News From GAWDA

Record Attendance at SMC and Board Approval of Two New Positions

It’s been a busy quarter for the GAWDA team, and we’ve accomplished quite a bit. Below, I’ve summarized some of our activities:

AIWD Convention

In April, John Ospina and I had the opportunity to present at the Association of Independent Welding Distributors (AIWD) Convention in Louisville, KY, about the value of a GAWDA membership. Our message seemed to resonate, as we gained seven new members in the weeks after the convention. I extend my thanks to John and Mike Dodd, as well as Stephen Hill for his follow-up efforts.

Spring management conference in St. Louis

We had 678 — a record attendance — at the Spring Management Conference in St. Louis. Our speakers, venue and Contact Booth Program received very positive feedback. Of course, I also need to mention the President’s Reception and a St. Louis Cardinal victory over the Chicago Cubs (don’t look at the Central Division standings). And, we were able to coordinate a tour of Cee Kay Supply. Thanks to everyone who made the conference a success!

Board Approves Two New Positions

The board approved adding another vice president on the path to being president of GAWDA, and we are pleased to welcome Bob Ewing to this position. He will help the incoming presidents to start their search for convention sites a year earlier and give us more options for cities, hotels and avoiding conflicts with other association events and dates. In addition, this decision will give Bob another year of being part of the executive committee and help him to better understand the association and team.

The board also approved the addition of a member services and program director to the GAWDA team. This individual will be in charge of validating and improving the “GAWDA Value” provided to our existing membership, enable us to review our services and programs, deliver the greatest value to our membership and recruit new GAWDA members.

Contact Booth Program

The Industry Partnering Committee led by Doug Morton has agreed to take over the Contact Booth Program process for the next Spring Management Conference and Annual Meeting. In the past, we have not had a standing committee to manage this process. However, we have made great progress over the past few years and believe, with the guidance of the committee, this will continue to improve. Using information from our surveys and other feedback, we intend to continue to make our Contact Booth Program a positive experience for both suppliers and distributors.

Compressed Gas Association/GAWDA Acetylene and LPG Seminar

In June, many suppliers and distributors attended a seminar on Compressed Gas Association guidelines, best practices and incident sharing in Louisville, KY. We look forward to more joint sessions in the future that will continue to bring content and value to GAWDA members. Thanks to CGA Staff and current President Jack Butler for making this such a great event.


Finally, congratulations to all of our members celebrating milestone anniversaries! See the pages of this magazine for highlights on some of our members. We applaud all of you and your companies’ accomplishments and are proud to have you as GAWDA members.

I look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming GAWDA convention in Seattle! 



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