When the management team of WELD Specialty Gas & Equipment made the decision to get involved in the industrial gas supply business in
2003, it had growth on its mind. Before that, WELD was
strictly a welding hardgoods supplier since 1996, operating out of a single location on the north end of Milwaukee, WI. But ever since WELD’s finances were in place to
start selling industrial gases, the company has become
bigger and better.
“We had the expectation that we were going to grow
this thing, and grow it well,” says John Dunfee, president
of WELD and one of three owners who bought the com-
pany in 1996. “Did we think we’d quadruple in size? Not
In 2002, WELD staffed 18 employees. Today, it’s Wis-
consin’s largest independent welding distributor. The
company projects 2015 sales four times that of 2002’s, and
its full-time headcount is now at 62. That’s besides the ad-
dition of three branch locations. Expanding with facilities
in Kaukauna (2003), Fond du Lac (2009), and Waukesha
(March, 2015) has given WELD a formidable presence
across eastern Wisconsin. Five cylinder exchange loca-
tions further allow it to serve the region’s top population
centers – Milwaukee, Green Bay/Appleton, Oshkosh, and
Fond du Lac – in speedy fashion.
Why Choose WELD?
In a market that includes several large wholesale
industrial gas suppliers, WELD says its people and service
capabilities are its best resources.
“Most of our salesforce is very experienced,” says
Steve Betthauser, WELD Sales Manager. “A lot of our
competitors will take a guy like me and have him work
over the top of 10 other people who aren’t experienced.
Here, pretty much all our salespeople are tenured and can
go in and solve any customer’s problem. A couple of us
together can noodle things out that most our competi-
tion can’t do.”
As of early October, WELD staffs nine inside salespeople
and 10 outside salespeople. The average WELD employee
age is 45 years old, with most of them steeped in techni-
cal welding knowledge. So when a customer calls with a
product question, it can be answered in that same call.
Nowadays, the customer experience is everything in distribution sales. To that end, WELD will do things that cost
the company money up front, knowing customer loyalty
will pay off in the long run.
“We’ll have customers calling in an order at 5 p.m. and
we’ll have it on the truck the next day,” Dunfee says.
“That would be very unusual for one of the big guys to
do. If we can get it there tonight, we’ll get it there to-
night, otherwise they’ll see it tomorrow. We’ll make runs
that lose money, and that decision can’t be made in a big
place. We take care of them, and good customers remem-
Along with a wealth of experience and customer-
oriented culture, it’s in services that WELD sets itself apart
from the competition. One of the top services the com-
Experience, unique service make WELD Specialty eastern Wisconsin’s distributor of choice.