2017 SMC Preview

May’s Conference Setting: Boca Raton

Join us in Boca Raton! Discover the knowledge, understanding and insights national leaders in intergenerational communications, economics and the gases and welding industry can impart to improve your day-to-day operations and long-term business planning.

There’s a great lineup of exciting speakers, and Boca Raton can’t be beat! The Boca Raton Resort And Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, offers luxurious spas, expansive golf courses, a beautiful coast and a wealth of nearby attractions.

The Spring 2017 SMC is one not to miss!

Thursday Events

Friday Events

Saturday Events

SMC Speakers

Alan Beaulieu

Recognized as one of the country’s most-informed economists, Dr. Alan Beaulieu is president and a principal of ITR Economics of Manchester, N.H., and also now serves as the chief economist of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association.

Since 1990, he has consulted with companies throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia on how to forecast, plan, and increase profits based on business-cycle trend analysis. Dr. Beaulieu also is the senior economic advisor to National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, contributing editor for Industry Week; the chief economist for the Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International organization; and someone who is highly familiar with the welding and gases industry.

He makes up to 150 appearances each year and his keynotes and seminars have helped thousands of business owners and executives capitalize on emerging trends. With business partner Brian Beaulieu, he has authored Make Your Move, Prosperity in the Age of Decline, and But I Want It.

Christopher Mapes

As chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., Christopher “Chris” Mapes oversees a company recognized as a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc-welding systems and plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. Lincoln has 43 manufacturing locations and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries. The firm is based in Cleveland, Ohio.

2013. He previously was its president and chief executive officer and chief operating officer. Before joining Lincoln, he served from 2004 to 2011 as executive vice president of A.O. Smith Corporation, where he led the expansion and execution of a global strategy for electrical products. Mapes holds a bachelor of science degree from Ball State University, a law degree from the University of Toledo and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

George Ratermann
Discussion Leader Panel Discussion – “Generation Next, Part Two”

Supplier member George Ratermann leads a follow-up discussion on the topic he first introduced at the 2016 Spring Management Conference that focused on the interests, needs and styles of “Generation Next.”

During that panel, he presented information about generational differences and coaxed four GenNexter employees to be candid about their workstyles. The enlightening discussion illustrated and affirmed the differences in work-life perspectives and habits of millennial and GenNext employees.

This spring, Ratermann will continue that conversation about generational differences in the workplace. This time, though, he’s exploring business transactions from the other side of the counter – looking at millennial and GenNext customers.

He’ll again present information about how differences in work styles, use of technologies, and communication preferences impact business dealings. The panel will feature GenNexters who are actual industry customers. Through discussion and question-answer, they will illustrate what goes into their decisions about buying. What factors influence the companies they want to work in? How do they decide who to buy from? What are the cultural orientations and mission-vision values that create a sense of alignment with varied businesses? Panelists will present and explore those differentiators.

Hearing these perspectives will help GAWDA members develop more awareness about how the upcoming generation of customers thinks and acts. These insights will help members understand – and plan – for how they may have to change in order to best serve, maintain supplier-of-choice stature, and keep these newest types of customers coming back.

Curt Steinhorst

A communications expert, entrepreneur, columnist, and a certified keynote speaker for the Center for Generational Kinetics, Curt Steinhorst is a millennial with a reputation as a leader among millennials.

At age 20, he was elected president of his 10,000-member class at Texas A&M University. Since graduating magna cum laude, he has helped clients around the world make the most of generational differences in the workplace.

Curt speaks from his experiences leading millennials about how employees and customers can bridge generations. He’ll discuss how technology in the Digital Age has led many to suffer from ADD – “Always Distracted Disorder” – an issue he says has become a leading cause of underperformance in the workplace. Curt’s understanding of how the brain is wired plus his high-energy style helps audiences learn to turn distraction into functional action.

Kelly Latimer
WGW Luncheon Speaker

Kelly Latimer, test pilot for Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company, is this year’s speaker for the Women of Gases and Welding annual SMC Luncheon.

Latimer served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force as a T-38 instructor pilot and flew worldwide military transport and combat missions as an aircraft commander in C-141 and C-17 aircraft, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. After her Air Force service, Latimer flew as an experimental test pilot for NASA and as chief test pilot for the Boeing Company’s C-17. She now works as a lead test pilot for the Virgin Galactic LauncherOne Program, which is designed to put small satellites in space. During her career, she has flown more than 30 different aircraft and has logged more than 6,500 flight hours.

SMC Contact Booth Program

GAWDA and participating exhibitors will host the Contact Booth Program, a three-and-a-half hour event designed to stimulate interaction between supplier members and distributor members during the Spring Management Convention. The event again features a great prize program, so come and get ‘em!


To participate in the booth program and prize program, contact GAWDA’s Membership Services Manager Stephen Hill at shill@gawda.org. (Note: The deadline for exhibitors to supply information and have a booth prize listed on the GAWDA SMC promotional brochure is April 1.)

Distributor Attendees:

Visit as many vendor booths as you can to interact with and get to know the dozens of great GAWDA supplier members who are exhibiting and who are here to meet you!

Many great prizes, generously contributed by vendors and GAWDA, will be awarded at the end of the Contact Booth event. Stopping by the booths increases the chance of winning a prize. Booth vendors will scan badges of distributor members who visit their exhibits during show hours.

Between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., exhibitors will conduct drawings. Prize winners’ names will be posted at a central prize booth and announced via the Convention Twitter feed. Prize winners should immediately go to the participating booth to claim prizes. You must be present to win.


  • Each exhibitor is solely responsible for the awarding and distribution of its prize.
  • GAWDA is responsible only for posting winning names at a central prize booth and announcing the winner via the event Twitter feed.
  • Winners must be present to claim prizes. Any unclaimed prizes will remain the property of the participating vendor.


Exhibitors are asked to submit a picture and the name of prize winners to GAWDA Media following the contact booth program. Pictures will be posted on GAWDA’s Twitter feed when announced, on GAWDA’s social media sites, and in GAWDA publications and the GAWDA.org web site.

SMC Information

Getting to Boca Raton
The Boca Raton Resort And Club is 27 miles from both the Ft. Lauderdale International (FLL) Airport and the Palm Beach International (PBI) Airport. Shuttles and rental car service can be scheduled through hotel guest services at: 561-447-3000.

The resort’s concierge desk can help plan your visit and make advance reservations for resort activities. Contact the Boca Resort Concierge Desk at: 561-447-3000.

Reservations for GAWDA’s reserved block of rooms can be made by contacting the Resort at: 561-447-3000

Boca Raton Resort and Club offers a spectacular range of services and amenities. The award-winning Waldorf Astoria Spa is highlighted by grand arches and elaborate mosaics. It was built to resemble the Alhambra Palace in Spain. It’s where the owners of the National Football League meet yearly.

GAWDA members can take advantage of special hotel offers while they’re in sunny Florida on the beach with special rates and discounts for those who extend their stays through the Mother’s Day weekend. There is a $100 credit, 10 percent off services, spa discounts and complimentary flower and champagne for all mothers.

Activities include the renowned tennis academy, championship golf courses at the resort, and availability of jet-skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, boating, fishing, scuba diving, an Intracoastal Waterway cruise and catamaran ocean sailing. A short shuttle boat ride transports guests to the partner Boca Beach Club and half a mile of golden private beach. Twelve varied venues include some of the area’s most exclusive dining.

Boca Raton Resort and Club is home to two renowned golf courses in South Florida. The Resort Course was built in 1926, with water features designed by Hugh Hughes. It enjoys acknowledgement as one of Florida’s Golden Age courses. A short shuttle ride away, the Country Club Course is a visually stunning course with an 18th-hole island green. It offers an exclusive golf experience and opportunity for professional instruction at the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School. For a tee time, call 561-447-3419.