GFA Spring 2023 Meeting

March 20-22, 2023
Charleston Marriott
Charleston, South Carolina

Where Fabricators & Suppliers Connect

About the GFA Spring Meeting

Attending the GFA’s semi-annual meetings is one of the most valuable benefits of membership, and it provides priceless opportunities to connect with top quality fabricators and suppliers, learn from industry experts, solve problems, and have fun doing it. With meeting highlights, including the Supplier Expo, presentations, and multiple discussion forums, attending GFA meetings is a must.

Registration Deadline: February 20, 2023

Keynote Presentation

Tuesday, March 21st
Leading at Mach 2
Anthony Bourke, Fighter Pilot and CEO of Mach 2 Consulting

All great leaders have a system for driving peak performance. This hard-charging, high-impact keynote offers your leaders the straightforward, critical tools that U.S. fighter pilots employ to lead their wingmen into the demanding environment of aerial combat.

Learn how the best fighter squadrons and the best businesses in the world hire future leaders, how they then properly train those individuals, and continually promote a process of continuous improvement to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Major Anthony “AB” Bourke is a highly accomplished and decorated F-16 fighter pilot who flew tactical missions in service to our country all over the world. He has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of flight time in various high performance aircraft and was one of the first pilots to fly an F-16 in homeland defense efforts over New York City in the aftermath of September 11th.

Currently AB serves as CEO & Founder of Mach 2 Consulting and has shared his message of peak performance to more than 100,000 people in twelve different countries. AB brings his tactical knowledge and business acumen to the forefront of the management training world to share how fighter pilots, and other organizations where performance truly matters, can develop a feedback system to ensure continuous improvement and peak performance.

Special Presentation

Monday, March 20th
Designs on the Future: How to Think about the Next Five Years
David Zach, Futurist

These days, predictions about the future are a dime-a-dozen. What’s rare and valuable are clues on how to make sense of them all. David Zach can help you do that. He talks about how to tell the strategic difference between fads and trends, between the value of change vs. tradition, and ways to spot trends before they show up in the headlines. He’s not a fortune teller – he’s a guy who lives in Milwaukee and attends the conferences he speaks at, so he takes the time to learn what’s going on in the real world and shares humorous insights and opportunities that he sees all around us. At the end of his talk, you’ll find yourself either thoughtfully quiet or engaged in some of the best conversations you’ve ever had at a conference. He may not be the Futurist you expected, but he is the one you’ll remember.

David Zach is a Futurist. No really. He has a degree in Futures Research from the University of Houston. (Then again, he got that degree way back in 1981, so it’s pretty much history at this point.) Since then, he’s given over 1,500 fascinating and funny talks to audiences throughout North America and Europe on the interconnections between such topics as curiosity, art and design, technology, keyboards vs. pencils, demographics and history. And pirates. He likes to talk about pirates and their role in innovation. For more:

Navigating the Supply Chain in Today’s World

During Breakfast on Tuesday morning, there will be a special program on supply chain management in these challenging times. Kent Gourdin, Director of the Global Logistics and Transportation Program with the Department of Supply Chain and Information Management at the College of Charleston, will provide an overview of the state of logistics and the new normal in global supply chain management. This will be followed by an interactive panel discussion and Q&A session led by supply chain professionals from the GFA’s membership, where they will examine how they have dealt with the specific issues in our industry.

Discussion Sessions

CEO Luncheon

On Monday, we will again have a CEO Luncheon Meeting, featuring a roundtable discussion of items that would be of interest to CEOs. Attendance will be limited to CEOs and senior officers with P/L responsibility. A maximum of two people per member company may attend, provided that they both meet the provisions. There is a $70 per person fee in addition to the meeting registration fee to attend this session.

Fabricator Forum

Enjoy an opportunity to discuss the issues that are of specific interest to Fabricators and that are most relevant to you and your company with your peers in the industry. Pre-registration for the Monday afternoon session is required, but there is no additional fee. Attendance will be limited to Fabricator members of the GFA.

Welcome Breakfast and Orientation

Monday morning will begin with a Welcome Breakfast and Orientation, open to all meeting attendees, to kick off a day of committee meetings and discussion sessions. New members and first-time attendees, along with their spouses, are encouraged to attend this orientation for a brief overview of the GFA, and for a chance to meet a few people before the general meeting.

Supplier Expo

If you want access to top quality fabricators and converters, there is no better way than exhibiting at the GFA Spring 2023 Meeting. The cost-effective table top display format allows you to have exposure to decision makers without having to arrange for elaborate displays and logistics.

Table Top Fee: $225 per table

View Table Top Guidelines

Registration Fees

Member Registration Fee: $695 per person

Reduced Member Registration Fee: $500 per person

To be eligible for the reduced member registration fee, at least two other representatives from your company must be paying the full member registration fee.

Spouse/Companion Registration Fee: $225 per person

Spouses/Companions who are full-time employees of GFA member companies must pay the full member registration fee.

*Fees are non-refundable after March 8, 2023. Cancellations prior to that date will be refunded in full, less a $40 per registration processing fee.

Charleston Marriott

The Charleston Marriott is 12 miles (approximately 20 minutes by car) from the Charleston International Airport and one mile from downtown Charleston, with local shopping, dining, and entertainment. Click here to learn more about the area.

Address: 170 Lockwood Dr., Charleston, SC 29403

Phone: (843) 723-3000





Our discounted group room rate is $239 plus state and local taxes per night. Attendees will have access to complimentary wireless internet in their hotel rooms.

The check-in time is 4:00 pm, and the check-out time is 11:00 am.






Ground Transportation

Hotel Parking: The hotel offers onsite valet and self-parking to attendees. Self-parking is $14/day, and valet is $20/day

Airport Shuttle: The hotel offers complimentary shuttle transportation to and from Charleston International Airport. The shuttle operates from 5:30am to 11:00pm, and runs every 30 minutes upon request. You can arrange for shuttle transportation by calling (843) 747-1900.

Uber/Lyft: The ride-sharing apps, Uber and Lyft, are available for local transportation, and can be downloaded to your smart device via the app store on IOS and Android products.

Taxi: The taxi fare for one-way transportation between the Charleston International Airport and the Charleston Marriott is approximately $40.

Areas of Interest

Charleston City Market

One of the nation’s oldest public markets, Charleston City Market is home to more than 300 vibrant entrepreneurs. No matter what time of day or season, there is something to see, do, taste, and take home as a souvenir from the Charleston City Market!

Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston, otherwise known as The Peninsula, is recognized for its charm, preserved history, natural beauty, friendly and welcoming people, awe-inspiring restaurants and more.

Fort Sumter

The attack on Fort Sumter marked the official beginning of the American Civil War. It is located in the middle of Charleston Harbor, and is only accessible by ferry rides.

Golf Tournament

The Golf Tournament will begin at 8:30 am on Wednesday at the Patriots Point Golf Links.

The course is located just 10 minutes from the Charleston Marriott. It offers panoramic views of historic Charleston Harbor and Ft. Sumter. The Par-3 17th hole is perennially awarded “Best Par-3 in the Lowcountry.”

This links-style par 72 championship course was also rated “South Carolina Course of the Year for 2001” by the National Golf Course Owners Association.

Note: Golfers will be responsible for their transportation to and from the golf course. All golfers should arrive at the course by 8:00 am.

Cost Per Person: $120*

Club Rental: $75*

*The golf fees are non-refundable as of March 3, 2023.

Charleston History Tour

Tour Charleston, one of the south’s most beautiful and historic cities. The tour will begin with a privately guided drive through the city’s historic district. Some of the landmarks you will see include the Battery, Rainbow Row, St. Michael’s Church, the College of Charleston, and South Carolina’s famed military academy, the Citadel.

The tour also includes a tour of the Heyward Washington House, which houses one of the finest collections of Charleston-made furniture in the city, and boasts the only original kitchen house open to the public in Charleston.

The tour will end at the Old City Market where you will have some free time for shopping and browsing.

Attendees will return to the hotel by 1:00 pm.

Cost Per Person: $70*

*The tour fee is non-refundable as of March 3rd

Spouse/Companion Activities

The spouse/companion registration fee includes admission to all sessions unless otherwise noted on the program. This includes all general sessions and presentations, breakfasts, lunch on Tuesday, and all cocktail receptions. Please note that spouses/companions who are full-time employees of GFA member companies must pay the full member registration fee.

Mentor Program

The GFA Mentor Program focuses on improving the initial experience of new GFA members and first-time meeting attendees by matching them with an active member of the GFA’s Membership Committee who will help to familiarize them with the organization, facilitate engagement in GFA activities, and answer any questions that they have. A strong personal connection helps to build relationships and connections and makes it easier for new members and first-time attendees to participate actively. Mentors will reach out to first-time attendees prior to the meeting, and they will connect onsite at the Welcome Breakfast and Orientation on the morning of Monday, March 20th to assist with introductions. If you are a first-time attendee who would like to be assigned a mentor, please select this option when registering.

GFA Committees

All the committees will meet concurrently from 10:00 am to 11:30 am on Monday, March 20th. All attendees are welcome!

The Communications Committee considers enhancements to the GFA’s website, newsletter, social media program, and other tools to promote the GFA and deliver information to members.

The Membership Committee develops and implements initiatives for the recruitment of new members, reviews and recommends for approval the applications of potential members, and encourages participation in GFA activities.

The Program & Content Committee selects future meeting programs and speakers for the GFA’s semi-annual meetings, Gasketing/Converting Expos, and special content meetings.

The Technical Content Development Committee develops technical content of interest to GFA members for delivery through webinars, newsletter articles, and meeting programs.

What People Have to Say

Hear from Past Attendees of GFA Meetings!

GFA has been invaluable in providing us with technical resources, as well as with connecting us with new partners, and most importantly, with new friends.

Anne-Sophie Dorey

DCS USA Corporation

Because of GFA relationships, PGC has grown by millions of dollars. It’s due to the relationships and alignment with key resources in our industry, built face-to-face over time at the meetings.

Steve Hanson


The time that we’ve devoted to attending GFA meetings has far exceeded expectations around networking, education, and opportunity development.

Scott Kearns

ElastaPro Silicone Sheeting

Frequently Asked Questions

May I Go to the Meetings?

Meetings are open to all attendees except as noted on the schedule. Please note that Manufacturer Representatives are NOT permitted to attend any GFA functions.

What is the Proper Attire?

For all committee meetings and general sessions, the attire is casual. The cocktail receptions are informal.

What will the Weather be Like?

The daytime temperature in Charleston is expected to average about 66°F. Evening temperatures are expected to average about 51°F.