On Preparation And Adjustment

What do fishing, floating, food shopping and asking forgiveness have in common? They’re activities that some of this year’s board of directors participate in when not working. Who knew that two board members wield their chef’s knives like mig torches in their kitchens? Who knew that playing in dirt and restoring classic wooden boats could be so much fun? The GAWDA board of directors works very hard, and they play hard too. Meet them on page 38.

I always look forward to talking with GAWDA members about their projections for the year ahead. We began these conversations in late October with 100+ GAWDA Distributors and Suppliers who shared their plans, their challenges, their new ideas and new ways of doing business. What became clear as the 2013 Business Forecast was put together is that GAWDA members are strong, creative and eager to do whatever it takes to keep their businesses viable. They truly are leaders in the gases and welding industry. Read how they plan to do business this year in the Cover Story that begins on page 44.

On the topic of leadership, this issue takes a look at nine executives from the supplier side. These men are at the front and center of the industry and beginning on page 60, share their successes, business failures, and how they continue to grow in leadership. The large supplier companies were chosen because everyone knows who they are and odds are pretty high that you’re selling their products. The task was to learn something about them that you didn’t know. I think we met that challenge.

The closest I’ve ever gotten to a major “weather event” was 1992. It was spring, and I was bicycling across the state of Kansas on a cross-country trip. A female with an expensive bicycle loaded down with supplies drew a lot of stares from strangers. A local farmer gave me some advice while sharing a cup of coffee at the diner early one morning. It was the middle of tornado season, and I was traveling some very open roads. He told me I would probably experience a tornado, and to watch carefully the direction from which it was coming. If I could look straight at it, I was in big trouble. I needed to go right or left as fast as possible, and find something to hide under. I’d never be able to outpace it, even with my fancy bicycle. (Hey, I was young and not so smart.) Four days later, I was looking straight into the churning cloud of a twister, silently and profusely thanking that wise Samaritan.

The last few months of 2012 have had their fill of turmoil. Superstorm Sandy reinforced the need to prepare our businesses for a disaster. In their article on page 93, Bart Basi and Marcus Renwick review steps to take to prepare for the worst. You may be surprised at some of the advice they give, particularly for the disasters that don’t come with a weather forecast.

The economy of the past few years has had a disastrous effect on many businesses. The good news is that after several years of a slowdown, GAWDA members have figured out how to survive and growth, albeit small, is coming back.

Knowing what to do was key to my survival on that tornado-bashed road in Kansas. So too for GAWDA members that have faced the economic storm of the past few years. You looked it in the eye, stared it down, made adjustments, and moved forward. 2013 is going to be a great year!

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Meet the Author
Carole Jesiolowski is managing editor of Welding&Gases Today magazine, which is published by Data Key Communications in Syracuse, New York, and on the Web at www.datakey.org. She can be reached at 315-445-2347 or carole@WeldingAndGasesToday.org.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association