2017: New Look, New Ideas and an Energized Team

An Energetic Start to 2017

By Mark Raimy

The New Year often brings change and for our industry, this year is no exception. As we prepare to absorb the potential transformational changes in store for our industry, we at GAWDA have been working to deliver some exciting changes to enhance the GAWDA experience for our members this year. The entire GAWDA team is energized for 2017.

The first change you already may have noticed is the new look of GAWDA’s magazine, Welding & Gases Today. In fact, you may not even have realized what you were looking at initially until you came to this page and this column. If so, good; that’s one goal accomplished. I believe we are just scratching the surface of what GAWDA can develop together with GAWDA Media to improve this magazine to benefit our members and help us market GAWDA to potential members.

The look of the magazine is only part of the story. We also have been working on raising the magazine’s content value to you based on what you have told us in our GAWDA surveys. Industry-relevant business content was tops on the list.

We listened to another of your requests, and are happy to announce Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics is now a GAWDA consultant. As GAWDA’s chief economist, Alan will be available to members, deliver commentary and provide GAWDA-customized content. The core benefit to our members is the quarterly “ITR Economics for GAWDA” report that now will appear in each issue of Welding & Gases Today.

ITR is well known and has a nearly 95 percent accuracy rate in its economic forecasting. GAWDA has actually taken ITR’s capabilities to the next level by developing a report that truly presents a customized view of our industry, spawned in part from the use of some of our members’ data.

Here’s how that transpired:

  • Last summer, we began working with ITR to explore the idea of using the financial data available from GAWDA members that are public companies.
  • We collected the data going back several years and found that it provided a very accurate forecasting tool for our industry.
  • With that data set, ITR found the economic indices and indicators that match up as well as possible with our “GAWDA DNA,” so to speak.

The result is a highly accurate and customized report that truly reflects our industry and our membership. You may see ITR in other places, but the GAWDA report is different and unique. It’s customized to our industry and our members; and it’s ours.

Make sure you also look at this issue’s article about the Contact Booth Committee. As I indicated at the annual convention in Maui, we started putting this committee together to give our supplier members direct input into enhancing the Contact Booth Program. I have had the pleasure of being on these committee conference calls, and can report back that we have no shortage of experience, energy and ideas from our committee members. So look for some really fun and value-added changes to the Contact Booth Program when we undertake it at the Spring Management Conference. GAWDA is at its best when we all get together and learn from each other. Hopefully, the result will encourage more members to attend and participate to a greater degree.

Some of the changes to the Contact Booth Program will use technology to enhance both suppliers’ and distributors’ program value and experience. In addition, look for updates across GAWDA’s technology platform this year as we examine how we do everything. A web site overhaul, a GAWDA app and continued improvements in our meeting registration process are in the works. We look forward to releasing these updates to you as they are developed. So far, we’re off to a good start.

As you read this, the 2017 regional meeting schedule has been published and SMC registration is open for Boca Raton, Fla., in May. Please take a look at the meetings and try to attend and send people from your company. The best of GAWDA are at these meetings, both in people and in content. I hope to see you at a meeting this year.

Lastly, thank you to the GAWDA team, our board members, committee members and our membership. This is the best industry, and GAWDA represents the best of the best. Thank you for all you do for GAWDA and best regards for the new year.