Formerly known as the Airco Distributor Association, the LDA, since its inception in 1993, has sustained ongoing partnerships with key vendors the past two decades.

Linde North America, a member of The Linde Group, a world leading gases and engineering company, provides marketing and administrative support to the association, which enables its independent gases and equipment distributor members to leverage their purchasing power to achieve volume discounts and earn rebates from equipment suppliers.

Mark Falconer, president of Minneapolis Oxygen Company and co-chairman of LDA, said, “Minneapolis Oxygen has been a member of LDA since its inception. It’s been both a pleasant and profitable experience. It is the best and most successful buying group in our industry because of our integrity and loyalty to our vendor partners.”

Since 1993, the LDA has grown to include 70 member companies who have over 400 retail locations throughout the US. Together, LDA members make over $1bn in annual purchases and have earned some $27m in rebates in the group’s lifetime. The products purchased include: wire and cable, abrasives, tools, gas apparatus, leathers and clothing, MIG and TIG replacement parts, plasma cutting equipment, replacement torch tips, welding helmets, cylinders, cryogenic storage equipment and tank maintenance services.

Terry Hall, also co-chairman of LDA, recalls the early days when the discussion of a buying group began. “The concept for the association came about when members of the Distributor Advisory Board began to explore ways to take advantage of Airco’s buying power and purchasing expertise,” said Hall, who was then vice president Sales, Distributor Gases. “The result was to start a distributor association that could leverage its buying power for all sorts of products and services from qualified vendors. And, as they say, the rest is history.”

Along for the historic ride was Rod Belden, chairman of O. E. Meyer Company, a welding and medical gases distributor in Sandusky, Ohio. Belden, who was one of the association’s first co-chairmen, said, “We were all pretty green at the buying power game at the time. But we all worked together – the distributors and Airco - to get it off the ground. I’m truly proud that O. E. Meyer is still a member and that the association has blossomed into a real force in the industry benefiting so many independent distributors.”