The Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) commenced its 2016 Annual Convention at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, Hawaii, last night, with around 420 delegates from across the US in attendance and some 80 independent gas distributors being represented.

Under the events theme of Disruption, Threats and Opportunities, speakers are set to address both external and internal pressures on our industry over the next three days, as well as evaluating its general economic position.

Gawda 2016 annual convention 2

GAWDA 2016 Annual Convention

The organisation’s current President Bill Visintainer welcomed the attendees to a large ‘Aloha’ President’s Welcome Reception, providing a networking opportunity for distributors to begin to decode where the industry is heading amidst a challenging economic climate in the States.

Some distributors revealed that business growth had been relatively flat, with the growth in gas is being offset by the decline in welding goods. According to the recent Baird distributor survey, revenue trajectory for gases in 1Q16 was 2.1%, a downward shift of nearly 4% year-over-year, and hardgoods revenue sat at -0.2%.

Speakers lined up to present at the event include former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, as well as Air Products’ current Chairman and CEO Seifi Ghasemi who will discuss Lessons Learned from Independent Distributors – Capturing their Entrepreneurial Spirit.

In addition, GAWDA and participating exhibitors will host the event’s ’Contact Booth Programme’ tomorrow in which 105 exhibitors will be present. The programme is designed to stimulate interaction between supplier members and distributor members.

gasworld will be covering all the latest news from GAWDA’s 2016 Annual Conference, which takes place from 25th-28th September in Hawaii.