News From GAWDA

GAWDA Committee Corner

As part of its continued push to help GAWDA members get the most out of their membership dues in the association and stay on the front lines of emerging industry trends and hot-button issues, GAWDA has several volunteer committees devoted to specific areas of the industry. The volunteer committees include: Government Affairs, Human Resources, Industry Partnering, Insurance Trustees, Leadership Development, Member Services, Safety, Women of Gases and Welding, and Young Professionals.

This new feature in Welding & Gases Today will update readers on the latest news and events from each committee. We thank all the committee chairs for their help and input as well as their service to the association and its members.

Government Affairs Committee

Co-Chair Chuck Beal,
American Welding & Gas

Co-Chair Rick Schweitzer,
GAWDA Legal Counsel

The GAWDA Government Affairs Committee is working on several items of interest to the members.

First, we are collaborating with CGA to encourage the FDA to issue new regulations on medical gases; CGA and GAWDA worked together to provide a draft set of regulations to the agency in 2018 and have responded to additional requests for information from the agency. The timing of publishing the new regulations is still unknown, however.

As Congress is considering reauthorizing the federal-aid highway program, we are working to preserve DOT’s final rule revising the driver hours of service regulations that became effective September 27, 2020. The final rule: expanded the short haul exemption from 12 to 14 hours and from 100 air miles to 150 air miles for all CDL drivers and revised the mandatory 30-minute break to occur after 8 hours of driving and to allow the driver to perform non-driving work during the break. House Democrats want to revisit and perhaps withdraw these revisions.

We also are working to preserve the DOT’s preemption of state law meal and rest break requirements for drivers of vehicles carrying placarded amounts of hazardous materials.

Further, GAWDA supports enactment of the DRIVE Safe Act, which would allow 18-20-year-old individuals to drive commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce (including hazardous materials shipments) after completing a strict training and apprenticeship program, and we support a DOT rulemaking to allow use of electronic shipping papers for hazardous materials transportation by highway mode.


Industry Partnering Committee

Co-Chair Justin Johnson,
Keen Compressed Gas

Co-Chair Terry Scanlan,
Messer

The Industry Partnering Committee held its quarterly meeting at the Spring Management Conference. We are proud to report that we have added two new members: Kevin Lynch, ANOVA, and Michael Brozowic, Norton/St. Gobain, to bring our membership to 9 supplier representatives and 5 Distributor Members.

In 2021, the Industry Partnering Committee was requested to assist in the promotion of the AWS/WEMCO Excellence in Welding Award – Distributors. We will continue to work with the AWS on promotion and continue to develop additional actions for the 2022 awards.

Another area that the IPC continues to be active in is the continuous improvement of the Contact Booth Program at the SMC and Annual Convention. This year’s SMC featured a Contact Booth Only pass and Chair Johnson reached out to all GAWDA members in Tennessee and adjoining states to remind them of this special offer.

Additionally, the IPC recognizes the need to provide guidance to new vendor participants at the Contact Booth. It is as simple as not sitting or eating during booth duty to the collection of contact information. A best practice document is currently in development.

Finally, the IPC continues its work on a two-way scorecard that is being developed for use by distributors. This is an initiative to create a balanced scorecard process when evaluating distributor/vendor relationships.

Other key initiatives that the Industry Partnering Committee has been tasked to work on include creating more opportunities for vendor inclusion within the Annual and SMC Conventions, close collaboration with the Membership Committee, and further collaboration with the AWS/WEMCO.

Insurance Trustees Committee

Co-Chair Jimmy Walker, Jr., SafTCart

Co-Chair Brian McLaughlin,
GAWDA Group Life Insurance Consultant

The Insurance Trustees Committee met at GAWDA’s 2021 Spring Management Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The committee continues to recruit new members to join the committee, with a list of prospective committee members being actively developed.

The committee is working with Met Life to enhance its marketing materials. The Group Life Insurance page on GAWDA.org was recently revamped and an article on the Life Insurance Program was featured in the 3rd Quarter Issue of Welding & Gases Today.

All audits have been completed and tax liabilities have been satisfied. The committee continues to brainstorm on how best to compete with standard issue insurance programs and on better ways to sell our program.

Member Services Committee

Co-Chair Rafael Arvelo, EQUIGAS

Co-Chair Dana Sorensen,
Minneapolis Oxygen Company

The Member Services Committee is working on several initiatives, currently. The first is approaching “at risk” companies, which we have defined as all new companies with four years in GAWDA or less, to reach out to them to explain all of the benefits of GAWDA that they might not have experienced or even know about. We continue to work on the “Test Drive” for membership as well.

We also recently set up two sub-committees. The first is the “Engagement” Committee, which will be chaired by Rick Young, while the second is the “Growing Membership” Committee, to be chaired by Jason Reigner. The goals for the MSC and the two subcommittees continue to be more proactive outreach to at-risk companies as defined by the Board as well as growing our membership by highlighting programs like access to the consultants and the CGA Access Program.

Safety Committee

Co-Chair Jim Herring,
SafTCart

Co-Chair Bill Woods,
American Welding & Gas

The GAWDA Safety Committee meets monthly via the Go-To-Meeting platform. The committee is comprised of 22 members from all aspects of the welding industry from distributors to manufacturers to insurance experts including four GAWDA consultants, one CGA representative, and two GAWDA board members. We consistently tackle the safety issues that plague the GAWDA membership. We do this by breaking our committee into four subcommittees that have revolving chairmen and assign existing sample safety practices for a dustup to keep it relevant and a new topic based on input from the membership. The entire process evolves over five to six months until we agree to publish the results of the subcommittee. Our method of development allows each Safety Committee member to have a voice in the documents we produce. We divide our group twice a year and generally publish eight different safety practices which can be found on the GAWDA website under members only documents.

The safety practices we are currently republishing are as follows:

  • Transport of Pressurized Containers on Elevators
  • Flood Emergency Preparedness
  • Regulatory Agency Visit Guidelines
  • Ergonomics in the Workplace

The new topics are:

  • Walking-Working Surfaces
  • OSHA Recordkeeping
  • Fall Protection
  • Proper Lifting and Movement

For more information about our committee or if you are interested in joining, please visit the GAWDA website.

Women of Gases and Welding Committee

Co-Chair Judy Miller,
WESCO Gas & Welding Supply

Co-Chair Sue Reiter,
Air Products & Chemicals

The Women of Gases and Welding (WGW), GAWDA’s newest committee, continues to promote our mission “to enhance the success of women in the gases and welding industry” as well as “foster a more diverse and inclusive environment for women” in our GAWDA membership. We continue to work toward these mission objectives through personal and professional development as well as educational and networking opportunities.

Several Zoom meetings have occurred throughout the year, as well as an in-person meeting at the recent SMC, with a loaded agenda focusing on rejuvenating our strategic committee goals and objectives, planning and coordinating efforts for the upcoming WGW event at the Annual Convention in Colorado Springs, developing the new WGW Educational Grant Program, and more.

WGW Event at the Annual Convention

Our WGW event is Thursday, October 7, 2021, from 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. It includes a networking lunch and private hiking adventure at Seven Falls. Everyone at the conference was invited to the event. The capacity limit for the Women of Gases and Welding Event is now full. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, please reach out to WGW Committee Co-Chair, Judy Miller, at jmiller@wescoweldc.com for more details.

Educational Grant Program

WGW Committee has also been working on establishing a new Educational Grant to provide opportunities for GAWDA female members through educational advancement. Final details are being sorted out. We will have more information on this after our next committee meeting in mid-September.

Other Current Projects:

2021 Marketing for WGW Committee

Committee member, Melissa Heard, is working with GAWDA Media to promote the committee initiatives, grant, and events. Melissa will use the current channels through GAWDA Media (W&GT and GAWDA TV).

WGW Volunteer Committee Members

The WGW Committee agreed to add a male distributor member to the roster. The current roster includes 3 distributors and 4 suppliers.

Young Professionals Committee

Co-Chair Liz Standley,
ILMO Products

Co-Chair Cody Patrick,
Gas Equipment Company

The Young Professionals event for the 2021 Annual Convention, A “Lesson” in Brew, which will take place on Friday, October 8, at Ivywild, has sold out. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in Colorado Springs!

CGA and GAWDA are currently hosting the Young & Emerging Professionals Summit online. Sessions have been well attended and an extremely helpful resource for learning basic technical knowledge.

The Young Professionals committee extends a warm welcome to new committee members Melissa De Jesus, Phoenix International; Logan Evans, Volunteer Welding Supply; Edward Leon, Cryogenic Industrial Solutions; Andy Riordan, American Welding & Gases, Inc.; and Jan Uczkowski, Generant.    

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