Airgas has announced the winners of its National Branch of the Year trophies, which honour the best of its more than 675 branches across the US based on 2007 fiscal performance.

The winners were the Santa Rosa, California branch of Airgas Northern California and Nevada and the Ottumwa branch of Airgas North Central.

Mike Molinini, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Airgas, Inc explained why these divisions were the cream of the crop, $quot;These two branches are the best of the best, since they were chosen from among the 26 Regional Branch of the Year winners selected in the past few weeks.$quot;

Santa Rosa won the region's Branch of the Year honours in 2005 as well and the foundations for continued success were noted as Molinini commented, $quot;The Santa Rosa branch reached 130.3 percent of its profit budget and surpassed its sales budget to top $7.4 million for the year. No small feat considering, due to space constraints and soaring real estate costs, they have to operate as one entity from two separate locations giving them unrivalled teamwork and organizational skills.$quot;

As the National Branch of the Year winners, the two branches will soon display National Branch of the Year trophies, constructed from size 125 cylinders donated by Taylor-Wharton, which have been powder-coated platinum and mounted on a welded aluminium base. Like hockey's Stanley Cup, the trophies carry engraved bands with the winners' names and are passed along each year to the winners.