December 15, 2016
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The GAWDA Foundation Scholarship program benefited 10 students in 2016. To read more about them, see this article from the third quarter issue of Welding & Gases Today.
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Featured Articles

GAWDA Foundation Scholarship Kicks Off Fifth Year 

For the fifth consecutive year, the GAWDA Foundation is continuing its scholarship program, an initiative that awards tuition assistance to young people who are following educational paths that can lead them to careers in the welding and gases distribution industry.
The GAWDA Foundation Scholarship was created in 2011 to provide support to recipients during their formal education. The scholarships are open to employees and immediate family members of current GAWDA member companies. The deadline for applications is February 15. For this year, 12 scholarships of $2,000 each are available.
The program is funded through GAWDA member contributions, and 2017’s member support initiative has begun, according to President Mark Raimy. GAWDA matches all member contributions up to a total not to exceed $25,000, doubling the value of member contributions. 

To see more, click here.

Member Support is Key to the Success of the Scholarship Program

The GAWDA Foundation scholarship program depends on the support of members to help the employees of member companyies and their children achieve the dream of higher education.

Your donation is tax deductible. Keeping with tradition, GAWDA will match up to $25,000 in contributions to the scholarship fund, effectively doubling the power of member giving.

To donate to the scholarship program, click here or call GAWDA Accounting Associate Bruce Ellenbogen at 954-367-7728 or email him at

Contact Booth Committee's Work is Underway

The Contact Booth Committee, created to improve the Contact Booth experience for GAWDA members, both suppliers and distributors, has begun holding monthly meeting , according to chair Melissa Perkins, director of marketing and finance at Electronic Fluorocarbons.

The group is developing ways to take the program to a higher level at the Spring Management Conference and the Annual Meeting.

Other committee members include: George Ratermann, Ratermann Manufacturing Inc.; Jim Horvath, ESAB Welding and Cutting; Robert "Bob" Ranc, Weldcoa; Abydee Butler Moore, Butler Gas; Tom Chromy, CHART; Jim Lisiecki, Linde; Jim O’Connor, Norton Abrasives/Saint-Gobain; Adam Strouse, Flame Technologies; Eric DeBaker, Metal Man Work Gear and Tim Hudson of GAWDA Media.

Look for more on the Contact Booth Committee in the next issue of Welding & Gases Today

Safety and Compliance

FMCSA Publishes Final Rule on Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published its final rule to establish an online clearinghouse of data for CDL drivers who test positive for drug or alcohol use in violation of DOT requirements or who refuse to submit to a DOT drug or alcohol test. 81 Fed. Reg. 87686 (December 5, 2016). The rule was mandated by Congress in the 2015 highway funding legislation.
The final rule has a three-year implementation period that will allow the FMCSA to contract with a third-party provider to develop and operate the clearinghouse. GAWDA members and their employees will not be required to comply with the clearinghouse rules until January 6, 2020. 
Under the final rule, employers and medical review officers (MROs), or their designated representatives, will be required to report information to the clearinghouse about positive drug test results, alcohol test results greater than 0.04 blood alcohol content, refusals to test and other non-test violations of the FMCSA’s drug and alcohol regulations.  In addition, Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) are required to report information about drivers undergoing the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.
Employers will be required to search the database for information during the pre-employment process for prospective employees and at least once a year for current employees to determine whether anyone has incurred a drug or alcohol violation with a different employer that would prohibit him or her from performing safety-sensitive functions.
Employers will have to pay a fee to access the records of drivers and driver applicants. The fees will be set as part of the competitive bidding process for a contractor to develop and operate the clearinghouse.  Drivers will not have to pay any fee to access their own records in the clearinghouse.
The clearinghouse will identify drivers using their CDL number and state of issuance. Drivers’ Social Security numbers will not be used in this program.
Once the clearinghouse is established, a prospective employer will be required to conduct a pre-employment query of the clearinghouse to obtain information about whether a driver applicant has a verified positive, adulterated, or substituted controlled substances test result; has an alcohol confirmation test with a concentration of 0.04 or higher; has refused to submit to a DOT drug or alcohol test; or that an employer has reported actual knowledge that the driver used alcohol on duty, before duty, or  following an accident in violation of FMCSA rules, or used a controlled substance in violation of FMCSA rules.  
In addition, an employer will have to conduct a query of the clearinghouse at least once per year for information for all employees subject to controlled substance and alcohol testing to determine whether information exists in the clearinghouse about those employees.
FMCSA Issues Final Rule on Entry-Level Driver Training

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also published a final rule on the minimum training standards for certain individuals applying for their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time; an upgrade of their CDL (for example, a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL); or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for the first time. 81 Fed. Reg. 88732 (December 8, 2016). These individuals are subject to the entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements and must complete a prescribed program of instruction provided by an entity that is listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry. The FMCSA will submit training certification information to state driver licensing agencies, who may only administer CDL skills tests to applicants for the Class A and B CDL, and/or the P or S endorsements, or knowledge test for the H endorsement, after verifying the certification information is present in the driver’s record.
The rule establishes Class A and Class B CDL core curricula and training curricula including hazardous materials (H) endorsements. The core and endorsement curricula generally are subdivided into theory (knowledge) and behind-the-wheel (BTW) (range and public road) segments. There is no minimum number of hours that driver trainees must spend on the theory portions of any of the individual curricula. However, training providers must provide instruction in all elements of the applicable theory curriculum and driver-trainees must receive an overall score of at least 80 percent on the theory assessment.
The BTW curricula for the Class A and Class B CDL, comprised of range and public road segments, include discrete maneuvers which each driver trainee must proficiently demonstrate to the satisfaction of the training instructor. There is no minimum number of hours that driver-trainees must spend on the BTW elements of the core or endorsement curricula. The training provider must not issue the training certificate unless the driver trainee demonstrates proficiency in performing all required BTW skills.
This final rule also has a three-year implementation schedule.  The rule will become effective February 6, 2017, but employers, drivers and training entities are not required to comply until February 7, 2020.

In Memoriam

Cathy Bennett

Catherine Marie Bennett, 47, of North Aurora, Ill., passed away Nov. 25. 

The wife of John Bennett, executive vice president of Cyl-Tec, Inc., she was a regular attendee at GAWDA events. The two were wed in 1994 and had two children together, Jacqueline and Chase.

Her obituary reported, "Cathy dedicated her life to raising her children and being an amazing mother and wife. She always believed God had a plan for her. She devoted herself  to helping at-risk children through the Kids Hope USA organization even in her sickest times. She never complained about being in pain and was always very gracious of everyone who helped her. Everyone who met her loved her and she will be dearly missed."

Member News

Welding Material Sales Adds Warehouse, Relationship Manager

Butler Wins Best Places to Work Honor from Pittsburgh Paper



15 Days Left for 15 Percent Membership Discount

For membership renewals paid before Dec. 31, the GAWDA Board of Directors has approved a 15 percent discount. Members who renew after that date must pay the full amounts. There will be no extensions.

Membership renewal notices were sent out in October.

For questions about membership renewal, the 15 percent discount or other matters dealing with membership, contact Membership Services Manager Stephen Hill at 954-367-7728 ext. 220, or You can also contact Accounting Associate Bruce Ellenbogen at  954-367-7728 ext. 230, or

Regional Meeting Schedule Shaping Up for 2017

Regional Meetings are great way to stay in touch with your fellow GAWDA members. Next year's calendar is filling in fast with meetings scheduled in seven different states.

See the whole schedule here, and check back for updates as more meetings are announced.

Upcoming Events

May 11-13 • Boca Raton, Florida
Spring Management Conference

April 18 - 19, 2017 • Houston, Texas
Regional Meeting

May 31 - June 1, 2017 • Atlantic City, N.J.
Regional Meeting

June 12 - 14, 2017 • Seven Springs, Pa.
Regional Meeting

July 12 - 13, 2017 • Lansing, Mich.
Regional Meeting

July 19 - 21, 2017
 • Sun River, Ore.
Regional Meeting

August 14 - 15, 2017 • North Stonington, Conn.
Regional Meeting

Sept. 11 - 12, 2017 • Tulsa, Okla.
Regional Meeting
New Products

Cyl-Tec Introduces New Line of Bulk CO2 Stations 

Cyl-Tec, Inc. has introduced its new-high performance line of bulk CO2 stations. Available in 10, 14, 30, and 50 ton models (horizontal and vertical), Titan is the most efficient way to store and dispense bulk CO2, the company says.

Titan Bulk CO2 Stations are vacuum jacketed, have superior hold time, and provide the lowest overall cost of ownership, Cyl-Tec says. Purchase and lease options are available.

For information on having your New Product featured here, contact Tim Hudson at

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Welding & Gases Today is the official magazine of the Gases and Welding Distributors Association. 

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The GAWDA Connection is distributed on the 1st and 15th of each month to all GAWDA members as a membership service of GAWDA, the Gases and Welding Distributors Association, One Oakwood Blvd, Ste 195, Hollywood, FL 33020. Neither GAWDA nor Data Key Communications, their Data Key Communicationsofficers, directors, members and staff are responsible for contents or opinions other than those concerning Association activities. Copyright © 2016 Data Key Communications. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher.
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