Robert Dickerson Jr. of the Birmingham Resource Center and Gaynelle Adams Jackson of Advanced Planning Services started the A. G. Gaston Conference in 2004 in an effort to focus on economic empowerment. Their goal was to present an annual conference that would motivate attendees, strengthen entrepreneurs and address concerns of those in the workplace.
The two also wanted to honor Birmingham millionaire and business owner A. G. Gaston, a man who valued education, created enterprises and helped people develop successful businesses. They decided that it was only fitting that a Birmingham conference focused on helping the black business community be named after a man who practiced that concept daily.
Gaston knew that successful business ownership was a key to making communities safer and more viable. Gaston believed that the entire marketplace wins when business owners from all walks of life receive help to become more successful. The purpose of the conference is to help more businesses become more competitive via workshops, speakers and hands-on demonstrations.
Gaston also believed in praising people for a job well done. Each year, a select group of business owners, civic leaders and educators are honored during the conference for what they’ve done to improve the community.
The conference is and has always been about economic empowerment. The achievements award nominees have made are paramount to the Birmingham business community as well as the city’s residents.