Welcome to GAMA  






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 The OEM Panel is a multi-year favorite of SAC attendees, and this year, we're looking into the future of our industry.  Our star-studded lineup for 2018 features top regional executives from some of the biggest OEMs in the country who are ready to share insights, give updates, and discuss the future of the automotive industry on a regional, national, and global level.

Moderator: John Waraniak


  • Vice President, Vehicle Technology, SEMA - West Bloomfield, Michigan
  • John has been Vice President of Vehicle Technology at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) since May 2006. In this role, he helps leading automotive and performance aftermarket companies integrate their products with the latest advanced vehicle technologies and capitalize on new business and product development opportunities. He is an acknowledged leader and advocate for automaker-aftermarket-technology innovation and collaboration for advancing safety performance, connected, assisted and automated driving, new mobility solutions and systems engineering management.

Panelist: Stuart Countess


  • Chief Administrative Officer, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia - West Point, GA
  • Stuart Countess is the Chief Administrative Officer for Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG). In this position, Countess is responsible for leading the Human Resources and Administration Division including Team Relations, Public Relations, Safety and Security, Environmental, General Affairs, Legal and Sales. He previously served as the Vice President of Quality overseeing overall vehicle quality for the Kia Sorento, Kia Optima and Hyundai Santa Fe as well as supplier quality, process quality, customer satisfaction, warranty and ISO/TS certifications for Business Management Systems. Originally, Countess joined KMMG in 2008 as the senior manager for the General Assembly Shop.  

Panelist: Mark Brazeal


  • Vice President of Administration, Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. - Huntsville, Alabama
  • Mark Brazeal is the Vice President of Administration at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. He is responsible for all administration operations of the new joint venture including Human Resources, Safety, Production Control, Environmental, Accounting and External Affairs. Mr. Brazeal comes to Mazda Toyota Manufacturing from Toyota Motor North America, where he served in General Manager roles at the company’s engine plants in Alabama and West Virginia.

Panelist: Brad Thacker


  • Senior Director of Parts Quality Engineering, Nissan North America – Smyrna, TN
  • Brad Thacker is responsible for the quality of parts and components for Nissan’s North American operations. Brad has 30 years of manufacturing and engineering experience in the automotive industry. While at Nissan, Brad has led the Parts Quality and Manufacturing Quality organizations, the Business Transformation function, and the Total Customer Satisfaction organization. Brad is most satisfied when working with a cross functional group of leaders and engineers, on the shop floor, finding creative solutions to enhance quality and productivity. Brad especially enjoys the diversity and the enthusiasm that he encounters when working throughout Nissan’s supply base.




Panelist: Kevin McAtamney


  • Plant Quality Director, Volvo Car USA - Ridgeville, SC
  • Kevin joined Volvo Cars in March 2018 as quality director. He is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction by securing and monitoring the correct implementation of the quality operating system, and developing quality assurance procedures at Volvo Cars’ first U.S. manufacturing plant in Ridgeville, S.C. Prior to Volvo Cars, Kevin spent 17 years at General Motors, serving in various management positions including quality system manager, senior global program manager for Advanced Propulsion, senior global IT manufacturing and quality manager, and senior quality engineer.



Find out more of our incredible speaker lineup, as well as full bios

for all of our OEM panelists, at www.SouthernAutoCon.com




For more ideas, attractions, and information, visit https://www.SouthernAutoCon.com/area-attractions/








The Southern Automotive Conference is celebrating its 11th anniversary in 2018 with all new opportunities and experiences for each and every one of our attendees. Connecting is key to the forward momentum of the automotive industry, and attendees will have more chances than ever before to create and cultivate relationships with some of the biggest players in the field today.

This year, we’ve built in more exhibit hall breaks than ever before: time for you to make real one-on-one contact with exhibitors and sponsors and form lasting relationships. SAC2018 provides an opportunity to step up your game – it’s up to you to make the most of this year’s improvements. 


Are You In Yet? Visit www.SouthernAutoCon.com for all the details.








SAC 2018


Get ready!  October 3-5, 2018

Atlanta, Georgia - Registration Now Open!!




Walter Griggs, SquarePac        Julio Gonzalez, Miramar Securities, LLC      

                                                                        Rick Walker, GAMA      Terri Seese, Alliance Solutions Group






...or... Renew Your Membership!





...or... Renew Your Membership! 










On October 24, 2017, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced
the winners of the second annual Georgia Automotive Awards. The awards are designed to
recognize automotive leaders throughout the state, and to honor them for the contributions 
they have made to build a robust automotive ecosystem in Georgia.  Shown above
(left to right) are Georgia Governor Nathan Deal; Rick Walker, President & CEO of GAMA;
and GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson.
The winners were:

Georgia Automotive Company of the Year  - Lund International, Buford

Community Impact Award  - Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), Atlanta

 Innovator of the Year  - Elan Technology, Midway

 Georgia Automotive Supplier of the Year - TD Automotive Compressor Georgia (TACG)

and Toyota Industries Compressor Parts America, Co. (TICA), Pendergrass

 Randy Jackson Leader of the Year Award - Greg Vitek, IMS Gear Georgia, Inc., Gainesville




...or... Renew Your Membership!




GAMA is continuing to focus on the importance of logistics and supply chain management.  

  • David Eyes of Data Interchange has been elected Chair of GAMA's new Logistics / Supply Chain Management Committee.
  • GAMA was represented at the recent Supply Chain Management - Automotive Logistics Event held in Atlanta on May 8-10, 2017.  Several GAMA members were in attendance including David Eyes of Data Interchange and Terri Seese, President of Alliance Solutions. Rick Walker, President and CEO of GAMA, presented the Opening Remarks at the event.  See the photo below.  










What is GAMA?

The Georgia Automotive Manufacturers Association, Inc. (GAMA) is a non-profit trade association which passionately promotes the interests of Georgia’s automotive and ground transportation industry.  GAMA is a community of businesses with common interests and goals which provides a highly interactive forum to help members achieve the following:
  • continual improvement in their businesses
  • higher levels of innovation, quality, and profitability
  • professional success through unique educational opportunities
  • successful networking among customers and peers


Membership Benefits Include:

  • Networking; Opportunity to Meet and be Introduced to Potential Customers; Sharing Best Practices; Info on Key Industry Issues; Critical and Timely Info on Improving Innovation, Quality, and Profitability                              
  • Periodic Meetings; Plant Tours; Access to Membership Directory; Access to PowerPoints from Meetings; Social Events
  • Supplier of the Year Award (coming - Committee work has begun)
  • Corporate Membership with Brooks Brothers (15% Discount).  Please go to the Members Only portion of the GAMA website and login for info and immediate access to these benefits.  Access to Automotive News Breaking News RSS Feed.                                                 
Come join the excitement!


...or... Renew Your Membership!


Our Mission & Objectives:

»   Mission

GAMA’s mission is to passionately promote the growth, profitability, and continual improvement of automotive

      manufacturing in Georgia and the Southeast.

GAMA will be successful when...

  • the levels of innovation, quality, and profitability of our members are regarded as among the best in the industry
  • our members are universally recognized for their leadership in automotive vehicle and component manufacturing
  • Georgia is regarded as a premier location for automotive manufacturing and related support businesses

»   Objectives

  • To provide information and share knowledge on issues impacting the automotive industry
  • To encourage positive relationships and foster common interests among the automotive manufacturing community
  • To conduct educational programs which enhance the professions of all those involved in automotive manufacturing
  • To provide strategic direction for workforce development in Georgia and the Southeast




Rick Walker, President and CEO of GAMA, speaking at the NABE Automotive Outlook Symposium held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago - Detroit Branch, on May 29, 2014.














Randy Jackson, Senior VP Human Resources & Administration of Kia Motors Manufacturing, was the Keynote Speaker at GAMA's February 18, 2014 meeting in LaGrange, GA



GAMA Meeting, June 21, 2013 - "Celebrating Women Who Power the Automotive Industry".  Left to right:  Barbara McDaniel, Toyota (Mississippi); Suzanne Dickerson, CU-ICAR (South Carolina); Susan Peterson, The Communication Center (Washington, DC); Jean Marie Thrower, Supplier Development Systems (Alabama); Susan Brennan, Nissan (Tennessee); and Corinne Hodges, Kia (Georgia)


Bill Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, was the Keynote Speaker at GAMA's November 6, 2012 Meeting in Pine Mountain, GA.  Bill will be speaking at the GAMA Meeting on November 10, 2015, his fifth address to a GAMA audience. 



Inaugural Meeting - June 2, 2011 (left to right):

  • Rick Walker, Falcon IP Capital, President and CEO of GAMA
  • Heather Lathbury Seckman, Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce
  • Charles Stallworth, Georgia Power





(PowerPoints from previous meetings are available in the "Members Only" section.)





Sponsors :

GAMA is grateful for the following sponsors: (Become a Sponsor)                                                          









 Strategic Partners :










Supporting Members :


 API Maintenance Systems

Autoform Engineering USA, Inc.

Baytech Plastics Inc.

CAB Incorporated

Development Authority of Polk County

Easylink Industrial Mfg.

EFC International

Georgia Tech/Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Hodges Warehouse + Logistics

K.S. West Virginia

Management Methods, Inc.

Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority

Onin Staffing

Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce 

Surgere, Inc.



Recent GAMA News : 

May 1, 2018 - 5th Annual Golf Outing, Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA

February 7, 2018 - Quality Update Meeting - OSHA, LaGrange, Georgia

November 8, 2017 - Pirelli Tire Plant Tour, Rome, Georgia

August 10, 2017 - Annual Economic Meeting, Douglasville, Georgia

May 2, 2017 - GAMA's Fourth Annual Golf Tournament - Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia

February 1, 2017 - Quality Update Meeting - OSHA, LaGrange, Georgia

November 2, 2016 - Tour of the Blue Bird Plant, Fort Valley, Georgia

August 11, 2016 - Annual Economic Meeting, Douglasville, Georgia

May 3, 2016 - Annual Golf Tournament, The Country Club of the South, Johns Creek, Georgia

February 9, 2016 - Quality Update Meeting, Douglasville, Georgia

December 2, 2015 - Special "Issues Update" Meeting, Porsche Headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia

November 10, 2015 - Annual Economic Meeting, Douglasville, Georgia

September 22, 2015 - Tour of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Plant in Montgomery, Alabama

August 19, 2015 Town Hall Meeting - Update on the Southeastern Automotive Manufacturing Technology Acceleration Center (SA-MTAC)

August 5, 2015 - Quarterly Meeting and Kia Plant Tour, LaGrange, Georgia

May 5, 2015 - Annual Golf Tournament, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia

March 11, 2015 - OSHA Update (sold out both times) - How Are You Dealing with the Regional Emphasis Program? - Lanett, AL/West Point, GA

February 17, 2015 - Membership Meeting - The Future of Quality - AIAG (first public presentation of AIAG "Current State of Quality" survey results) - LaGrange, GA

May 6, 2014 - First Annual Golf Tournament, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA


June 2, 2011 - First Membership Meeting ever was held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.

The GAMA Board of Advisors toured the Suzuki Manufacturing of America plant in Rome, Georgia.

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