At the Halfway Mark, Lots Done, Lots Still to Do!

It is hard to believe that it has been six months since we met at the Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Over these months, the Board, Committees and GAWDA staff have been hard at work putting together and implementing Objectives, Goals and Meetings for 2016.

In December, the Executive Committee met at Association Headquarters to develop the 2016 annual plan. The first step in the process was to understand the current state of the association; we used a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Once each of these four elements were identified, the goal was to leverage the Strengths, improve the Weaknesses, exploit the Opportunities and mitigate the Threats. Our association membership comprises many different and unique constituencies, which added complexity to our analysis.

The next step was to identify annual goals and objectives that targeted our findings and those that would be relevant to a majority of our members, regardless of membership type and/or size.

Finally, the goals, objectives and due dates were delegated to and accepted by the Executive Committee and GAWDA staff. The total process is far too much for this column, but as an example, the following are goals, objectives and due dates for the GAWDA “Operations” function.

  • Investigate, select and implement a cost-effective, consistent and efficient registration system to be used for Regionals, Spring Management Conferences and Annual Conventions— Complete by 5/15/2016.
  • Begin tracking, reporting and posting all registration errors/issues and categorize by type beginning with Scottsdale Annual Convention (2015) – Initiate first report by 4/11/2016.
  • Improve Meeting Survey/Feedback Forms and merge into a new Post-Meeting Recap. Currently lots of data, but not much ‘actionable’ information. Going forward, we will use the Surveys/Feedback and Post-Meeting Recaps to improve subsequent meetings – Initiate Meeting Recap (including attendance by Member type and size) by 5/5/2016.
  • Survey Members not attending SMC and Annual Convention and report, track and publish on an ongoing basis – Complete within four weeks following meeting.

The Executive Committee and I will discuss all 2016 goals and objectives in April in Savannah. We intend for this to become an annual process that will improve our association by providing year-to-year continuity, accountability, communication and relevancy.

Also, in an effort to better understand and deliver each Member’s definition of GAWDA value, we have worked with The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Industrial Distribution to put together a Membership Satisfaction Survey. If you have not already received the survey, it will be arriving soon. Please help us do a better job of meeting your needs and improving the value of our Association by completing the survey and returning it promptly. The Dean of UAB’s School of Industrial Distribution, Dr. Thomas DeCarlo, will be sharing the survey results at the Spring Management Conference in Savannah.

Speaking of the SMC in Savannah, a new floor design for the Contact Booth Program has been developed to promote greater traffic to all booths. We will also be providing raffle tickets to vendors to hand out to distributors who visit their booths. At the conclusion of the Booth Program, we will be raffling more than $10,000 in gifts and prizes; you must be in attendance to win. Our supplier members contribute a significant portion of our annual revenue and we really need to support their efforts with great attendance and a high level of networking at the Contact Booth Program.

The business sessions for the SMC will focus on identifying and dealing with the business, market and cultural disruptions that we face every day in our businesses. We have lined up some excellent speakers and we have charged them with providing significant “take-home value.” Lastly, we will be showcasing an online customer satisfaction survey, with post-survey analytics, that is now available to all members as part of your annual dues.

Thank you for being part of GAWDA. Hope to see you in Savannah.

William Visintainer
2015-16 GAWDA President W.A. Visintainer is president of Atlas Welding Supply Co. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and online at He can be reached at and at 205-345-6903.