2017 Spring Management Conference

SMC Schedule


7:00 am – 6:00 pm Conference Registration Registration North
8:00 am – 9:00 am Executive Committee Kingman NE
9:00 am – 12:00 pm Board of Directors Meeting Kingman NE
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm Young Professionals Event (Workshop) The Yacht Club – Santa Margherita
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Regional Chairs Meeting Kingman NE
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Committee Meetings Tower
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm First-Timers’ Reception Grand Lawn

Join with the leadership of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association as we greet and welcome the “first-timers,” those who are attending their first Spring Management Conference, or those members who are new to GAWDA entirely. Introduce yourself, get to know the newest folks among us, talk about your company, and network the whole hour. It’s a resort-casual event, so shorts and flip-flops are encouraged!

Attire is resort casual – shorts and flip-flops encouraged
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm President’s Welcome Reception Atlantic Pool Deck

This year, the GAWDA President’s Welcome Reception is being hosted in a new format. So don your shorts and your flip-flops and join in for a hearty welcome to Boca Raton, the GAWDA SMC, and 2016-2017 President Mark Raimy’s first all-membership event this presidential year. Enjoy poolside dining – a fantastic dinner party feast. Then dance to a band all evening through. The circular, tiered-pool setting, water views, swaying palms, and camaraderie of fellow GAWDA members from all over the U.S. and international locations is all yours, all evening!

Attire is resort casual – shorts and flip-flops encouraged

TBD Exhibitor Set-Up for Contact Booth Program Grand Ballroom


6:00 am – 5:00 pm Conference Registration Registration North
6:00 am – 1:00 pm Exhibitor Setup Grand Ballroom
7:00 am – 8:00 am Networking Breakfast Royal Palm/Grand Ballroom Foyer
8:00 am – 12:00 pm General Business Session Royal Palm Ballroom
Panel Discussion: “Generation Next: Part Two”
Discussion Led by George Ratermann

We’ll get the scoop on the mindset of the newest generation of customers, straight from the horse’s mouth, you might say. Supplier member George Ratermann leads a discussion showcasing the interests, needs and styles as real-life “youngest generation” customers provide their insights. From differences in work styles, to choices in technologies, to preferred forms of communication, the panelists will defi ne the ways they want to be approached to do business and the characteristics of the companies where they choose to work and shop. Their insights will help GAWDA members become more aware of how they may need to change methods or adjust approaches to appeal to the newest customers in order to maintain market share.

Guest Speaker
Curt Steinhorst – Center for Generational Kinetics

Does it take one (millennial) to know one? Curt Steinhorst might say so. A millennial himself and an expert on millennial communications, Steinhorst is a certifi ed keynote speaker for the Center for Generational Kinetics. With a reputation as a leader among his cohort, he has helped clients around the world make the most of generational differences in the workplace.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Group Lunch Royal Palm/Grand Ballroom Foyer
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Women of Gases and Welding Luncheon Veranda 3
Guest Speaker
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kelly Latimer, Ret., pilot for Virgin Galactic

Wow! She’s flown more than 30 different aircraft logging more than 6,500 flight hours. She’s flown Air Force military transports and combat missions as an aircraft commander deployed worldwide, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. She’s been an experimental test pilot for NASA and chief test pilot for the Boeing Company’s C-17. Now, she’s lead test pilot for the Virgin Galactic Launcher One Program, helping to put small satellites into space. Kelly Latimer has soared to atmospheric heights for more than two decades. She’ll speak about her career choice, the path she took to her unusual fi eld of work, and the kind of grit and guts it takes to do what she does.

1:00 pm – 4:30 pm Contact Booth Program Grand Ballroom
4:30 pm Industry Hospitality Events
6:30 pm Booze Brothers Band Grand Ballroom


7:00 am – 12:00 pm Conference Registration Registration North
7:00 am – 8:00 am Networking Breakfast Grand Ballroom
8:00 am – 11:30 am General Business Session Royal Palm Ballroom

Foundation Scholarship Announcement


Christopher Mapes, Chairman, CEO and President, The Lincoln Electric Company

Christopher “Chris” Mapes oversees a company that has 43 manufacturing locations and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries. Lincoln is 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. Mapes has been Lincoln’s chairman since December 2013, and previously served as the company’s president and chief executive officer and chief operating officer. Before that, he was executive vice president of A.O. Smith Corporation. His duties there included leading the expansion and execution of a global strategy for electrical products.

Alan Beaulieu, President and Principal, ITR Economics

He’s one of the country’s most-informed economists, and now Dr. Alan Beaulieu advises GAWDA as its chief economist. A popular speaker, Beaulieu makes close to 150 appearances a year where he helps thousands of business owners and executives capitalize on emerging trends. For the past 27 years, Beaulieu has consulted with companies throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia on how to forecast, plan, and increase profi ts based on business-cycle trend analysis. He also serves as the senior economic advisor to National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors; contributing editor for Industry Week; and chief economist for the Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International organization.

12:00 Optional Golf Boca Raton GA Resort Golf

When the SMC is all said and done, get some golf time in before you leave! The Boca Raton Resort and Club’s Old Florida setting includes its two renowned courses. The Resort Course, built in 1926 by Hugh Hughes, has unique water features and is known as one of Florida’s Golden Age courses. A short shuttle ride away, you can play on the Country Club Course, a visually stunning course with an 18th-hole island green. There’s also the opportunity for professional instruction at the Dave Pelz Scoring Game School. To reserve a tee time, call 561-447-3419.