1TAMPA, FL – If you’re in the metal construction industry, METALCON is one show you never miss – particularly this year since the show celebrated its 25th anniversary. Miller Clapperton has been a longtime supporter and attendee of METALCON which is hosted by the Metal Construction Association. METALCON is the one place where metal industry leaders can come together to check out the latest in metal products, technologies and construction solutions. We always look forward to seeing our industry partners and we usually learn something new that could help us perform even better for our customers in the upcoming year. Here are our Top 10 Takeaways from this year’s biggest industry event held just last week in Tampa, Florida:

  1. S-5! announces partnership with Rapid Materials (a Miller Clapperton company) at the first day of the show. David Trefzger, Rapid Materials Manager, noted thatRapidMaterials.com would now be an official online distributor of all S-5! Products. S-5! is the industry leader in clamps, kits and accessories for metal roofing. Rob Haddock, S-5! founder, noted that they are excited about the partnership and are looking forward to continued growth in 2016. We will be sharing more details about this exciting partnership shortly on our blog.

2.      Networking at METALCON: the number one thing we come to METALCON for is the networking. As a fabricator and installer of wall cladding materials, we look forward to going to METALCON each year to speak with our vendors, discuss the latest in the construction, architecture and metal industries as well as to get fresh ideas on how to take on new challenges. METALCON is the single place each year where the majority of the people in the industry are all in one space. Here’s a few notes from our team on the networking:

    • “The MetalCon party was a great place for networking and something they should continue to do. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and allows people to get to know the person, not only the company they represent.” – Greg Samples, Operations Manager
    • “Speaking with exhibitors that could be potential clients to inform them that Miller-Clapperton is now beginning to provide structural design services for a wide array of products. Since I’m a licensed Professional Engineer in multiple states, I can provide design calculations to other companies on their products.” – Tyler Bruton, PE, Product Development & Technical Specialist
    • “For RapidMaterials.com, it’s great to meet with and bring new vendors into the fold. Also, it’s good to visit with folks that we don’t get to see often.” – David Trefzger, Rapid Materials Manager

2FOREAL33.      The Apps: This year, METALCON came out with a fresh new app for the show which was quite helpful. It listed vendors, had an interactive exhibit floor map, showed the latest Twitter feed for mentions of the official show hashtag – #METALCON15 – and also highlighted announcements in their “buzz” section – among other things. Additionally, we also liked Fabral’s new app for architects – sleek, chic and user-friendly.
44.      New MetalCon logo: We’re definitely a fan of the newly updated METALCON logo. We feel it reflects the exciting new sophistication in technology being developed in the industry and therefore is a nice nod towards innovation. A+!!
5. MACHINERY & PRODUCTS: At METALCON you get to see some of the most forward-thinking technologies the industry has to offer – like state of the art 21’ long folding machines and the latest upgrades from brands like AXYZ. There were double length panel folders from multiple manufactures there, multiple roll forming machines and hand tools from different manufactures (some that can be found on RapidMaterials.com for sale). METALCON is a great place to show off some new impressive equipment to a large audience under one roof. It’s also a great way to see how these machines work up close and personal and to get some one-on-one time with the machine representatives who can help you learn about the features and capabilities of their featured equipment. Most METALCON attendees would like to find a tool or an idea that they can leave with to help them be more successful in their daily business.

  • Continuous Insulation: Miller Clapperton was able to see products that would enable us to install our metal composite material (MCM) systems over continuous insulation without modifying our current means and methods. With the push to have more energy efficient buildings, continuous insulation is going to be a mainstay in the near future.
  • Fire Retardant Cores for MCM: While speaking with the vendors about their current products, it also allowed us to educate them on its applicability with MCM and continuous insulation. “Among architects and even within the MCM industry it isn’t commonplace knowledge that the MCM material must have a fire retardant core when installed over continuous polyisocyanurate insulation systems,” says Tyler Bruton, PE of Miller Clapperton.
  • RapidMaterials.com Feedback: “It was great to see all of the competing product lines out there. This helps us narrow the focus on certain product lines and expand with potential new offerings in other areas.” – David Trefzger, Rapid Materials Manager

6. What we would change about METALCON: We’ve been going to METALCON for decades now and we’ve noticed that it is becoming a roofing and equipment show.  The wall product people are scaling back on their booths and putting less focus on the show. The smallest percentage of attendees are installers whereas in years past there was a higher percentage of installers in attendance.  Therefore, for a wall products exhibitor, the value of the show appears to be going down. We would suggest incentivizing wall product providers and installers to come back to the show to add to its diversity and value for attendees like Miller Clapperton.
87.  The fun stuff: In terms of giveaways, companies are having to step up their game nowadays.  It isn’t just pens and mousepads anymore.  Fitbits, coolers, drones from DesignandBuildWithMetal.com, phone chargers from VMZINC, etc. Additionally, the 25thAnniversary Party on Wednesday night was quite fun. We particularly liked the photo booth, especially the pirate photo booth!
8. The Competitions: We thought that the MCA Metal Roofing Championship Games was a brilliant idea. It was a great way to actually get the installers of products on the show floor. Our suggestion? We would encourage the expansion of these competitions beyond roofing.
99. Tampa was a great place to hold the 25th METALCON. We like Tampa as the 25th METALCON host city for a couple of reasons: (A) It’s gorgeous (who can complain about great weather), (B) it’s not expensive, (C) it was an easy flight for us from Atlanta and (D) the hotels were right across the street from the convention center with plenty of nice places to eat close by. It’s not Chicago or Vegas which are expensive for exhibitors, expensive for the attendees, and a city full of distractions away from the show. Also, the hotels in those cities usually aren’t usually close to the convention center. We think Tampa was a perfect location for the 25th show.
1010.   Metal Construction Hall of Fame Honorees: Last but not least, we applaud all of this year’s five Metal Construction Hall of Fame honorees who were recognized at the Florida Aquarium. They have officially joined the ranks of one of our own founders, Ted Miller, who was inducted in 2013. Congratulations to Herb Englert (President and Founder of Englert Inc.), D.V. “Red” McConnohie (Owner/Partner of Roof Hugger Inc.), Earl Raymond(VP of Systems Contractors Inc.), W. Lee Shoemaker, Ph.D., P.E. (Director of Research and Engineering at Metal Building Manufacturers Association), George C. Smeja(Founder of Metalmaster Roofmaster Inc. and Sno Gem Inc.)