20th Annual Metalcon set standard for the future

In an economic environment of doubt about the future, the 2010 METALCON International was a beacon of opportunity for all involved. The event drew 5,445 designers, builders, developers, contractors, fabricators, and suppliers from more than 50 countries. Product experts from 300 companies exhibited the latest products and technology and shared their knowledge with attendees, while industry specialists presented key topics in the 33-session education program.

METALCON International is the only annual conference and exhibition dedicated to metal construction products, technologies and solutions. The 2010 show themed “Focus Forward” was held October 20 through October 22 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The event marked 20 years of achievement in setting the pace for the future of building with metal with its unbeatable blend of new product exhibits, an education conference, and live-action demos of the latest techniques for roofing, wall, architectural and structural applications.

Show Director Claire Kilcoyne, who has guided the show’s success since it began in 1991, sees this year’s results as an upward trend. “The number of visitors was about 200 more than the 2009 show in Tampa, but the buying power was higher than ever. The positive response from exhibitors was evident in the number of companies who signed up for 2011. We’re thrilled to have 87 percent of the 2010 exhibitors booked for next year’s show in Atlanta with 492 booths or almost 1.3 million square feet of new product exhibits already for next year. We’ve always had a great relationship with exhibitors and it shows in our consistently high rate of returning exhibitors. This year in particular the number of companies signing up early and the serious buying power of attendees indicate a positive outlook not just for this show but the industry as a whole.”

METALCON was a particularly rewarding experience for the 46 companies who were exhibiting for the first time at this international event such as Brian Nelson of Knight Wall Systems, Deer Park, Wash. “We had great traffic. There was a large diversity of people, including architects, contractors, engineers, and manufacturers. We even had an architect drop off some drawings so we could bid on a job for him.” Knight Wall Systems is a start up company whose product originated in Finland about 15 yeas ago. Knight was exhibiting its panelized rainscreen system that allows different exteriors such as metal, granite, marble, and meets the ASHRAE 90.1 standard for thermal bridging.

Andy Russo, founder and CEO of Sierra Metals, Henderson, Nev., was also exuberant about his METALCON experience. “This is our first trade show ever and it was very successful for us. The first day of the show we had so many visitors we couldn’t talk with everyone who stopped by our booth. We have leads from architects, vendors and contractors, which represent all of our primary audiences.” The company provides custom engineering and fabrication for the residential, commercial and industrial construction markets.

First-time exhibitor David Braun, Director of Market Development, Construction Products Division, Franklin International, Columbus, Ohio, was familiar with METALCON and was thrilled with his busy booth. “We had great traffic and a high quality of visitors. Although it was our first time exhibiting, we had walked METALCON several times before and then decided it was a good show for our Titebond metal roof sealant. It’s a green product and bonds to Kynar so this is a great spot for us.”

Experienced METALCON exhibitors were also very positive about this event. Bill Coleman, VP of Sales for MBCI, Houston, TX was very pleased with the response. "Our leads from this show surpassed last year’s and the level of interest was much higher than before.” MBCI is one of the 25 companies that have consistently exhibited in METALCON since it began 20 years ago.

Ray Smith, Managing Director, Applicad, Blackburn, Victoria, Australia has been part of METALCON for many years. He notes: “This is the most productive show for us in the United States. We again had a great show this year with many well qualified leads and great networking.”

A veteran of METALCON, Nader Elhajj, P.E., had been a conference program speaker and instructor in STUD U for seven years. For the past three years as Director of Middle East and Africa for FRAMECAD Solutions USA Inc., Fairfax, VA, Elhajj has been a METALCON exhibitor. He was particularly pleased with the buying power and variety of visitors. “We had inquiries from all over the world and many from U.S.-based companies working in countries such as Africa where our compact machines can easily be moved from site to site. One of our major targets is the low income housing market, particularly in Central and South America. So we were pleased to also have visitors from El Salvador and Mexico, as well as Israel, Russia, and Taiwan. Until last year we were exhibiting in 24 international trade shows a year. Now we’ve decided that METALCON is our best show and will be our only U.S. one. It’s a better value for us because every lead is good. This year we have several hot ones and one confirmed sale. The response has been well above my expectations.” FRAMECAD is headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, and offers small-sized onsite roll forming machines.

For the second consecutive year, the increased awareness of the value of pairing metal and solar systems was reflected in METALCON International’s Solar Bay, which showcased the benefits of solar technology with metal roof and wall systems. Daily education sessions covering product selection, system design, installation, and funding drew steady crowds and constant traffic flow to Solar Bay and surrounding exhibits. METALCON’s 33-session education conference also featured seven programs focused on solar and roofing and retrofit topics that included solar.

Keith Lipps, VP of sales and marketing for Colorado Springs-based S-5!, helped develop many of Solar Bay’s programs. “There was standing room only for Solar Bay presentations and the questions from visitors to were all about how to get into the market and how to fund the systems. There definitely is more interest in solar this year. We could tell that by the number of people who stopped at our booth asking about solar,” he said.

Another active spot was the MCA Demo area where daily live-action demos provided insight on the latest roof and wall technologies and trends. This year the demos were configured differently. In addition to the series of daily live demonstrations, each of three areas dedicated to residential roofing, commercial roofing, and wall panels were open for attendees to walk through and have one-on-one discussions with experts who presented the demos. Attendees also saw hands-on tool demos and were able to test commercial grade tools for drilling, sawing, cutting, bending, and fastening.

This year’s keynote speaker former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales delivered an inspiring message to an audience of nearly 700 persons. In his presentation, “The American Dream: Reach It, Build It, Share It,” he said businesses need to stay focused on the needs of customers and workers. He also encouraged everyone to use their right to vote, saying: “Every election represents an opportunity for change and no matter your concerns, you have the ability to make a choice on election day.” He closed with a reminder that America is still the greatest country on earth and still holds opportunity for all citizens in their work and in their homes.

All those who attended METALCON had a chance to cast their vote for the best new product on display in New Product Harbor. The winner was the Ultimate Bracket, one of three brackets for standing seam metal roofs produced by Metal Plus LLC, Winsted, Conn.

Some visitors also walked away with new items won in a variety of giveaways and drawings held in the exhibit hall. One of those is Stefan Radosavlevici, president of YLA, Young Lion and Associates, Dacula, Ga. He won Classic Metal Roofing System’s Passport package, which includes domestic travel and full admission to METALCON 2011’s conference program and exhibit hall. Look for Stefan at next year’s METALCON in Atlanta, Ga.

METALCON is sponsored by The Metal Construction Association and more than 100 related industry organizations and publications. The 2011 METALCON runs from October 11-13, 2011 at the Georgia World Congress Center, Altanta, Ga.

For more information about exhibiting or attending METALCON, visit metalcon.com, or call 800-537-7765 or 617-965-0055.

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