Shakespeare, Scottsdale, and Social Media

Every successful distributor says that customer relationships are at the heart of his or her business; in fact, relationships are the engine driving their success. Yet in this new age of digital communication, where customers spend more time looking down at a screen, often held in their hand, establishing relationships has become harder. The days of bellying-up to the bar with a customer prospect are pretty much over. What’s replaced it? A new way of developing a relationship. For those kicking and screaming about it, just hold on.

David Nour, the keynote speaker who will open this year’s Annual Convention, is a master at relationships. He wrote the book on them, “Relationship Economics,” that explains how relationships fuel a company’s growth. David recently published “Return on Impact: Leadership Strategies for the Age of Connected Relationships” where he shows how social media is swinging the power pendulum in the direction of customers, leaving many industries and organizations out of the equation. His article on page 73 was the inspiration for this issue’s cover story.

Several Distributors have put their toes into the social (i.e., relationship) media waters and we talk with a few of their employees responsible for the daily and weekly tweets and posts coming from small and mid-sized distributors in “The First Wave” on page 77.

Return on Investment seems to be a general theme throughout this issue. Bob Ewing, president of Red Ball Oxygen, has the distinction of being the Industry Speaker at the Annual Convention. On page 97, Bob explains what a perfect order is, and how to deliver it.

With over 300 episodes of Dirty Jobs and now “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” Mike Rowe has many fans in our industry. He spoke with Welding & Gases Today Publisher Judy Flanagan about fear, entrepreneurship, opera, and the hard work that keeps our country moving forward. The man is brilliant. He has a lot to talk about, starting on page 100.

GAWDA’s Annual Convention offers one of the year’s prime opportunities for distributors and suppliers to gather together and strengthen their relationships. Nowhere else will you find the industry’s top-tier executives assembled in one room, eager to share. The Guide to Convention Exhibitors begins on page 44 and showcases what exhibitors have in store for you in San Diego. Take a few moments to look it over, and find someone to talk with whom you’ve never met.

This issue contains the final installment of Welding & Gases Today’s four-part series called GAWDA at 70, a look back at a few aspects of our wonderful history. Starting on page 34, we take a look at the top moments of past conventions, the famous people who attended, the infamous behind-the-scenes stories, and more.

As GAWDA celebrates its 70th Anniversary, we profile three companies that were the original members of the association: Weiler Welding Company, Purity Cylinder Gases and W.C. Starcher, Inc. We also profile the newest member of GAWDA, Napotnik Welding Supply. Whether a member since 1945 or the Summer of 2015, these four companies share a story all GAWDA members have. They are Strong. They are very Proud. And they are Independent.

In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Ophelia says, “We know what we are, but not what we may be.” Well, she had it wrong. Judging from the intense effort GAWDA members take to provide best-in-class services, products, customer experiences and relationships, GAWDA members will continue to be great at what they do. It is who we are.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Carole Jesiolowski Meet the Author
Carole Jesiolowski is senior editor of GAWDA Media and executive vice president of Data Key Communications located in Syracuse, New York. She can be reached at 315-445-2347 and