Your GAWDA Connection | May 1, 2018
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Do you have specialty gas mixture personnel who are already comfortable making gravimetric mixtures but could benefit from advanced training? How about personnel who need to obtain the maximum performance from their gas chromatograph? If yes, consider Precision University as your go-to training source. Summer class registration is now open. Register today! 
Brews, Ball Game Features of SMC President’s Event 

If you’re coming to SMC 2018, make sure you arrive in time for the President's Welcome Reception and Dinner on Sunday, May 6. 

The event starts at 6 p.m. It features a live broadcast of the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs game, which starts at 7:05 p.m. (There’s no need to purchase game tickets if you’re there as a GAWDA member/guest conference attendee.)

The location is the Ballpark Village Budweiser Brew House, a restaurant venue that lets you watch the game live out the balcony overlooking Busch Stadium or on many TVs throughout the facility. Drinks and a full dinner will be served, and there will be time to connect with colleagues and friends throughout the evening. The event concludes at 9 p.m.
In June and July, a Regional Meeting Each Month

If you enjoy traveling for business during the summer months, consider attending the two GAWDA Regional Meetings that are scheduled in June and July.
Seven Springs, Pa.

The Seven Springs Regional is next on the calendar. It’s set for June 18-20 in Seven Springs, Pa. Abydee Butler Moore ( is the meeting coordinator. Attendees are asked to register by June 4. 

Aside from sporting clays, barbecue, golf and receptions at the resort location, business meetings feature industry/member company speakers Scott Kallman, chairman/CEO and president of GAWDA Member company Matheson, of Montgomeryville, Pa.; and Alex Kennedy, CEO of member firm Red Ball Oxygen, of Shreveport, La. 

Educational sessions are planned, too. A CGA lunch-and-learn meeting is scheduled and a workshop will be presented by Bob Hogan, president of Hipereon Inc. He will speak about “EBITDA: Use or Abuse, The True Meaning.” For more information, check here or register online here
Maumee Bay, Ohio
The Maumee Bay Regional Meeting takes place July 11 and 12, with activities overlooking Lake Erie at the Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio. Bob Ranc (Weldcoa) and Eric Wood (O.E. Meyer Co.) are co-coordinators. 

An informational update is planned by Rick Schweitzer, the GAWDA government affairs consultant, on “What’s Happening in DC and What It Means to GAWDA.” A discussion of “Opportunities in Specialty Gases” will be presented by Terran Bergdale, A-OX Welding Supply’s specialty gases laboratory manager. More information and the registration form is available on GAWDA’s site. 
FMCSA Updates Status of Medical Examiner Registry 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has updated the status of its online National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME). The registry was hacked in late 2017. According to the agency, no personal information was exposed as a result of the breach.

At present, the NRCME still has only limited functionality. As of April 6, healthcare professionals wishing to become a certified medical examiner were able to register for the NRCME. Also, the agency previously released a static look-up function allowing both State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLA) and employers to check the validity of medical cards. Employers and drivers are able to look up medical examiners using Zip Code or Medical Examiner’s National Registry number searches.

Additionally, in February 2018, the FMCSA corrected erroneous email notifications that were sent to certain medical examiners incorrectly stating that they would be removed based on out-of-date information.

The FMCSA states certified medical examiners can continue conducting physical qualification examinations of CMV drivers and issuing paper Medical Examiner's Certificates (MEC), Form MCSA-5876, to qualified drivers. The agency advises that medical examiners should segregate all examinations completed during the outage and be prepared to upload them to the National Registry system when it is fully back online, with no penalties.
FMCSA Delaying June Deadline for CDL Medical Certification Procedures

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plans to delay its June 22, 2018, deadline for implementing new procedures on medical certification for CDL holders, according to J.J. Keller, an industry consulting firm. 

The final rule, which was published in 2015, would require medical examiners to upload the results of a driver’s medical exam into the FMCSA database by the following business day. The FMCSA would then notify the State Driver’s Licensing Agency of the medical certificate, and the state would automatically update the driver’s medical certification status. The intent of the rule is to keep the driver from having to take his or her medical certificate to the licensing agency. 

According to Keller, the delay was announced by FMCSA Associate Administrator William Quade, who spoke last week at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Spring Workshop in Portland, Oregon, and said more details about a delay to the “Medical Examiner’s Certification Integration” rule will be announced soon. The delay is related to a hack of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website, which has been offline since December.
FMCSA Issues Final Rule on Electronic Documents and Signatures  

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a final rule allowing motor carriers to use electronic documents and signatures to satisfy FMCSA’s regulatory requirements ( 83 Fed. Reg. 16210; April 16, 2018). 

These amendments permit, but do not require, the use of electronic methods to generate, certify, sign, maintain or exchange records as long as the documents accurately reflect the required information and can be used for their intended purpose. This rule applies only to those documents that FMCSA’s regulations obligate entities or individuals to retain. It does not apply to forms or other documents that must be submitted directly to FMCSA unless there are already procedures in place in the regulations for electronic submission to FMCSA. 

The rule is effective as of June 15 this year. 

The final rule incorporates into the regulations guidance issued by the FMCSA on Jan. 4, 2011, and imposes no new regulatory requirements. Examples of documents affected by this rule include vehicle maintenance records, driver qualification files, bills of lading and business records. Regulated entities are provided additional flexibility and may choose to conduct business using either electronic versions or traditional paper-based versions of these types of documents.
PHMSA Produces Brochure on Accident Investigation Program  

T he U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has produced a  brochure   to promote its hazardous materials Accident Investigation Team (AIT) pilot program to hazmat and emergency first responder stakeholders.

According to the agency, this program is fundamentally different from traditional PHMSA Hazardous Materials Regulations enforcement efforts. The one-year AIT pilot program was launched in October 2017 to develop a comprehensive investigative process for significant hazmat accidents and incidents. This process includes identifying contributing and root causes with the purpose of learning from past mistakes to enable forecasting and mitigation of future hazmat accidents.
There’s Still Time to Give to Scholarship Initiative

Member companies still have time to contribute towards GAWDA’s 2018 GAWDA Foundation scholarship initiative, reminds John Ospina, GAWDA executive director.

GAWDA will announce a new group of scholarship recipients at the Spring Management Conference in May. The association matches up to $25,000 annually of members’ contributions to make the scholarships possible. 

Educational grants have been awarded each year since the program was started in 2011. Since then, a total of 58 scholarships have been awarded to students who are furthering their studies in careers related to the welding and gases distribution industry. Scholarship amounts usually consist of a $2,000 award to each student, intended to be used for tuition costs. 

You can earn more about the program here, or to make a contribution online now, click here .
Look for Spring ’18 Welding & Gases Today

Watch the mail this week for your copy of the Spring 2018 issue of Welding & Gases Today.

GAWDA’s quarterly magazine presents the latest industry news, consultant advice, quarterly GAWDA Economic Analysis by ITR Economics and other important association information. 

This issue focuses on the question of companies who may be considering — or who already are — employee-owned entities. The “ESOP” employee stock-ownership model presents a different option when it comes time for an owner to transition, our sources report. In addition to the main article, eight GAWDA member companies who have become ESOPs (either recently or who have been structured that way for some time) are featured. Their leaders talk about how that change turned out and how they made the decisions. 

Companies profiled (and their executives) are: Hypertherm Inc. (Evan Smith), O.E. Meyer Company (Craig Wood), Toll Company (James Quicksell), Oxygen Supply Services (Ryan Diekow), McDantim Inc. (Dan Fallon), General Air (Brad Armstrong) Norco (Jim Kissler and Nicole Kissler) and Catalina Cylinders (David Silva). Also featured are comments from experts in the field and national ESOP association directors.
GAWDA welcomes the following new distributor members: 

J&B Propane
3406 Highway 21 W 
Madisonville, Texas 77864-6100
936-348-5465  FAX 936-348-5222

Jeb Blair, vice president
Becky Blair, office and compliance manager 

J&B Propane represents the following manufacturers: Morse, Saint-gobain, Revco, Tillman, Sowesco, DeWalt, Metabo, Lapco, Uniweld, Victor, Hypertherm, Miller electric, Lincoln Electric, Profax. As a retail propane company, the firm offers LPG and other industrial gases and sells and rents ASMCE tanks and exchange cylinders.

C&O Distributors Inc. 
514 Lucabaugh Mill Road
Westminster, Md. 21157
FAX 410-848-9323

Jason Stonefiser, president
Richard Cronkite, general manager 

C&O Distributors is an authorized service and repair center for Miller and Lincoln Electric equipment and machinery. The company also offers welding supplies, compressed and medical gases, propane, abrasives, dry ice, hardware, hand and power tools, farrier and horseshoeing supplies and much more.
Member News:
  • Equigas Announces American Market Partnership
  • Airgas Earns Boeing’s “Supplier of the Year” Award
  • Tulsa Chart Shop Celebrates Safety Milestones
  • Weldcoa Anniversary Raffles Raise $3,500 to Date for GAWDA Gives Back
  • In Memoriam: Kenneth L. Haun