2007 GPA Fall Conference – A Record Breaking Event!

The GPA 2007 Fall Conference was a historic event, drawing a record-breaking 317 registered attendees. The event was held on September 19 to 21 at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront; the conference location highlighted historic Savannah and the schedule provided ample opportunity to learn and network.

The conference featured 43 breakout sessions in five tracks – Environmental Planning & Sustainable Development, Transportation Planning, Comprehensive Planning & Quality Growth, Data & Technology, and Professional Development – dispersed over three days. Four mobile workshops were offered, including bus tours of LEED development projects and urban redevelopment sites, a trolley tour of the historic district, and boat tour focusing on coastal development. In addition to the regular conference training events, two special training opportunities were offered. The Planning Officials Track – a one day track tailored to the elected and appointed officials who make planning and zoning recommendations and decisions – was held for the second consecutive year and was attended by 40 planning officials from around the state. For the first time, pre-conference training was offered with two sessions from The Carl Vinson Institute of Government on Building Professional Relationships and Leadership From Where You Are.

Special events included a variety of plenary sessions, receptions, and closing lunch.

  • The opening plenary session featured “Planners Feud”. Modeled after the classic Family Feud game show, Planners Feud examined the perceptions of the planning profession from the viewpoint of various groups. Prior to the conference, a survey was conducted that polled elected officials, planning commissioners, developers, citizens, and students about what they think of planning. In a lighthearted look at our profession, teams competed in the Planners Feud to reveal the results of the survey.
  • The opening reception was held in the atrium of the Savannah Marriott Riverfront. The reception included a traditional southern low country boil with live local music from Boomerang.
  • A Thursday afternoon plenary presentation was made by our APA Region II Director Carol Rhea. Ms Rhea’s presentation took a humorous look at our planning profession and provided an update on the American Planning Association regional and national programs.
  • This plenary session led into the Annual Membership Meeting featuring the installation of your new GPA officers and recognition of outgoing officers.
  • The annual Awards Lunch was held on Friday and provided an opportunity for planners to hear about the innovative and quality planning undertaken around the state over the last year. The lunch also featured a keynote address from Bob Hunter, FAICP, President of the American Planning Association. Mr. Hunter’s keynote address was on “Pots & Pans, Politics and Planning”, discussing the national scene and why we as planners need to engage our elected/appointed officials.

The success of this conference was due to the efforts of many people. Special appreciation goes out to our sponsors – ARCADIS, Brick SouthEast, BRPH, Carter Burgess, Jordan Jones & Goulding, Kennedy Ragsdale & Associates, Kimley-Horn & Associates, MACTEC, Pond & Company, Prosser Hallock, RS&H, Ross + associates, Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, Southeaster Engineering, Tunnell Spangler Walsh, Vinyl Siding Institute  – who provided financial support to help keep the conference economical for all attendees. Thanks also to the conference local host committee, session organizers, programs committee, and numerous speakers that volunteered their time. Finally, thanks to all the conference attendees for supporting your Georgia Planning Association and advancing the interest of the planning profession by participating in the conference.