The yearly Spring Management Conference (SMC), hosted by the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA), has a reached a record level of registrants for the May event.

According to GAWDA Executive Director John Ospina, registered attendees (which includes distributors, suppliers, manufacturer’s representatives, plus their guests) totals more than 550 registrants. This tops registration numbers for the past four years at this same time, he noted.

Booth registrations for the GAWDA Spring Contact Booth Programme, a vendor showcase, have also filled up at record pace, Ospina said. The 2017 show will house 127 supplier members, vendors and manufacturers showing off their latest products and services.

The Contact Booth Programme is a major networking opportunity for distributors to learn about the latest available products to augment their businesses. It’s also a major venue for suppliers, manufacturers and distributors to meet face-to-face and provides opportunities for them to obtain information about new offerings directly and to build relationships.

In addition, GAWDA is introducing a new mobile app. The technology is designed to make it easier for distributors and suppliers to network, and for registered attendees to interact and communicate while at the SMC and at other GAWDA national events.

The app provides all information attendees need, including a full list of who is registered, detailed schedule of activities, maps to event locations, and local information such as city maps and ride sharing contacts. The app is now available on the App Store for iPhone and on Google Play for Android phones.

The SMC is being held from the 11th-13th May, in Boca Raton, Florida.

Guest speakers include Christopher Mapes, chairman, president and CEO of Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., who will address opportunities for career education; and Curt Steinhorst, from the Centre for Generational Kinetics, who will speak about communicating with younger generations. In addition, Alan Beaulieu, GAWDA’s chief economist and principal of ITR Economics, will provide a detailed economic forecast for the industry; and Kelly Latimer, a test pilot for the Virgin Galactic Launcher One programme, will speak at the Women of Gases and Welding Committee of GAWDA luncheon.