Sunday, April 3 – Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa

This year’s Spring Management Conference Hosted over 650 attendees in Savannah, GA.

Attendees included 363 suppliers, 199 distributors and 89 spouses, Sister Societies, Trade Publications and non-members guests.

Read our April 15 Connection Newsletter for a complete recap of the event.

Speaker Presentations can be found in the member’s only site. Login

A post event  survey has been sent out to all participants of the event. Please give us your feedback so that we could continue to improve our events.

Learn more about Savannah, GA


Savannah Photo 3  Westin Savannah Photo 1  Westin Savannah Photo 2

Click here to see the 2016 Spring Management Conference Brochure

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Sunday, April 3 – Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa
1 Resort Drive
Savannah, GA 31421
(912) 201-2000

The Westin Savannah is sold out.  We have set up an overflow at the Savannah Marriott  Riverfront, 100 General McIntosh Blvd, Savannah, GA 31401.  Call 912-233-7722 to make reservations or click here. Mention GAWDA for the $199.00 rate.

Please notify GAWDA HQ (at  instead of The Westin if you need to cancel hotel reservations for the SMC.  This will help us accommodate more of our members who would like to stay at The Westin. 

Check in time: 3:00pm     Check out time: 12:00pm

GAWDA has negotiated a special rate of $240.00 for a single or double room at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa.  Rates do not include applicable state and local taxes, currently at 13% and $2.50 occupancy tax per room per night.

Book your rooms by phone or online:


PHONE: 800-228-3000, mention GAWDA to get the group rate

Welcome to one of America’s most unique, friendly and fun-loving convention cities, Savannah, Georgia. Highly rated for its charm, hospitality, history, beauty and southern cuisine, Savannah is a destination you don’t want to miss.   The Westin Savannah sits on the Savannah River with the breath taking views of the historic Savannah River District.

Located just 15 miles from The Westin, the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport offers approximately 90 daily flights in and out of Savannah. There are several ways to transfer from the airport to the hotel:

Taxi: $35 – $40 (one way)
Westin Savannah Shuttle: $25 (Hotel to airport only, runs at certain times, must arrange with hotel)
K Shuttle: $20- one way, $30 – round trip,  Call 912-966-0590 or visit , must pre-pay and book 24 hours in advance

Learn more about Savannah, GA by clicking here.

The average high temperature in April is the upper 70s and middle 50s in the evening.  Attire for all meetings and events during the Spring Management Conference is business casual.  Comfortable shoes are recommended for members that wish to explore Savannah’s River District.
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Sunday, April 3rd
8:00am – 6:00pm                    Conference Registration
8:00am – 9:00am                    Executive Committee
9:00am – 12:00pm                  Board of Directors Meeting
12:00pm – 3:00pm                   Young Professionals Event
Lawn games, snacks and drinks.  This will be a fun and casual social gathering for GAWDA members of all ages.  Please feel free to drop by the lawn at the Westin Golf Course and relax before or after committee meetings or, if you have just arrived and are waiting for your room come have a cool drink and get to know other GAWDA members in a relaxed informal setting.  
1:00pm – 2:00pm                    Regional Chairs Meeting

2:00pm – 3:30pm                    Committee Meetings
4:00pm – 5:00pm                    First Timers’ Reception
Welcome all First Time Attendees of the Spring Management Conference! We would like to invite you to attend a special reception hosted by GAWDA President Bill Visintainer.  This event is a great opportunity to network with GAWDA Leadership, Staff & Committee Members. We look forward to welcoming you to your first GAWDA SMC and to this great association.  Please check off First Time Attendee on the Attendee Registration Form. Attire: Business Casual

5:00pm – 7:00pm                    President’s Welcome Reception
GAWDA President Bill Visintainer welcomes all members to the 2016 Spring Management Conference in Savannah, GA.  Kick off the Conference mingling with colleagues and friends.  The Welcome Reception will be hosted at the Westin Savannah Resort in Harbor A & B Ballroom and Lawn. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Attire: Business Casual
7:00pm                                    Industry Hospitalities

Monday, April 4th
7:00am – 5:00pm                   Conference Registration
7:00am – 8:00am                    Breakfast Workshop
Generation Next: The 18-25 Year Old Most Disruptive Generation Ever . Understand the Next generation of leaders, customers and employees in our industry. Their approach to business is different; how they attract new customers, market new products and gather information. What exactly are they doing on their phones during your company meetings? How do we combine the new generation’s strategy to advance our industry and your company?

George Ratermann, President of Ratermann Manufacturing will lead a panel discussion with “Generation Next” and give us a closer look of their unique behaviors and how they can advance your company. Join us for breakfast as we learn more about “The Most Disruptive Generation Ever.”

8:15am – 12:00pm                  General Business Session

Dirk Beveridge, Business Owner, Speaker, Author and Strategist
Title of Presentation: How Successful Businesses Lead Change in Disruptive Times.  Most businesses agree that they must reinvent their business before someone else does. But, as you continue to operate the business for today, how can you unleash the spirit of innovation to create a relevant, stronger, and more profitable future? In this session you will explore The Innovative Distributor™ framework that provides practical lessons for creating transformative change – no matter the industry. Few speakers to-day have the ability to quickly help both seasoned and emerging leaders understand that status quo is the enemy and that they have a new responsibility to create a relevant and sustainable future. Dirk “gets it” and helps your people not only “get it” but leave with a roadmap for jump starting innovation.


Steven Wiley, Founder & President of The Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg.  ABC News calls him “the best speaker you’ve never heard of” and USA Today/Gannett says he delivers “the most powerful performance training available”
Title of Presentation: Transformational Journey from Gettysburg.  Steven B. Wiley business experience includes the founding of three companies: two international franchise organizations and a national chain of fleet management centers. Wiley brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of leadership, personal development, successful marketing, negotiation, sales and business development. Did you know that 70% of US employees report that they are disengaged or actively disengaged at work? The reason: the quality of their leadership. This session addresses leadership, follower-ship and workplace engagement through the lens of the Civil War and the leadership of Col. Joshua Chamberlain during the Battle of Gettysburg. Learn how you can “engage the disengaged”.

12:00pm – 1:00pm                 Group Lunch

12:00pm -1:00pm                  Women of Gases of Welding Luncheon
Marjorie Young, Founder and CEO of Carriage Trade PR
Title of Presentation:
Strategies to Boost Your Professional Reputation. Guest Speaker Marjorie Young has lectured across the country and holds frequent PR Bootcamps and webinars which empower business owners and nonprofit organizations to take control of their PR, brand and message. She has won many awards, including Savannah’s Community Star by the Savannah Morning News, 2013 The Small Business of the Year, and was named a Georgia Woman Entrepreneur Finalist by The University of Georgia. Marjorie is also the co-author of Women in Suits.  Free event, but sign up is required.  Email to confirm attendance.  Attire: Business Casual

1:00pm – 4:30pm                   Contact Booth Program

This year’s Contact Booth Program will be held at the Convention Center with over 40,000 sq ft to accommodate all booths.  Prizes will be given away to attending Distributors.  Be sure to get your tickets for a chance to win.  Beer and Wine will be served.  Attire: Business Casual
4:30pm                                   Industry Hospitalities

Tuesday, April 5th
7:00am – 1:00pm                   Conference Registration
7:00am – 8:00am                  Networking Breakfast

8:00am – 11:30am                 General Business Session
Dr. Thomas DeCarlo, Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of Industrial Distribution and Professor of Marketing and Industrial Distribution at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Title of Presentation:  Understanding Your Customer: The More You Know the More Sales Grow. Dr. DeCarlo is a returning presenter of the Spring Management Conference. He conducts many seminars and research projects dealing with new product development, market analysis and segmentation, sales force and brand management. He recently conducted a few surveys for GAWDA. He will present his findings during this presentation.

Industry Panel Discussion – Experienced Supply Chain Veterans
Title of Discussion: Disruption: Recognize it, Understand it, Mitigate it, Thrive through it.  Hear from four experienced supply chain veterans who have thrived through many industry disruptive events and are prepared to help you tackle the next wave on the horizon.
Moderator – Ken Thompson, Thompson Group
-Jim Earlbeck, President of Earlbeck Technologies
-Dave Manthey, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated
-Buzz Campbell, Leaders, LLC
-Mike Masha, Masha Capital Management

12:00pm – 5:00pm                 Golf Tournament
This year’s golf tournament will be hosted at the Westin Savannah Golf Course, home of the PGA Tours Champions Tour Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf.  It is a 18 hole course offering excitement for both novice and experienced players.  Golf rentals are available.  Be sure to include payment on the Attendee Registration Form.  Pairing request can be sent to Bruce Ellenbogen at

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Important Registration Deadlines

Friday, March 4, 2016       Early Bird Registration Deadline
Friday, March 4, 2016       Hotel Reservation Deadline
Friday, March 4, 2016       Advance Registration List (inclusion in SMC Program Book) Deadline
Friday, March 25, 2016     Supplement Registration List (separate list from SMC Program Book) Deadline
Monday, March 28, 2016  Cancellation with Refund Deadline

Important Exhibitor Schedule
Friday, March 4, 2016       Contact Booth Program Payment Deadline
Sunday, April 3, 2016        Exhibitor Move-in: 1:00pm – 5:30pm
Monday, April 4, 2016      Exhibitor Move-in: 6:00am – 1:00pm
Monday, April 4, 2016      Booth Program: 1:00pm – 4:30pm
Monday, April 4, 2016      Exhibitor Move-out: 4:30pm – 6:30pm


ONLINE with a credit card:, confirmation will be sent immediately

BY FAX 954-367-7790 with credit card: Attention Bruce Ellenbogen, confirmation will be sent within 5 business days

BY MAIL with credit card or check: Attention Bruce Ellenbogen. 1 Oakwood Blvd. Suite #195, Hollywood, FL 33020, confirmation will be sent within 5 business days



Register two (2) Full Delegates for the Spring Management Conference and receive a third Full Delegate registration complimentary.  In order to receive the third Full Delegate complimentary, two (2) other Full Delegates must be first registered for the same GAWDA member company, be current on their dues, and issue full payment to Headquarters by the early registration deadline of Friday, March 4, 2016.                                  


Two (2) Contact Booth Only registrants must first register from the same GAWDA member company, be current on their dues, and issue full payment to Headquarters by the early registration deadline of Friday, March 4, 2016 to receive the registration discount.  To register as a Contact Booth Only Delegate at least ONE Full Delegate must be registered for the conference.

The multi-registration discounts will not apply, if either of the full paid delegates or Contact Booth Only registrants cancels their registration.  The third Full Delegate or Contact Booth Only registrant must submit payment of registration or register another person. All cancellation fees will apply as noted below.


Spring Management Conference cancellations must be submitted to Headquarters in writing.  All refunds are assessed a $75.00 processing fee.  Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing by Monday, March 28, 2016. After this date refunds will be given for medical emergencies only.  Credit card refunds will be processed immediately.  Allow 2-4 weeks after the meeting for check refunds.

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GAWDA’s hospitality guidelines promote equal access to Supplier Member hospitality functions for all attending Distributor members during the Spring Management Conference.  The policy stipulates that no hospitality function or demonstration may be scheduled during association-wide, GAWDA sponsored meetings, golf outings, events or banquets.  Those companies wishing to plan entertainment at the hosting hotel must notify GAWDA Headquarters.

GAWDA is pleased to offer Supplier Members the opportunity to gain visibility during GAWDA meetings.  This is a great way to market your company products and services to attending company members.  For the 2016 Spring Management Conference, GAWDA is offering a variety of sponsorship opportunities to cater to both small and large Supplier Members.

2016 Spring Management Conference Sponsorship Program Flyer