Membership Campaign Aims for a Bigger, Stronger GAWDA

GAWDA Distributors, Suppliers Helping in Recruitment Effort

In an initiative being led by members of the Membership Services Committee, assisted by headquarters staff and involving the entire membership, the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) has announced a new-member recruitment program.

Called the “Member-Get-A-Member” program, the initiative is designed to strengthen, grow, and diversify the distributor and supplier business organization, according to John Ospina, GAWDA executive director. “Increasing the organization’s membership numbers is one of several strategic initiatives GAWDA President Bill Visintainer has identified for 2016,” Ospina said. “As a program that involves member recommendations and originates from members’ own work on behalf of the association, we believe it has excellent chances of achieving success,” he added.

The effort is inspired by a similar, highly successful program led several years ago by longtime GAWDA and Membership Services Committee member Ken Tidwell, of Horton Insurance, who helped draft plans for this initiative.

Using the wide reach of all of GAWDA’s members to advocate the association to others makes good sense, according to Steve Dodge, of Flame Technologies, and Melissa Perkins, of Electronic Fluorocarbons, LLC, co-chairs of the Membership Services Committee. Studies show that people are more likely to join an association when they are asked to do so by someone they already know, Dodge and Perkins note. Not only can current members convincingly discuss the benefits of joining the organization, but their diverse field locations position them widely and broadly to reach potential new members. It also means that hundreds of members, rather than the limited number on the committee, are involved in the effort, Perkins says.

“You can publicize the benefits of membership, but one of the best ways to get a [new] member is to actually have a known and trusted peer/supplier go to an area, talk to that person and ask, ‘Do you know about GAWDA and its benefits; this is how GAWDA has helped me and my organization, so why not check it out?’” says Dodge.

After Referral

Once a referral of a potential new member is made, GAWDA staff will follow up with membership information and formal explanations of the wide range of benefits, services, and programs that are available. They also remain available to answer prospects’ questions.

Friendly Competition

In the spirit of competition, GAWDA has provided its members with incentives to boost referral participation. The member who brings in the largest number of new members between Annual Convention periods earns a special recognition, the GAWDA Presidential Appreciation Award. The award’s recognitions include:

  • Presentation of a plaque on stage at the Annual Convention by the Association president
  • The winning member’s picture, name and title, company name, and the number of members enlisted exhibited on a big screen during a special segment of the Annual Convention program
  • Announcement of that information in the GAWDA Connection newsletter and in GAWDA’s Welding and Gases Today magazine.
  • As an added financial incentive, current members who bring in new distributor members will receive $100 from GAWDA for each new distributor member who joins the organization, Ospina said.

The How-To

Membership in GAWDA is available in several categories: distributorship; international distributorship; supplier; manufacturer’s representative; individual. For reference when speaking about the recruitment program, a chart of GAWDA member benefits is published on the adjacent page.

Membership application forms are available online for completion here:
Anyone interested in additional information about membership may get in touch with GAWDA’s membership services manager Stephen Hill at GAWDA Headquarters: 954-367-7728, ext. 220; (or toll free, 844-251-3219); and via email:

Gases and Welding Distributors Association

Gases and Welding Distributors Association