Convention Highlights

2012-13 GAWDA President Craig Wood delivers the 2013 State of the Association address to convention delegates.

A total of 780 members and guests gathered in Orlando, FL, for GAWDA’s 69th Annual Convention. The event, held September 15-18, 2013, was attended by a host of dignitaries, including 12 Past Presidents, distinguished industry guests and hundreds of GAWDA members and spouses.

2012-13 GAWDA President Craig Wood opened the convention by thanking members for allowing him to lead the organization. Wood reported on the accomplishment of goals of the last year, including the transition of GAWDA from AWS management to an independently managed association. The transition will be complete in January 2015. You can read President Wood’s address here.

Ned Pontius Elected GAWDA President

2013-14 GAWDA President Ned Pontius gives his first presidential address to start his term in office.

Ned Pontius, President of Norco in Boise, ID, was elected President of GAWDA on September 18. Pontius was introduced by his two daughters and wife, who told the story of their father’s passion for business and the industry, as well as his intense wood-working skills.

In his acceptance speech, Pontius acknowledged his family and his industry colleagues. He introduced plans for the year and outlined his goals for upcoming meetings. In his closing remarks, Pontius recalled the words of Steve Jobs, who said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” It was very clear to those in attendance that President Pontius loves our industry and we can look forward to an exciting and fruitful year.

New Board Members Begin Term

GAWDA members paid tribute to Board Members who have served the association over the past few years and whose terms have expired. Past President Lloyd Robinson was presented with a plaque marking his years of service. Board positions are volunteer and GAWDA and its members are grateful for the valuable time board members commit to bettering our association.

Bill Visintainer, president of Atlas Welding Supply Co. in Tuscaloosa, AL, was named First Vice President, and will join the Board of Director’s Executive Committee. In this role, Visintainer will help with major decisions of the association, and will become President of the association in 2015.

To help with the transition to association self-management, three additional positions were added to the Board of Directors and will serve as Vice Presidents. Joining the Board are: Robert Anders (President, Holston Gases), Gary Halter (VP of Sales, Indiana Oxygen Company) and Brad Peterson (President, Mississippi Welders Supply Co.).

Contact Booth Program Highlights Latest Products

The Contact Booth Program continues to be the highlight of the Annual Convention. Over 100 Exhibitors were on hand to meet with distributors about the latest product offerings and services. From the buzz in the large room, it was clear that Distributors and Suppliers were discussing solutions and opportunities. See photos from the Contact Booth Program here.

GAWDA Gives Back $163,629

Two Orlando nonprofits each received checks in the amount of $81,814.50, thanks to members’ generous donations to the 2013 GAWDA Gives Back campaign.

Both organizations support children with life-threatening illnesses and their families by providing opportunities to experience the renown theme parks of Orlando and a camping experience where sickness takes a back seat to having fun. Executives from Give Kids the World and Camp Boggy Creek accepted the checks and thanked GAWDA members for their extreme generosity.

GAWDA President Craig Wood and his wife Darlene present a check for $81,814.50 to Give Kids the World.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association