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2012 SMC Day 1: Opening With Optimism

John and Ron Walters from American Torch Tip Company

John and Ron Walters from American Torch Tip Company

GAWDA’s Spring Management Conference got off to a great start today with great networking during the First Timers’ and President’s receptions. The turnout this year is incredible, and optimism is in the air. This is a great sign that business is on its way back.

It was great to see new faces at the First Timers’ reception. There were several new member companies in attendance, along with first time attendees from long-time members. GAWDA members regularly cite networking as one of the greatest benefits of GAWDA, and today’s reception stood as a testament to this. Members were optimistic about recovering markets across the country, and eager to talk with others about helium supplies and calcium carbide supplies, among other topics. (These events may look like fun, but I assure you, it’s all about business.)

During the reception, I had the pleasure of meeting Saket Tiku, president of the All India Industrial Gases Manufacturing Association (AIIGMA). As a representative of the Indian gas industry, Tiku brought a very different perspective than distributors and suppliers in attendance. I was amazed to learn that more than 90 percent of Indian gas distributors are independents, and that the industry is growing at an astounding rate of 19 percent. The growing industry is in need of new technologies and more advanced products, and Tiku is on a quest to bring higher quality gas cylinders and other allied products to the Indian gas market.

GAWDA SMC President's reception

A packed house for the President's Reception

Live tweeting from SMC got underway with the event, and it was great to see other members joining the conversation on Twitter with the hash tag #gawda. I’m hoping to get even more members involved tomorrow. If you haven’t joined in yet, it’s not too late—and signing up for Twitter couldn’t be easier. Just head over to www.twitter.com/signup and follow the instructions on screen. Be sure to follow www.twitter.com/GasWeldEdge for my updates, and use tag #GAWDA to join the conversation.

If you’re at the SMC, please stop me and say hello (see my picture at left). I’d love to hear your feedback about my blog and what you’d like to see more of in the future. Even if you’re not in Baltimore, I’d love to hear from you, too. Send me a message on Twitter to let me know what you think.

Check back tomorrow for part two of my daily blog from SMC. There’s a full day in store, with the opening business session, contact booth program and more.

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