GAWDA’s annual Spring Management conference took place in early May this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nearly 650 GAWDA members and guests came together the weekend of May 4th to May 6th in an effort to share best practices, lessons learned, and network. Noble Gas Solutions sent the executive management team to represent the company and collect information to improve upon current processes.
The weekend had a full itinerary of meetings, panels, and networking events to keep those in attendance occupied with relevant topics regarding safety, success, and motivation. The President’s Welcome Reception and Dinner was the closing event for the conference’s first night. The reception filled Nicollet Island with great food and music. GAWDA members were able to dress down and enjoy a lumberjack show while socializing with industry friends – both old and new!
Speakers: Life & Lessons Learned
The Spring Management Conference hosted an array of speakers focusing on safety initiatives, industry culture, and success despite obstacles. In May of 2018, the South Dakota based company A-Ox Welding Supply Co. had a fire. Tom Elliott, CEO, discussed how in his time of crisis he received immediate assistance from eight fellow GAWDA members. This aid allowed the business to be operational in less than 24-hours. His panel reminded all in attendance the importance of consistent safety trainings and being a member of a community like GAWDA.
Traci and Lori Tapani, owners of Wyoming Machine Inc., spoke on the importance of having a positive and fun work culture to bring about a successful company. The excitement of these ladies was visible during their panel, showing that two women can have success in a male-dominated industry while enjoying every minute of it. To add to this motivation, GAWDA brought in speaker Craig MacFarlane. MacFarlane is most often recognized as the World’s Most Celebrated Totally Blind Athlete, collecting over 100 gold medals. Most of these medals were earned in competition against sighted competitors. MacFarlane’s positive attitude and dedication to succeed in life was truly a motivation to all who attended. It served as a reminder that in a time of doubt, there is always a way to turn things around!
GAWDA’s roster of consultants hosted this year’s Industry Roundtable. The GAWDA consultants reviewed frequently asked questions they answer. GAWDA members have access to consultants for FDA & Medical Gases, Government & Human Resources, DOT & Security, and more. The consultants often assist members to ensure compliance with government regulations, prepare for audits, and best practices. When the roundtable surveyed the room to see who has made use of these membership resources, over ninety percent of the room raised their hand.
GAWDA Keeps on Giving
The GAWDA Foundation created in 2011 provides financial support during formal education, available to children and employees of active GAWDA member companies. The purpose of the foundation is “to promote education within the Gases and Welding Industry”. The Foundation relies on monetary donations from members, matching dollar-for-dollar. This year, members donated $14,000 making the grand total of scholarships $28,000 after the foundation matched the donations. The program has awarded over $166,000 in scholarship funds between 83 scholarships in its short 8 years. This year, there were thirteen recipients receiving $2,000 at schools around the nation, including Northeastern University, University of Nebraska, and Washington State University. During the Spring management Conference, the foundation announced the recipients of this year’s scholarship funds – Congratulations!
GAWDA gives back to the community in many different ways. Aside from their scholarship foundation, the organization raises money to be donated to a local charity, chosen by the sitting GAWDA present. The GAWDA Gives Back foundation was created by Noble Gas Solutions President, J. David Mahoney, and his wife, Donna Mahoney, during his term as GAWDA President in 2000. The foundation has donated over $2.3 million in less than 20 years.
Interested in becoming a member of GAWDA? Visit their website for more information.