Time To Renew

GAWDA’s Regional Meetings are in full swing, and each one is providing memorable opportunities for everyone who attends. There’s informative news from headquarters on new programs and services designed to help members. There are also updates from various committees on working projects and committee-produced documents that are available through GAWDA. Each region has selected speakers that address an array of interesting and timely topics. Let’s not forget all of the great networking opportunities. They range from the always popular golf outings to special activities that highlight the local flavor of each location. These meetings not only attract participants from the local region, but many attendees travel from other parts of the country to make new contacts and network with local counterparts. Take a look at the regional meeting schedule on page 109 and on the GAWDA website under the “Activities” tab. See which of these meetings work best for you and your organization, and plan on attending.

The upcoming Annual Convention in New York City is shaping up nicely. We have a great lineup of speakers, including Harry the Fish Guy, who has written a number of business books that have made the New York Times best seller list. His latest book, “FISH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results,” will be the basis for his presentation. Richard Picciotto is the highest ranking firefighter to emerge alive from the collapsed North tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. He has appeared on CNN, the History Channel and National Geographic. His book, “Last Man Down,” chronicles his harrowing experience on 9/11, and has become a New York Times best seller. Airgas Chief Executive Officer Peter McCausland will share his thoughts on current events and the state of the industry. The President’s Reception will be held on the deck of the USS Intrepid, also known as the “Fighting I.” This Essex-class aircraft carrier was built in 1943 during World War II and has a colorful history. After attending the receptions, meetings and Contact Booth Program, enjoy a night of comedy on us. GAWDA has lined up an entertaining show for Tuesday night, which will be hosted by Rachael Parenta, a fixture on the New York comedy scene and daughter of GAWDA member Joe Parenta.

Now is a great time to sharpen your skills and those of your employees to keep your organization ahead of the curve. As we continue to see the economy improve, we’ll also begin to see new competitors emerge in the marketplace. These new competitors will be small, agile and looking for any opportunity to grab market share from companies that cannot keep up with the changing industry landscape.

GAWDA U is a great way to get your employees trained on a wide array of subjects at no cost to you. These online courses will be updated with additional courses as we move forward. New courses will be announced in GAWDA Connection and Welding & Gases Today. You can see all the offerings on the GAWDA U web page on our website under the “GAWDA University” tab. Other continuing education links include the AWS Welding Education and Certification programs, Texas A&M University–Industrial Distribution Program, University of Phoenix–Manufacturing Institute, Purdue University–Center For Distribution Education and supplier-sponsored welding schools. Visit GAWDA’s Event Calendar at http://www.gawda.org/calendar.aspx and see what other industry events are scheduled for the rest of the year. Government regulations, safety compliance and HR issues also continue to be a major part of our business climate. If you have dedicated staff for these functions, now is a good time to make sure they’re on the GAWDA mailing list and are receiving the information your organization needs to stay current.

Each quarter, our consultants provide updated information in the form of articles in Welding & Gases Today. They contribute to the twice-monthly e-newsletter GAWDA Connection and the monthly Safety Organizer. They also offer a number of online seminars such as the Professional Compliance Seminar scheduled for this coming September. The Safety Committee is in the process of writing and reviewing documents on Best Practices and Incident Sharing, which will be posted on the Members Only site in the near future. These documents contain information designed to give members invaluable insight on problems and solutions to a variety of real-life situations.

I hope you take advantage of these opportunities as our industry and the economy continue to improve.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
John Ospina John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached via telephone at 877-382-6440 (extension 3) or by email at jospina@gawda.org.