Bullish on GAWDA in the Big Apple

Annual Convention for Gawda


October 1

7:30 am – 6:00 pm Convention Registration
8:00 am – 9:00 am Executive Committee Meeting
9:00 am – 12:00 pm Board of Directors Meeting
12:30 pm – 3:30 pm Young Professionals Event Scavenger hunt across the city – networking, food and drinks, ping pong at Spin New York.
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Regional Chairs Meeting
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Committee Meetings
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm First-Timers Reception
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm President’s Welcome Reception
7:00 pm Industry Hospitalities
City-Wide Scavenger Hunt First-Timers Reception

President’s Welcome Reception


October 2

6:00 am – 1:30 pm Convention Registration
7:00 am – 8:00 am Networking Breakfast
8:00 am – 12:00 pm Opening General Business Session
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Past President’s Luncheon
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm Exhibitor Booth Set-up
12:30 pm Tours and Activities
12:30 pm Industry Hospitalities
Contact Booth Program Women of Gases & Welding


October 4

6:00 am – 1:00 pm Convention Registration
7:00 am – 8:00 am Networking Breakfast
8:00 am -12:00 pm Closing General Business Session
12:30 pm – 4:00 pm Women of Gases & Welding Event Broadway play, “Beautiful,” by The Carole King Musical
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm President’s Farewell Gala

President’s Farewell Gala

New York Marriott Marquis

Keynote Presenters

An Economist, a Family Business Expert, a Hall of Fame Coach and a Gas Company Executive Walk Into a Welding and Gases Distributors Convention…

What do a noted economist, a family-business expert and a renowned football coach/commentator and a major gas company CEO have in common? They’ll all be in New York this October to address the GAWDA audience at this year’s Annual Convention.

GAWDA welcomes Alan Beaulieu, of ITR Economics; Daniel Van Der Vliet, of Cornell University; Lou Holtz, formerly of Notre Dame, the South Carolina Gamecocks and ESPN; and Praxair Inc. CEO Steve Angel to our convention. Read more about them as individuals, and about the topics they are likely to address for GAWDA Members’ information and entertainment, below.

Dr. Alan Beaulieu

Dr. Alan Beaulieu

Alan Beaulieu

Principal and President | ITR Economics, GAWDA Chief Economist

He’s one of the country’s most-informed economists and he also serves as chief economist for GAWDA. Dr. Alan Beaulieu helps thousands of business owners and executives capitalize on emerging trends every year as he consults with companies throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia on how to forecast, plan and increase profits based on business-cycle trend analysis.

In addition to assisting GAWDA, he is senior economic advisor to the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors; a contributing editor for Industry Week; and chief economist for the Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International organization.

Daniel Van Der Vliet

Daniel Van Der Vliet

Daniel Van Der Vliet

Executive Director, Smith Family Business Center S.C. Johnson School, Cornell University

Daniel Van Der Vliet helps families obtain the information and expertise that helps them run their businesses more effectively through program offerings at the Cornell University S.C. Johnson School of Business Management’s Smith Family Business Initiative. He is the center’s first executive director.

Prior to his Cornell work, Van Der Vliet served 14 years at the University of Vermont, where he helped build a highly-regarded family business program from the ground up. He organizes courses, programs, events and networking occasions to benefit family businesses all over the U.S. and beyond.

Steve Angel

Steve Angel

Steve Angel

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Praxair, Inc.

Steve Angel heads Praxair, Inc., a Fortune 300 company that is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America, as well as one of the largest worldwide.

He has been at the helm of Praxair for the past 10 years and has served a key executive there for the past 16. Angel joined the company in 2001 as its executive vice president. In February 2006, he became its president and chief operating officer. He was named president and chief executive officer in January of 2007 then appointed chairman in April of that year. Prior to joining Praxair, Angel spent 22 years in a variety of management positions with General Electric.

The company, which had 2016 sales of $11 billion, produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair Inc. says its products, services and technologies, “are making our planet more productive by bringing efficiency and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, primary metals and many others.”

Angel serves on the board of directors of PPG Industries and the U.S.-China Business Council. He also is a member of The Business Council. A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., he earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Loyola College in Baltimore.

Lou Holtz

Lou Holtz

Lou Holtz

College Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Noted ESPN Sports Commentator

Lou Holtz, a College Football Hall of Famer (2008), was a head coach for 34 years at both the college and professional levels. He is the only coach in National Collegiate Athletic Association history to lead six different programs to bowl games.

Holtz was a fixture in the college football coaching landscape for more than three decades. He’s perhaps best known for his 11-season stint as head coach at Notre Dame from 1986-1996. He ended his coaching career in the Southeastern Football Conference as the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks for six seasons from 1999-2004.

When Holtz went to the Gamecocks, he took over a South Carolina team that went 1-10 in 1998. After struggling through an 0-11 season his first year in Columbia in 1999, he led the team to an 8-4 season in 2000 and a 9-3 season in 2001. He ended his stay in South Carolina with a record of 33-37, but was 33-26 in his final five seasons, including three bowl appearances.

Holtz earned National Coach of the Year honors from Football News and American Football Coaches Quarterly following the 2000 season when the Gamecocks’ eight-win improvement from 1999-2000 was the third-best turnaround in NCAA history.

He retired for a second time following the 2004 season there, and returned to broadcasting as an analyst for ESPN, since retiring from his analyst role.

New York Marriott Marquis

Four Questions with Steve Angel

1 Given that you earned your college degree in engineering, what prompted you to go into the field of business management?

My undergraduate degree is in engineering, but I have always liked to explore different areas. What attracted me to business is that it is a broad field with a lot of variety. One thing about being a CEO, you can be hit from almost any angle on any given day, so it is never boring.

2 Who has been the biggest influence on your career and career path, and why?

Jack Welch (former General Electric chairman) was very influential, as my formative years were spent at GE. Larry Bossidy (retired Allied Signal CEO and longtime GE executive) was also a role model. What influenced me most was the hands-on way in which they ran the company with the focus on execution and getting things done.

3 What do you like best about the type of work you’re doing now?

I enjoy gaining new insights that can help our business. I like challenges; I live for the challenges. I also like watching people grow as young leaders. The best way to do that, in my view, is to place them in unique and challenging situations and work closely with them to give them the benefit of my experience.

4 What is your biggest leisure-hours interest, hobby, or passion?

My passion is snow skiing, but I enjoy a lot of different activities: scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, biking, golfing, and tennis. And I never turn down a good glass of wine.

Four Questions with Lou Holtz

1 What prompted you to make pro and college football your career path?

It wasn’t my intention. I had no desire to go to college but my high school coach told my parents I should go to college and be a football coach. I went to Kent State University, played football there, hurt my knee, then had to coach the freshman team in my senior year.

I went into the service as a lieutenant and when I got out, I was going to get married and go coach high school football near Cleveland and teach history. Unbeknownst to me, my college coach, who was in the Navy with Forest Evashevski (the head coach of Iowa), called him and asked Forest to give me a graduate assistantship. I [took that route] and we finished second in the country. After that I got job offers and the following year was an assistant [coach] at William & Mary.

What really motivated me to take the graduate assistantship was when my wife, Beth, broke up with me in July. She called the wedding off and I wanted to get as far away from her as I could. Had it not been for that, I would have gotten married and taken the high school job.

2 Who has been your biggest (or earliest) mentor or person of influence along the way?

So many people have been influential in my life: my high school coach and my college coach; my wife of 56 years, who has influenced me more than anybody else. My uncle Lou was like my brother and my father. Rick Forzano, an assistant coach at Kent State, took me under his wing. Woody Hayes, whom I coached for when we won the national championship, played a prominent role in my life. And Father Hesburgh, the president of Notre Dame. I’ve had so many great coaches and players, and you learn from them all along the way.

3 Which role did you like best – pro coach, college coach, or commentator? And why?

As a pro coach, I turned the job down three times and finally was talked into taking it. I went there without a vision, without a plan, and every time something went wrong I’d say, “I didn’t think this would work out.”

TV was fun because of the people I worked with but, in all honesty, it didn’t really make a difference in people’s lives.

When you are coaching, you become significant and that’s when you help other people become successful; this lasts many a lifetime.

4 Now that you’re retired, how do you spend your time?

I am busier than I’ve ever been before. I speak to businesses that benefit my family, for friends or universities and for my players. I speak for charities and at events worthwhile for my foundation.

I love golf and I am a member of Augusta National, but I don’t get to play as much as I’d like because of travel. I also get a tremendous number of requests to call people, autograph things and make appearances.

Four Questions with Daniel Van Der Vliet

1 What prompted you to go into the field of assisting family businesses?

It really was a fortuitous opportunity. Having worked with business owners and leaders to better understand their workforce needs, I had developed many strong relationships in the Vermont business community, where I was working at the time.

The University of Vermont had a fledgling family business program started, and there seemed to be a natural fit when the leadership spot opened there.  I soon discovered that my ability to build relationships and make connections was a critical skill for family business owners.  

2 Who has been the biggest influence on your career/career path?

As an individual, I would say Greg McCann at Stetson University is someone I turn to time and time again for career guidance, industry expertise and thought leadership. Greg has been an innovator in the field of family business education. He helped to establish one of the first academic programs to offer a full degree in family business, he was instrumental in establishing the outreach model for many family business centers. He also understands the critical role that universities can play in building connections, educating students and creating new knowledge in this space.

3 What do you like best now about the work you do?

It’s absolutely fascinating to meet so many diverse business leaders from so many diverse businesses. At Cornell, we are fortunate to have students from every corner of the globe, yet so many of them explain very similar family situations and business dynamics. Also, family business is such a wide swath, from wineries here in the Finger Lakes to multi-national global brands, and yet, the family component remains largely unchanged.

4 What is your biggest off-hours interest/hobby/passion?

I love to hike and backpack – spending time alone in the woods, untethered, is very centering for me. In particular, I love winter hiking. Fewer people, better views and no bugs! I’ve climbed all 46 High Peaks of New York State, and 83 of the 115 High Peaks in the Northeast.

Hiker Van Der

Hiker Van Der Vliet has scaled all 46 Adirondack High Peaks and 83 of the 115 High Peaks in the Northeast.

Four Questions with Alan Beaulieu

1 What prompted you to go into the field of economics?

My brother, Brian, asked me to be his partner. I had been in an ownership position in two businesses prior to his asking, and had seen how important the economic landscape can be to the decision-making process.  

Prior to that I was a comptroller for a construction company that had no forward vision, and was thus buffeted by the economic winds. That structural steel company suffered from the same lack of vision. The opportunity ITR provided could allow me to help others to plan and ‘see’ what I could not when I was in their shoes. 

2 Who has been the biggest influence on your career/career path?

Hoskins is the founder of the old Institute for Trend Research, which is now ITR Economics. He was an economic theorist whose theories are still being used successfully today at ITR Economics. His ideas truly stood the test of time. The Institute was very small, but he helped American businesses compete by seeing the upcoming changes in the economic landscape.

3 What do you like best now about the work you do? What tantalizes you about analyzing the economy?

Helping business leaders see around the corner, as this allows for enhanced profits, job creation and a stronger economy and thus a stronger nation. 

4 What is your biggest off-hours interest/hobby/passion?

Horses and my lake house.

Check Out the Updated GAWDA App

Have you downloaded the very useful GAWDA Event App yet? If not, you’ll want to do that before you arrive at the Annual Convention. The special events GAWDA app is designed to help members track events, communicate and share information while they attend the association’s national meetings.

This year, the App will be used to scan your entry into the Contact Booth Program, notes John Ospina, GAWDA executive director. So make sure you have it on your phone when you attend that event. And make sure you have a scanner app downloaded so you can pick up information from other members easily. (Several are recommended on the adjacent page.) Here are the App’s features.

12 Function Buttons

The app currently features 12 different functionality buttons.

Button Function and Uses
About GAWDA A quick introduction to the Gases and Welding Distributors Association.
Event Info Descriptions of GAWDA events (such as the Spring Management Conference and the Annual Conference) with information about the planned activities, how to reach the location, accommodations, room rates and other details.
Activity Feed A constant feed of information – including push notifications and updates put out by GAWDA HQ, GAWDA social media notifications, GAWDA social media platform announcements, information surrounding GAWDA and the event or conference.
Schedule Full details of the event/conference schedule, including day-by-day listings of the event timetable; meeting times and helpful pointers.
Attendees/ messaging A complete, alphabetized listing of everyone registered to attend the event, including their title and company affiliation. It also provides a communication function, where you can send notes, messages and schedule meetings via the app.

When someone sends you a notice through the app, it will ring like a text message is being received. A number in a red circle at the top right notes how many messages you have waiting.

  • Attendees at GAWDA events must be registered for the event or conference and logged into the app in order to see information on this button
  • To log in, enter first and last name and email. You’ll receive a four-digit code (sent to that email) that you enter;
    once entered, that signs you in. (After logging in once, you’re logged in permanently.)
  • If you’re not registered, you’ll receive a message that you are not on the attendee list and therefore are unable to log in. This feature makes sure that only attendees are able to text each other through the app.
Speakers Detailed information and brief biographies of all conference speakers, panels, and special program elements.
This button features an interactive option that speakers can use to collect audience answers to questions via an in-app, live-survey function. Speakers can initiate a poll ahead of their talk, collect responses, then report on audience response during their presentation.
Maps This feature contains a GPS-enabled map of the city where the event is being held and a resort accommodation map providing location assistance for event meeting rooms and unique spaces. The city map feature also allows you to zoom in and out.
About Instructions for use and tips for functionality.
QR Scanner A built-in QR code scanner that lets you scan attendees’ badges and automatically obtain and upload their information.
Uber The ride-finding app provides local Uber (and Lyft) sources without having to switch to another app.
Game A built-in game runs you through different ways to use the app. Every time you play, you get points, and you’re rewarded for further exploration and use of the app features.
Search The button provides a quick and convenient way to search for information within the app.