Technology, Changes Helping to Make GAWDA Even Better

New Communications, Technologies Creating Added Value for Members

By Mark Raimy

When the year began, we talked about making changes and utilizing technology to make GAWDA membership even better. A fair amount of what we discussed was on display leading up to and during the Spring Management Conference in Boca Raton, Fla.

We tried out new channels of communications. There were emails with links to videos, links to the prize program information and links to the electronic registration system. The registration system has shown how willing GAWDA members are to adopt technology. Ninety-five percent of registrations for the SMC were handled electronically.

The videos, for which I want to thank George Ratermann, let us employ a little humor (and show off my surfing skills) to make sure everyone understood how much the SMC had to offer. It also was a way to try out new channels of communications, creating a foundation for delivering value to members through whatever device is handy to them.

One of the highlights of the SMC was the Contact Booth Program. I have spent a good deal of time with the Contact Booth Committee and learned a great deal about how important this program is to suppliers, and how by attending distributors can get a great deal of value from the program as well. Our goal was to make the program as good as it could be, utilizing a variety of communications channels. GAWDA again used video, email and social media to communicate a tailored message to each side. You saw the result: A very well attended Contact Booth Program with suppliers and distributors getting together to the benefit of both.

The SMC also saw the debut of our the new GAWDA Events app — and I want to thank the very able GAWDA team for their good work on the app. People are quickly moving toward app-based notifications and away from email. A text, a tweet, a post, a pic, a YouTube video, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp or a GAWDA app notification are the future. We’ll be utilizing the app at our Annual Convention in New York City and plan to use it more widely in the near future. If you are going to the Annual Convention, and haven’t downloaded the app yet, please do so.

I hope you see a theme in these improvements. It can be a reactionary process when you see a competitor, supplier or peer put in a technology and you feel you need to keep up. How we approached everything the Association is doing with technology is to look at what it is we want to accomplish or make better. In these cases, it’s been about communicating. Better communications — whether with YouTube, the new app or even a well-attended Contact Booth Program — provides more value to all GAWDA members.

That brings me to a member benefit that I would like to see expanded. Since the first quarter of this year, Welding & Gases Today has carried The GAWDA Industry Analysis Report that is provided to us by ITR Economics. These reports offer insights that are helpful in making strategic and day-to-day business decisions. The indicators included in the report are highly correlative and proprietary, and contract language protects our approach from being used by other organizations.

We are now exploring the option to make the report even more specific to our industry by creating a GAWDA indicator, based on relevant public data and data from member companies. It would be a truly powerful tool for those in the gases and welding industry. You’ll be hearing more about it soon.

I expect you can sense my excitement about what GAWDA has been able to accomplish already this year and what goals are still before us. If your schedule allows, I hope to see you at a Regional Meeting and at the Oct. 1-4 Annual Convention in New York City. As always, GAWDA is at its best when we all come together and learn from each other. And, as always, thank you for being a part of GAWDA.