By Marge O’Connor
The 25th annual METALCON returns to Tampa in October with a lineup of new products, industry experts and activities that highlight the excitement of metal and spark the imagination.
This annual conference and exhibition takes place at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, from Wednesday, October, 14 through Friday, October 16, 2015. It is the only event uniquely focused on the application of metal in residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and municipal construction.
Since its inception in 1991, METALCON has been an exciting place to learn about advances in fabrication technology, roofing materials, insulated panels, coatings and color options, tools, steel framing, design and estimating software, and more.
Creating a vibrant atmosphere to showcase new products and generate new ideas is what METALCON is known for. Throughout its 25 years this event played a key role in advancing metal’s role in construction by always having something new to offer.
“We have some great memories and we’re proud of our achievements. We’re using those to shape the future of METALCON, to expand its reach as the driving force in the use of metal in construction. The best part of our celebration will be having everyone together to enjoy the moment and what we’ve accomplished. All the attendees, exhibitors and industry icons are part of our past and key to what’s to come. We’re especially thrilled to have among us those companies who helped launch the first METALCON and remain part of it. They grew along with the show and helped make it the dynamic event it is,” notes Claire Kilcoyne, METALCON Show Director.
METALCON’s 25th Anniversary party takes place Wednesday night, 6-9 pm in the Tampa Convention Center Ballroom. The exhibiting companies that helped pioneer METALCON are: Akzo Nobel Coatings, Inc.; ATAS International; Atlas Bolt and Screw, Inc.; All Weather Insulated Panels; Dominion Building Products; Englert, Inc.; Fabral; FLEXOSPAN, Inc.; Loseke Technologies, Inc.; MBCI; McElroy Metals, Inc.; Metal Construction News/Modern Trade Communications; Metl-Span; PPG Industries, Inc.; Precoat Metals – a division of SEQUA; Preformed Line Products; Roll Former Corp.; Roof Hugger, Inc.
As with every METALCON, you’ll see even more new products and ideas this year. “We have more exhibit space and sponsorship offerings this year, which is a very positive sign for the economy and our show. There are 43 new companies and some new products that are more horizontal to the market. So, while we expand our metal-based exhibits we’re also attracting companies whose products work across many different industries. Of course, our long-time exhibitors have fantastic new offerings, especially in the coatings area,” says Paulo Gomes–da Costa, METALCON National Sales Director.
METALCON offers an abundance of action, ideas and networking. Learning experiences abound with conference sessions that range from the basics of metal to sales and business management, special programs for various industry segments, a series of 15-minute sessions in Learning Zones inside the exhibit hall, and daily hands-on roofing competition.
Leading the group of experts at the 2015 METALCON is keynoter Clyde Fessler, former Vice President of Business Development for Harley-Davidson Motor Company. He led the turnaround that brought the company back from near disaster to being the leading motorcycle brand in the world. In his keynote address on Wednesday, October 14, from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m., Fessler will tell this amazing story using a rich narrative to inspire the audience with the same soul-stirring emotion as a ride on a Harley. While showing how he overcame resistance to change, Fessler will demonstrate how to build a brand, create a vision, define goals and strategies, compete with larger companies, and create customer loyalty by exceeding their expectations.
Inspiring stories such as Fessler’s apply across many market segments, and so do the Special Programs offered at METALCON. Sponsored by various industry groups, these comprehensive programs span field techniques, leadership skills and sales techniques.
The Special Programs start on Tuesday, October 13 with the popular STUD University. This two-day program combines classroom and hands-on workshops that offer an easy-to-understand, yet comprehensive exploration of framing with cold-formed steel.
Other industry-sponsored programs highlight the newest practices and equipment in roll forming for metal construction; copper installation techniques and procedures; IAS accreditation and an AC478 workshop. For steel industry insiders the Focus on Steel Conference on Tuesday evening provides market intelligence and vital, targeted information that attendees can use in making thoughtful business decisions.
METALCON’s general education programs are led by experts who make any topic exciting and fun. Programs run Wednesday through Friday mornings. Returning popular programs include: Understanding Metal Roofing, the Devil is in the Details, and Successful Flashings for Standing Seam Roofs. New offerings give attendees insight on the latest benefits of retrofit roofing; what chemicals in metal construction products might be dangerous; and how recent research findings prove metal roofing’s long-term value.
This year’s schedule features an extensive offering of business topics, such as dealing with emerging trends, legal issues, leadership techniques, and business succession strategies. Some specific management topics are: Learn How to Think Like Your Clients; How to Win More Customers and Contracts; How to Compete on Value in Any Marketplace for Greater Profitability; Change Your Business Strategy to include Retrofit Metal Roofing; Get Your Business to Work for You! 7 Steps to Earning More, Work Less & Living the Life You Want; and Developing Today’s Managers and Tomorrow’s Senior Executives. A unique group of specialists come together in the comprehensive, two-part A/E/C Emerging Leaders Workshop: Developing the Best Project Managers into the Best Principals.
Residential roofing contractors will learn new sales strategies in the two-part program on the 12 Easy Steps to Closing More Sales of Residential Metal Roofing.
Competition of another type is in store for contractors who want to join in the action at the 2nd annual Metal Roofing Championship Games presented by the Metal Construction Association. In this “Battle by the Bay” in Booth 109, contractors from the audience can volunteer to compete for $100 prizes in a number of different challenges focused on tools, retrofit systems, panel seaming, snow retention systems, and fasteners. These games are great to watch and even better to participate in and be a winner.
Mark James, coordinator of the games for Metal Construction Association, says this year’s games are bigger and more exciting. “We’ve almost doubled the amount of games and increased the number of competitors in each of them to offer more chances for contractors to compete and win. Plus, we’re planning a fun, football theme. The area where the games take place looks like a football field, complete with green carpet that has yardage markers. There’s even a hot dog and beverage cart. With the positive response we’ve had from sponsors and participants, these games are sure to expand again,” said James.
This year’s competition allows three individuals or teams of two people to compete in five games on Wednesday, five on Thursday, and four on Friday. The line-up of games and sponsoring companies is: Triangle Fastener’s Screw Gun Challenge (3 individual competitors); Roof Hugger’s “Hug a Roof” Retrofit Challenge (3 competing teams of 2 people each); New Tech Machinery’s Standing Seam Install with DI Metal Works’ Panel Seaming Challenge (3 competing teams of 2 people each); The S-5 “Let It Snow” Challenge (3 competing teams of 2 people each); and Triangle Fastener’s “JJ’s Give it a Boot” Challenge (3 individual competitors).
Judges for the competition will be members of the local Florida chapter of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA). Cash prizes are provided by the Metal Construction Association. In addition to the companies sponsoring each event, the following exhibiting companies co-sponsor the games by providing addition materials and supplies: Drexel Metals, ECHOtape, MBCI, McElroy Metals, Milspec Industries and SFS Intec.
Action and education in the exhibit hall continues into two Learning Zones that offer free 15-minute instruction sessions to give attendees a concentrated way to learn more in smaller pieces of time. The Learning Zones are located in Booth 845 and Booth 1145 to allow attendees options on their route through exhibits. Experts from exhibiting companies will present their technology or product and connect it to what attendees may be looking for. These interactive sessions are ideal for solving those lingering everyday field situations. Companies participating in the Learning Zones are: ATAS, Roof Hugger, S-5!, Silvercote Lamination, Valspar, and Worthington Industries.
Between visits with each other, exhibitors and attendees can share ideas with show management on The Deck in booth 973. Hosted by METALCON’s show management, PSMJ Resources, Inc., this is a spot where attendees and exhibitors can unwind for a while, meet with show management, network or take photos for social media. On Wednesday afternoon, October 14, keynote speaker Clyde Fessler will be on deck to mingle with visitors and sign copies of his latest book.
The Deck will also be the center for this year’s “giving back” program, which is a fund raiser for veterans. Anyone at METALCON can contribute to this program and/or purchase tickets in The Deck to win a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which will also be on display there. Funds from the raffle will be donated to a local veterans group.
METALCON is Sponsored by The Metal Construction Association and produced by PSMJ Resources, Inc. It is supported by 60 participating associations and 20 media partners.
By Marge O’Connor