A Steady Recovery Despite the Challenges

Despite the challenges created by the Omicron variant of COVID-19, AWS continued to recover from the effects of the pandemic and experienced favorable revenue growth and surplus growth for 2021.

AWS Publications | June 27, 2022 | Tech and Industries
Welding Digest ►  A Steady Recovery Despite the Challenges

Despite the challenges created by the Omicron variant of COVID-19, AWS continued to recover from the effects of the pandemic and experienced favorable revenue growth and surplus growth for 2021.

The variant induced severe volatility in the major United States stock markets. Long raw material lead times, obstacles in transporting products, and difficulties in filling open positions limited manufacturing growth potential. But as a whole, the year brought continued manufacturing recovery, which remained positive for the overall welding industry.

At AWS, revenues for 2021 were $37.5 million, an increase of $3.6 million, or 10.5%, over 2020. The increase in revenue was driven by the Chicago FABTECH trade show in September 2021 vs. the cancelation of the Las Vegas FABTECH trade show in 2020.

The surplus for 2021 was $9.7 million, $2.4 million, or 32.2%, higher than 2020. Given the difficulties in hiring talent in today’s tight labor market, many budgeted and open positions remained unfilled longer than desired, resulting in an unintended higher surplus than expected.

The AWS reserve fund was $105.2 million, representing an increase of $13.5 million, 14.8% greater than the 2020 balance. The two largest drivers of the increase included positive market investment changes of $11.2 million and a net transfer from operations of $1.7 million.

The AWS Foundation’s assets increased to $115.3 million, up $15.9 million or 15.9% from 2020. Positive market investment changes of $10.5 million drove the majority of the increase in the Foundation’s assets.

All business units experienced an overall increase in revenues when compared to 2020, except for Exposition and Conferences. Standards Development sales were flat. As we are in the second year of our five-year cycle, we anticipate book sales revenues within the Standards Development department to decrease in each subsequent year of the cycle.

A highlight of 2021 was the return of FABTECH, which helped boost morale and revenues. Although there were, as expected, fewer exhibitors, overall feedback from those in attendance was positive. Exposition revenue in 2021 consisted of $1.5 million related to FABTECH and $1.6 million of insurance settlements from FABTECH Mexico ($1.4 million) and FABTECH Canada ($0.2 million) from cancelled events.

The financial results once again demonstrate the discipline of the organization in managing costs according to revenue opportunities. Some factors that contributed to another strong financial year included a commitment to personal and professional growth with our learning initiative, the launch of AWS’s first two-week in-person CWI seminar, a new early career membership category supported by the Take the Torch campaign, and many others.

2021 showed the extreme resilience of the AWS staff and volunteers. For most of the year, AWS was short-staffed in many parts of the business. Many unforeseen circumstances led to many staff having to rise to the challenge, and they did. Thanks to all AWS staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Our 2022 priorities of digital transformation, growth, and culture are already underway, and we are excited about what the future holds.

This article was written by Carey Chen (AWS treasurer) for the American Welding Society.

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