The Linde Distributor Association (LDA) recently held its 18th annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, celebrating the sustainability of the buying group - which was started 20 years ago.

The annual meeting provides the opportunity for LDA members to share ideas for business improvement and to network with preferred vendors.

During the two-day meeting, 28 vendors discussed their various services, product lines and rebate programs; they also introduced special sales available only to meeting attendees. This year’s agenda included best practices seminars on current buying trends, as well as a presentation by Linde on the global helium supply situation.

“I was truly excited to share in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the LDA,” said Mark Falconer, LDA co-chairman and president of Minneapolis Oxygen Company, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Minneapolis Oxygen has been a member of LDA since its inception and I’m always amazed at the enthusiasm displayed by distributors and vendors at these annual meetings. I believe the reason for this vigour is because LDA has selectively added vendors throughout the years, keeping the distributor/vendor relationship fresh and mutually beneficial.”

Terry Hall, LDA co-chairman and Linde distributor consultant, who was also part of the creation of the LDA in 1993, opened the meeting with a presentation of the development of the LDA through the past 20 years. “The participation this year in the meetings, breakout sessions and vendor trade show was as good or better than any I’ve attended,” said Hall. It created an atmosphere that enhanced the all-important networking activities. I think everyone who attended thought it was a great opportunity to exchange information and ideas that will have a positive impact on their businesses.”

Since its inception in 1993, LDA has enabled independent distributors to leverage the purchasing power of an association to achieve volume discounts and earn rebates. Linde Gas North America provides the LDA with administrative support, participates in vendor selection and programs, manages committees and provides guidance on best practices and changing trends in the industry.

LDA has 70 member companies who have over 400 retail locations throughout the US Combined, LDA members have made over $1bn in annual purchases and have earned some $27m in rebates since the group was established. Products purchased include welding and cutting equipment, consumables, and gas containment and handling equipment.

Vendor of the Year

Based on service, delivery and sales communication, John Tillman Company, of Compton, California, was chosen Vendor of the Year. Formed in 1928, to provide personal protection solutions for welders and other industrial workers, John Tillman is now known as the top manufacturer of quality welding gloves and leather protective garments. The company has both domestic and international production operations, as well as distribution facilities in California, Georgia, and Indiana to serve distributors.

Blake Brown, president, John Tillman Company, said, “I was surprised and honored to receive the vendor of the year award this year. The award was extremely special. The LDA members continue to show incredible loyalty to our products. I am truly grateful.”