Celebrating A Successful Transition

2014 was a busy year for GAWDA staff. The new Headquarters build-out is complete, and the results are highlighted on page 102. The end result is nearly 2,000 square feet of space redesigned for the successful operation of GAWDA. The eight-month-long process concluded in December, and following is a quick synopsis of activities resulting in an environment conducive to the operation of GAWDA as a self-managed association.

After signing a lease in early 2014, planning began to transform the office space to meet GAWDA’s current and future needs. With a budget established and approved, the office build-out was outlined, and permits and contractors were secured. Execution of the plan commenced in May. One of the key aesthetic attributes of the office space was the floor to ceiling windows, which had been largely covered with drywall. With the removal of the drywall and minor repairs to the windows and walls, the space was transformed. Apart from a good cleaning and polishing, the floors were in great shape. Carpeting was added to each of the four offices, and a doorway was moved for the enlargement of the conference room. In addition, the interior was given a fresh coat of paint. In the summer, a technician was retained to test the existing network wiring and – good news – the space had been wired with Cat6 and most of it was usable for GAWDA’s needs. New furniture was purchased and installation scheduled.

In September, the occupancy license and business license were secured, and staff began setting up the office between August and November. Time was set aside each week from normal business to move records, supplies and inventory to the new office.

The IT infrastructure was installed throughout November, which included an IP phone system, local area network, network-attached storage, office security system, computers, printers and a battery back-up system to protect equipment and data against power disruption. During this time, GAWDA staff was fully trained on how to use the new systems. The new GAWDA Headquarters was completely operational in early December, and GAWDA staff transitioned from the AWS facility to GAWDA’s new home on December 19.

In the midst of the office transition, GAWDA staff worked diligently to learn how to set up the membership renewal campaign and members-only site on the new database system and online portal. The launch of the database took place, as scheduled, at the beginning of December. At the time of this writing, nearly half of GAWDA members had renewed for 2015, and a significant portion were renewed through the online portal, without incident.

During the last few weeks of December, preparations were coordinated for the handoff of HR services, website management, and accounts payable/receivable with various AWS staff members and outside vendors. The final phase was securing the GAWDA domain name, emails and computer admin codes before year’s end.

AWS Executive Director Ray Shook recognized GAWDA staff members for their years of service and efforts in completing the GAWDA transition during an end-of-year luncheon. GAWDA owes a debt of gratitude to AWS for the four years of management support following GAWDA’s departure from its previous management company.

As we end a year of successful transition to a new GAWDA Headquarters and begin a New Year, we have much to be thankful for: a supportive and engaged GAWDA Membership, a passionate and visionary group of volunteer leaders, and a growing industry rife with opportunity. We wish all of you continued success in 2015!

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
John Ospina Meet the Author
John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached at GAWDA headquarters in Doral, Florida, via telephone at 1-877-382-6440 or email at jospina@gawda.org.