The Image Of Our Industry

GAWDA distributors paint the world of welding and gases in a new light.

How are you promoting the image
of the industry?
To share your images of welding, email Content Editor Devin O’Toole at

Faced with a sizeable shortage of welders and an unforgiving economy, something must be done to look out for the future of the gases and welding industry. “Sometimes the only thing people hear about our industry from the media is negative, so they come to think of it as dangerous and dirty,” says Atlas Welding Supply (Tuscaloosa, AL) Vice President James Cain, who knows a thing or two about being the voice of the industry as part of a weekly radio segment. “It’s important for distributors to make people aware that ours is a vibrant industry, a significant industry that does things for the community. Welding provides jobs and helps to grow the economy.”

Awareness and education are also key for Sutton-Garten Company (Indianapolis, IN), whose employees have served on advisory boards for four local schools. “One of the factors in maintaining manufacturing jobs is making sure people are trained with the proper skills to do the jobs,” says President Pat Garten. “Welding instructors don’t always know what skills employers are looking for. It’s important for distributors to get involved and provide that guidance.”

Advocating for the image of welding takes many forms. Like Sutton-Garten Company and Atlas Welding Supply, GAWDA members across the country are finding unique ways to promote the industry. On these pages are distributors who have embraced their role as stewards of the industry, reaching out through open houses, trade shows and more. What better way to look at the image of welding than through the images themselves.

James Cain

Atlas Welding Supply Vice President James Cain joins local morning show hosts Wally and Dave every Wednesday for a half-hour segment on Tuscaloosa’s talk radio station WTBC. A variety of topics are shared with radio listeners. Cain recently explained the scarcity of helium and the wide-reaching impact of an acetylene shortage. After a recent tornado, Cain informed listeners about the cutting equipment being used in scrap operations and tornado cleanup efforts.

Welding competitions are a great way to get students excited about welding. Ozarc Gas added a job fair to its second annual Weld-A-Thon in 2011 to show students that the industry is alive and well. A look at robotics and advanced processes shows students that opportunities go well beyond manual welding.

GE Students Open houses, like this one at
G & E Welding Supply, provide opportunities to show off new equipment. Inviting customers to showcase their hot rods and racecars is a great way to draw interest to welding.
More than 700 welding students were in attendance at WELSCO’s 2010 Arkansas Welding Expo. Students learned about job potential in the industry, and a handful of lucky students went home with raffled off welding machines. These contributions, both tangible and intangible, help students succeed in welding.
AWISCO hosts students from New York City’s School of Cooperative Technical Education at its annual Trade Show event, including 52 students in 2011. Visiting with vendors, students learn about the latest processes and equipment and get a taste of what to expect when they enter the field.
Central Welding Supply and Bellingham Technical College marked the tenth year of the original Welding Rodeo in 2011, where professional and student welders compete in a metal sculpture competition. A virtual welding machine gives spectators a chance to get a taste of welding without the sparks.
Never underestimate the power of the distributor showroom to intrigue future welders. Displaying welding art is not only a great way to spruce up the store, it’s the perfect way to show that welding applications know no bounds.
Sutton-Garten Company brings welding to a wide range of individuals through its welding training courses. Participants include hobbyists, car enthusiasts, artists interested in metal sculpture and students from local schools, along with professional welders looking to get certified. Father-son duos are a common occurrence.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association