March 15 Member News

Weldstar and Depke Gases Merge

Weldstar Company, of Aurora, Ill., and Depke Gases and Welding Supplies have completed a merger, the companies announce.

The merger combines Weldstar’s four locations with Depke’s three locations. Depke continues its operations as a subsidiary of the Weldstar Company, with Curt Towne continuing as Depke president. Towne oversees Depke’s three central Illinois locations and serves on the management team and board of directors of Weldstar.

“The merger with our good friend Curt Towne brings together two like-minded companies and allows us to add members of a talented staff at Depke, most notably Curt, to our team,” says  Joseph (J.B.) Winkle of Weldstar.

Towne adds, “The possibilities that come with a Weldstar-Depke merger are extremely exciting. The combined personnel, geography and capabilities make us a formidable regional player. My family and I couldn’t be more thrilled to join forces with the Winkle family in their highly respected and successful company.”

Depke was established in 1928 and Weldstar in 1936. Depke, with headquarters in Danville, Ill., serves the central Illinois market. Weldstar, with headquarters in Aurora, Ill., serves the northern Illinois, northern Indiana and southern Wisconsin markets. Both companies now continue to serve the welding supply, gas and specialty gas markets. Winkle said Weldstar and Depke also continue to look for growth opportunities where it makes sense.

TOMCO2 SYSTEMS Acquired by Air Water, Inc.

TOM-CO2 SYSTEMS COMPANY, based in Loganville, Ga., a leading manufacturer of carbon dioxide-related equipment, has been acquired by Air Water, Inc.

The company continues operations under the TOMCO2 brand in its existing facility. Accordingly, the firm has announced several personnel appointments.

Industry veteran Eric Rottier is assuming the position of chief executive officer for TOMCO2 while maintaining his role as CEO and chairman of Taylor-Wharton.

Roland Wright is serving as chief operating officer for both organizations.

Luke Bradshaw, who has been serving as Taylor-Wharton’s vice president of business development, has become TOMCO2’s president.

“We have a mandate to grow all aspects of Air Water’s Engineering Group’s product offerings in North America, which encompasses a full range of cryogenic equipment, and acquiring TOMCO2 is a significant first step that establishes a solid manufacturing and sales base in the U.S.,” Rottier says.

Longtime TOMCO2 executive Dan Templeton adds: “On behalf of The TOMCO2 family, we look forward to the opportunity of merging into a new and dynamic organization. TOMCO2 has a great group of employees who proudly represent the best in quality and service, making it a brand name that is known throughout the CO2 industry. The future looks bright with the new ownership to advance our product lines and capabilities.”

Bradshaw states, “From the beginning, one aspect of TOMCO2’s value stood out in particular — the quality of people. Having a team with unparalleled experience, focused expertise on end-user applications and an ongoing drive to exceed customer expectations provides a unique platform to expand our efforts to transform to an applications-focused solutions provider rather than a traditional equipment manufacturer.”

Miller Joins T-W to Lead Sales for Americas

Tim Miller has joined the Taylor-Wharton team to lead sales for the Americas, reporting to Taylor-Wharton’s Chairman and CEO Eric Rottier, the company has announced.

Miller succeeds Luke Bradshaw in that role at Taylor-Wharton.

Based in Houston, Miller brings 25 years of industry experience to his position, including serving as vice president and president of Cryogenic Vessel Alternatives (CVA).

Rottier states, “I am thrilled to have Tim join our team. Tim has exceptional breadth of experience and industry connections. With Tim coming on board, we expect a smooth transition and continued exemplary customer support.”

ILMO Welcomes New District Sales Manager

Amber Tomlinson

ILMO Products Company welcomes Amber Tomlinson to the company’s sales team. She is serving as district sales manager (Peoria) for the Jacksonville, Ill.-based company.

Tomlinson, who brings more than 10 years of experience in the logistics, administrative and manufacturing arenas, works closely with ILMO’s industrial, medical, specialty and bulk gas consumers, including niche markets.

ILMO’s Vice President of Sales, Tim Atchley, says Tomlinson’s strong organizational and relationship-building abilities provide exemplary customer service. “We are very excited about adding an additional sales position to IlMO’s Peoria region. Amber comes to us with a great deal of industry knowledge and a willingness to provide the support our customers need,” he adds.

BUG-O Names Thayer Director of Sales and Marketing

Scott Thayer

BUG-O Systems, a division of Weld Tooling Corporation, of Canonsburg, Pa., has named Scott Thayer director of sales and marketing, according to Matthew W. Cable, president.

Thayer has almost 30 years of experience in the welding industry and a strong knowledge of BUG-O products. Accompanying his sales experience, Thayer is a Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Welding Educator.

Kaplan Industries Announces Two Position Moves

Kaplan Industries, of Maple Shade, N.J., announces changes for two staff members.

Jarrod Jones

Jarrod Jones has been added as the southern sales manager. He previously worked at Matheson Tri-Gas and GTS Welco/Praxair. He is based in Tampa, Fla. and is responsible for account management of 10 states.

“Jarrod is a monumental addition to our team. His high character and successful sales experience are key components to further developing our brand in the Southeastern region,” notes Beau Papania, director of sales for Kaplan Industries.

Papania was promoted to the director role last year, relocating from Chicago, Ill., where he was Northeast regional sales manager. He now works from the Harrison, Ohio, production facility and is responsible for the company’s day-to-day sales and international business development.

Beau Papania

Horton Group Has New Practice Leader, Succession Plan

The Horton Group announces that Tony Hopkins is succeeding Ken Tidwell as the company’s Welding & Gas Distributors practice leader.

Hopkins is responsible for providing innovative strategy and solutions to new and existing welding and gas clients. He oversees a team of welding and gas insurance and safety specialists dedicated to driving down cost, work and risks, the company adds.

Ken Tidwell

Tidwell is remaining very active with the company and continues to foster relationships built with clients over his 30-plus years of work with the welding and gas industry, the company says. Tidwell and his wife, Margaret, have no immediate plans for retirement.

Hopkins specializes in the welding and gas industry, serving as an active member of the GAWDA Safety Committee. He began as an intern with Horton before holding positions as sales executive, sales leader, vice president and shareholder. He received his B.A. in business administration/risk management and insurance with a certificate in international business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tidwell says of the transition: “This is a well-planned succession that has been in the works since Tony was brought to work in the industry, over the past 10 years. I couldn’t be more proud of his development, industry involvement and the value he brings to our clients. There isn’t a better person to take over the reins.”

Tony Hopkins

Hopkins echoes those sentiments, saying: “Ken is one of my favorite people in this universe. He has been an amazing mentor and more so. What he’s taught me over the years has been invaluable. This practice group was Ken’s vision from the start. Horton is now the largest provider of insurance and risk advisory services to the welding and gas industry in the country. This is a task that couldn’t have been achieved without superior planning, passion and hard work. Ken’s energy is infectious; he’s never had more of it than he does now.”

Select Arc, Inc. Appoints Krall VP of Sales

Select Arc, Inc., of Fort Loramie, Ohio, has named Joe Krall as vice president of sales.

Krall is responsible for the sales operations at Select Arc, Inc. and sister company Arcos Industries, LLC, according to the company.

Krall is a welding industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience. He previously worked with the American Welding Society for 14 years, most recently as managing director of North American sales. He also was national sales manager for Tri-Mark, vice president of sales for Hobart Brothers and early in his career, worked in the field for Chemetron, Hobart Brothers and Miller Electric. His career began in 1974 with National Welder’s Supply in North Carolina.  He is a lifetime member of The American Welding Society and has a bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.

March 23 Deadline for CGA Member Survey

The Compressed Gas Association, Inc., is conducting a member survey about its programs and member benefits.

The deadline for completing it is Friday, March 23. The survey takes about 20-25 minutes to complete. CGA notes that responses will be used to prioritize the organization’s resources and help plan for the future. The survey can be accessed here.

Any questions about the survey can be directed to the CGA’s Laura Brumsey ( or Rich Craig (

In Memoriam:

Clarence Hall

Clarence Hall, a long-time industry member, passed away February 21 after a long battle with a debilitating neurodegenerative disease.

Hall began his career in the gas industry with the former Enron Corp., where he traded ethylene and propylene. His career spanned several decades and he eventually became president of BTU Gases. He left the industry for a time to pursue real estate goals in the Chicago market, but returned to the industry and has worked with Gas Innovations for the past 14 years.

A true “foodie,” Hall was known for his love of food and wine and creating memories with friends. Friends and family will remember Hall for his gentlemanly manner. Hall leaves behind his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Wendy, as well as many friends and relatives. Donations in his memory may be made to Cure PSP, 1206 York Road, Suite 1-4, Lutherville, Md., or online at, to support research for neurodegeneration.