How can gases and welding distributor and manufacturer businesses feel confident that their interests are being protected and that their industry is being advocated for at the national level?

When that business is a member of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA), fulfillment of that expectation is never in question. That’s because GAWDA has an experienced and dedicated watchdog located in Washington, D.C. who constantly monitors legislative and regulatory policy and operational issues, actions, and rulings. For GAWDA and its members, consultant Richard P. Schweitzer (pictured right) is their “man on the scene” in the nation’s capital.

As principal of Richard P. Schweitzer, PLLC, with offices located on K Street NW, Schweitzer serves as GAWDA’s voice on Capitol Hill. He represents the industry’s and members’ interests in dealings with federal and state regulatory agencies. He’s on alert for policy and regulatory proposals, pending legislation, and developments in welding fume litigation and other pertinent issues. When what happens in Washington can mean impact on paperwork, procedures, and day-to-day operations for distributors and manufacturers in this industry, he provides timely and pertinent communication. 

Schweitzer’s extensive legal knowledge, apt governmental insights, and skilled advocacy abilities are another benefit of being a GAWDA member. Schweitzer works and shares information with a coalition of more than 40 trade associations representing companies that ship or transport hazardous materials, and frequently meets with officials at the Department of Transportation, Department of Labor, Transportation Security Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and with members of Congress and their staffs. He also regularly advises the association and issues news and regulatory and legislative alerts as circumstances warrant through GAWDA’s association magazine, website, and member newsletter. Additionally, he serves as the association’s government affairs and human resources consultant and GAWDA’s general counsel, and is a member of the association’s Government Affairs Committee. 

In his Welding and Gases Today column this year, Schweitzer has written about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final rule regarding reports of coercion; the Department of Transportation’s revised rules for obtaining DOT special permits and approvals; and changes proposed for the DOT safety fitness determination methodology. He recently advised GAWDA members about an issue of significant cost impact: the US Department of Labor’s boost of the salary threshold for executive, administrative, and professional employees. The change exempts them from overtime requirements and the overhaul of compensation practices is expected to make four million more workers eligible for overtime pay. Schweitzer’s notifications also are regular features of the twice-monthly member newsletter.

In addition, Schweitzer is available to advise on matters related to personnel issues, such as hiring, wages, discipline, labor compliance, record-keeping, and personnel policies. He’s GAWDA’s go-to expert in matters such as unfair competition or deceptive trade practices as well.

More information

GAWDA welcomes new members! For information about joining the association, speak to any current GAWDA member or contact Membership Services Manager Stephen Hill. He can be reached at: and 954-367-7728 x 220

(toll-free: 844-251-3219).


About the author

Diane Stirling is Senior Editor of Welding & Gases Today.