Gearing Up For The SMC

Things are shaping up for the upcoming Spring Management Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our conference over the dates of May 3 to May 5 comes right on the heels of Jazz Fest. SMC attendees who get to the city a little early are sure to enjoy the kind of festival that made New Orleans famous.

In true New Orleans fashion, the conference will kick off with a parade at Mardi Gras World, complete with beads and all. The President’s reception will be hosted in the Grand Oaks Mansion right next door. Even though the Grand Oaks Mansion is an indoors venue, you’ll feel like you’ve walked onto an old southern plantation. There will be plenty to see and do while you say hello to industry friends and make new friends with our first time attendees.

Opening day kicks off with a free breakfast workshop featuring Steve Alig, an online marketing and web optimization expert. If you’re looking to find ways to boost traffic to your website and improve your company’s standing on search engines, you’ll want to attend this session. There’s no need to rush through breakfast, just bring it in while you enjoy the presentation.

Following the breakfast workshop, the general session will feature two impressive speakers. Tim O’Connor, a 36-year veteran in the sales and business management training and consulting arena, has taken his expertise worldwide to over 21 countries and continues to help his clients improve their performance skills.

The second speaker on Sunday morning is Archie Manning, former NFL MVP who has passed on his legacy to his two sons who are quarterbacks in the NFL. Archie is now a public relations consultant for several national companies. He is sure to have some interesting stories along with some insightful advice for our group.

We will be tweeting live from the conference this year. If you don’t tweet but would like to give it a go, we will help you get started. The Management Information Committee has put together a “Tweeting 101” instructional sheet on how to set up a twitter account which will be available at registration. If you prefer some live help, our Young Professional and MI committee members can help. They will be walking around setting up new-tweeters.

As you go into the Contact Booth Program on Monday afternoon, you’ll see some folks with scanners. Your badge will include a bar code that identifies you as a distributor or a supplier. Our goal is to develop a baseline for group participation and traffic flow as we explore more ways to improve the program moving forward.

Tuesday’s General Session will include an update on the status of the GAWDA Healthcare program. We had a very favorable response from our membership at the beginning of the year as we collected census information. Over 100 companies sent in their information and included over 5,000 individuals. This puts us in a strong position when going out to market to get quotes. Regardless of whether you sent in your census information or not, you don’t want to miss this update. It could benefit your company down the road.

Two dynamic speakers are scheduled for Tuesday: Dr. Tom DeCarlo, professor of industrial distribution at the University of Alabama, and Marc Wayshak, sales strategist and author of two books on sales and leadership. Both are sure to provide some take-home value for you and your company.

As always, I look forward to seeing you at this year’s Spring Management Conference. Thank you for your continued support.

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