It Is All About The Deeds

On a very cold day in January 1981, I was sitting in Veterans Stadium watching the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship. It was so cold that the water pipes in the bathrooms froze! Eagles fans are a hardy group, so this event was barely noticed. What caused a stir was when the beer taps froze. I was reminded of that event when I read about February’s Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan, home of Carbonic Systems, Inc., this issue’s Member Profile. Bob Finnie and his employees keep the taps flowing in the North Country in all kinds of weather.

Keeping those taps flowing is creating some angst for GAWDA Members. With the Food Safety and Modernization Act scheduled to take effect in August 2015, the FDA’s regulatory compliance of food and beverage grade gases led to this issue’s cover story. There seem to be two schools of thought on the regs…“not a big deal” and “yes a big deal.” An in-depth report begins on page 32. Bob Yeoman of B&R Compliance Associates breaks down the issue, followed by action steps and a Q&A from GAWDA’s FDA & Medical Gases Consultant Tom Badstubner. GAWDA distributors also share what their companies are doing to prepare. While long, I suggest you grab a CO2-infused beverage and read this issue’s cover story. It will be well worth your time.

A few years ago, WGT’s staff tweeted live from the Spring Management Conference in Chicago. While it was fun and interesting, turned out we were way ahead of the social media curve for our industry. At this year’s SMC in New Orleans, thanks to GAWDA President Tom Biedermann, “Social Media Hosts” will be tweeting from the SMC and helping attendees do the same. For many conference-goers, this will be your hands-on introduction to using Twitter as a social media tool, a medium that many of your customers are using (sigh…might as well get used to it). But please note. In July 2010, we reported that the world’s oldest Twitter user, a woman named Ivy Bean, passed away at the age of 104. Mrs. Bean got turned onto Twitter when she reached her friend limit on Facebook. She had around 60,000 followers on Twitter. Mrs. Bean made headlines from her nursing home because she showed us that it’s never too late to learn something new. At the age of 104, she wasn’t afraid to try out new technology that could provide a way for her to connect with people. So find a Social Media Host at the SMC and connect. It will be a safe place to learn how to use Twitter and consider its value for your company’s marketing.

This issue contains two really interesting best practice ideas related to truck drivers. Noble Gas Solutions’ Dave Mahoney tells how he learned if his driver pay scale measured up to others in the local market. And at Carbonic Systems, Inc., Bob Finnie shares how his company avoids overtime. Two great ideas from GAWDA members.

My friend Dave Griffith, who led a multi-million dollar distribution company, is a student of leadership and leadership development. Dave writes a blog called “Wear Muddy Boots” which sums up his management philosophy. Dave says that leadership is hard, and it is rewarding. It is about doing the right thing, not the popular thing. It is about being confident in yourself and wise enough to take the advice of those you trust. It is about understanding the facts, not the emotion. It is about being fair to all, not just a few. It is about courage and vision, humor and humility. It is never about the talk. It is all about the deeds.

As GAWDA marks its 70th year as an association dedicated to improving the business of its members, we salute the 68 leaders whose deeds have brought us to this point in our association’s history: Strong, Proud. Independent. Part II of our year-long series begins on page 74. It is a very rich history, indeed.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association