Changing of the Guard

On October 14, Tom Biedermann’s time as GAWDA’s 68th president comes to an end. It was a year of firsts for the association and Biedermann provided the inspiration and strength to power all of it. On January 1, the association became an independently managed organization…after 69 years! This meant hiring staff, finding and moving to a headquarters location, and purchasing all the requisite management IT, software, office furniture, supplies, etc. It also meant making sure that GAWDA members understood the reasoning, knew the benefits, and were comfortable with the unprecedented move. Biedermann says that fulfilling the vision for an independent association started by his predecessors is his biggest accomplishment.

Biedermann compares running the association as similar to running your own business, and points to some of the benefits achieved, including helping the staff become a more tight knit group and communicating who and what GAWDA is to membership. Once a young professional himself, he is a strong supporter GAWDA’s young professionals. He says, “They are great individuals, smart individuals, the future of our industry.” He included them in planning meetings and appointed them “Twitter Hosts” at the Spring Management Conference to help members learn this form of social media.

Of his time in office, Biedermann is most proud of being a central part of the industry and the association. “It’s not leadership that moves our association. It’s the membership. Leaders must listen and reach.” His advice to the next president is to listen. “Listen to what our members have to say, and be available to them.”

In addition to President Biedermann, who will serve on the board as Past President for two more years, GAWDA would like to thank Past President Craig Wood and Vice Presidents Paul Dillard, Jim Earlbeck and Susan Reiter whose terms will also end.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association