Airgas Inc., a distributor of industrial, medical, specialty gases, welding equipment and safety products, recently opened a 58,000 square foot regional headquarters in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, where it consolidated some of its operations and created an estimated 130 new jobs.
The firm's new Business Support Center will serve customers throughout the west and southern US, just as Airgas expands its regional footprint through acquisition.
The firm qualified for payroll tax relief incentives as part of the state's Quality Jobs Program. According to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Airgas qualified for a 5 percent payroll tax reimbursement to offset the cost of the jobs it creates through expansion. State officials estimate the savings could amount to $2.5 million. The Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program allows qualifying firms creating new jobs to receive an incentive to locate or expand. Administered by Oklahoma Commerce, the program provides quarterly cash payments of up to 5 percent of new taxable payroll directly to a qualifying company for up to 10 years.
"When considering locations for a new Business Support Center, Tulsa was a logical and attractive choice," said Terry Lodge, Central Division President, Airgas USA. "We have a long and successful history as an employer in this area. The Tulsa workforce is a great source of talented and dedicated administrative professionals, which is something we need in supporting Airgas' business operations from the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana through Oklahoma and Kansas to the borders of Idaho and Montana. The new BSC is part of the backbone which makes Airgas the industry leader and our commitment to local service possible."
"Associates at our Tulsa BSC will play a vital role in supporting Airgas' business operations in 16 states throughout the central U.S.," Lodge noted
Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber said "Airgas is part of a strong legacy of quality employers who are making a significant contribution to our region's future."
Airgas, Inc. recently acquired the assets and operations of Industrial Welding Supplies of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, doing business as Nordan Smith, a distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and related supplies. Nordan Smith operates 17 locations throughout Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama, generating annual revenues in excess of $30 million.
After a transitional period, six of the acquired locations will be integrated into the Mid South region of Airgas served by the Tulsa headquarters, and eleven will be integrated into the South region. The Mid South region serves customers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, North Texas, Missouri, Northern Louisiana, Western Tennessee, and Northwest Mississippi.
"We are excited to welcome more than 110 Nordan Smith employees to the teams at the South and Mid South regions. Their reputation for exceptional customer service aligns well with Airgas' customer-centric culture," said Airgas Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael L. Molinini. "Nordan Smith's broad range of industrial, medical and specialty gases and the hub production and distribution facility located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi will complement Airgas' distribution business and continue to provide customers and branches with reliable products and expertise."