Improving Our “Value Proposition”

As we reflect back on the changes that have taken place over this past year and look toward the future, one thing is clear: GAWDA’s leadership is intent on not only addressing members’ needs, but exceeding them. As the new kid on the block, I can tell you the time invested and dedication toward improvement exhibited by GAWDA’s leadership is not only impressive, it’s an exciting environment to be a part of. The new year will not only bring with it a continued focus on ensuring the delivery of services members expect, but an equal commitment toward seeking ways to improve the value proposition of a GAWDA membership.

As the back-office transition continues, member services on the front end will evolve and expand. A member-needs assessment will occur in 2011, and your input is critical as “next steps” are outlined. We look forward to the feedback of all GAWDA constituents—the board of directors, committees and stakeholder members—in order to identify and explore new services. Communication channels will also continue to evolve. GAWDA’s Web presence will eventually encompass a “members’ only” access site, as well as the current public site you all know today. Traditional electronic and hard-copy publications will continue to be a major part of the communications network, and additional educational opportunities will be developed and tailored to member needs. Non-traditional delivery options will be explored in an attempt to bring these educational opportunities to members in innovative and flexible ways.

As your new management provider, we are also looking forward to putting our heads together with the GAWDA volunteer leadership to find new and more effective ways to market GAWDA and all the valuable programs available to members. Industry acquisitions and a flagging economy have taken their toll on GAWDA membership, and it’s time we take a proactive approach to bringing membership levels back where they belong. Though not an easy task, we can move in this direction through a combination of carefully planned marketing and exploring new benefits most needed and desired by potential members.

At the recent GAWDA convention in Maui, I was constantly impressed by the enthusiasm of the members and the willingness to pull together for the common good. As Jenny McCall expressed in her President’s Welcome Message, GAWDA is truly a family that stands as one for the benefit of the industry. This year, Lloyd Robinson and his executive team are moving forward with the same goals firmly in mind. I am eager to work on behalf of the GAWDA membership to help make next year’s convention, the Spring Management Conference and the regional meetings as successful as they can possibly be. I know Lloyd will do his part; your new president has shown exceptional dedication to both maximizing and demonstrating the value of GAWDA membership. If anyone in the gases and welding supply field is still unaware of the value of this organization, that won’t be the case for long.

For many years, GAWDA members have learned to live with tremendous change. Industry consolidations, increased competition from abroad, increased compliance and safety regulations and a global recessionary period have all forced member companies to constantly change their business models in order to survive. For this very reason, our member services need to remain flexible in order to mesh with the environment in which our members live. We serve our members by providing a competitive edge through the unique mix of educational programs, networking opportunities and resource-based communication channels that make up this trade association.

Simply stated, our mission is “to promote the safe operation and economic vitality of distributors of industrial gases and related welding equipment and supplies.” “Economic vitality” is the key phrase here — and one that we don’t ever want to lose sight of.

I look forward to working with you over the next year and always welcome your feedback.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
John Ospina Meet the Author
John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached via telephone at 1-877-382-6440 (fax extension 3) or e-mail jospina@gawda.org.