Founded in 1945 as the National Welding Supply Association (NWSA), the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA) has represented the distributors and manufacturers of welding supplies and materials for 66 years. The association was formed to facilitate the industry's supply chain and to promote the value of distribution. Interestingly, even at the inception of NWSA, the welding supply industry hinged, in large part, on the distribution of industrial gases. Many NWSA members grew the gases side of their businesses and began to incorporate medical gases into their product offerings. In 2002, to more accurately reflect the changing industry and membership, the National Welding Supply Association changed its name to the "Gases and Welding Distributors Association" at the opening Business Session of the 58th Annual Convention.
GAWDA is currently a 66-year-old trade association serving over 450 gases and welding supply distributors, manufacturers, Independent manufacturer's representatives and Individual members, and is the major trade association representing the industrial gases and welding supply industry. Dating back to the original purpose of NWSA, the association is dedicated to achieving two goals for its members:
- Safe Operation of Welding Equipment and Supplies (Including compliance with government regulations)
- Economic Vitality of Distributors of Welding Equipment and Supplies
Today, GAWDA provides access to seven expert safety and compliance consultants for all of its members. The association also leads the industry in providing education, industry information, and networking opportunities through its extensive website, www.gawda.org, periodical publications and e-newsletters, monthly teleconferences, its Annual Conference, Spring Management Conference, Regional Meetings and the Contact Booth Programs.
Being a part of GAWDA means not only being a part of the industry's foremost resource for safety and compliance information, education, and networking, but also provides an opportunity to share in the pride derived from the history of the association, stay on the cutting edge of the constantly-changing present of the industry, and help set the direction for the exciting future of the distribution of gases and welding supplies and equipment.