GAWDA’s 2017 Spring Conference Bigger, Better, More Mobile Than Ever
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The yearly Spring Management Conference (SMC) of the Gases and Welding
Distributors Association (GAWDA) is bigger and better – and this year, more mobile – than ever before.
Registration for the May event, with more than a month to go, is at a record level, according to GAWDA
Executive Director John Ospina. He announced today that registered attendees (which includes
distributors, suppliers, manufacturer’s representatives, plus their guests) totals more than 550
registrants. This tops registration numbers for the past four years at this same time, he noted.
Booth registrations for the GAWDA Spring Contact Booth Program, a vendor showcase, also filled up at
record pace, Ospina said. With all available spaces were taken as of March 22, the 2017 show will house
127 supplier members, vendors and manufacturers showing off their latest products and services. The
Contact Booth Program is a major networking opportunity for distributors to learn of the latest available
products to augment their businesses, according to Ospina. It’s also a major venue for suppliers,
manufacturers and distributors to meet face-to-face those they may not get to see too often. The show
also provides a chance for them to obtain information about new offerings directly and to build
relationships, Ospina said.
In addition, GAWDA is introducing a new mobile app. The technology is designed to make it easier for
distributors and suppliers to network, and for registered attendees to interact and communicate while
at the SMC and later at other GAWDA national events. The app provides all information attendees need,
from a full list of who is registered, detailed schedule of activities, maps to event locations, and local
information, such as city maps and ride sharing contacts. The app now is available on the App Store for
iPhone and on Google Play for Android phones.
The SMC is being held Thursday, May 11 through Saturday, May 13 in Boca Raton, Fla. At the Boca Raton
Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.
Guest speakers include Christopher Mapes, chairman, president and CEO of Lincoln Electric Holdings,
Inc., who will address opportunities for career education; and Curt Steinhorst, from the Center for
Generational Kinetics, who will speak about communicating with younger generations. In addition, Alan
Beaulieu, GAWDA’s chief economist and principal of ITR Economics, will provide a detailed economic
forecast for the industry; and Kelly Latimer, a test pilot for the Virgin Galactic Launcher One program,
will speak at the Women of Gases and Welding Committee of GAWDA luncheon.