Airgas has announced the reorganisation of its North Central distribution region, effective immediately, into two separate regions within the company’s North Division.

The changes will feature a redefined North Central region, headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, and a new Midwest region, headquartered in the Chicagoland area.

“We are optimistic about the long-term prospects for the US manufacturing industry, as structural drivers like the abundant supply of low-cost energy and higher shipping costs from overseas should favor the US for years to come. US manufacturing should also benefit from future growth in the non-residential construction and energy industries,” said Michael L. Molinini, Airgas President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We’re positioning our resources in this area of the country to enhance our competitive position and assure that we fully capitalise on these long-term growth prospects in what is already one of the largest industrial gas markets in the US.”

“Through both solid organic growth and acquisitions, particularly the recent acquisition of The Encompass Gas Group, the North Central region’s annual revenues have nearly quadrupled over the past ten years, making it one of Airgas’ largest regions by revenue,” said Shaun Powers, President of Airgas’ North Division. “Covering eight states and roughly 352,000 square miles, it is also one of our most geographically expansive regions. This reorganisation reinforces Airgas’ commitment to an operating model where decisions are made as close to our customers as possible.”

Pamela Swanson, who has successfully led the North Central region’s growth as President since 2009, has been named President of the redefined North Central region, which will cover northern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Under Swanson’s leadership, the legacy North Central region has consistently earned recognition as one of Airgas’ strongest performing distribution regions.

Rick Keefer, who has served as President - The Encompass Gas Group since its acquisition by Airgas in November 2013, has been named President - Midwest Region. Since being acquired by Airgas, Encompass has largely operated as a standalone distribution business. During his 30 years with Encompass, Keefer served in numerous roles of increasing responsibility in both sales and operations before ultimately joining Encompass’ executive management team. He spent the last five years as Encompass’ Executive Vice President with responsibility for all aspects of the business, including its 11 locations and more than 130 associates. The Midwest region will cover northwestern Indiana, northern Illinois, and southern Wisconsin, including the Madison and Milwaukee metropolitan areas.