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WEMCO Spring Meeting

Apr. 13, 2015

During the last week of February, WEMCO (An Association of Welding Manufacturers) of which Bug-O Systems is an active member, held their annual meeting in Tampa, FL. The meeting was strongly attended by all major manufacturers and proved to be a full two day event.  


The Contractor Day was only for end-user clients to learn about what’s new and see firsthand many vendors in one location. The event lasted the entire day so companies could send their people in shifts and not disrupt their normal work day.  


As one might have expected, the recent drop in oil prices was a large concern for many. Much of the discussion centered around not only specifically oil prices, but more over what effects this might have on the welding and cutting markets in North America. Key note speakers included Chris Mapes, CEO of The Lincoln Electric Company, and the focus of his discussions were on how even smaller companies can appear large by leveraging the internet and by way of marketing through social media.  



Additionally we had the normal breakout committee meetings and the one that received the greatest attention this year was the “New Careers in Welding.” This is the committee where we the members are designing ways to attract new and younger persons into choosing welding as a great place to have a career. I personally have joined this committee to do my part to ensure we all (as manufacturers of products that serve the welding industry) grow this community. As we are all very much aware, there is a shortage of welders in North America. The average age of a welder today is estimated at 54 years old. If we do not do better in attracting younger persons to choose welding as a career, not only will this country fall behind, but us as manufacturers of products serving this industry, will also suffer.  
The final highlight of this meeting was the economic presentation provided by Dr. Alan Beaulieu entitled “Prosperity in the Age of Decline.” His entire presentation focused on the global economies including the fallen price of oil and what effects we as manufacturers might expect to see in the welding and cutting industry over the next few years. As always, Alan reached out to the audience and made sure that he addressed everyone’s most important questions during his presentation. The good news for most was that the oil prices will start to inch back up, and he is predicting a good 3rd quarter this year placing 2015 overall as a good growth year. Another key point Alan made was that during 2015-16 companies “should spend money on people and process; then spend more.”  
On that note, let me close by quoting Abraham Lincoln; “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”  
Norm Sted
Director – N.A. Sales & Global Marketing