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 2012 performance, were the Salisbury, NC branch in the National Welders region and the Stockton, CA branch in the Northern California & Nevada region among the large branches. Among the small branches, Waterbury, CT in the East region and Burley, ID in the Intermountain region won the trophies.

“Again this year, winners were outstanding examples of local entrepreneurial spirit backed by the resources of our ever-stronger national platform,” said Mike Molinini, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Airgas, Inc. “I’m proud to name Salisbury, Stockton, Waterbury and Burley as this year’s branches which most successfully embody Airgas’ commitment to customer service and safety while delivering outstanding financial performance.”

This is the eighth 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, safety, and financial performance. Large branches are characterized as having more than six employees, while small branches have six or fewer.

“The Stockton, California branch maintains a clear focus on safety and providing superior customer service. Even though the area experienced considerable economic challenges, our Stockton branch personnel pulled together to provide more value to existing customers and win significant new business,” Molinini said. “The other large branch winner, Salisbury, North Carolina, consistently achieves year in and year out excellence. Their exceptional customer service and focus on growth has lead to new customer wins throughout the Winston-Salem and Greensboro region.”

“In our small branch category, Waterbury, Connecticut, part of Airgas’ first acquisition in 1982, exemplifies what Airgas has grown to be in the last 30 years. The current team runs the store like it is their own, effectively managing costs, keeping the shelves stocked, and connecting with the local markets,” Molinini explained. “The Burley, Idaho, branch proactively meets the needs of local food processing, agriculture and light manufacturing markets. Lead by enthusiastic management, the branch’s exemplary safety record, coupled with their customer service focus and financial performance, demonstrates the team’s commendable commitment to Airgas values.”

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 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 “2012 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 regions, 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:

East Region: Linthicum Heights, MD; Waterbury, CT; Great Lakes Region: Traverse City, MI; Dubois, PA; National Welders Region: Salisbury, NC; Greenville, SC; Intermountain Region: Salt Lake City, UT; Burley, ID; Mid America Region: Clarksville, TN; Hopkinsville, KY; Mid South Region: Shreveport, LA; Coffeyville, KS; Northern California & Nevada Region: Stockton, CA; San Leandro, CA; Nor Pac Region: Portland, OR; Fairbanks, AK; North Central Region: Milwaukee, WI; Sioux City, IA; South Region: Tarrant, AL; Enterprise, AL; Southwest Region: Laredo, TX; Bowie, TX; West Region: Bakersfield, CA; Simi Valley, 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 a leading U.S. producer of atmospheric gases, carbon dioxide, dry ice, and nitrous oxide, one of the largest U.S. distributors of safety products, and a leading U.S. distributor of refrigerants, ammonia products, and process chemicals. More than 15,000 employees work in approximately 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities and distribution centers. Airgas also markets 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 www.airgas.com.

Copyright Business Wire 2010