GAWDA – Promoting the Safe Operation and Economic Vitality of Gas Distributors


The Gases and Welding Distributors Association’s (GAWDA) (www.gawda.org) mission is to promote the safe operation and economic vitality of distributors of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and related welding equipment and supplies in North America. GAWDA does this in three ways: through education, with networking opportunities, and by providing consultants on key issues, like safety.

I believe that for a distributor, GAWDA is not an option, but a necessary tool in running a successful company in the welding and gases industry. If you are not already a GAWDA member, I encourage you to become one. With years of experience in the industrial gas industry and now President of AWISCO, I must acknowledge GAWDA’s educational opportunities as a tremendous and continuing asset to my business. On-line information like The GAWDA Connection provides twice-amonth updates on what is new and exciting in the industry and is delivered right to your inbox. The Connection is my way of keeping up with the goings-on in the industry. The GAWDA Edge is another on-line newsletter targeted to young executives (of which I am one until November). This monthly E-newsletter supplies young executives with the tools needed to build and further their careers in our industry. The GAWDA Wiki website is a great resource for obtaining information on anything related to welding. GAWDA also prints a quarterly magazine called Welding and Gases Today, which is a must-read for in-depth information on the relevant topics affecting our industry. GAWDA also provides educational content at its meetings. At this year’s Spring Management Conference in Chicago, the theme was “Measuring Accountability in Your Organization.” The feedback from the over 600 attendees was overwhelmingly positive regarding the educational value of the various speakers and panel discussions. All of our Regional Meetings also feature educational and motivational speakers who provide great take-home value. And the educational content at the Annual Convention is always enhanced to provide members extra take-home value. The dates, times, and locations of GAWDA’s meetings can be easily found on www.gawda.org, in the calendar section.

GAWDA also prints a quarterly magazine called Welding and Gases Today, which is a must-read for in-depth information on the relevant topics affecting our industry.

While the educational aspect of GAWDA is very important, the networking truly makes GAWDA special. In very few industries can one make the kind of lifelong friendships that many of us have made in the gases and welding industry. By becoming active in GAWDA, I have established friendships with colleagues across this country. Many GAWDA members have related to me that they are able to go anywhere in the country and find a distributor or supplier in the area to share a cup of coffee or a meal with. This is truly unique to our industry. Personally, I have enjoyed many rich and varied experiences as an active member of GAWDA — with some great bonuses. For example, last year as I was watched the Jets beat the Chargers, I made the comment to the people around me in New York that I would get an invite to Indianapolis to see the Jets play the Colts. Sure enough, a distributor in Indy — and fellow GAWDA member — called me the following Monday morning with an extra ticket to the game. (Thanks Wally, and sorry about the Super Bowl.) I consider the opportunity to take advantage of GAWDA’s team of consultants and its new association with the American Welding Society (AWS) to be the very best reasons to be a GAWDA member. If a GAWDA member has issues with FDA, EPA, DOT, Medical Gases, human resources (HR), government affairs, or fume litigation, these can be resolved with the help of our staff consultants. Imagine a distributor having to go through a DOT audit without any help. The chances of getting a substantial fine would be great. How about having FDA knock on your door? If you follow the consultant’s FDA guidelines, then you should be well prepared in the event they do show up. What would you do if you were named in a fume litigation suit? If you were a GAWDA member you would call the consultant to get advice as to how to proceed. These are just a few examples of the many ways that utilizing GAWDA consultants can make a positive impact on your company’s success. GAWDA’s new association with AWS as its management partner is also very exciting as it allows us to extend even more AWS benefits to GAWDA members. In closing I want everyone to know that GAWDA is truly great not only because of the education, networking, and consultant opportunities it provides, but because of its members. It is the active participation of both the distributor and supplier members that makes GAWDA successful. The over 200 committee members, the 2000 people that will attend a regional meeting in 2010, the over 600 people that were in Chicago at the SMC, and the 1000 people expected to be in Maui this October are what drive our volunteer leadership and keep GAWDA a vibrant and integral part of our industry. Please visit our website and see for yourself what the buzz is about. I guarantee that becoming more active in GAWDA will not only help your business, it will help you personally.

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