The Association’s Annual Spring Convention is May 11-13 in Boca Raton
HOLLYWOOD, Florida – The Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) has scheduled its
annual spring conference of distributor and supplier members for May 11-13, and registration for the
event now is open.
The Spring Management Conference (SMC) is being held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf
Astoria Resort. Several hundred GAWDA members and their guests are expected to be present.
Attendees are the owners, presidents, CEOs, COOS, and sales, marketing, and operations executives at
welding and gases distributor and supplier companies from across the United States and several
locations in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, along with their guests.
Keynote speakers for the conference include:
Chris Mapes, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc.
Alan Beaulieu, president and principal of ITR Economics, a new GAWDA consultant, who will
present a talk on the industry economic forecast
Curt Steinhorst, of the Center for Generational Kinetics, an expert on communication with and
by millennial-aged people
Kelly Latimer, the Women of Gases and Welding Luncheon keynoter. She is a test pilot for Virgin
Galactic who also served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force as an instructor pilot who flew military
transport and combat missions.
Also featured in the business session is a program presented by GAWDA Supplier Member George
Ratermann, of Ratermann Manufacturing. He will lead a panel discussion titled, “Generation Next, Part
2.” It will feature a panel that looks at the consumer-customer transaction component of the industry
from the millennial and Generation Next age-group perspective. Panelists will describe their interests,
communication style preferences and the approaches they prefer as customers dealing with a business.
The goal of the program is to provide a better understanding of generational differences that can occur
in the customer-relationship space.
The spring conference also features a trade show for the industry. The GAWDA Contact Booth Program,
which houses more than 100 GAWDA member exhibitors, showcases the latest product developments
and a range of services that can help distributor members run their businesses more profitably and
GAWDA also will announce the winners of its annual scholarship program. The association has awarded
a total of $94,000 (in the form of 47 scholarships for $2,000 each) since the GAWDA Foundation
program was established in 2013. The program is designed to encourage young people to consider and
follow careers in the welding and gases distribution industry.