GAWDA’s 70th anniversary celebrations are drawing to a close now as the 860 attendees at the Annual Convention gathered for the final day of events yesterday.

Held at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona, the closing day of business began on an upbeat note with GAWDA First Vice President, Mark Raimy, introduced Compressed Gas Association President, Mike Tiller.

Raimy reminded the audience that promoting safety is always one of the foremost missions of GAWDA. In keeping with that directive, Tiller announced this year’s CGA & GAWDA Distributor Safety Awards. The two awards went to Wagner Welding Supply of Longmont, Texas, and Coastal Welding Supply of Beaumont, Texas.

These presentations were followed by two inspirational and informational talks. Dan Thurmon, author, speaker, and master juggler reminded us that we are all professional jugglers, if we analyse how we manage our business.

Mike Rowe, creator and host of Dirtiest Jobs, talked about the disconnect he sees in America between education and job opportunities, citing the need for trained welders as a key example. For the work he does through his foundation, Mike Rowe Works, WEMCO awarded Rowe a special “Excellence in Welding” award.

Last but not least, a new slate of GAWDA officers was voted in for 2015-2016 and after several moving tributes, Bill Visantainer was introduced as GAWDA’s new President.

Visantainer, a well-respected industry businessman who has worked as both supplier and distributor, announced he would dedicate this year to working on the topic of “Disruption — Threat or Opportunity.”