October 15, 2013 – Member News

Gary Bertrand Sells The Encompass Gas Group

Airgas has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the assets and operations of The Encompass Gas Group, Inc., headquartered in Rockford, Illinois, with 11 locations and more than 130 employees in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa, Encompass generated approximately $55 million in annual sales in 2012. The transaction is expected to close on November 1. President and CEO Gary Bertrand says, “Encompass has been family-owned and operated since its founding in 1955 as Rockford Industrial Welding Supply. Doing what’s best for our customers and associates has always been our top priority. The customer-focused, local service cultures of Encompass and Airgas are very similar. Airgas is the one major player who has consistently shown commitment to the packaged gas business. They have independent roots, and they just get better and better over time. I can’t think of a better company to entrust with our loyal customers and associates, and I look forward to watching our relationships continue to flourish as part of Airgas.”

Air Products’ CEO to Retire

Air Products will add 3 new independent directors to its Board of Directors and will commence a search to identify a successor to chairman and CEO John E. McGlade, who will retire in 2014. The actions reflect the Board’s ongoing focus on best-in-class corporate governance and leadership succession planning to ensure the Air Products Board and management have the appropriate experience and expertise to deliver long-term value for Air Products shareholders. McGlade will continue to serve as chairman and CEO during the search process and then as chairman for an agreed-upon transition period in 2014. The incoming CEO will also join the Board as a director.

McGlade said, “Air Products is a long-cycle business, and we have taken significant actions in recent years to position the company for accelerated earnings growth in an economic recovery. As I approach age 60 and the Board plans for my retirement, the actions our Board is announcing today will ensure an orderly leadership transition and a company that is well positioned to deliver long-term shareholder value. We have had a constructive dialogue with Pershing Square, our largest shareholder, and are pleased they are supportive of the actions our Board is announcing today for the benefit of all Air Products shareholders.” Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square, said, “We invested in Air Products because it is a great business in an industry with excellent long-term prospects. In recent weeks, we have been delighted to get to know John and the rest of the board working with them on their mission of continuous improvement and long-term shareholder value creation. We look forward to a successful long-term partnership.”

Merger Creates Arc3 Gases

The businesses of Arcet Equipment Co. in Richmond, VA, and Machine & Welding Supply Co. in Dunn, NC, have merged. The two companies will initially operate as wholly owned subsidiaries of a new entity known as Arc3 Gases, Inc. This 50/50 merger of equals brings together two longstanding, independent industrial gas and welding supply distributors in the Southeast. The balanced structure of the merger ensures that the family ownership and management heritage of each respective company is maintained while positioning the combined businesses to further solidify and build upon their shared market position.

Parker Dillard and Emmett Aldredge Jr. will serve as co-chairmen of the board of directors of Arc3 Gases. “We are very excited to announce this unique merger of equals to the employees of Arcet and Machine & Welding as well as to our peers in this great industry,” the co-chairmen conveyed in a joint statement. “The remarkably similar company cultures, our contiguous geographies, our wonderful employees and our shared commitment to taking care of customers all made this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are thrilled about this partnership.”

Emmett Aldredge III, who will serve as co-president of Arc3 Gases along with Parker Dillard, added, “One of the great aspects of how we are coming together is that we can immediately begin the most important aspects of our integration process, while at the same time having great people in place leading these two established companies to ensure we do not miss a beat in serving our valued customers. We are excited to have made this formal commitment to each other and to a shared vision for Arc3 Gases.”

Joining the co-presidents on the Arc3 Gases executive team are Andy Ellen as CFO and Christopher Aldredge as COO. Ray Dillard is general manager of Arcet, and Jeff Johnson is general manager of Machine & Welding Supply.

GM Promotes New Welding Technologies on New ’Vette

General Motors’ $131 million investment in technology at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, which includes the first production use of a GM-patented process allowing aluminum to be spot welded to aluminum and laser welding of aluminum panels, is resulting in the strongest and most precisely built Corvette in its 6-decade history. New technologies enable more accurate and efficiently produced subassemblies, such as the frame and the components attached to it. “For example, the new aluminum-welding process enabled us to make the frame lighter and stiffer, improving the performance and driving confidence,” said Dave Tatman, plant manager. Read more about GM’s use of the aluminum resistance spot-welding process here…

Airgas Reorganizes Southwest Region

Effective November 1, the Southwest distribution region of Airgas will officially reorganize into two separate regions— the Gulf Coast region, headquartered in Houston, and the Southwest region, headquartered in Dallas. Jason Favre, currently an area vice president within Airgas’ Southwest region, has been named president of the Gulf Coast region, which includes coastal Texas and Louisiana. Brent Sparks, president of Airgas’ Southwest region, has been named president of the newly defined Southwest region, which includes the rest of Texas to the north, east and west of Dallas, and New Mexico. “We continue to be optimistic about the long-term prospects for the U.S. manufacturing and energy industries, as well as non-residential construction, and this area of the country is expected to see significant growth,” says Michael Molinini, Airgas president and CEO. “We’re adding resources to further strengthen our position and ability to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead. This reorganization will enable us to focus more fully on the unique needs of the industries in each of these regions.” Terry Lodge, president of Airgas’ Central Division, adds, “The Southwest region represents one of Airgas’ largest in terms of annual revenues, number of production facilities and branches, and number of associates. This reorganization reinforces Airgas’ commitment to an operating model where decisions are made as close to the customers as possible.”

Kevin McDougal Named President of Airgas Great Lakes

Kevin McDougal was named president of Airgas Great Lakes, replacing Kevin McBride who recently was named president of Airgas South. McDougal most recently worked as an area vice president in the Airgas Great Lakes and East regions. Prior to joining Airgas, McDougal worked for Linde as a district manager. McDougal began his career with AGA Gas, Inc., which was later acquired by Linde.

Pipeline Funding Approved

The State of Oklahoma will get $1.1 million for natural gas pipelines and $310,812 for hazardous liquid pipelines from the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which is devoting $46 million to the effort. “Safety is our top priority and we’re committed to keeping communities safe and preventing pipelines incidents,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The grants provide up to 80 % of operating costs for state pipeline regulators that agree to inspect intrastate pipelines on the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s behalf. There are more than 2.6 million miles of pipeline nationwide. “These funds enable us to triple the number of inspectors that we have out in the field enforcing regulations, and a strong local presence is vital,” says administrator Cynthia Quarterman.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association