Association for the Study of
African American Life and History
Annual Conference and Meeting (2008 – 2019, 2022 -)
What We Did

We started our journey with ASALH in 2009 when their conference was in Birmingham, Alabama.  That year, we provided on-site logistical support.

More than ten years later, we have expanded our services to include:

  • Providing logistical support in the selection of future ASALH Conference sites
  • Coordinating all logistical arrangements with the conference hotel and all off-site event venues
  • Managing the following conference vendors:
    • Audio video (AV) companies
    • Exhibit management companies
    • Shuttle and bus transportation companies
  • Coordinating all conference tours and off-site meal functions
  • Maintaining all conference planning documents
  • Serving as the primary on-site conference logistics coordinator

The success of our long-term relationship with ASALH is based on our bringing together the right people with the right skills and a common commitment to doing our part to help our African American Historical organizations survive and grow.

Sylvia Cyrus

Advanced Planning Services has been involved in the planning for the Annual Conference and Meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History for the last decade. During that time, their role in the planning and
execution of the conference has grown from what was originally a support role,
to serving as the primary logistics coordinator for the entire conference.

As our relationship with Advanced Planning grew, so did our confidence in their ability to manage a wide range of conference operations, which allows ASALH staff to focus our energies on presenting a first-class conference for our membership and supporters.

Sylvia Cyrus, Executive Director, Association for the Study of African American Life and History

 AG Gaston Conference (AGGC)
2005 – 2022
AG Gaston Conference

The A.G. Gaston Conference is a 2-day event that celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. A.G. Gaston and promotes the growth and success of African American businesses.

In 2005, Gaynelle and Robert Dickerson, Jr., with the Birmingham Business Resource Center, joined forces to produce the first AG Gaston Conference.  Gaynelle did all the event planning, Bob raised all the money and they jointly planned the program.  Now, 18+ years later, that business model is still working.

Advanced Planning Services, LLC provides the following services:

  • Managing logistical operations with all conference event sites
  • Coordinating efforts with all conference vendors and suppliers
  • Providing on-site event management support for the conference

What makes this partnership work is a respect for each other as friends and co-workers and a strong commitment to the conference mission – “One Vision, One Cause, Elevating African American Entrepreneurship”.

Bob Dickerson

Advanced Planning Services (APS) serves as the event planner for the A.G. Gaston Conference. My selection of APS was based on my familiarity of the owners, individuals with whom I have the utmost confidence in their ability. 

I also always like the ability to form partnerships with our vendors and APS offers that opportunity. Frankly, I never considered another firm.

Working with APS has allowed our staff to continue to perform their daily tasks rather than have to spend time working on event logistics. Therefore, we are able to have quality events while still keeping our organization and staff on mission.

If a client were on the fence about choosing Advanced Planning Services, I’d tell them about a partnership that’s approaching 20 years that keeps getting better!

Robert Dickerson Jr., Co-Founder, The A.G. Gaston Conference;
Executive Director, Birmingham Business Resource Center

The Future Emerges from the Past:
Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama African American History and Culture
April 2018 – December 2019
What We Did

Our connection to the Alabama Bicentennial African American History Project began with a referral from one of our major clients.  That referral opened the door for us to use our project management skills to help recognize the people, places and events, both iconic and unsung, which tell the story about Alabama’s rich African American History.

We provided the following services:

  • Leadership support to Alabama Bicentennial African American History Project committee that selected the Bicentennial book content
  • Managed the project planning team that worked to create the book – The Future Emerges From the Past – 200 Years of Alabama African American History.
  • Managed promotional efforts

We are sincerely grateful to have been given the opportunity to meet and work with all the people that shared their time and talents to bring this idea to a reality.  And we are committed to the book’s goal of motivating the next generation – our future – to continue Alabama’s great legacy of accomplishments.

Jay Lamar

 Advanced Planning Services (APS) partnered with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and the ALABAMA 200 African American Heritage Committee to produce
one of the most important legacy projects of the commemoration: The Future Emerges from the Past: Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama African American
History and Culture

The magnificently designed book is a rich treasure trove of information and insight, including little known stories and figures from history. It was almost three years in the making with many hands and minds contributing along the way. For this complex project, APS handled everything from running content development meetings to printing, to advertising and promotion.

The Future Emerges from the Past is an enduring legacy of the bicentennial that will continue to inform and enrich readers for many years to come, and that is thanks to Advanced Planning Services’ organizational abilities, commitment and partnership.

Jay Lamar, Executive Director, Alabama Bicentennial Commission

Alabama African American History Calendar
 2016 –  2018
Alabama African American History Calendar

Our journey with the Alabama African American History Calendar started in 2014 when we began planning its Unveiling Program.  The Unveiling Program brought the 12 calendar honorees together to participate in activities to promote the book and to share their stories.

From 2014 – 2018, we managed the logistics for following unveiling activities:

  • On-site honoree travel arrangements which included housing, meal functions and transportation to/from unveiling activities
  • The School Program where honorees shared their stories with Birmingham area high school students/strong>
  • The Unveiling Ceremony where honorees participated in a community program to officially unveil the upcoming year’s calendar to the public.

From 2016 – 2018, we took on the added responsibility of managing the design of the actual calendar.

The Alabama African American History Calendar project helped to solidify our position as a “trusted expert” in the area of Alabama African American History event planning and project management.

Alabama AA History Beyond the Book Website
Beyond the Book website


Over the past 10 years we celebrated Alabama African American history through the Alabama African American History Calendar and The Future Emerges From The Past-Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama African American History & Culture bicentennial book.

We have now entered into the 3rd phase of this journey with the Beyond the Book website. The Alabama African American History Beyond the Book website continues the journey and goes beyond what could be included in the calendars and bicentennial book’s 244 pages.

Above:  Featured subjects in Beyond the Book since its launch in 2021:

(1) The Clotilda slave ship
(2) The Alabama Black Belt
(3) Alabama Poet Laureate Ashley Jones>
(4) Congressman John Lewis
(5) The Freedom Riders
(6) Hobson City, Alabama
(7) Mabel “Big Mama” Thornton
(8) The Alabama African American Mural Trail

This Month In African American History features significant historical events that occurred during that month.

On a monthly basis, this site highlights past Alabama African American history makers and events and present day icons, unsung sheroes/heroes, outstanding students, and current events.

The website’s goal is the same as the calendar and book’s, to inspire the young and young at heart to dream big and never allow obstacles to stop their march toward achieving those dreams.

Glyn Agnew

Advanced Planning Services had been the event planner for the Alabama African American History Calendar unveiling ceremony since its inception. Gaynelle and Vernon made the event a memorable experience for our honorees and invited guests. The saying “Past performance is no guarantee of future results” is widely accepted. However, when it comes to Gaynelle and Vernon their past performance with the Alabama African American History Calendar was specifically the reason, we chose to partner with them for the state of Alabama’s Bicentennial African American History book and the Beyond the Book website. In both cases they exceeded and continue to exceed expectations.

Glyn Agnew,  Regional Director, AT&T Alabama

Achievers in Life, Inc.
Achievers in Life, Inc.


Achievers in Life (AIL) is a non-profit mentoring organization whose primary emphasis is on young men age 5 to 19. Achievers in Life helps its participants to develop mentally, physically, spiritually and socially in order to achieve their full potentials in life.  This is an organization that we give both our time and our talents to support this worthwhile cause. 

I was introduced to Advanced Planning Services (APS) by observing the operational efficiencies of the A.G. Gaston Conference. I observed that the Conference
Director (Bob Dickerson) could focus on program leadership, and not get lost in the “weeds of detail”. I learned that this was because this annual conference was coordinated by Advanced Planning Services.

From that point on I have used Advanced Planning Services for our major and small events. Having APS as a business partner has allowed me to focus on the big picture.

Our partnership has also allowed us to start new initiatives without worrying about the implementation process. We bring APS in at the beginning of our idea creation sessions, and their strategic and planning acumen helps us be more effective in launching new events and programs.

We encourage you to consider Advanced Planning Services as a member of your staff with strategic and planning capabilities. They will make your events special while eliminating your worry about the implementation details.

Jeff Mcleod, Founder and President, Achievers In Life, Inc.

Jeff McLeod