Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG) today announced the winners of its National Branch of the Year trophies, which honor the best of its more than 875 local branches nationwide. The company named two winners in both the large and small branch categories. The winners, based on fiscal 2011 performance, were the Hempstead Highway, Houston, TX, branch in Airgas Southwest and the Midland, MI, branch in Airgas Great Lakes among the large branches. Among the small branches, Dickson, TN, in Airgas Mid America and Palmdale, CA, in Airgas West won the trophies.

“This year’s winners were outstanding examples of local entrepreneurial spirit backed by the resources of our national platform. Their performance was so convincing that we picked four winners instead of our traditional two,” said Mike Molinini, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Airgas, Inc. “I’m proud to name Dickson, Hempstead Highway, Midland and Palmdale as this year’s top branches.”

This is the seventh year Airgas has recognized its top large and small branches for the Airgas Branch of the Year awards. The honor is based on customer service, financial performance and safety performance. Large branches are characterized as having more than six employees, while small branches have six or fewer.

“Hempstead Highway in Houston, Texas, has traditionally been a fabrication-based branch. This year they worked hard to diversify their product mix, including highlighting our own Radnor ® brand, and the results were outstanding,” Molinini said. “The other large branch winner, Midland, Michigan, serves a significant contractor customer base as well as some key customers whose operations have national scope. Their exceptional service locally in Midland helped Airgas secure a contract to build a new air separation plant for a customer in Tennessee.”

“In our small branch category, Dickson, Tennessee, is a model branch, with an impeccable showroom and a track record of consistent strong growth. The Dickson branch also demonstrates strong working capital management, and their commitment to safety and organizational excellence is always on display,” Molinini explained. “The Palmdale, California, branch has built a significant presence in the area serving the aerospace, agricultural and motion picture markets. Their team has focused on the specific needs of their unique customer base, and their unsurpassed customer service drove the sales growth that made this branch a winner.”

As Airgas National Branch of the Year winners, the four branches will soon display National Branch of the Year trophies, constructed from size 125 cylinders donated by Taylor-Wharton, which have been powder-coated platinum and mounted on a welded aluminum base. Like hockey’s Stanley Cup, the trophies carry engraved bands with the winners’ names and are passed along each year to the next winners.

The winning branches will also fly a “2011 National Branch of the Year” banner, and associates will receive silver “Branch of the Year” rings to commemorate the honor.

The 24 Regional Branch of the Year winners, two in each of Airgas’ 12 regional companies, also fly a similar banner and display a size 80 cylinder, powder-coated gold trophy. Following is a full list of the small and large branch winners for each region:

Airgas East: Kingston, PA; Cheektowaga, NY; Airgas Great Lakes: Clinton Township, MI; Midland, MI; Airgas National Welders: Monroe, NC; Richmond, VA; Airgas Intermountain: Price, UT; Cheyenne, WY; Airgas Mid America: Dickson, TN; Clarksville, TN; Airgas Mid South: Hope, AR; Shreveport, LA; Airgas Northern California & Nevada: South San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Airgas Nor Pac: Klamath Falls, OR; 82 nd St. Portland, OR; Airgas North Central: Mason City, IA; Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Airgas South: Newnan, GA; Waycross, GA; Airgas Southwest: Graham, TX; Hempstead Highway, Houston, TX; Airgas West: Palmdale, CA; San Marcos, CA.

About Airgas, Inc.

Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), through its subsidiaries, is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and hardgoods, such as welding equipment and supplies. Airgas is also one of the largest U.S. distributors of safety products, the largest U.S. producer of nitrous oxide and dry ice, the largest liquid carbon dioxide producer in the Southeast, and a leading distributor of process chemicals, refrigerants, and ammonia products. More than 14,000 employees work in approximately 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities, and distribution centers. Airgas also distributes its products and services through eBusiness, catalog, and telesales channels. Its national scale and strong local presence offer a competitive edge to its diversified customer base. For more information, please visit

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