2016 Georgia Logistics Summit a Hit with Logistics Community

Josh Fletcher

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016


From April 19th and 20th, 2016, more than 1,500 logistics industry experts from all over the nation and the world descended on downtown Atlanta’s Georgia World Congress Center for the 2016 Georgia Logistics Summit. This one-of-a-kind event is aimed at all aspects of the logistics business, and with over 15 informative sessions and focused networking opportunities there was truly something for everyone.

On day one, attendees of the 2016 Georgia Logistics Summit’s morning session were treated to an update on today’s logistics economic landscape by IMS Worldwide President Curtis Spencer and Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Tom Cunningham as well as a legal review discussion led by Michael Burke of the law firm Arnall, Golden, Gregory, LLP.

The interactive aspects of the 2016 Summit were on full display after lunch with the brand new Sharing Success Roundtable format. Summit attendees chose between five focused sessions, each revolving around several real life examples of solving logistical problems with innovative thinking and collaboration. Sessions such as “Assembling Logistics Success for Manufacturing” and “Big Savings from Small Changes” were packed as attendees heard an in-depth roundtable discussion and could join in with their own questions during these content focused sessions.

Day one of the 2016 Georgia Logistics Summit ended with a discussion of what’s new and next in logistics in the state of Georgia. Commissioner Chris Carr joined a panel that included Troels Adrian of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Brandt Herndon of Savannah Economic Development Authority, and Stacy Watson of the Georgia Ports authority in a conversation led by GEDA president Kevin Shea.

April 20th saw the 2016 Georgia Logistics Summit day two kick off in a big way with an address from Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal. Deal addressed the thousand-plus crowd on a myriad of logistics topics – from technical college scholarships to statewide highway improvement projects and railways to the Port of Savannah deepening project, which Governor Deal stated is happening “on time and on budget.” In closing his remarks, Governor Deal reminded the crowd of logistics professionals that the State of Georgia seeks to be a willing participant in their success because, he stated, “…when you’re successful, Georgia is successful.”

Immediately following the Governor’s address, Summit attendees were able to sit in on a conversation between some of the State’s top transportation officials and hear their top takeaways. Center of Innovation for Logistics Director Jannine Miller moderated a conversation between top executives of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association, Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia Department of Transportation, Genesee & Wyoming Railroad, and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The discussion piggybacked on the Governor’s remarks about infrastructure improvement and showed that the state of Georgia logistics is strong, and getting stronger.

In between morning sessions on day two, Summit goers had an opportunity to participate in focused networking receptions for small business resources and Georgia’s business growth incentives, as well as a shippers-only reception where attendees had the opportunity to speak with outgoing Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz, as well as incoming Executive Director Griff Lynch. In the mezzanine outside these networking receptions, some of Georgia’s best young logistics minds were on display with the 2016 Georgia Logistics Summit student showcases. These up and coming logistics stars were able to show off the projects they’ve worked on as students, and network with logistics professionals at some of the top firms in the state.

The last session before the big sendoff was a lively discussion on technology disruptors in the world of logistics. Roadie CEO Marc Gorlin and Flexe GM of Market Development Ryan Morel joined Stephen Boswell of AT&T and Lawrence Corban of Guided Systems Technologies to discuss how today’s technological advances are creating brand new spaces for innovative logistics companies to be able to operate in ways not previously thought of. Independent supply chain consultant Manny Sequeira moderated the conversation which ranged from on-demand shipping and warehousing, to internet of things and drone delivery.

Finally, attendees of the 2016 Georgia Logistics Summit converged again on the Georgia World Congress Center’s Thomas Murphy Ballroom to hear a presentation on Big Picture for Big Business Logistics from Caterpillar’s Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer Frank J. Crespo. Over a catered lunch, Summit attendees listened to Mr. Crespo speak on a number of topics, from supplier collaboration to his five “transformation principles.” For Summit attendees, the wisdom of one of the logistics world’s biggest players was a fitting way to end what many are saying was the best Georgia Logistics Summit yet.