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GAWDA Regional Meetings to Resume in 2021


2021 will see the return of two Regional Meetings after all were postponed in 2020.

The 2021 Spring Management Conference and Annual Convention will not be the only opportunities for GAWDA members to network and learn in-person in 2021. After all the 2020 Regional Meetings were postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19, this year will see the return of the Northwest Regional Meeting in Sunriver, Oregon, from July 21-23, and the Seven Springs Regional Meeting in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, from August 24-26.

Previously scheduled Regional Meetings in League City, Texas (Southwest Region), Galloway, New Jersey (Northeast Region), and Oregon, Ohio (Central Region) have decided to postpone to 2022. Like the SMC, this year’s Regional Meetings will operate under strict safety protocols to ensure that attendees can get all the benefits of the Regionals in a safe, healthy environment.

To preview this year’s two Regional Meetings, we spoke with Northwest Regional Meeting Co-Chair Eric Bliss of General Distributing Company, and Seven Springs Regional Meeting Chair Abydee Butler Moore, of Butler Gas Products Co. about what to expect at this year’s meetings.

For the most up-to-date information, including registration information when it is available, visit gawda.org/activities/regional-meetings.

Northwest Regional Meeting

When is this year’s Northwest Regional Meeting set to take place?

Eric Bliss: The event is going to take place in Sunriver, Oregon, from July 21-23, 2021.

After in-person events were canceled last year, what are you most excited about in getting back to in-person Regional Meetings this year?

Eric Bliss: Definitely the most exciting part will be getting together with our distributor and vendor friends and partners. It’s going to be great getting caught up to see how they are doing and how they survived COVID and just make the first step in getting things hopefully back to normal.

Are there any special safety precautions that will be put in place at the regional that attendees should know about in advance?

Eric Bliss: The Safety measures will be put in place according to Oregon state laws and, of course, the resort at Sunriver. We are trying to fast-track registration, because the Northwest Regional Meeting will have a different format than what attendees are used to. The sooner we have a headcount, the sooner we can start to plan for those numbers.

Can you give a brief overview of the events that will take place at the Regional? Why should attendees be excited to attend?

The agenda is going to be very different from previous NW Regional GAWDA meetings, because of the uncertainty on who can attend. With that being said, we are trying to balance having a GAWDA Regional Meeting in a state that has had pretty strict COVID lockdown protocols with moving forward with getting our lives back to some normalcy. I have faith that by July the vaccine will be rolled out to more of the population and people will feel comfortable traveling again.

We are going to have an opening reception, golfing, and a banquet dinner. This year’s meeting will have a heavy focus on networking and getting caught up. We look forward to having you join us to celebrate 2021!

Seven Springs Regional Meeting

Where is the Regional Meeting Taking Place?

Abydee Butler Moore: This year’s Regional Meeting is taking place at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, located at 777 Water Wheel Drive, Seven Springs, PA 15622. The Resort is about one hour east of Pittsburgh.

After in-person events were canceled last year, what are you most excited about in getting back to in-person Regional Meetings this year?

Abydee Butler Moore: With the return of the Seven Springs Regional in-person in 2021, attendees can look forward to learning together, building supply chain relationships, networking with industry friends, and collaborating on business and safety best practices.

Are there any special safety precautions that will be put in place at the regional that attendees should know about in advance?

Abydee Butler Moore: All Pennsylvania safety and wellness regulations will be followed. Stay tuned on https://www.pa.gov/ for what mitigation efforts will be pertinent in August. Seven Springs Mountain Resort has beautiful and plentiful outdoor entertainment options including sporting clays and golf that will be utilized for events during the meeting. Attendees will enjoy the fresh mountain air of western Pennsylvania and have ample space to spread out. More information about how the resort is keeping guests safe can be found at https://www.7springs.com/.

When do you expect registration to open?

Abydee Butler Moore: We are planning for registration for the August 24-26 GAWDA meeting at Seven Springs to be open in June. Stay tuned to GAWDA.org and the GAWDA Connection for an official announcement and link to register.

Can you give a brief overview of the events that will take place at the Regional? Why should attendees be excited to attend?

Abydee Butler Moore: Back by popular demand from its inaugural year in 2019, the Seven Springs Regional will feature a Reverse Contact Booth where each attending distributor company has a table and suppliers walk the floor!

The lineup of events kicks off with a sporting clays tournament at Seven Springs’ impeccable course, rated one of the best facilities in the country. Attendees are organized into foursomes to meet new business contacts; they travel the course as a team with equipment and instruction provided, all skill levels welcome. Think “golf with a shotgun!” That evening, all attendees gather for a mountain barbeque with live entertainment. The next morning begins with a networking breakfast, the reverse contact booth program, and the business session with three leading industry speakers. Take-home content guaranteed. After lunch, we host a golf tournament followed by another dinner function. The closing day is workshop day, packing in even more content! Agenda details will be released closer to the date.

Anything else you want to add?

Abydee Butler Moore: The GAWDA Seven Springs meeting drew 280 attendees in 2019 with 22 distributor companies represented, 232 attendees in 2018 with 28 distributor companies represented, and 230 attendees in 2017 with 29 distributor companies represented. This longstanding meeting is one of consistently valuable business content, unrivaled networking opportunities, and an intimate atmosphere in the breathtaking mountains of western Pennsylvania. We look forward to seeing you at Seven Springs!  

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