EDAA Conference during COVID-19 Pandemic

Darren Hamrick and I just returned from the Economic Development Association of Alabama (EDAA) Summer Conference at the Gulf State Park Hotel in Orange Beach. This conference was the 1st event I’ve attended since March and the only conference that wasn’t cancelled due to the pandemic. One of the site selection consultants speaking at the conference said that virtual meetings do not take the place of kicking the dirt, and I totally agree. For me, nothing takes the place of seeing friends and clients in person.

The attendance at the EDAA conference was approximately 170 and usually is 400 or more. The EDAA group is like family for my wife, Rachel, and me since we have been attending for over 20 years. It feels weird to social distance and wear masks at the summer conference when I’m used to handshakes and hugs.

EDAA and Gulf State Park staff did an excellent job managing the conference. Social distancing signage was displayed throughout the conference center and was enforced and adhered to by the attendees. I felt safe and comfortable during the conference because everyone wore masks during the sessions and networking breaks.

Below are photos of the event, including Darren Hamrick and myself at our exhibit booth. Also, we enjoyed an afternoon of deep-sea fishing. Here’s hoping we have a vaccine soon so we can get back to normal.