A Semi-Monthly Newsletter for Gases and Welding Distributors Association Members February 8, 2010 
Breaking News   •   Safety & Compliance   •   New Members
Industry Beat   •   GAWDA News   •   Education & Training


Breaking News

Air Products Offers to Buy Airgas For $7B

On Thursday, February 4, Air Products and Chemicals made an unsolicited $5.1 billion offer for Airgas, Inc. The offer was made in a letter (link below) to the Airgas Board of Directors following two previous written offers. Airgas Chairman, President, CEO Peter McCausland and Air Products Chairman, President, CEO John E. McGlade held a meeting several months ago in which they agreed on the merits of a merger, but Airgas has since refused to consider any approach from Air Products.

In October 2009, Airgas received an all-stock proposal from Air Products with an implied value of $60 per share. In December 2009, Airgas received a cash and stock proposal from Air Products with an implied value of $62 per share. Airgas' Board of Directors determined that Air Products' proposals were not in the best interests of Airgas or its shareholders, as they grossly undervalued Airgas. In responding to the December 2009 proposal, the Airgas Board noted that a significant portion of the consideration was in the form of Air Products stock, which has underperformed the Airgas stock over the past decade, with the exception of 2009.

The offer made on February 4, worth about $60 a share, represents a 38 percent premium to Airgas's closing share price of $43.53 on February 4, and an 18 percent premium over its 52-week high of $51. Including debt, the Air Products’ offer is valued at about $7 billion, including $5.1 billion of equity and $1.9 billion of assumed debt.

Read Air Products February 4 letter to Airgas

Read Airgas January letter to Air Products


FMCSA Bans Texting in CMVs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued regulatory guidance that bans texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), effective immediately 75 Federal Register 4305 (January 27, 2010). The guidance is applicable to all interstate drivers of CMVs subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Recent FMCSA research found that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event is 23.2 times greater for drivers who are texting while driving than for those who do not. Texting drivers took their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of 4.6 seconds during the 6-second interval immediately preceding a safety-critical event. At 55 mph (or 80.7 feet per second), this equates to a driver traveling 371 feet, the approximate length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the roadway. At 65 mph (or 95.3 feet per second), the driver would have traveled approximately 439 feet without looking at the roadway.

This guidance does not prohibit the use of electronic dispatching tools, fleet management systems or cell phones for uses other than texting while driving. The FMCSA will address the use of other electronic devices while driving in a notice-and-comment rulemaking proceeding later this year. But the agency thought that the risk of texting was so great as to issue this regulatory guidance immediately.

Spring Management Conference: Registration Opens

GAWDA Members can now register for the Chicago Spring Management Conference. Visit the Current Events page to register online or to download the forms. The program brochure is also available on the Current Events page for complete details of the events on April 18-20.

Overheard in GAWDAwiki Headlines Comments:

"Help save the environment."

—Posted by "Brandon" from Greenpeace in response to the headline: "Port of LA Testing Hydrogen Hybrids"

Five wiki terms you should know
Axis of weld
Arc wander
Bead weld
To add your own term, go to www.GAWDAwiki.org.

Safety & Compliance News

February Safety & Technology Organizer Online The February Safety & Technology Organizer is now available on the association's Web site. Some topics include Special Permits and Eye and Face Protection.

Industry Beat
(what people are talking about)

Red Ball Oxygen's customers cut the ribbon on January 8 at the new liquid hydrogen facility.

Ribbon Cutting at Red Ball (Shreveport, LA)Red Ball Oxygen celebrated the opening of its new liquid hydrogen pumping facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The system enables Red Ball Oxygen to improve service to its existing customers and expand its coverage into new markets. "Our number one focus is reducing costs and adding value for our customer partners. This system allows us to do just that," says Chairman and CEO Gary Kennedy.

Carol Arnold
Dennis Wagner

Vern Lewis Welding Expands Staff (Phoenix, AZ)Vern Lewis Welding Supply appointed Carol Arnold to its outside sales group.
She brings 25 years' industrial gas and welding supply experience, most recently as manager of the company's Avondale store. Dennis Wagner was promoted to manager of the Avondale branch. He has 15 years' experience in fill plant operations and sales.

Air Liquide Hydrogen Station to Fuel Olympic Buses (Montreal, QC, Canada)Air Liquide built the hydrogen station that will fuel a fleet of 20 zero-emission fuel cell buses running in Whistler, BC, Canada, which will soon be carrying athletes and visitors to the 2010 Winter Olympics, which begin on February 12. It is the largest hydrogen fueling station in the world with the capacity to fuel 23 buses per day.

William Blazer

Trail Blazer (Cincinnati, OH)F&M Mafco hired William Blazer as outside sales representative. Blazer has 20 years' experience in the gases and welding industry. He is responsible for current accounts and obtaining new accounts.

R3 Named Supplier of the Year (Wilmington, OH)R3 Safety was named 2009 Supplier of the Year by CriticalTool, an online specialty distributor of industrial safety equipment. "We are very proud to receive this recognition. It demonstrates the success created when customers and suppliers collaborate at all levels of customer service, sales and delivery," says Jim Walker, general manager of North America for R3 Safety.

Crampton Joins OKI (Cincinnati, OH)Byron Crampton was named executive vice president and chief operating officer at OKI Bering. Joe Dillhoff III will remain active in the company and will continue special projects.

Mark Gualandi

Gualandi Joins AWISCO Sales Force (Maspeth, NY)AWISCO appointed Mark Gualandi as territory manager. Gualandi has more than 11 years' experience in industrial sales. "I'm thrilled to have Mark on our sales team," says AWISCO President Lloyd Robinson. "Mark worked several of our trade and branch shows for Metabo over the years and demonstrated great sales ability and customer relationship savvy."

Matheson Tri-Gas and Gelest Team Up on Germane (Basking Ridge, NJ)Matheson Tri-Gas and Gelest entered into an agreement that provides Matheson Tri-Gas with exclusive rights to the global sales and marketing of high purity germane (GeH4) to the electronics and photovoltaic industries and joint ventures to expand manufacturing of the product.

Richard J. Seif

Seif Promotion (Cleveland, OH)Lincoln Electric named Richard J. Seif senior vice president-global marketing and product development. Seif is adding responsibility for directing the company's international product strategy and development programs in its market regions around the world to his current global marketing and automation strategy duties. Seif has 39 years' experience at Lincoln Electric.

Praxair to Provide Oxygen, Nitrogen to Valero (Danbury, CN)Praxair finalized an agreement with Valero Refining Company to supply oxygen and nitrogen to its Memphis, TN, refinery connected to Praxair's pipeline system. As part of the agreement, Praxair will build a new air separation plant with a capacity of 450 tons per day. In addition, Praxair will build 2 new 6-mile pipelines for the supply of oxygen and nitrogen to Valero's Memphis refinery.

Joe Mueller

Mueller Promoted (St. Louis, MO)Thermadyne promoted Joe Mueller to vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas. Mueller has worked for the company for 14 years, most recently as vice president, global cutting products.

Manufacturers Open Joint Distribution Facility (Houston, TX)Welding Material Sales (WMS), Direct Wire & Cable and Flame Technologies opened a joint-venture distribution warehouse in Houston, Texas. Occupying a 13,000 sq. ft. facility, the three companies are positioned to service their southern customers, as well as provide a one-stop will call location for local distributors where they can pick up from three manufacturers at the same time. Additional industry manufacturers are expected to join the venture.

Ryan Keller

Titanic Hire (Alexandria, PA)Titan CO2 appointed Ryan Keller asset and quality control manager. Keller has worked part time for Titan CO2 for the past 3 years.

Eleet Cryogenics Adds Staff (Bolivar, OH)Mike Davis was named manager of manufactured products at Eleet Cryogenics. Adam Scarry was hired as customer asset manager. Troy Stukey was hired as product engineer.

Mike Davis
Adam Scarry
Troy Stukey

GAWDA Connection is a way for you to tell the world about events happening at your company, about new employees, promotions, big and small jobs, etc. Send it at any time by clicking on Submit a News Item or calling the editor, Luke Eggleston, at 315-445-2347, or e-mailing luke@datakey.org.


Spring Management Conference: Save the DateMark your calendar now for GAWDA's Spring Management Conference, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago from April 18-20. This will be the only SMC this year. Registration materials will be available early February. Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Mike Scott: How to Raise Revenues and Cut Costs by Creating a Workplace that Is Totally Accountable
  • Mike Workman: Business and Corporate Integrity
  • Lloyd Robinson, Ned Lane, Ned Pontious: Measurement Tools for Running Your Business
  • Andy Stawski: Merchandizing: Transforming Consumer Needs and Desires into Purchases
  • Young Executives Roundtables: Conversations with Industry CEOs
  • Distributor Owner Roundtables: Executive Compensation—Industry Practices

Make Your Hotel ReservationsA special GAWDA rate of $249, single or double occupancy, is available to the SMC attendees at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Please make your reservation directly with the Hyatt Regency Chicago on or before March 17, 2010 by calling 800-421-1442. When making your reservation please be sure to mention the GAWDA conference rate of $249.

It is vitally important that you reserve your accommodations at GAWDA's host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Chicago. GAWDA is contractually obligated to fill its room block and may be exposed to significant financial liability should the association's members fail to support this room block.

Reservations may also be made by visiting this page.

More SMC details are available here.

SMC Exhibitors—Will You Exhibit at the Chicago SMC?If yes, your company information will be included in the 2010 Exhibitor Guide of Welding & Gases Today. All you have to do is e-mail Malvenia Avery at mavery@fernley.com and let her know that your company will be exhibiting at the Contact Booth Program. In order to meet the magazine's publication deadline, you must let us know by February 10.

HR Report AvailableThe February 2010 HR Manager's Legal Reporter is now available for download at www.gawda.org.

The GAWDA Clearinghouse has been updated for the month.

Workshops, Web Conferences & Seminars

GAWDA University—Now Free to GAWDA Members
Attention GAWDA members: As an added membership benefit, GAWDA has decided to let all GAWDA members take advantage of GAWDA University for free. We've heard one of the toughest challenges facing companies today is training new employees and keeping current employees up-to-date on safety, compliance and industry best practices. GAWDA University is an industry tested training program that will help your company! And now it's completely free! If you would like to take part in a brief overview of GAWDA University please e-mail Kate Marlys, GAWDA Membership Director, at kmarlys@fernley.com to register.

University of Industrial Distribution—Sponsored by GAWDA
March 8-11, 2010
University Place Conference Center and Hotel, Indianapolis, IN. Enrollment is limited, seats are still available. Details can be found here.

GAWDA Professional Compliance Seminar
March 22-25, 2010
At Chart Industries, Ball Park, GA (near Atlanta). To register, visit this page.

Upcoming Events
For more information about these events, please click
on underlined titles or call GAWDA at 215-564-3484.
March 2Southeastern Zone Regional Meeting (Bonita Springs, FL)
March 23-24Southwestern Zone Regional Meeting (Houston, TX)
May 26-27Eastern Zone Regional Meeting (Atlantic City, NJ)
June 1-2Central Zone Regional Meeting (East Lansing, MI)
July 21-23Western Zone Regional Meeting (Whitefish, MT)
July 22Eastern Zone Regional Meeting (Seven Springs, PA)
August 17Eastern Zone Regional Meeting (North Stonington, PA)
September 8Eastern Zone Regional Meeting (Gettysburg, PA)

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