August 15, 2014 – Industry News

Worthington Acquires Cryogenic Transport Trailer Maker

Worthington Industries acquired the business of James Russell Engineering Works, a manufacturer of aluminum and stainless steel cryogenic transport trailers used for hauling liquid oxygen, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen and liquefied natural gas (LNG). JRE is located in Boston, MA, and employs 32 people. Founded in 1874, the family- owned business has produced cryogenic transport trailers for over 50 years. The company also offers cryogenic trailer repair services. JRE’s historical annual sales are $5-8 million.

Acme Names New CEO and President

Thomas Blackburn was named CEO and president of Acme Cryogenics, effective July 7, 2014, and will serve until his successor is found by means of a CEO search being mounted by Acme. Blackburn replaces Michael Brown, who will continue his service on the board of directors and will act in a consulting capacity to Acme management. Brown joined Acme in 2006 as sales and marketing director and was named CEO and president in 2009. Blackburn, a member of the Acme board, previously served as CEO and president of Acme in 2009.

Thomas Blackburn

Air Products to Increase Prices

Air Products announced on August 11 that effective September 1, 2014, or as contracts allow, it will increase prices globally by up to 20 cents per kilogram for select Ancamide, Ancamine, Anquamine, Anquawhite and Sunmide epoxy curing agents, as well as select Nourybond adhesion promoters. The increase is necessary to offset higher raw materials costs, including recent price increases on tetraethylenepentamine, triethylenetetramine and polyetheramines.

Cyl-Tec Names East Regional Sales Manager

Erica Jones joined Cyl-Tec as regional sales manager-East. Prior to joining Cyl-Tec, Jones spent 12 years with Praxair Distribution, Inc., holding various positions in outside sales and retail operations. She most recently led the specialty gas sales force covering a 14-state eastern region.

Erica Jones

Anthony Welded Products Adds Fourth-Generation

Nick Salvucci was appointed assistant general manager of Anthony Welded Products’ manufacturing facility in Pearland, Texas, where he will manage daily operations and quality control. Salvucci, who is fourth generation, says, “It’s in my blood, and I am honored to be part of my family’s business legacy, taking it into the next generation.” Salvucci is a graduate of California PolyTechnic University with a degree in business.

Nick Salvucci

ESAB to Relocate Plasma and Gas Product Lines

ESAB Welding and Cutting Products will relocate its gas apparatus and manual plasma product lines from its Florence, SC, facility to facilities in Denton, TX, and Hermosillo, Mexico. This restructure comes as a result of ESAB’s acquisition of Victor Technologies and the integration of the ESAB and Victor businesses. “This is a strategic step to leverage best practice manufacturing capabilities from our combined ESAB and Victor operations to manufacture best-in-class gas apparatus and manual plasma products from high-performance facilities,” says ESAC President & CEO Clay Kiefaber.

Lincoln Electric Appoints Vice President, Deputy General Counsel

Cleveland, OH — Jennifer Ansberry, who has served as deputy general counsel for The Lincoln Electric Company since 2004, was promoted to vice president, deputy general counsel. Her role has been extended to include leadership of the company’s environmental, health and safety organization, which includes the development and implementation of EH&S policies, programs and practices. This role is in addition to leading portions of the company’s legal function, including global mergers and acquisitions, securities law compliance, corporate governance and other general corporate legal matters.

Jennifer Ansberry

US Senators Unveil Bill to Make Propane Pricing More Transparent

In response to this past winter’s propane constraints and high prices, US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and co-sponsors Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Propane Supply and Security Act (S. 2762), which calls for a pair of studies on propane prices and storage and would require the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to improve its propane supply forecasts. If passed, the legislation would require EIA to improve its forecasting by using additional data for tracking propane supplies and would require the agency to publish storage levels at major market centers, including Conway, KS, and Mont Belvieu, TX. The bill also requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to study whether regional propane reserves could be effective to combat future supply shocks and for the Government Accountability Office to study propane prices at terminals and storage facilities. It also set the DOE as the lead coordinator of state and federal responses to future propane shortages and clarifies that propane shipments can be prioritized in the event of an emergency. In February 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission invoked emergency powers for the first time under the Interstate Commerce Act and ordered more propane to be moved via the TEPPCO pipeline. An additional 500,000 barrels of propane were shipped to impacted regions due to this order.

CWS Goes to the Races

Central Welding Supply presented the “Emerald City Harley Davidson Night at the Races” at Washington’s Evergreen Speedway on July 26. At the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, the stands were filled with Central Welding Supply employees, friends, family and customers. It was an action-packed evening of racing, beginning with CWS employee Todd Blunt and his son Gunner who dropped the green flag for the first race. The command of “Driver’s start your engines” was given by Hayden & and Jack Veals, sons of Jason Veals, who works in CWS’s internet sales division, and Conor Veals, son of Woodinville Branch Manager Josh Veals. Rookie-of-the-Year points leader Brandon Scheiber scored his first career NASCAR Whelen All-American victory in the Super Late Model division.

Central Welding Supply is a strong supporter of NASCAR racing in the Northwest through track sponsorship, a contingency sponsorship for Super Late Model teams and sponsorship of #14 Super Late Model driven by Doug Davidson. Central supports the Skagit Speedway in Alger, WA as well. In addition to Nascar racing, Central also supports the U-11 Ulimited Racing Group that competes in hydroplane racing nationwide.

WestAir Management Changes and New Hires

WestAir Gases & Equipment made several management changes: Mike Fuette was appointed vice president of sales and marketing; Brady Melo, vice president of operations for the north; Austin Romesberg, vice president of operations for the south and also responsible for safety and compliance initiatives. Taylor Butler joined the WestAir team as director of human resources.

Mike Fuette

Brady Melo

Austin Romesburg

Taylor Butler

NAW Deals with Health Care Issues

Legislation: The Affordable Care Act defines a full-time employee (for purposes of the employer mandate) as one who works 30 hours per week. In April, the House of Representatives voted 248–179 in favor of legislation to change the ACA definition to one who works 40 hours per week. A similar Senate bill has been introduced. (Despite a determined effort by the employer community to promote this issue, its path forward in the Senate is currently difficult to identify.) Alongside allies in the Stop the HIT Coalition, NAW is lobbying in support of a bipartisan bill to delay for two years (until 2016) implementation of the “Health Insurance Tax,” the annual fee on health insurance providers enacted in the Affordable Care Act. This “fee” is in effect a tax on fully-insured health insurance plans because it will be passed on to purchasers of those policies in the form of higher premiums. NAW supports full repeal of the health insurance tax, however, full repeal is a difficult sell to Democrats (only eight Democratic House members are cosponsors). The lack of Democratic support and the $140 billion (over 10 years) price tag, combine to make further progress in the 113th Congress unlikely at best. The more manageable 10-year price tag of a two-year delay (+/- $16 billion) couples with broader support on the Democratic side (20 House Democrats are now cosponsors) to make its inclusion in a larger, year-end “must pass” legislative package a brighter prospect. In cooperation with colleagues in the Affordable Health Care Coalition (AHBC), NAW supported bipartisan legislation to repeal the ACA small group deductible limits. Efforts on behalf of this legislation bore fruit last spring when it was included in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act. The President signed the bill into law on April 1. Repeal of the small group deductible limits is an important step toward enhancing the affordability of health plans by preserving employer and provider flexibility in plan design.

Regulation: In February the Treasury Department issued final rules for implementation of the ACA employer mandate, including transition relief delaying until January 1, 2016 enforcement for employers with 50–99 employees. Employers with 100 or more full-time employees must offer affordable minimum essential coverage to 70% of full time employees on January 1, 2015; the ACA-mandated threshold of 95% begins on January 1, 2016. Employers utilizing transition relief must certify they did not terminate employees in order to get under the 100-employee threshold. In March the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final rules implementing ACA employer reporting requirements under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 6055 (employer reports to the IRS information concerning the type and period of coverage offered for purposes of administering the ACA’s individual shared responsibility provisions) and IRC §6056 (employer provides information to the IRS about the type of coverage offered to full-time employees for purposes of administering the ACA’s employer mandate; also requires certain reporting to employees for purposes of determining eligibility for ACA premium tax credits). The forms themselves have been issued in draft form. First reporting is due in February 2016. In March the Administration extended for an additional 2 years (i.e., through October 2016) the delay in requiring policies to meet ACA minimum coverage standards. Extension is voluntary for states and insurers. In May the IRS clarified that employers may not provide employees with a lump sum of money with which to purchase health insurance in the individual market because such “employer payment plans” do not satisfy requirements of the ACA. The penalty for violators: $100 per day per employee.

Litigation: On July 21, two federal circuit courts of appeals issued contradictory rulings in cases challenging the validity of the payment of premium subsidies under the ACA to certain low and middle income individuals who purchase health insurance in exchanges run by the federal government. By a 2–1 vote in Halbig v. Burwell, a 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said “no” to these subsidies, holding that the ACA “plainly makes subsidies available only to people who obtained insurance through exchanges established by states.” (Emphasis added.) A unanimous 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Richmond, VA), ruling in King v. Burwell, disagreed, ruling the IRS’s rule allowing the subsidies in question is “a permissible exercise of the agency’s discretion.” According to the Justice Department, the payment of the questionable subsidies will continue pending further federal judicial review, and the White House said that Justice would ask the full DC Circuit to rule on the matter. It is likely that the issue will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The significance of the ultimate outcome of this issue cannot be overstated: The exchanges operating in 36 states are either federally run or facilitated. Without the subsidies, millions of people who would obtain coverage on a federally run exchange would opt out and be exempt from the ACA’s individual mandate. And because the mandate that large employers (50 and over full time equivalent employees) provide affordable minimum essential coverage to their full-time employees (those who work 30 hours or more per week) is enforced through penalties that are only triggered when a worker obtains coverage in an exchange and with a premium subsidy, the scope of the employer mandate is substantially scaled back.