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Gas pedaling: Leading industrial-gases producer Airgas opens Dickinson retail store

If a you're running a little short of oxygen, or other invisible gases, there's a new store in Dickinson that has some to sell. Airgas, a producer of atmospheric gases with headquarters in Radnor, Pa., opened its newest facility here June 30 in a...

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(Press Photo by April Baumgarten) Eric Hummer, branch manager of Airgas in Dickinson, stands in front of tanks full of gas used for welding at the store’s warehouse.

If a you’re running a little short of oxygen, or other invisible gases, there’s a new store in Dickinson that has some to sell.
Airgas, a producer of atmospheric gases with headquarters in Radnor, Pa., opened its newest facility here June 30 in a newly constructed 13,000-square-foot building at 11101 32T St. SW, The grand opening is from 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, said Eric Hummer, the new Dickinson facility’s branch manager.
Airgas has canisters in sizes ranging up to 300 cubic feet. It sells gases needed in the oilfields and other fields, such as medical and other industries. You can pick it up or they’ll bring it to you.
Those who attend the grand opening will get lunch and a chance to see the new building, where, in addition to industrial, medical and specialty gases, the company also sells welding and safety equipment.
Hummer’s staff is sharing the building with another Airgas company - Airgas On-Site Safety Services - which has been in Dickinson for some time, but based out of another location, Hummer said. Its services include safety monitoring, certification, and equipment rental at oilfield and construction sites.
Michael L. Molinini, Airgas’ president and chief executive officer, said the company’s “comprehensive product and service offering is tailored to meet the unique needs of customers in the energy industry, particularly in oilfield logistics and operations, well completions and production, and pipeline construction and maintenance, as well as customers involved in the fabrication of metal components and structures that are a critical part of the energy sector value chain.
“Our new location in Dickinson, N.D., brings us much closer to our customers in this important region of the country.”
Airgas already has other North Dakota retail locations - in Grand Forks for 18 years and Fargo for 15 years. There are also Airgas On-site Safety Services locations in Watford City, Williston and Minot.
Hummer said Airgas is a well-known name.
“People who come in here know what we do,” he said.
Airgas has about 1,100 locations and 16,000 employees and provides services throughout the United States and abroad. It’s a publicly traded company with more than $5 billion in annual sales, and it was founded in 1982 by the company’s executive chairman, Peter McCausland.
Hummer said at the new Dickinson facility, they already have heavy walk-in traffic.
“We like (our location) a lot,” he said.
Hummer moved to Dickinson from his hometown of Mukwonago, Wis., population about 10,000, two months ago, and said there was something that surprised him about this increasingly busy city and its faster pace.
He said he expected busy customers here, oilfield people, would just run in, buy what they needed and run out. That’s not happening.
Instead, Hummer said he finds many customers take the time to stick around, sit down and have substantial conversations - and also make helpful suggestions about what products to add, how to make the store better.
“People here are really nice,” he said.
Hummer said he’s also excited about life here because the home he is having built should be done in a couple weeks. At that point, his wife and high school sweetheart, Lynn, will arrive soon after with their spoiled “kids,” labrador retrievers Jocko and Harvey.
Hummer, who said he’s always been crazy for sports - he started carrying a ball around at age 4 - and played recreational baseball through the years. He planned to be a sports journalist and has a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin. But after college, an opportunity with Airgas was available nearby in Milwaukee and he took it.
He remains a sports fan and has already found out that there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in recreational sports in Dickinson. He already has played some golf.
But his career path is now Airgas - a company that treats both its customers and employees very well, he said.
Hummer said he wants his greatest personal success to be: “Supporting my family on a daily basis is my goal and always has been.”
And speaking of families, in addition to helping its industrial customers, Hummer said there is something at Airgas that families and others might need, sometimes - for birthday parties or other events.
One of Airgas’ products: helium. And they also sell balloon fillers.
Let the party, and the grand opening, begin.

Grantier is a reporter for The Dickinson Press. Contact her at 701-225-8111.

Airgas

What: Supplier of industrial gases, welding and safety equipment
Branch manager: Eric Hummer
Address: 11101 32T St. S.W., Dickinson
Phone: 701-264-4310
Email: eric.hummer@airgas.com
Online: airgas.com


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Eric Hummer, branch manager of Airgas in Dickinson, looks over his line of jacks Thursday at the store north of Dickinson.

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