Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), today announced the 2011 winners of its three annual awards named for former key Airgas executives: Airgas Mid South, one of the regional companies that makes up Airgas’ distribution business, won the Merril Stott Safety Excellence Award for the best overall performance in both fleet and workplace safety; Bob Franklin, Director – Hydrocarbon Technology, Airgas Specialty Gases, was awarded the Gordon Keen Award for innovation in the design of the company’s innovative Hydrocarbon Center of Excellence in LaPorte, TX; and R. Jay Worley, Vice President – Communications and Investor Relations, was named the recipient of the Scott Melman Award for leading the Company’s communications and investor relations strategies in response to a hostile takeover attempt.

Merril Stott Safety Excellence Award

Airgas awards the Merril Stott Safety Excellence Award, named for former Airgas President and Chief Operating Officer Merril L. Stott, to the Airgas regional company with the best overall performance in both fleet and workplace safety. This year’s winner, Airgas Mid South, achieved the best combined fleet and workplace personal safety record in the Company. Airgas Mid South also rated the highest in internal audit scoring and regulatory compliance excellence. Headquartered in Tulsa, OK, Airgas Mid South serves customers through 75 locations with about 900 associates in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and parts of Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Gordon Keen Award

Bob Franklin, Director – Hydrocarbon Technology, Airgas Specialty Gases, was named the recipient of the sixth annual Gordon Keen Award. The award is named for Gordon L. Keen, former Airgas Senior Vice President – Law and Corporate Development, who helped lead the company through the first 24 years of its history, and honors an associate who has helped Airgas grow through acquisition or innovation.

Franklin, based in LaPorte, TX, was instrumental in the design and construction of the new Airgas hydrocarbon gas mixture production plant and in automating processes to reduce lead times and enhance the quality and consistency of Airgas hydrocarbon gas mixtures.

“Using innovative computer programming, Bob and his staff streamlined the production process at the Airgas hydrocarbon plant in LaPorte,” said Airgas Chief Operating Officer Mike Molinini. “Hydrocarbon blends are very complex and Bob’s expertise in the proper manufacturing and analysis of these mixtures for quality and consistency is very much appreciated by Airgas customers and Airgas personnel.”

Franklin joined Airgas in 2006 with the acquisition of Aeriform. His prestigious career includes more than a decade operating his own specialty gas company, Quality Standards and Research Gases, as well as regional and national management positions in production, sales, business management, and information technology over two decades with the Linde division of Union Carbide.

Scott Melman Award

Airgas presented its eleventh annual Scott Melman Award to R. Jay Worley, Vice President – Communications and Investor Relations, for his outstanding leadership of the Company’s successful communications and investor relations strategies in response to a more than year-long hostile takeover attempt by a major supplier.

The annual award is named for Scott M. Melman, former Airgas Chief Financial Officer who died in 2001. According to the award's inscription, it honors "Airgas employees who exhibit the qualities we remember in Scott M. Melman: professionalism, perseverance, enthusiasm, energy, a sense of honor, and the courage to speak up and make a difference.”

“Jay was the front-line coordinator of our strategies and responses with our advisors during our takeover defense,” said Airgas Chief Executive Officer Peter McCausland. “He led the development of our published responses, including shareholder and employee outreach communications. The quality of his work in a prolonged high-stakes environment was outstanding and he had a meaningful impact on our ultimate success.”

Worley began his career at Airgas in 1993 as Assistant Controller with what is now Airgas Intermountain. He has held positions as Chief Financial Officer of Airgas Southwest and Director of Investor Relations for Airgas, Inc., before being named to his current post in 2008.

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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