2018 GPA Fall Conference in Review

Date :: September 5-7, 2018
Location :: Jekyll Island Convention Center, 75 Beachview Dr N, Jekyll Island, GA 31527

Thank you to everyone who attended GPA’s 2018 Spring Conference in Gainesville and Fall Conference at Jekyll Island. Details for our 2019 conferences are still being finalized, but please Save the Dates for:

Spring: March 27, 2019 in Decatur, GA
Fall: October 2-4, 2019 in Athens, GA

Start thinking of your conference session ideas now so you’ll be ready when we have a call for sessions!

GPA hosted the 2018 Fall Conference on September 5th – 7th at the beautiful Jekyll Island Convention Center. In addition to the LEED silver certified convention center, new restaurants and retail have been completed since GPA last visited Jekyll, while still preserving 65% of the island in its natural state.

Our attendees enjoyed a variety of informative sessions, networking with planners and other colleagues, and a chance to relax and rejuvenate in Georgia’s Golden Isles.

Please join us in thanking those that helped to make this event possible, especially Allison Stewart-Harris for her leadership with the Program Committee, Whitney Shephard, our local host committee chair, and Beth Anne Trombetta, our Events Coordinator, as well as the many volunteers that have been working behind the scenes to make this conference a success. Special thanks also needs to go out to our Annual and Conference sponsors without whose support we would not be able to provide the many services we deliver to our members.

Keynote Speaker

Planning for Low- Carbon, Resilient Communities

The keynote speaker was Michael Boswell, Department Head and Professor of City & Regional Planning at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. Michael has done extensive research on climate action planning and will share some strategies that planners can undertake to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

Conference Presentations

Conference Sponsors


Brick Industry




Jekyll Island History

Jekyll Island is the smallest of Georgia’s barrier islands and has a rich and diverse history dating back for centuries. As described in the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Jekyll Island was originally home to Native-American hunter-gatherers. It was later settled in 1737 by Major William Horton, who established a residence and raised cattle on the land. Over the next 200 years, Jekyll Island changed ownership a number of times, with agriculture remaining the primary activity on the island.

In 1886, businessmen John Eugene DuBignon and Newton Finney purchased the island and established the Jekyll Island Club as a hunting club and winter retreat for wealthy northerners. Over the years, the club hosted a number of prominent business leaders, including J.P. Morgan, William K. Vanderbilt, and Joseph Pulitzer. Following a run on US banks in 1907, secret meetings at the Club led to the eventual formation of the US Federal Reserve.

The Jekyll Island Club suffered a series of financial hardships during from the Great Depression through World War II. In 1947, the State of Georgia purchased Jekyll Island for $675,000. Initially established as a state park, the island’s high maintenance and operation costs led to the chartering of the Jekyll Island Authority in 1950. The authority remains in place today as a state agency dedicated to preserving the island’s unique ecosystem and retaining the island as a destination for tourists.

In 1978, the National Park Service designated the Jekyll Island Club with National Historic Landmark District status. Today, visitors are drawn to Jekyll Island for its pristine beaches; bird watching, kayaking, and other ecotourism activities; the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, the state’s only sea turtle educational and rehabilitation facility; the Jekyll Island Club and surrounding historic district; golfing, biking, tennis, and other recreational amenities; and the recently constructed oceanside convention center.