METALCON International returned to the Chicago area this year with a new look a new format and a great round of success.
“We tried some new things this year to better serve our audience and feedback from attendees is that the longer sessions in the conference program really helped understand the topics and to make better business decisions. The majority of exhibitors had a very successful show and a testament to that is we already have 87 percent of the space booked for the 2013 show in Atlanta. We heard from several people that the exhibit hall arrangement, with live demos spread throughout, also worked well,” notes Claire Kilcoyne, show director for METALCON International.
METALCON is the only annual trade show and conference focused on the application of metal in industrial, institutional, light commercial and residential building projects. This year’s event held October 9-11 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., drew 5,267 visitors.
Most exhibitors are already planning for the 2013 show says METALCON’s exhibit sales director Paulo Gomes-da Costa. “The 2013 sign up process was outstanding due to the excellent show in Chicago. Many exhibitors noted that they had received more qualified leads than ever before, which is why we are already well booked for 2013. This includes some new exhibitors who came to view the 2012 show. We are very excited about the new ideas we are implementing for the 2013 METALCON. For me personally, it was great to meet many of the exhibitors in person. They made the show a resounding success and I thank them for welcoming me to the industry.”
Renee Ramey, marketing manager, Steelscape, Inc., Kalama, Wash., said: “We had more contact with qualified steel buyers and foot traffic in our booth than at any previous METALCON. By the end of the second day it was a success for us because of the quality of the leads. It’s also a sign of the industry’s continued growth and good health.” Steelscape, a Blue Scope company, produces coated metal sheets and coils.
The fact that equipment suppliers were so busy shows very positive activity in the market. Mike Smith, president of Tennsmith, McMinnville, Tenn.,, had a very active booth. “We’re very excited about this show. We’ve exhibited in two or three METALCONs and this was the best. It’s our first show as a combined Tennsmith and Roper Whitney company so we had more offerings and more variety in the audience. We saw all of the types of people we want – suppliers, metal builders, and roofers. They were all very qualified so we closed numerous orders right at the show.”
Bryan Brillhart, international sales manager for Van Mark Products Corp. Farmington Hills, Mich., had a similar experience: “Our booth was consistently busy all three days of METALCON. The audiences for our unique jobsite metal forming tools are primarily contractors and distributors. Our tools target metal roofing, metal building companies and frame builders as well. A good percentage, about 15-20 percent, of those who stopped by are contractors who are current users. It’s a good time for us to interact with them and discuss applications and ideas.” The company has been a METALCON exhibitor since 1995. All its products are manufactured and assembled in the USA and known for their longevity. This year it introduced a new portable, jobsite slitter/rib former and perforating tool.
Joe Repovs, founder, Samco Machinery Ltd., Toronto also appreciates the opportunity to talk with end users. “It’s been another great show for us and we celebrated our 40th Anniversary. We got to see all of our customers in three short days and dialogue with them. It’s a chance to learn about their plans going forward and to introduce them to our new products.” This year the company showcased its new Vortex punching systems and new Spanish tile roofing lines.
For green product manufacturers and participants in Solar Bay, the show offered education and sales opportunities. Jerry Heininger, CSI, a presenter at Solar Bay Live and Coordinator of Environmental Products for Englert Environmental, Perth Amboy, N.J., kept busy throughout METALCON, “Traffic was very good. Our display showing our solar sandwich system drew people in because they wanted to know how the system works. It’s much like a real sandwich where the meat in the middle is the metal roof that acts as the integrator for both the Solar PV and Thermal Technologies. We had a lot of interest in the concept, so we were educating as well as selling during the three-day conference. It’s our first time as a standalone display. Previously we were in the Englert booth,” he said. The company was also displaying a rainwater harvesting system that provides a total solution for capture and reuse of rainwater. Both systems provide green benefits such as tax incentives and potential for earning LEED credits.
Green Span Profiles, Waller, Texas, also had a great show, according to Brian Jaks, VP sales and marketing for the company. “The first two days were very busy with good quality leads. The last day was 60 percent lighter but equally as good in quality. We were doing a lot of educating contractors about the value of IMPs. We see IMPs as the future of the industry and they agree with us. We exhibited in METALCON last year with McElroy Metal. This is our first year as a stand-alone and we’ll be back next year in Atlanta for sure,” Jaks said. McElroy Metal Inc., Bossier City, La., is a partner in Green Span Profiles, which now manufactures its diverse line of insulated wall panel profiles and a standing seam roof profile in the Texas facility.
Software and support systems were also busy, including ABIS, Advanced Business Information Systems, Inc., Houston, Texas, ABIS makes management software for metal construction manufacturers. “This is an awesome show for us since our customers are here and we’re constantly introducing new versions of our software. Our software automates manufacturing, production, sales and management for any company that utilizes metal within the construction process. Adjutant Software meets the special needs of the metal industry that other software cannot. For example, we track the weight, length, gauge, and piece mark for every component. We’ve been doing this for 28 years, and truly understand the industry,” said CEO Russell Schulte.
The Metal Construction Association’s demos also drew crowds, according to Dale Nelson, president of Roof Hugger and coordinator of the METALCON Demos for MCA. “The MCA demos were a great way to tie together much of the information presented during the educational seminars. The demos not only show the nuts and bolts of how various systems are installed but it allows the attendee a chance to more accurately visualize the systems. The hands on format and follow up questioning provide a clear understanding to owners, salespeople and design professionals how various roof related products can be of benefit to them.”
METALCON conference program featured a new format to offer more indepth learning opportunities in the classroom and on the exhibit floor. It moved from a traditional 1.5-hour multi-track program to 3-hour sessions tailored to specific disciplines. Insulated metal panels, known for their superior thermal efficiency, were featured in a comprehensive session titled “Capture Your Part of the Growing Insulated Metal Panel Market with the Right Applications, Products and Techniques,” sponsored by the Metal Building Institute and presented by Steve Webster, president of Dutton & Garfield, Inc., Hampstead, N.H., and Ken Buchinger, vice president of business development and research & development for MBCI, Houston.
According to Webster the program was right on the mark. “We had 30 people in the insulated metal panel session and it was very interactive. The session format allowed us to provide good technical content as well as real world examples. Many of the attendees were new to Insulated Metal Panels and about half of them were there to learn about this expanding market. In the application techniques part, our examples of safe erection equipment and methods were well received. Overall there were a lot of technical questions about performance of the Insulated Metal Panels, especially energy efficiency. It was obvious that the quality of the final in-place product is paramount and the proper application of the products in the field is critical. We definitely need to run this session again.”
Sessions on retrofit also captivated their audience. Scott Kriner, LEED AP, president of Green Metal Consulting, Inc., Macungie, Pa., and Chuck Howard, PE, president, Metal Roof Consultants, Inc., Cary, N.C., were presenters of these sessions.
“The longer sessions allowed us to provide a lot of content and the panel discussion that involved a contractor was excellent. We had good interaction with participants and we pointed out product lines but not specific products that contractors could see in the exhibit hall. With different presenters covering several areas, none of the attendees were bored – and they all came back after the break, so we know they were interested, “said Kriner.
Howard adds: “This was a great format. It offered more opportunity for Q and A and made this one of the best sessions we’ve had in ten years. Also expanding topics was fantastic. Retrofit roofing has been relevant at METALCON since its inception in 1991, but combining it with energy and Galvalume information gave the audience a larger scope on all the valuable aspects of retrofit. We also decided to not use handouts but to send the information electronically to all participants. Handouts are often a distraction that takes away from participating. With all the information we were providing, we kept them busy, so they were bright, alert and asking for more. We knew this was valuable for building owners, but found that more contractors attended. The result is that now these contractors understand – and endorse – the potential that retrofit offers so they can sell the idea to owners.”
METALCON draws designers, builders, developers, contractors, fabricators, and suppliers from more than 52 countries. Experts from 300 companies exhibit the latest products and technology and share their knowledge with attendees, while industry specialists present key topics in the education program. Specialists from the Metal Construction Association also present the latest applications and field techniques in daily demonstrations in the exhibit hall.
METALCON is produced by Newton, MA-based PSMJ Resources, Inc. and sponsored by the Metal Construction Association. MCA is an organization of leading manufacturers and suppliers headquartered in Glenview, IL. PSMJ is the world’s leading authority on the effective management of architecture, engineering and construction firms. For more information, visit www.metalcon.com or call PSMJ Resources at 800-537-7765.