIVE SUMMARY/DASHBOARD:

This content GAWDA is exclusive to GAWDA Members. INDUSTRY INDICATORS

CURRENT GROWTH

INDICATORS

RATE (12/12) For more informationHIGHLIGHTS on GAWDA and association Declining U.S. Exports and waning business confidence are contact Levy: U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION INDEX membership, contributing to the flattening trend evidentAndrea in Production. Expect a 2.4% mid-2020 cyclical low. (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org

PHASE

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

Monthly Prices are declining. Prices of commodities such as steel and oil are generally contracting, but are likely to rise in the first half of 2020.

0.5%

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U.S. CRUDE OIL FUTURES PRICES

We have downgraded our Oil Prices outlook. Prices are expected to be in the low $50s late this year but will gradually rise to around $60 by the third quarter of 2020.

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U.S. NONDEFENSE CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS WITHOUT AIRCRAFT

Negative trends in U.S. Small Business Capital Expenditure Plans foreshadow at least two more quarters of business cycle decline in New Orders.

1.9%

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U.S. ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT NEW ORDERS

Stay on top of aging receivables as New Orders traverse the back side of the business cycle into the middle of next year.

2.4%

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U.S. FABRICATED METAL PRODUCTS NEW ORDERS

Trends in Steel Prices and U.S. Iron Steel Mill New Orders indicate business cycle decline (slowing growth or contraction) in at least the coming quarters.

3.0%

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U.S. DURABLE GOODS NEW ORDERS WITHOUT AIRCRAFT

Trends in the U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) suggest that business cycle decline in New Orders could last into at least the second half of 2020.

3.3%

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ITR LEADING INDICATOR (MONTHLY)

The ITR Leading Indicator declined in September. The Indicator suggests decline in the industrial economy into at least mid-2020.

-0.1 (Monthly)

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86 • Fall 2019


ITR FOR GAWDA At this juncture of the business cycle, the tension is almost palpable regarding the future state of the U.S. economy. Slowing growth trends are evident in macroeconomic indicators such as U.S. Industrial Production and U.S. Nondefense Capital Goods New Orders (without Aircraft). Business confidence has taken a hit, as the headlines propagate issues ranging from tariffs to Brexit to an inverted yield curve. The OECD’s U.S. Business Confidence Index is in Phase D, Recession, with the August monthly figure down 2.2%

U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

C - SLOWING GROWTH 2019 0.5% 109.0* 2020 0.7% 109.8* 2021 2.0% 112.0* *Index based to 2012 = 100 HIGHLIGHTS: Production was up 2.4% year over year

from August 2018. Declining trends in a host of leading indicators – ranging from our own ITR Leading Indicator™ to the ISM’s U.S. PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) to the OECD’s U.S. Leading Indicator – signal that U.S. Industrial Production is likely to be in a business cycle declining trend into at least mid-2020. Don’t let the pessimism of the moment influence your plans for 2021; upward business cycle momentum is expected in the second half of 2020. Start making plans now on how to maximize profits during the next rising trend.

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Manufacturing declined mildly during the latest three months compared to last year

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For more information'12on'13GAWDA and '14 '15 '16 '17 association '18 '19 '20 '21 U.S. Industrial Productionmembership, contact Andrea Levy: U.S. Industrial Production Index Rate-of-Change during the 12 months through (844) 251-3219 / alevy@gawda.org August increased 2.4% from the year-ago level. Deceleration in Production is in line with the majority of leading indicators, including the ITR Leading Indicator™. ITR expects Production to begin declining imminently, with decline extending into at least the first half of 2020. Production will then rise through the remainder of 2020. Production will increase further in 2021, ending the year 2.0% above the 2020 level. The U.S. Total Manufacturing Production Index, the largest of Industrial Production’s three main components, is in Phase C, Slowing Growth. Manufacturing during the most recent three months was 0.2% below the year-ago level, suggesting overall Industrial Production will likely fall shortly,

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too. Both the Total Industry Capacity Utilization Rate 1/12 and the U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) 1/12 are signaling likely further cyclical decline in Manufacturing. Ensure you are prepared for activity to fall into 2020, but do not overextend your efforts, as there will be upward momentum by the end of that year. Management Note: Consider focusing on training initiatives and new process efficiencies during this period of waning activity so you are prepared for rise in Production by late 2020. Fall 2019 • 87


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

NDF NOs: U.S. NONDEFENSE CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS (EXCLUDING AIRCRAFT) C - SLOWING GROWTH 2019 0.5% $824.8 billion 2020 0.9% $832.2 billion 2021 6.4% $885.5 billion HIGHLIGHTS: The forecast was revised downward due to leading indicator evidence The New Orders 12MMT will decline through mid-2020 Capital Expenditure Plans are indicating that small businesses are hesitant to invest

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

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New Orders during the 12 months through August were up 1.9% from one year ago. We revised our forecast for annual New Orders downward by about 0.1% for 2019, 3.5% for 2020, and 1.4% for 2021. The timing of the upcoming cyclical low was extended slightly outward. Decline in annual New Orders developed as expected and is likely to extend through mid-2020. Growth is then anticipated during late 2020 and through at least 2021. The U.S. Small Business Capital Expenditure Plans Index is in Phase D, Recession. Given a typical seven-month lead time, this indicator suggests there will be less spent on New Orders into at least early 2020. The decline in the New Orders 12/12 is corroborated by decline in the U.S. Machinery Manufacturing Capacity Utilization Rate 1/12, which is signifying waning activity. Don’t expect New Orders to ramp up until late 2020.

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

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Management Note: Use this period of declining New Orders to focus on efficiency improvements. Consider implementing technology enhancements; they will be harder to implement late next year, when growth returns.


ITR FOR GAWDA

U.S. Oil Futures Commodity Prices Data Trend

OIL PRICES: U.S. OIL FUTURES COMMODITY PRICES D - RECESSION Dec 2019

$51.08 per barrel

Mar 2020

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HIGHLIGHTS: We adjusted our forecast for Prices downward Prices during the three months through September were down 20.8% from a year ago The Prices 3MMA will recover in

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U.S. Oil Futures Commodity Prices

For more information on GAWDA and association Rate-of-Change Crude Oil Futures Prices downward. Market factors such as the globalmembership, contact Andrea Levy: 80 economic slowdown, which is (844) lim251-321912/12 / alevy@gawda.org orecast Range We adjusted our outlook for U.S.

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supply, have caused us to revise our expectations for Prices downward.

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sition to Phase A, Recovery, around early next year. Prices during the three months

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will likely fall further into the fourth quarter of this year, dropping to the low-$50s range. Prices will then recover in early 2020 and rise through at least the third quarter of that year.

Management Note: Plan for oil costs to rise in 2020, with Prices returning to $60 per barrel during the second half of the year.

Fall 2019 • 89


THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

U.S. Steel Scrap Producer Price Index Data Trend

STEEL PRICES: U.S. STEEL SCRAP PRODUCER PRICE INDEX D - RECESSION Sep 2019 382.12* Dec 2019 382.12* Mar 2020 421.25* Jun 2020 427.70* * Index based to 1982 = 100.

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U.S. Iron and Steel Scrap Producer Prices during the three months through August were down 25.3% from the same three months last year. We revised our forecast for Prices downward to reflect the latest leading indicator evidence. The Prices 3MMA will be relatively flat through the remainder of this year before rising into at least the middle of next year. Activity in U.S. Iron and Steel Mills Production during June, July, and August was 0.9% below that of the same three months in 2018. At the same time, related New Orders were down 7.2%, likely a function of both lower Prices and less-robust demand. The U.S. ISM PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) and JP Morgan Global PMI trends are respectively signaling that the U.S. and global manufacturing sectors will progress further into business cycle declining trends in the coming quarters. A weakened manufacturing sector will hinder demand for steel and, in turn, keep Prices low for the next two to three quarters.

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90 • Fall 2019

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ITR FOR GAWDA

U.S. FABRICATED METAL PRODUCTS NEW ORDERS C - SLOWING GROWTH 2019 0.8% $402.6 billion 2020 2.9% $414.3 billion 2021 5.2% $435.8 billion HIGHLIGHTS: Dollar expectations were lowered mildly for 2020 and 2021 Annual New Orders are expected to dip briefly into the first half of 2020 before rising through at least 2021 Plan for 2021 to be a stronger year than 2020

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Annual U.S. Fabricated Metal Products New Orders in August totaled $404.1 billion, 3.0% higher than one year prior. The pace of growth is diminishing. We have adjusted the New Orders forecast to account for developments in leading indicators since the previous forecast was put in place, over one year ago. We lowered our expectations for annual New Orders by 1.2% and 0.8% for 2020 and 2021, respectively. Our 2019 outlook is virtually unchanged. Business cycle decline in U.S. Iron and Steel Mills New Orders signals that cyclical decline in Fabricated Metal Products New Orders is likely into the first half of 2020. Broader macroeconomic leading indicators, such as the ITR Leading Indicator™, corroborate this expectation. Plan for New Orders to dip briefly late in the year and into the first half of 2020 before they rise through at least 2021. Our macroeconomic theory indicates that 2021 will be a stronger year than 2020.

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THE GAWDA INDUSTRY ANALYSIS REPORT Provided by ITR Economics™

AUTPRNA: NORTH AMERICA LIGHT VEHICLE PRODUCTION

North America Light Vehicle Production Data Trend ils of

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Activity will fall into the first half of 2020 Light Vehicle Retail Sales rose during the latest three months North America Light Vehicle Production during the 12 months through August was down 0.6% from last year, totaling 16.7 million units. Recent decline in Production is expected to be short-lived. Activity will likely rise by mid-2020. U.S. Light Vehicle Retail Sales during the most recent three months rose 3.4% from the year-ago level, the first year-over-year increase since late 2018. Retail Sales lead Production by about five months and suggest rise in the Production 12/12 could occur sooner than expected. However, more data is needed to confirm that the rise in Retail Sales is sustainable. U.S. Foreign-Built Light Vehicle Retail Sales are in Phase D, Recession, down 7.3% from last year, which suggests domestically built vehicles may offer more opportunity over foreign vehicles.

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92 • Fall 2019


In Memoriam Jessi Combs Jessi Combs was a racing legend known as the “fastest woman on four wheels.” She was a fixture on television auto shows, co-hosting Spike TV’s “Xtreme 4×4” and appearing on “Mythbusters,” “Two Guys Garage,” and “All Girls Garage.” Combs competed as a racer in many venues including a top ten finish in the Baja 1000. She set a four-wheel land speed record for women drivers in 2013 with a run over 398 miles per hour. She died while attempting to break her own land speed record and Kitty O’Neil’s fastest woman in the world record of 512 miles per hour in a dry lakebed in Oregon. Jessi was intimately involved with the welding industry, as both a fabricator and through her partnership with Lincoln Electric through their Women’s Welding Gear line of apparel. Jessi was an incredible role model for girls and women in the field and she will be incredibly missed. Lincoln Electric released a statement that said: “Our team, around the world, is saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely passing of our friend Jessi Combs. Jessi was a woman of many talents: racer, custom builder, television host and advocate for women seeking careers in welding, fabrication and related trades. As such, she was a highly respected member of the extended Lincoln Electric family. She consistently generated a level of energy and enthusiasm that reverberated throughout the industries she represented. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jessi’s family and her wide circle of friends. She impacted countless lives in a positive way, and she will be missed by many.”

John Christie John Christie, who served as the President and COO of Worthington Industries from 1999-2008, passed away suddenly at his home on Saturday, October 5, 2019. He was 69 years old. A community advocate, a loyal Blue Jackets fan and a charismatic leader, John will be missed by all who knew him. John was preceded in death by his wife Linda Margaret Christie and his parents Robert Samuel and Sara Jane Kennard Christie of McConnelsville, Ohio. John became President and Chief Operating Officer of Worthington Industries in 1999 before retiring in 2008 to take care of Linda, who suffered from a debilitating illness until her death a year ago. John loved and adored his family, especially as a doting grandfather, while suggesting his grandchildren call him JC. He is survived by his three children and their families, all in Columbus, Robert

Morgan (Erica) Christie, Lindsey Taylor (Tyler) Burt, Sara Jo (Norm) Harbison; grandchildren, Carsen Jane and Joshua Cole Christie; Hazel Jo, John Harpham and Molly Margaret Burt; and Austin James Harbison. John is also survived by his brother, Robert James (Chris) Christie and his wife, Marcia Emens Christie of McConnelsville; his sister, Mary Christie McIntyre, her husband, John F. McIntyre; nieces and nephews; and Linda’s mother, Sara Prater. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus, OH 43215, www.bluejackets.com/community or to The Upper Arlington Education Foundation, 1950 North Mallway Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43221.

Charlie Miller Charles W. Miller, age 87, died on September 12, 2019. Charlie’s journey with Butler Gas began in 1963 when he married Janice Butler. Janice’s father, Tom Butler, and his brother, Jack Butler, each owned businesses in the gas and welding supply industry- Butler Cylinder Gas in Reading (Tom’s company) and Butler Gas Products in Pittsburgh (Jack’s company). Both Tom and Jack’s companies succeeded to the 2nd generation, with Charlie and Janice running Butler Cylinder Gas in Reading. Back in Pittsburgh, Jack was diagnosed with cancer and began quickly teaching his son Jack the business. Before he died in 1977, Jack told his son, when in doubt, call cousin-in-law Charlie for help. “When I wasn’t sure what to do with any business item,” second generation Butler Gas owner and CEO Jack Butler recalls, “I called Charlie. He really knew the gas and welding business.” Charlie advised his younger cousin-in-law Jack during many tough business issues and negotiations. Charlie was active in NWSA (National Welding Supply Association) and a member of AWS (American Welding Society). Ahead of his time with automation, Charlie excelled as an operations expert, filling all gases and writing the standard operating procedures. “Before Tom Peters wrote about it in In Search of Excellence, I learned how to MBWA from Charlie,” remembers Jack. “That was just how he lived in business.” “I can honestly say that I had the best four mentors in the gas business: my dad, my grandfather, my mom, and Charlie Miller. All of these people greatly influenced my business style.” The entire Butler Gas Family salutes the life and legacy of Charlie Miller, its first advisor and mentor. Fall 2019 • 93


INDUSTRY NEWS Rodney Huber Announced as President of Huber Supply Company Rodney Huber was named president of Huber Supply Company as part of the company’s transition plan. Cal Huber will succeed Rodney as the Vice President of Operations, while Nicole Smith was named VP of Administration, which will see her take on managing office/administration functions. Huber Supply has worked with Advance Iowa – Family Business Forum, an organization through the University of Iowa, to help manage the transition. “As part of the transition plan, it was important to name the eventual successor and make sure that roles were clearly defined in our company as we move forward,” Rodney Huber says. “My brother, sister and I are very proud to be the fourth generation to run the business and we are hopeful that we will do as great a job as our great grandfather, grandfather, and dad before us.”

A-OX Receives Validation on Manufacturing Process for Production of Medical CO2 Terran E. Bergdale, Ph.D., Quality Control Manager at A-OX Welding Supply Co., helped the company achieve validation on its manufacturing process of medical Carbon Dioxide. She said, “Over the last several years A-OX has been striving to increase our production capabilities while enhancing quality. This year we validated our manufacturing process for production of medical Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The process allows us to produce medical grade as well as Laser and Research Grade 99.999+% CO2. We requested certification of USP Carbon Dioxide as a designated medical gas and received approval from the FDA to market the product for human and animal use. We currently provide medical gases to much of our region. Our ability to produce our own medical CO2 helps secure a much needed supply to various medical customers. Additionally, we can offer the CO2 we produce to other distributors throughout the country.”

IWDC Hires Erica Janas The IWDC announced that Erica Janas has joined IWDC as Director of Marketing. In this role, she is responsible for overall IWDC marketing initiatives and will also lead the PurityPlus Specialty Gas program. IWDC’s marketing staff, including graphic design, website support, digital marketing, and event planning, will report to Erica. Erica comes to IWDC from Thermo Fisher Scientific, where she held field Erica Janas 94 • Fall 2019

sales and project management positions. Prior to Thermo Fisher, she was North American Sales Manager at Proton Onsite, and during her leadership there Erica became very involved with the PurityPlus Specialty Gas program. Erica holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Southern Connecticut State University and a MBA in Marketing & Finance from Albertus Magnus College.

Keen Compressed Gases Opens New Bristol Location Keen Compressed Gases held its grand opening celebration of its new Bristol branch on August 22, 2019. The event, which was hosted at the new location: 6401 McPherson Street, Levittown, Pennsylvania, 19057, was touted as “Celebrating the completion of another brownfield redevelopment project in Bucks County” by the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks. U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, state Rep. Tina Davis, Bucks County commissioners and Bristol Township Council members were on hand for the celebration.

New Production Facility: Messer Invests 34.6 Million Euros in America Messer is investing 34.6 million euros ($38 million) in the construction of a new air separation plant in Indianapolis, Indiana. The production plant for the air gases oxygen, nitrogen and argon is scheduled to go into operation in early 2021. It will produce industrial and medical grade gases for various sectors of the local and regional economy, including the healthcare, chemical, food, glass and metal industries. “This investment underscores Messer’s commitment to strategic expansion in the US to meet growing market demand and strengthen our presence in the Midwest,” said Jens Lühring, President and CEO of Messer Americas. “We chose to invest in Indianapolis because of our proximity to our customers and strong local economy.” Messer currently has six locations in Indiana with around 90 employees. The new investment is expected to create 23 new permanent jobs by the


INDUSTRY NEWS end of 2021. In addition, the company estimates that 60 to 80 temporary local jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project.

Iwatani Corporation Announces Executive Appointments, Including Joseph S. Cappello as CEO of its U.S. Subsidiary Iwatani Corporation announced that Joseph S. Cappello has been named Executive Officer of Iwatani Corporation and also appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Iwatani Corporation of America (ICA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Iwatani Corporation. Mineharu Okamoto, president of Iwatani Corporation of America, will assume the additional title of Chief Operating Officer. In this new role, Cappello will lead the expansion of ICA’s total businesses, including hydrogen and industrial gases, across the Americas and have the additional responsibility for mergers and acquisitions in the region. Cappello has served as executive advisor to Iwatani Corporation since early 2018. Prior to this appointment, he was an executive and board member of a number of private

equity-sponsored companies and had a 15-year career with Praxair, Inc. (now Linde, plc) where he held several management positions, including president, Praxair Asia. Okamoto will continue to focus on ICA’s materials and energy product lines, Joseph S. Cappello as well hydrogen and industrial gases, and will drive innovation and accelerated growth of new value propositions across the mobility and IT sectors.

Absolute Air Breaks Ground Absolute Air, LLC, a consortium of independent gas companies including A-OX Welding Supply, Huber Supply Company, Minneapolis Oxygen Company, Mississippi Welders Supply Company and Toll Gas & Welding Supply with coordination and support from the Independent Welding Distributors Cooperative (IWDC), broke ground on its new, state-of-theart Air Separation Plant, located just south of Minneapolis in Faribault, Minnesota, on Thursday, September 19, 2019. The event was attended by officials from the city of Faribault as

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INDUSTRY NEWS well as Mayor Kevin Voracek. Also attending were representatives from the five companies involved with the consortium and the IWDC. Members from these companies each had a ceremonial shovel for the groundbreaking.

AWISCO Supports the Maurer Foundation in Fight Against Breast Cancer AWISCO’s Dennis Bicocchi attended the Maurer Foundation’s annual Pink Diamond Gala on Wednesday, October 2, with wife Nancy. This year’s event honored Founder and President of El Sol Contracting Bob Pomponio and raised over $270,000. AWISCO is proud to continuously support the Maurer Foundation’s mission to save lives through breast health education. AW I S C O is happy to partner with vendors who are passionate about a good cause. As part of that effort to combat breast cancer, AWISCO offers several pink products that aid in breast cancer research and education.

Indiana Oxygen’s Online Store Ranked by Newsweek Magazine as Top Welding Supply Online Store Newsweek Magazine, in its September 27, 2019 issue, released the results of its survey of more than 9,500 online shops in the United States, compiled by Statista. “The online shops were then organized according to their main product offering into 39 categories and subjected to testing by Newsweek analysts on 48 objective and subjective criteria.” Based on these results, a score out of 10.00 was determined for each online shop. In the category of “DIY, Tools, Supplies,” www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com ranked 5th overall, ahead of the online sites for Lowes, Home Depot, and True Value. It also ranked above any other welding supply online store. (Newsweek, 9/27/19, page 37). Of special note, www.weldingsuppliesfromioc.com received a score of 7.84. This score was higher than companies scored in different categories, such as: Amazon (7.47), Costco (7.72), Walmart (7.67), Sam’s Club (7.47), Nike (7.72), Adidas (7.69), Puma (7.67), and Shop Disney (7.77). 96 • Fall 2019

Minneapolis Oxygen Co. Launches New Website Minneapolis Oxygen launched its new website. The new site will feature a new blog from “The Gas Guy.” In his first blog post, the Gas Guy said, “I’ll be here every month giving you news and information as I see it. Like the insurance commercials say, ‘I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two’—the only thing here longer than me is the company itself. Minneapolis Oxygen has been around since 1946 offering gas supply and service that you can rely on.” The new Minneapolis Oxygen website has two sections: informational and an e-store. Whether you came to the site to learn about medical gases or shop for a new welding helmet or to read a “massively enjoyable blog,” you’ll find it all effortlessly. Along with the new website came a new logo for the company. “We wanted to hold onto the spirit of the original logo, yet suggest the cutting-edge capabilities that Minneapolis Oxygen offers. We’ll always stay rooted in our heritage with personalized service, while embracing new technologies that help our customers grow and prosper.”

Cyl-Tec Adds Marketing Manager Cyl-Tec hired Sally Turner to be its marketing manager. In this position, Turner will be responsible for providing support for the sales team by providing critical sales collateral, multimedia resources and creative leadership. She will be a vital Sally Turner member of Cyl-Tec’s management team for strategic business development in direction, planning and growth of the company. Turner will also utilize compelling marketing strategies and cohesive design that construct the “face” of the company. Other primary responsibilities include: development of marketing strategies for corporate branding, print layout and design, website design, SEO, video production, social media, email marketing and trade show display. She will also be tasked with development and coordination of training seminars. While Turner is new to the gas cylinder industry, she does have extensive experience with mechanical technology and manufacturing from her 10 years’ experience in the surface prep and concrete polishing industry. Previous employment positions included eight years as a multimedia director with an advertising agency, three years as a graphic designer at a trade show directory publisher, and five years as an adjunct instructor at a community college. Outside of work, Turner’s interests include history, philosophy, anthropology, technology, health and nutrition and body building.


INDUSTRY NEWS General Distributing Company Adds Employees General Distributing Company announced new additions. Evan Schlotfeldt has been promoted to industrial sales manager. Evan has worked with the company for five years in the capacity of outside sales in the Bozeman, Montana market. Evan has been a key component of GDC’s success in that market, driving Evan Schlotfeldt fabrication, specialty gas, industrial equipment and just overall great customer service. Evan carries a number of welding certifications and is invaluable to the Gendco team. “We look forward to him bringing his wealth of knowledge to our other markets throughout Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming,” says Eric Amy Dardis Bliss, Gendco Vice President. Gendco also announced the hiring of Amy Dardis as Director of Marketing. Says Bliss, “Amy has a strong background in marketing strategy

and digital advertising and will be responsible for driving the marketing efforts of GDC going forward. We are excited to have her join our team!”

Weldship Appoints Vice President of Business Development Rick Kowey was named Vice President – Business Development for Weldship. Rick brings more than 36 years of experience in the industrial and specialty gas industry to the role. He has served in multiple senior leadership positions with Matheson and Scott Specialty Gases, Inc. (now Air Liquide), including straRick Kowey tegic marketing, commercial leadership, operations, general management, business development and mergers and acquisitions. Rick holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Ursinus College and an MBA in Marketing from Drexel University.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

M&A SCORECARD Messer Sells Business in Denmark Messer Industries has divested itself of Messer Danmark A/S, based in Kolding. The buyer is the Danish competitor Christian Nielsen Strandmøllen A/S.

Air Products Completes Acquision of GE’s Gasification Business and Technology Air Products announced it has completed the acquisition of General Electric Company’s (“GE”) gasification business from GE Power. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed. “The successful acquisition of the GE gasification technology further supports our long-term, strategic focus on gasification. This acquisition, combined with our other capabilities, gives us the ability to provide a complete solution to our customers, including financing, technology, engineering, construction, and operation of large syngas projects. We welcome the experienced and talented GE gasification team and look forward to supporting them to further grow the business,” said Seifi Ghasemi, chairman, president and chief executive officer at Air Products. The gasification business acquired by Air Products includes GE’s share of its 50/50 joint venture (JV) with China Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Company, Ltd., a subsidiary of China Energy Group, a world-class energy company. The JV, formed in 2012, provides technologies for gasification projects in China. The acquisition includes approximately 50 total employees, including employees of the JV. In Air Products’ sale-of-gas business 98 • Fall 2019

model, the company finances, builds, owns, operates and maintains the gas production plant so its customers can focus their attention and capital on their primary business. Examples of larger-scale, multi-billion-dollar gasification projects include the Lu’an, Juitai and Yankuang Group projects in China, as well as the Jazan project in Saudi Arabia.

Linde Enters Strategic Alliance with CarbonCure Canadian clean technology innovator CarbonCure Technologies and Linde, the world’s largest industrial gas supplier, have partnered to introduce the award-winning CarbonCure Technology to Europe, Southeast Asia and Oceania. The alliance will allow CarbonCure to accelerate international adoption of CarbonCure’s turnkey carbon solution for the concrete industry. The CarbonCure Technology enhances the competitiveness of the concrete industry through improved production efficiency and sustainability. The technology injects a precise dosage of captured waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into concrete during production. Once introduced, the CO2 chemically converts to a nano-mineral, creating manufacturing efficiencies while reducing the concrete’s carbon footprint. This enables private and government concrete end users alike to reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects without compromising quality. Through this alliance, Linde and CarbonCure will work together exclusively to introduce the CarbonCure Technology to 25 countries across Europe, Southeast Asia and Oceania, with initial efforts focused on Germany,

Sweden, Switzerland and Singapore. CarbonCure announced its foray to the international stage in November 2018 through a partnership with Singapore’s leading producer, Pan-United Concrete. “We are very excited to work with CarbonCure to bring this ground-breaking technology to so many new countries. This cooperation will strengthen Linde’s offering for the construction industry,” says Ulrich Hanke, Head of Commercial Management for Primary Industries, Application Technology at Linde. The CarbonCure Technology is installed in nearly 150 concrete plants in North America and Southeast Asia, with more than 2.3 million cubic metres of concrete supplying a wide range of construction projects from airports and roads to high-rise towers. The company is on a pathway to reduce 500 megatons of CO2 emissions annually. “We know that scaling up to reduce 500 megatons of CO2 each year will require world class alliances. With Linde, the world’s largest industrial gas supplier, we will enjoy unrivaled scaling ability to accelerate global deployment,” says Rob Niven, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of CarbonCure. “The concrete industry is redoubling efforts to meet the needs of Smart Cities by adopting circular economy solutions to lower the resource consumption and embodied carbon intensity,” Niven says. CarbonCure is the world leader in carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technologies used in the production of concrete, which is estimated to be a $400 billion market opportunity with the potential to reduce up to 1.4 gigatons of annual CO2 emissions by 2030, according to the Global CO2 Initiative.


INDUSTRY NEWS

M&A SCORECARD One Equity Partners Completes Car ve-Out of ORS NASCO One Equity Partners (“OEP”), a middle market private equity firm, announced that it has completed the acquisition of ORS Nasco, from Essendant, Inc. in a corporate carve-out transaction. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. ORS Nasco is North America’s leading wholesaler of industrial and safety supplies selling exclusively to distributors throughout North America. ORS Nasco offers access to over 200,000 skus of premium products from more than 600 brands for use in the industrial, welding, energy, safety, electrical, construction, HVAC, MRO, PVF, plumbing,

up com i ng industry events

I

t’s never too early to begin planning your travel schedule for next year. Here are some of the events scheduled for 2020. Check the EVENTS tab on the GAWDA website at www.gawda.org for more information.

janitorial, and rental channel markets. ORS Nasco serves rapidly growing distributor customers with a network of 16 strategically placed distribution centers nationwide and internationally. ORS Nasco’s distributor relationships are well-rounded across the entire country with its product offering and unique services. With this versatile portfolio, ORS Nasco enables distributors to lower their product cost-of-acquisition and better serve their customers. ORS Nasco’s long-standing vendor relationships and branded offerings enable manufacturers to lower their cost-to-serve and reach under penetrated markets. “We are excited to partner with the management team lead by CEO Chris Kempa to provide them with capital

and operational resources that will allow them to pursue the next chapter of growth as an independent company,” said David Han, Senior Managing Director at OEP. “This acquisition is well aligned with OEP’s historic focus on structuring carve-outs of attractive industrial businesses in close partnership with management teams and corporate sellers.” “We are thrilled to become an independent company through our partnership with OEP and believe that we will be able to increase and expand sales to existing and new customers based on ORS Nasco’s market-leading wholesale distribution capabilities and continued focus on providing exceptional customer service,” said Kempa.

APRIL 2020

JUNE 2020

SEPTEMBER 2020

GAWDA Spring Management Conference Austin, Texas APRIL 5 – 7, 2020

IWDC Sales & Purchasing Convention Louisville, Kentucky JUNE 9 -11, 2020

GAWDA Annual Convention Phoenix, Arizona SEPTEMBER 25-28, 2020

GAWDA Regional Meeting Seven Springs, Pennsylvania JUNE 24-26, 2020

IOMA Annual Meeting Washington, D.C. OCTOBER 10-14, 2020

CGA Annual Convention New Orleans, Louisiana APRIL 26-30, 2020

MAY 2020 AIWD Annual Convention Miami, Florida MAY 3-6, 2020 GAWDA Regional Meeting Houston, Texas MAY 11-12, 2020

JULY 2020 GAWDA Regional Meeting Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho JULY 22-24, 2020

OCTOBER 2020

IWDC Owners Meeting Rancho Mirage, California OCTOBER 20-24, 2020

AUGUST 2020

NOVEMBER 2020

GAWDA Regional Meeting Oregon, Ohio AUGUST 10-11, 2020

FABTECH Las Vegas, Nevada NOVEMBER 18-20, 2020

Fall 2019 • 99


NEW OFFERINGS

PRODUCTS | SERVICES | TECHNOLOGIES 1

2

1. Harris Products Group Introduces Final Line Manifold

2. Lincoln Electric Offers Greater Control with the New

The Harris Products Group, a Lincoln Electric company, has introduced the Model 1030 final line manifold system that regulates the pressure and flow of cryogenic gases from a bulk tank or micro bulk tank into facility pipelines. The Harris Model 1030 final line manifold can be used for applications that involve nitrogen, oxygen, argon and CO2 gases. It comes with a dual regulator set-up for redundancy and has multiple pressure relief valves for safety. The manifold utilizes Harris Model 3550-250 ultra-high flow regulators that are constructed with stainless steel diaphragms for durability and longer life, as compared to regulators using rubber diaphragms. They can deliver up to 250 psi (custom pressures are available). Flow rates up to 10,000 standard cubic feet per hour can be achieved at the nominal inlet pressure of 350 psi. Designed for a variety of industrial, food packaging and laser applications, the manifold system is cleaned for oxygen service and also meets National Fire Protection Association standards for use in healthcare facilities (NFPA® 99). Harris engineers and field teams are extensively trained to help distribution customers with almost any gas regulator/ manifold application. Products are designed, manufactured, tested and stocked for rapid fulfillment at their Gainesville, GA facility. The 1030 final line manifolds are delivered rack mounted and fully assembled with two regulators, piping, isolation valves and outlet connectors. They are ready-to-install right out of the box for easy set up. “Having a durable, reliable system for gas flow and pressure regulation is critical for the safe and efficient operation of welding, brazing, heating and allied processes,” said David Gailey, Manager of Specialty Products, Harris Products Group. “Harris is able to provide turnkey solutions for distributors and their customers.”

Lincoln Electric introduces the new LN-25X, a portable industrial wire feeder with CrossLinc and True Voltage Technology (TVT). Designed for construction, pipe, metal fabrication, shipbuilding and rental fleet applications, this product provides greater control with fewer cables to drastically reduce movement. With safety and efficiency top of the mind, the LN-25X is designed with a variety of enhanced features to improve the welder’s experience, whether they’re in a shipyard or 100 feet off the ground. Features include: • Adjustable wire run-in speed for softer starting • Arc hours meter • Bright digital meters for easy viewing, even in bright sunlight • English or Metric unit configuration • Maxtrac wire drive system for reliable feeding and durability • Optional flowmeter for easy gas flow adjustment at the feeder • Potted PC boards, providing moisture and corrosion protection • Replaceable and flame-resistant case to protect internal components • Split wire guide, which reduces birdnesting and allows for easy cleaning no-fuss wire guide alignment • Trigger interlock switch for operator comfort for long welds • Weld timers, including pre-flow, post-flow, and burn back The LN-25X can be used in MIG and Flux-Cored processes and is equipped with a variety of built-in technology. CrossLinc and True Voltage Technology improve all aspects of operation, providing safety, quality and improved productivity. The Maxtrac Wire Drive System, a heavy-duty cast aluminum wire drive system, is optimized for both soft and hard wires and offers easy wire-loading and cleaning.

for Bulk Gas Systems

100 • Fall 2019

LN-25X


NEW OFFERINGS 5

6

4

3. Norris Cylinder First USA Manufacturer of UN ISO 9809-4 Cylinders

Norris Cylinder is proud to be the first and only manufacturer of a USA-approved UN ISO 9809-4 cylinder. These 3.5” OD (90 MM) all stainless-steel cylinders are available in lengths ranging from 10¾ – 29 inches (273 – 737 MM) with water capacities of between 1 – 2.75 liter and a service pressure of 1800 PSI (124.1 Bar). “Stainless steel cylinders are important to many of our customers to satisfy their very unique gas applications,” said Sally Mitchell, Vice President of Engineering at Norris Cylinder. “As regulations continue to change, we are proud to be able to provide a US DOT and TPED approved UN/ISO alternative to allow them to transport these small, specialty gas cylinders around the world.” The UN ISO 9809-4 cylinders are also TPED approved, which allows for use as a transportable cylinder in Europe. CE labeling is available on the 1-liter cylinder (Model TA246031000) for non-transportable (gas sampling) applications in Europe.

4. Xiris Weld Cameras Now Supported on Linux Xiris announces the release of its WeldSDK for Linux operating systems. The WeldSDK software development kit allows developers to create their own programs to integrate Xiris weld cameras into their equipment. It incorporates camera controls, image recording and playback, and various image processing functions. The Linux operating system is an open source operating system suitable for real-time processing on personal computers. By supporting Linux, Xiris can now provide its customers with the ability to process videos from welding cameras on a real-time basis. This will provide many benefits for our customers including deterministic cycle times and the ability to further customize their display programs based on their users’ needs. Traditionally able to only run on Windows OS, the addition of Linux OS will provide more security, more flexibility, more programming language support and a better overall user experience for our customers.

5. New 3n1 Cart from Anthony Welded Products Introducing the newest product launch from Anthony Welded Products: the 3n1 Cart. Now, customers can have the best of all words with a fast action cylinder placement band, zinc plated safety chain, and Load-N-Roll front caster feature with removable front wheels. Available and ready to ship. Small, Medium & Large size carts are available. For more information, contact Anthony Welded Products at anthonycarts. com or 877-721-7211.

6. New Lincoln Electric High Silicon GTAW Stainless Steel Cut Lengths Offered in Three Alloys

Lincoln Electric® introduces new GTAW (TIG) cut lengths, offered in high silicon formulations in three common stainless-steel alloys. The GTAW process allows for incredibly clean, high-quality welds with reduced spatter and welding fume. With upgraded manufacturing processes on the new products, quality is additionally enhanced and the opportunity for weld inclusions is reduced. The new stainless-steel Lincoln Electric GTAW cut lengths include: Lincoln® ER308Si/308LSi – Best for 304 or 304L stainless steels and 18-8 steels Lincoln® ER309Si/309LSi - Recommended for joining stainless steel to mild or low alloy steel Lincoln® ER316Si/316LSi - For added corrosion resistance on molybdenum bearing austenitic stainless steels “We’ve improved efficiency on the production front to provide more quality consistency that, in turn, ensures the ultimate quality of the welding consumable,” said Senior Product Manager, Welding Alloys, Sheena Suvak. “We pride ourselves in having high quality consumables regardless of the welding process.” Common features for the cut lengths include: • High silicon levels deliver a more fluid puddle and greater toe wetting that is ideal for a number of materials, applications and welder preferences Fall 2019 • 101


NEW OFFERINGS

8

7 Extremely clean surface treatment improves consistent bead stacking while reducing inclusions in the weld – time after time • Q2 Lot® Tested - a certificate showing actual wire composition and calculated ferrite number (FN) is available online • AWS classification information is inkjet-printed on the entire length of the rod Whether used by industrial fabricators in traditional metalforming applications, or for aftermarket small shop work, Lincoln stainless steel GTAW cut lengths are designed to deliver a clean and consistent weld. •

7. Harris Products SG 920 Switchover System Protects Against High Purity Gas Supply Disruptions

The Harris Products Group Model 920 Switchover System provides a continuous supply of high purity gas for applications such as process analyzing, research sampling, gas chromatography, and emission monitoring. The SG 920 ensures continuous gas flow to downstream applications by automatically switching gas supply from a primary cylinder bank to a reserve cylinder bank. When the primary cylinder bank drops to a specified pressure, the system automatically switches to the other cylinder bank to maintain a constant flow of gas. Once the empty cylinders are replaced, the user resets the primary bank with a simple turn of a knob. This cycle is repeated as pressure drops, thus keeping a consistent delivery of gas to downstream applications and eliminating downtime. In addition to serving a critical role in the reliable delivery of specialty gases, the system has an aesthetically appealing design that looks good and fits well in industrial or professional settings. All system components - including piping, regulators and valves – are housed within a powder coated steel enclosure. The SG 920 can be used with gas delivery systems with inlet pressures up to 3000 PSIG. Harris regulators installed within 102 • Fall 2019

9 the unit control delivery pressures. Two versions of the SG 920 are available. The model 920 is suitable for applications needing delivery pressures of 0-100 PSIG, and the model 920 HP for applications of 0-200 PSIG. An optional two-channel remote alarm panel is offered with the SG 920 system. The Harris Model 1031 Annunciator panel features a highly visible lighted status notification, a distinctive audible notification, auto-reset when cylinders are replenished, and an audible alarm silence feature. Additional alarm panels can be added to the SG920 for customers who need notifications in multiple areas of their facilities. The 1031 Annunciator has a non-incendive circuit which limits the power to the device, a NEMA 4 rating, and can be used with flammable gases without the need for a physical barrier.

8. Lincoln Electric Launches New Flextec 350X PowerConnect

Lincoln Electric® introduces the new Flextec® 350X PowerConnect® with CrossLinc® technology – a reliable and flexible multi-process electric welder that automatically connects to any power input worldwide from 200-600V input. This allows for the welder to be plugged in and used globally, as input powers are different based on power allowances. Compatible with across-the-wire portable wire feeders, analog wire feeders, digital wire feeders and CrossLinc wire feeders, Flextec 350X is lightweight and portable to offer maximum flexibility. It has basic pulsed MIG capabilities for smoother, more consistent welds; and is equipped with CrossLinc technology to allow for weld output control at the wire feeder without additional control cables or having to change output levels at the power source. Flextec 350X offers a streamlined and user-friendly operator panel with simple controls for ease of use. Its components are designed to run cool for long life in high temperature environments and are fully encapsulated and environmentally


NEW OFFERINGS

protected for rugged use outdoors. Additional features include: • 1/3-phase, 50/60HZ input • Built on Lincoln Electric’s industry proven design elements • IP23 rated for use outdoors and in harsh environments • Suited for simple CV shop applications; pulsed GMAW when used with digital Power Feed® wire feeders; and field construction when paired with CrossLinc technology enabled wire feeders • Lightweight and portable

9. Techniweld USA Launches Revolution Lead Reel Techniweld USA just launched the Revolution Lead reel. A revolutionary high quality yet low-cost lead reel that will surely change a welder’s experience. By bringing affordable lead reels to market, now even the “helpers” will have a lead reel. With heavy duty powder coated paint job and premium construction, the arc Star lead reels are sure to impress even the most critical Rig welders. All this at a price point nearly half of the competition! Don’t miss out on being part of the revolution!

ADVERTISERS INDEX 3M Company ...........................................11

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

Acme Cryogenics.....................................43

McDantim ................................................37

Ameritanx, Inc ..........................................50

Mercer Industries .......................................3

AmWINS Program Underwriters ..............95

NorLab Calibration Gases ........................32

Anthony Welded Products .......................41

Norton Abrasives .....................................27

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

ORS Nasco ..............................................33

ASM/American Standard Manufacturing .25

Rotarex ....................................................57

Black Stallion/ Revco Industries ..............23

Ratermann Manufacturing .......................63

California Cylinder Corporation ...............97

SafTCart ..................................................15

Carborundum Abrasives ..........................36

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

Catalina Cylinders ....................................51

Thermacut Inc ..........................................59

Chart Inc ..................................................19

Thermco Instrument Corporation .............45

Controlled Efficiencies .............................16

TomCO2 Systems Company ......................5

Flexovit ....................................................77 Gas Innovations .......................................67

Veite Cryogenic Equipment & Service Corporation ................................................1

Generant Company ..................................50

Voestalpine Bohler ...................................31

H & H Sales Company .............................67

Watson Coatings Inc ................................71

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

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

Hobart Institute of Welding Technology ...95

Weldship Corporation ..............................26

Kaplan Industries Inc ...............................18

Winton Products Company ......................97 Fall 2019 • 103


equigas

The #EQUIGAS Team congratulates the new President of @GAWDAorg Abydee Butler, the Butler family and the @ButlerGas staff. We are excited to work with you and to support the GAWDA members. #GAWDAAC2019 #IndustrialGas #CompressedGas #Welding #ButlerGas #GAWDA

D

uring GAWDA’s 2019 Annual Convention, attendees were encouraged to share posts on social media using the #GAWDAAC19 hashtag. Attendees using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the GAWDA Convention App shared the below posts and pictures throughout the Convention. We encourage GAWDA members to keep the conversation going all year long by using #GAWDA next time you post.

ryanboyd79 #gawda annual with @claire_bear_boyd #cryovation

mcdantim Having a blast with our Chicago buds! #mcdantimcrew #gawdaac2019

mercerindustries

jillysal11 Had such an AMAZING time in Washington DC for the GAWDA Annual Convention. #gawdaac19 #gawdaac2019 #washingtondc #gawda 104 • Fall 2019

Having a blast at the 2019 GAWDA Annual Convention in Washington DC! #mercerindustries #gawda #gawdaac19 #industries #welding #weld #welder #gasesandwelding @gawdaorg #washingtondc


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394 Arcos Drive, Mount Carmel, PA 17851 | 800-233-8460 | www.arcos.us


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

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