Volunteer Welding Supply, Inc. has become the latest company to sign a partnership with Meritus Gas Partners, which is assembling a federation of independent distributors of industrial, medical, specialty gases and welding supplies in North America.

Source: Volunteer Welding Supply

Volunteer is an independent US distributor of industrial and specialty gases, welding and safety supplies, with four locations in Tennessee (Nashville, Tullahoma, Baxter, and Knoxville, the latter under the brand of its affiliate, A-Welders Supply & Medical Gases).

Volunteer’s co-owners and brothers, David and John Mark McMurtry, will continue to lead the business while maintaining significant equity ownership in Meritus. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

John Mark McMurtry, Volunteer’s President, said, “Our parents, Harold and Evelyn McMurtry, founded Volunteer in 1973. My brother David and I grew up in the business. When we contemplated Volunteer’s future, it was important to us to honour our parents’ and family’s legacies. We chose to partner with Meritus to maintain Volunteer’s independence and brand and continued commitment to our dedicated employees and loyal customers.”

In December 2020, AEA Investors formed Meritus via partnerships with Houston-based Gas Innovations and Atlas Welding Supply, which is based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Meritus intends to partner with leading owner-operators to establish a federation of independent distributors across North America and serving growing end-markets.

Meritus’ Vice Chairman Rob D’Alessandro said, “The McMurtrys have built a premier distributorship over 40+ years. Volunteer’s calling card is its commitment to superior customer service and it has capitalised on the tremendous growth opportunities available to it by being based in Nashville, one of the top growing welding and packaged gas markets in the US. Volunteer has a newly renovated facility in Nashville, including a brand new specialty gas laboratory, and continues to invest in microbulk technologies. It is poised to continue its exciting growth trajectory and we are looking forward to supporting the McMurtrys and their employees on this path.”

David McMurtry added, “Our business is thriving and growing, yet we are also facing business challenges like other industrial gas distributors – customer consolidation, supply chain dislocations and increasing regulatory complexities. As a member of Meritus, we will be a part of a larger, more diverse organisation which will help us accelerate our growth as well as navigate the challenges we face. We will now be able to lean on our partners at Meritus and the other operating companies to share best practices, leverage buying relationships and exchange customer leads.”

John Mark McMurtry. “We had strong, personal preexisting relationships with the owners of Atlas Welding, a founding Meritus member company, and operate in a contiguous geography to both Atlas and new Meritus member, OzArc Gas. We want to leave a lasting imprint on our industry.”