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GCAA meeting regains momentum after lost year

By |  February 28, 2022
Photo: GCAA

The 2022 Georgia Construction Aggregate Association Management Workshop & Expo took place Feb. 23-24 in Atlanta. Photo: P&Q Staff

The Georgia Construction Aggregate Association (GCAA) hosted its Management Workshop & Expo last week, drawing more than 600 attendees to Cobb Galleria in Atlanta.

The GCAA event was last held in 2020, just ahead of the start of the pandemic.

“We feel great,” says Jeff Wansley, executive director of GCAA when asked about the expo’s turnout. “The numbers are about where we were in 2020. We had 11 new associate members who were here, so I think that shows you the enthusiasm and the business climate here in Georgia.”

Among the aggregate producing companies with representatives on hand at the Management Workshop & Expo were Columbus Quarry, Georgia Stone Products, Hanson Aggregates, Junction City Mining, Luck Stone, Martin Marietta, MidSouth Aggregates and Vulcan Materials.

With yet another COVID outbreak in the months leading up to the meeting, GCAA leaders found themselves at yet another crossroads as the Management Workshop & Expo dates approached.

“One of the things we kept battling was the balance of wanting to do this versus needing to do this,” says Kenny Knowles, vice president of Georgia operations at Vulcan Materials, who also serves as chair of GCAA’s Management Workshop & Expo Committee. “Everybody needed to do this to get back to normal.”

One challenge meeting planners had with this year’s expo was planning it so far in advance. Because GCAA did not host a Management Workshop & Expo in 2021, the attention of association leaders quickly shifted to their big 2022 meeting. Meeting planners selected the workforce as a meeting theme, and the topic remains highly relevant given the labor shortage Georgia producers continue to face.

“A year ago when we start planning this, little did we know that we would be in the labor crisis we’re in and the inflationary economy we are in now,” Knowles says.

Still, business remains good for Georgia’s aggregate producers despite a lack of regular industry meetings.

“As with other meetings we have been to, we can’t take all the credit because people are just happy to go to meetings,” says Wansley, adding that 88 associate member companies were present at the Management Workshop & Expo. “With a lot of these meetings, the associate members just haven’t had a ton of interaction since [the pandemic started] in 2020.”

Among those present at the Management Workshop & Expo was Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Georgia), who addressed GCAA members during a general session. Kemp touched on a number of variables that make Georgia one of the best states in the U.S. to do business in.

“We have the lowest unemployment rate of the 10 most populous states,” Kemp says. “I know everybody in the room could probably use more help – I hear that a lot – but we’re doing better than most. We have the most people ever in the history of this state who are working in the state of Georgia right now. We have the least amount of people on unemployment rolls than we’ve had since post-9/11. And our economic development pipeline has been absolutely off the charts.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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