Reflections on My Fast, Enjoyable Year as GAWDA President

by William Visintainer

The last 12 months have gone by very quickly and very enjoyably, just as other past presidents advised me that they would. As I look back at the year’s accomplishments and what lies ahead for our association and its members, I remain very positive regarding our long-term prospects.

Though this has been a period of significant industry disruption, these challenges have not softened the resolve our members. In contrast, we are responding by being more engaged and finding new and better ways of doing things in our welding and gases businesses.

GAWDA has made important operational and mission-vision strides this past year. Through an online survey, members told us much more about how to best serve their needs and address their interests. Their candid feedback provided extra insights that allowed us to act immediately to improve some services and offerings.

GAWDA is a wonderful organization and the most pertinent and significant source of collective expertise and experience this industry has to offer. So use and enjoy its resources, tools and opportunities to the utmost.

We developed an electronic registration system for events, and its annual convention rollout is providing a much easier, more accurate and convenient system that also enhances pre-conference networking opportunities and member-to-member connections.

We learned just how much members value the high degree of knowledge, skills, savvy and inventiveness of fellow association members and the benefits they can gain from these resources. They emphasized that they prefer to hear from each other about new ways to create opportunity, meet threats and deliver successes than to hear from speakers outside our industry on other topics.

We launched a customer satisfaction survey that is available to all members. This tool will provide direct feedback from your customers regarding your specific strengths, weaknesses, and competitive advantages, something every member can act on for gain. This survey tool is continually available on the GAWDA website for member use and your cost to participate is already included in your annual dues.

We reemphasized the wealth of informational resources provided to our members through the Compressed Gas Association. This is an online, on-call resource where the instantly applicable material is only a mouse click away anytime members need it.

And we learned more about GAWDA’s make-up through a detailed look at our demographics. Awareness that more than half our members are at the $5 million-and-under range in annual revenues has helped us target more ways to offer expertise, enhance networking, provide resources, deliver value and generate greater impact for all categories of membership, regardless of size.

As I’ve participated on committees, attended regional meetings, helped plan conferences and talked with members this past year, I’ve been extremely impressed by the caliber of knowledge and the base of expertise this organization represents. I’ve been awed, humbled and inspired by our members’ individual and collective abilities, integrity and character, all while enjoying many wonderful venues and interactions.

I’ve been extremely impressed by the caliber of knowledge and the base of expertise this organization represents. I’ve been awed, humbled and inspired by our members’ individual and collective abilities, integrity and character.

My parting suggestion is that each member take part in all that GAWDA offers. Engage with fellow members every chance you can. Use association resources. Tap others’ ideas and experiences. Attend functions. Offer your own expertise. Assume a leadership role. Speak on a panel. Write a guest column.

GAWDA is a wonderful organization and the most pertinent and significant source of collective expertise and experience this industry has to offer. So use and enjoy its resources, tools and opportunities to the utmost. Embrace GAWDA and leverage it for every nugget of information you can identify. Access its value for all it is worth and make it even better through what you can contribute to our collective success.

Thank you for the wonderful times, the chance to get to know so many of you better, the opportunity to engage more often and for the honor to serve as your president.

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