Rick Richardson, owner of Sky Cylinder Testing in Evansville, Ind., was appointed to the American Welding Society Foundation board. He will serve a three-year term.

Richardson’s welding career encompasses 30 years of executive leadership and industry volunteer work. His company, which serves the high-pressure cylinder gas, propane and refrigerant industries with a dedication to hydrostatic and ultrasonic cylinder retesting, was started in 1999.

Sky Cylinder’s primary focus was limited to the southern Indiana market when the company was launched, but it has since grown to service contracts across the United States. In 1980, Richardson became partner at Hoprich Co. Inc., an independent distributor of industrial, specialty and medical gases and related equipment and supplies in Indiana and Kentucky. Seven years after joining Hoprich, he took office as president, a post that he maintained until Airgas Inc. acquired the company in 1998.

“We are pleased to welcome Rick to the AWS Foundation board,” said foundation Chairman Ronald C. Pierce. “We have entered into a particularly critical period for the welding industry. Welding businesses are in peril due to a nationwide shortage of welders, and the AWS Foundation has made it a primary mission to help fund and relieve this problem. Rick’s advocacy, passion for the industry, and executive leadership experience will be valuable as the foundation continues to reach out to businesses for support and participation.”

The welding society is estimating that there will be a shortage of at least 200,000 welders by 2010. In 2006, it embarked on a $10 million campaign called Welding for the Strength of America. The program is aimed at relieving the expected nationwide shortage of welders. At the end of 2007, it had raised $2.6 million toward the campaign effort.

Richardson is a 23-year member of the American Welding Society and a past chairman of the Independent Welding Distributor Cooperative, which consists of independent gas and welding businesses located throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.